Do Fitness Apps and Devices Protect Your Health Information?
Last updated: November 19, 2015
Do you have a wearable health or fitness tracker? Do you use health or fitness apps? Are you giving someone a fitness tracker or other gadget this holiday season? If you answered yes to any of these questions, read on.
Don't Get Caught by These Phone Scams!
Last updated: November 4, 2015
We lead busy lives. In the hustle and bustle of each day, we use our phones to keep in touch with family and friends, make appointments, gather information, and much more. Scammers hope to take advantage of this to steal our money and/or identity. Here are just a few of the many phone scams to watch for.
What You Need to Know About the VW Clean Air Act Violations
Last updated: September 19, 2015
On September 18th, the EPA issued a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act to Volkswagen. It alleges and VW has admitted that software installed in certain vehicles circumvents EPA emissions standards for certain air pollutants. Vehicles involved include four-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars, model years 2009-2015.
Do You Know How Your Auto Insurance Rate is Determined?
Last updated: September 15, 2015
Many consumers believe that their driving record is one of the primary factors used to determine the premium for their auto insurance. Unfortunately, that is not true for many people. Consumer Reports conducted a two-year investigation, in which they analyzed more than two-billion car insurance price quotes from more than 700 companies in all general U.S. ZIP codes.
This Scam Begins with a Silent Phone Call
Last updated: September 9, 2015
We've all received phone calls that begin with silence. These autodialed calls can be annoying but did you know that they could lead to fraud or Identity Theft? Autodialed calls are also known as "robocalls." While many robocalls are selling products or services, some are trying to steal your financial information.
Planning to Upgrade to Windows 10? Don't Be Scammed
Last updated: August 9, 2015
Microsoft has released Windows 10, the next version of its operating system. It is available as a free upgrade for desktops, laptops, and tablets running Windows 7 and 8.1. Upgrades must be reserved and you will be provided with a notification from the Get Windows 10 app when your upgrade is ready. It may be days or weeks before you receive the notification.
Dating Online? Beware of Scams
Last updated: June 27, 2015
Millions of Americans are using online dating sites to meet people. While many people form successful relationships, unfortunately, others are victims of scammers.
Do You Check Your "Specialty" Consumer Reports Annually?
Last updated: May 22, 2015
Most consumers know that they should check each of their credit reports from the big three credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion once a year. But did you know that you should check your other consumer reports each year too?
Donating to the Nepal Relief Effort? Watch out for Scams.
Last updated: May 1, 2015
The pictures from the devastating earthquake in Nepal and the Katmandu Valley have many people wanting to help. Charities and relief organizations are asking for donations. Unfortunately, fake charities and other scams take advantage of the disaster.
Traveling? Think Twice Before Using Your Hotel's Wi-Fi
Last updated: April 7, 2015
When traveling do you use the hotel's Wi-Fi? If so, you should think carefully before you use it on your next trip. Hackers are using security vulnerabilities in hotel Wi-Fi to steal passwords and other personal information.
IRS Calling? No! It's a Scam. Here's What to Do.
Last updated: March 27, 2015
Near the top of the IRS's annual "Dirty Dozen" list of tax scams are phone calls from criminals impersonating IRS agents. In these calls, the scam artists claim that you owe money on your taxes and demand immediate payment and may threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things. Often they demand that payment be made by prepaid debit card.
What Do You Need to Know About Health Care Data Breaches?
Last updated: March 2, 2015
Data breaches involving health care providers (labs, doctor offices, hospitals, clinics) and health insurance companies have been on the increase. For example, earlier this year...
What Will You Do With The Old Devices You Replace?
Last updated: January 7, 2015
Whenever you get a new electronic device such as a TV, smartphone, game console, computer, or tablet, what do you do with the old one? Throwing it away usually isn't a good option and in some places is illegal. Electronic equipment contains toxic materials such as cadmium, lead, arsenic and needs to be disposed of carefully. Consider the following options instead.
