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Top 6 Ways to Reduce Identity Theft

This past week, I've heard the phrase "I never thought it would happen to me" more than ever before. A rather crafty scam artist took a list of names and phone numbers and started sending multiple phishing texts and phone calls to my clients and others across the nation. Because of the timing and persistence of these points of contact, many people were tricked into entering their card number and pin. Now before you go thinking you would never provide such information to somebody, let me tell you that the methods of this scammer were quite convincing in many instances. Luckily, we are positive the list was not secured via our database, so no sensitive information was compromised, but the growing risk of identity theft has never been more apparent to me.

How Fast Should You Pay Off Student Loans?

Like so many others in our country, I’m in debt. Fortunately, it’s more of what some have termed the “good” kind of debt—the kind used for getting educated—but it’s debt nonetheless. So the big question that everyone with student loans, including myself, asks themselves at some point in time is "how fast should I pay these things off?" Some feel the lower interest rates justify a slower approach to tackling them, while others hold a more feverish Dave Ramsey approach.  Which is the right path to take?

Prepaid Debit Cards: Fast, Easy to Use, and a Threat to Homeland Security?

While the past few years have been treacherous for the credit card industry, there is one area of the business that has grown dramatically: prepaid debit cards. Consumers have increasingly turned to prepaid debit cards as an easy way to have access to their cash without having to worry about keeping cash on hand.  From parents using it to distribute allowance to their kids, to consumers simply trying to stick to a budget, prepaid debit cards have been a big hit.

Credit Card Deals: How to Get "Hooked Up"

If you haven't seen some of the killer no annual fee credit cards that have recently hit the market, you're missing out on all the fun. But why are there so many great deals this year, and who's getting the "hookup" if you're not? As the WSJ recently reported, "Many issuers feel emboldened to issue more credit cards because delinquencies and defaults have been down significantly in recent months." Interestingly enough, those who are receiving direct mail advertisements for the best credit card offers are not your run-of-the-mill consumers though.

The Side Effects of Bad Credit

It’s a question we hear all the time from credit card users, especially in the younger demographic: “So what if I have bad credit?  I don’t have anything I need to go into debt for anyway.” This is a very risky line of thinking.  While young consumers (particularly students) may not be thinking about their credit at this stage in their life, they’re just around the corner from having it be an all-encompassing aspect of their adult lives.

Debit Card Fees: Coming to a Wallet Near You

Fees. It’s a word that no one ever wants to hear, but it’s especially shocking to long-time debit card users. Unfortunately for them, it’s also a word they’re hearing more and more often these days, with a budding trend within the banking industry that looks to add monthly fees for debit cards. Wells Fargo has recently joined a growing list of banks that now charge monthly fees for debit card users. And while the fees are usually only between $3-$5 per month, many consumers are outraged at the prospect of paying for their ATM cards.

How to Rebuild Credit After Bankruptcy

Going through a bankruptcy can be painful, but the bankruptcy itself usually isn't what causes all the ulcers and sleepless nights. Those often arrive in full force after the bankruptcy is finalized and you're trying to repair your damaged credit.  The process can be infuriating! Fortunately, the mantra "time heals all wounds" directly applies to rebuilding your credit as well.  Of course, that doesn't mean you should just sit back and do nothing to improve your financial situation, so let's discuss a few of the practical methods you can use to rebuild your credit after bankruptcy.

Why Using Your Credit Card in a Restaurant is More Dangerous Than Online

It seems like on every TV channel these days there’s always some “in-depth” report profiling a poor soul that has fallen victim to identity theft through an online scam. As a result, millions of Americans hold deep reservations against using their credit cards online, believing the same fate will fall upon them. At the same time, however, Americans pass around their credit cards to merchants in the real world without even batting an eyelash. But when you take a step back and compare how credit cards are used in the real world versus online, it’s actually easy to see that you have much less to worry about in cyberspace.

How to Rack Up Airline Miles

It seems as though airlines are doing every little thing they can lately to tack on fees (American Airlines, for example, now charges $8 for a blanket and neck pillow) while simultaneously curtailing service (removing a number of lavatories to make room for more seating). Somewhat paradoxically however, airlines also love to offer incentives for flying with them. The most common among these incentives are of course frequent flier programs, in which points accumulated through travel and other purchases can be applied as airfare discounts and upgrades. Unfortunately, there's not much we can do about $8 blankets or the lack of sufficient lavatories. What we can do as savvy travelers is find the best ways to take advantage of the incentives airlines actually still provide. Here are some tips on how to rack up airline frequent flyer miles as fast as possible:

The World's Best Financial Gurus

Every industry has its own "Sultan of Swat." Finance is no exception. In fact, the world of finance is home to some of the most widely recognized names in the world. Here they are, in descending order: "The World's Best Financial Gurus."

Warren Buffett