Amid the Holiday Rush, Don't Forget These Year-End Financial Tips
Last updated: December 1, 2014
It's the end of the year and while many thoughts turn to holiday celebrations and shopping, don't forget that you should perform an end-of-the-year review of your finances. Here are some tips that can save you some money.
Shopping on Black Friday or Monday?
Last updated: November 20, 2014
Are you planning on hitting the stores on Black Friday and the online stores on Black Monday? Or will you do your holiday shopping later? No matter when you shop, make sure you do your homework in order to get the best deals. Here are some tips to help.
Digital Wallets: Apple Pay Joins the Crowded Field
Last updated: November 4, 2014
Using a digital wallet can be convenient and can be more secure way to use a credit card than swiping it at a register. It may allow you to carry fewer cards, credit and loyalty/rewards, in your real wallet.
What Do You Need to Know About Data Breaches?
Last updated: October 1, 2014
Did you know that there have been over 200 reports of data breaches so far in 2014? Yet most of these did not make the headlines. The number of records affected in each of these breaches vary from a few hundred to the approximately 56 million reported by Home Depot.
Do You Have a "my Social Security" Account Yet?
Last updated: September 2, 2014
Whether you are paying Social Security taxes or receiving Social Security benefits, you should have a "my Social Security" account. Why should you have an account? Since your annual Social Security Statement is no longer sent by mail, a "my Social Security" account is the only way you can get it. A Social Security Statement shows your complete earnings history and estimates for retirement and disability benefits
Back to School Time Already? Check Out These Shopping Tips
Last updated: August 2, 2014
It's August and the back to school sales are in full swing. And there is something on sale for every member of the family. Smart shoppers will do their homework to ensure they will get the most for their dollars before heading to the store or online. Here are a few tips to help.
Concerned About Online Tracking? You're Tracked Offline Too
Last updated: July 3, 2014
The discussion about the tracking of our activities, purchases, likes, and so forth has been focused online. Now comes news about tracking us in stores and other places offline. While stores have used various methods to track customers within the store, these have usually been anonymous.
Facebook Ad Policy is Changing
Last updated: June 17, 2014
Facebook has announced that they are changing their Ad policy and giving users more control over the ads they see.
Is this a good change for users or a bad change? It depends.
Beware of Scams That Follow Data Breach Reports
Last updated: June 3, 2014
Data breaches are in the news so often that many people are ignoring them. By ignoring the breaches, these persons could be easy targets for scammers.
Scammers are taking advantage of announced data breaches by using concern about the report or the stolen data to "phish" for more information such as credit card and bank account numbers.
Beware of Extensive Phone Fraud Scam Targeting Taxpayers
Last updated: May 2, 2014
It seems like there is at least one announcement every week about a data breach or online security issue. This week there have already been two: a security hole in the Internet Explorer browser and a security breach at AOL. Here's what you need to know about them.
What Do You Need to Know About the "Heartbleed" Bug?
Last updated: April 11, 2014
By now you've probably heard of the "Heartbleed" security bug that may affect many of the web servers on the Internet. What is the impact of this bug? That's what makes it scary to some people. While the bug has existed for quite some time, affected servers can't tell if hackers exploited it. If hackers did, they might have gotten usernames, passwords, or other personal information.
Beware of Extensive Phone Fraud Scam Targeting Taxpayers
Last updated: March 25, 2014
On March 20th, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) reported that this is the "largest ever" phone fraud scam targeting taxpayers. The scammers have collected over $1 million from the thousands of victims.
The scam works like this.
Don't Have Health Insurance Yet? March 31 is the Deadline
Last updated: March 18, 2014
The Open Enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act ends on March 31, 2014. If you are required to have health insurance and don't get it by March 31, then you won't be able to get private individual insurance from your state's Health Insurance Marketplace or directly from an insurance company until open enrollment begins for 2015.
Do You Know How Much Data is Being Collected about You Online?
Last updated: March 10, 2014
Many of us spend many hours a day online for work, shopping, bill paying, and fun. We choose to provide some of the sites we visit with our personal information. But did you know that there is a whole industry that collects information about us - with and without our explicit permission. They collect information such as the sites we visit, what we search for, what we buy, and forms we fill out.
Watch Out for WhatsApp Scams
Last updated: March 3, 2014
WhatsApp has been in the news lately. That can make it a popular target for scams. Here's a little background. WhatsApp offers a text-messaging service for mobile platforms. Users of the service can also send voice messages. They've just announced that they will be adding voice communications this spring.
Another Data Breach Reported.
This Time It's Yahoo Email
Last updated: February 6, 2014
Yahoo has reported that there was an attempt to gain access to email accounts using usernames and passwords from a breach at a third-party site. Yahoo is resetting passwords on the affected accounts and has implemented a two-step sign-in verification for users to re-secure their accounts. The two-step sign-in requires a second password that is used just the once.
Target Security Breach — What You Need to Know
Target has reported that payment card data has been stolen. The thieves obtained customer names, credit/debit card numbers, card expiration date, and the three-digit security code (CVV). Encrypted PIN data was also stolen. On January 10th, Target reported that mailing and email addresses, names and phone numbers were also stolen.
Staying Updated on Health Insurance and the Affordable Care Act
Last updated: December 3, 2013
Because work continues on making the healthcare.gov site more functional and debate continues on what needs to happen to fix enrollment problems for health insurance, we suggest that you follow two blogs...
Planning on Giving to Typhoon Haiyan Victims?
Last updated: November 13, 2013
The news has been full of pictures of the devastation in the Philippines caused by Typhoon Haiyan. Many people want to help. Unfortunately, with disasters such as this, scams appear almost immediately. Many of these scams take the form of fake charities.
Is Your Home Ready for Winter Weather?
Last updated: November 4, 2013
No matter where you live, winter weather can cause damage to your home. Taking time to prepare your home, inside and out, before winter weather arrives, can prevent problems. These resources provide tips for preparing your home.
For the Best Prepaid Card, Shop Carefully
Last updated: November 10, 2013
Even though some cards have added features and reduced the fees, prepaid cards still have some drawbacks. If you don’t choose carefully, the fees—activation, monthly maintenance, reloading, ATM use—can mount up.
Beware of Utility Billing Scams
Last updated: September 15, 2013
There's a billing scam making the rounds affecting consumers and businesses. Here's how the scam works. You receive a phone call indicating that your account with the power company is past due and your electricity will be cut off if you don't pay within a specific time frame, usually an hour.
Update: The Latest on Federal Student Loan Legislation
Last updated: July 25, 2013
As of July 24, with the passage of a Senate bill, Congress appears close to enacting legislation to reform the subsidized federal student loan program. When the House approves, the legislation will lower rates retroactively from July 1. Future loan rates will also be tied to the financial market.
Taking a Road Trip?
Last updated: July 5, 2013
It's summer and more people are taking a road trip. It doesn't matter how long your road trip is—a day, a weekend, a week or more—you and your vehicle need to be prepared. Before you head out, get your vehicle serviced. A smoothly running vehicle with properly inflated tires can give you peace of mind as well as better gas mileage.
Buying Sunscreen? Read This First.
Last updated: June 8, 2013
This year sunscreens have to meet new testing and labeling requirements issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These new labels include...
What Do You Need to Know About the New Vantage Score 3.0?
Last updated: April 15, 2013
First created in 2006 by the big three credit bureaus - Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion - the Vantage Score has been redesigned with a new credit scoring model.
Do You Have Good Savings Habits?
Last updated: March 4, 2013
According to the sixth annual national survey assessing household saving, only about 50% of Americans have good savings habits. The survey results, released during America Saves Week, provides a look at savings habits and how they compare over the last several years.
Read the full news item.
Will You See a Credit Card Surcharge at the Checkout?
Last updated: February 2, 2013
As of January 27, 2013, merchants, online and off, can add a surcharge to every purchase made with a Visa or MasterCard credit card. They can't add the surcharge on debit card purchases. Note that state laws in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, and Texas prohibit or restrict credit card surcharges.
What Will the Fiscal Cliff Agreement Mean for Your Finances?
Last updated: January 5, 2013
Although all implications of the bill for ordinary taxpayers is not yet clear, the following information and analysis from a variety of sources may provide you with a clearer picture.
Don't Fall for Mortgage Modification Scams
Last updated: December 15, 2012
Homeowners who are financially distressed can be targets for scammers.
In particular, scammers have recently focused on the federal Making Home Affordable Program, which provides many options to help homeowners with their mortgage challenges.
Do You Know That Disasters Bring Out The Scammers?
When disasters occur, such as Hurricane Sandy, scams appear almost immediately. The scams include fake charities, home repair rip-offs, contractor scams, fake disaster officials, and many more.
Can You Spot These Social Media Scams?
Recently some Twitter users have received direct messages that have fake Facebook links. Clicking the fake link could cause you to download malware.
Social networks are favorite targets of scammers, so here are some tips to help you protect yourself.
New Car Crash Test Announced—Why's it Important?
Recently the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced an addition to their testing suite, the small overlap frontal test. This test is designed to simulate what happens when the front corner of a car hits another vehicle or an object such as a utility pole or tree.
More Passwords Stolen
A list of 450,000 usernames and passwords from Yahoo's "Contributor Network" has been posted on the Internet. The passwords were not encrypted. Yahoo has confirmed that usernames and passwords were compromised. An analysis of the data by a security site determined that the list also contains username and passwords for other online services.
Do You Use LinkedIn? Then Change Your Password Today
A list of 6.5 million stolen encrypted passwords has been posted on the Internet. LinkedIn has confirmed that some of those passwords belong to its members. LinkedIn has disabled the passwords on the compromised accounts and will send emails to those members with instructions for resetting their passwords. The emails will not contain any links.
Calling out Medicare Scams
Medicare scams come in many forms. A very common scam offers "free" medical equipment or services but you have to provide your Medicare number. The most recent scam of this type targets people with diabetes.
Car Shopping? Be Aware of This Sales Ploy
“We’ll pay off your loan no matter how much you owe.”
Have you seen auto sales ads, often online, that promise this? This promise to pay off the balance of any loan you have on a vehicle you plan to trade-in is often misleading, the Federal Trade Commission warns in a recent alert. Why?
What can you do about it?
Facebook's Timeline is Being Pushed to All Users
Facebook's Timeline is a new profile format that displays all of your postings in chronological order, making it easier to see items from the past. While the Timeline has been optional since the middle of December, it will now replace the current profile page for all users. Over the next several weeks, everyone will be switched to the Timeline.
Thinking of Using a Prepaid Debit Card?
Prepaid debit cards are being touted as a way to manage your money and stay out of debt. With a prepaid debit card, you can only spend the amount of money that is on the card. But that's good, isn't it? Maybe. These cards can be more expensive than you think. These cards may be useful for travel or providing funds for a college student. Some people use them to help them budget.
Is Your Whole Life Going on View on Facebook?
Facebook and Carrier IQ have been making news lately. How does this news impact you? Here's what you need to know. Facebook Timeline is now available to everyone. The Timeline was announced back in September but wasn't available to everyone until now.
Donating to Charity This Holiday Season? Read These Tips First.
During the holiday season, there are many charities asking for donations to help the less fortunate. While there are many legitimate charities that do good work, there are also some phony ones. Here are some tips to help you make sure that your donation benefits the people and organizations you intended.
Shopping on Black Friday? Check out these tips before you go.
Black Friday offers lots of bargains as well as deals that aren't much of deal. Here are a few tips to help you find the best bargains.