Online shopping during the holidays is a convenient, green, inexpensive way to share the joy of the season. Cyber Monday is typically one busiest online spending days of the year. But as you gear up for the holidays don’t forget to take simple precautions to keep your credit card, banking and identity information safe.
ProtectMyID has a few simply but very important steps to take to protect your identity online this holiday season:
1. Never Shop on a Public Wi-Fi Connection – Although you may trust the baristas at your local coffee shop, you can’t always trust the person sitting next to you. Hackers can easily tap into Wi-Fi connections at public hot spots to steal your identity information. This can be especially dangerous when you are making purchases with your credit card on unsecured connections. Options: surf at home or set up Internet Tethering between your smartphone and laptop or tablet so that you are always surfing on an encrypted connect.
2. Monitor Your Accounts – While you are doing a lot of shopping – online and in the store – it is good to keep an eye on your bank and credit card accounts. Match your receipts up to your statement to make sure that they are correct and there are no fraudulent charges. Keep an eye out for small charges, sometimes that is how crooks test to make sure they have a good card. For convenience, set up credit card account alerts that automatically email or text you every time you make a purchase. It makes detecting fraud a snap.
3. Only Shop on Trusted Websites – Don’t just let the search engine pick the site for you, make sure you are using a trusted and well-known website. Type in the direct web address for the stores you are familiar with, and don’t shop on price alone.
4. Read the Reviews – When shopping online for gifts this season, read the reviews of the actual seller, if available. While the site may be credited with security, purchasers may have had problems in the past that you want to know about before you buy from them.
5. Look for Signs Shopping Sites are Protecting Your Data – On the web page where you enter your credit card or other personal information, look for an “s” after http in the Web address of that page and a secured padlock (https://). Encryption is a security measure that scrambles data as it travels through the Internet.
6. Keep Your Web Browser Updated – The latest versions of the most popular browsers (FireFox, Safari, Internet Explorer) provide another layer of protection with web sites that use Extended Validation (EV) Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificates. The address bar turns green and has both https and the closed padlock. Make sure that when your computer is asking you to update your software you don’t ignore the requests.
Remember, the faster you detect identity theft, the easier it is to clean it up. Always be aware of what is on your credit report and your bank statements, as crooks rely on our lackadaisical attitude to continue their crooked ways.
Please help spread the word about this critical campaign against financial elder abuse.
Washington, DC — As financial exploitation targeting older adults continues to become more prevalent in the United States, the national Eldercare Locator announced today that it has launched a campaign to encourage older adults and their families to address this critical issue and to get informed about the warning signs and resources available to help prevent exploitation. Research shows that as many as 5 million older adults are victims of elder abuse each year and financial exploitation costs seniors an estimated $3 billion annually.
“Financial exploitation of older adults can take many forms and can come in many guises including telemarketing scams, identity theft, fake check scams, home repair fraud, and even “sweetheart scams” whereby a con artist befriends or romances an isolated lonely older adult to gain control over their finances. Unfortunately, financial exploitation can often be committed by a person you know and trust—a friend, caregiver or even a family member, which makes it even more difficult,” said Sandy Markwood, CEO, n4a.
“There are steps older adults and their families can take and resources available to help identify and remedy this serious problem. To ensure your safety and the safety and security of your finances, it is critical for you to assess your financial situation on a regular basis. We are seeing more and more financial abuse across the country which is why this holiday season, we hope families will check in with their older relatives to be sure that their finances are in good order and in good hands.”
Signs of Financial Exploitation
There are several signs of financial exploitation for families to look out for, including-
Financial activity that is inconsistent with an older adults past financial history;
Multiple withdrawals within a short time period;
Inconsistent signatures on documents;
Confusion about recent financial arrangements;
New names added to accounts or other changes to key documents that have not been authorized;
A caregiver or beneficiary who refuses to use designated funds for necessary care and treatment of an older adult and
An older adult who feels uncomfortable or even threatened by a caregiver or another individual who is seeking to control their finances.
Families that are concerned about financial exploitation should report the issue to state agencies that deal with protecting the safety and well-being of older adults. The campaign, which encourages older adults and their families to plan and be cautious, released tips to help prevent financial exploitation, some of which include:
–Consult with a trusted person before making any large purchases or investments.
–Do not provide personal information (i.e. Social Security number, credit card, ATM PIN number) over the phone unless you placed the call and know with whom you are speaking.
–If you hire someone to help you in your home, ensure that they have been properly screened with criminal background checks completed. Ask for certifications when appropriate.
–Talk with an attorney about creating a durable power of attorney for asset management; a living will; a revocable, or living, trust; and health care advance directives.
“Financial Exploitation can be prevented if people know the right questions to ask and where to turn for help, said Mary Twomey, Director, National Center on Elder Abuse. “Although it is a sensitive issue and one that can be difficult to broach, it is critical for families to address it, and there are many useful resources available to guide them through the process.”
About Eldercare Locator
The Eldercare Locator is the first step to finding resources for older adults in any U.S. community and a free national service of the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) that is administered by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a). Contact the Eldercare Locator at 800.677.1116 or the website Eldercare Locator.
November 2012 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Eldercare Locator, which has received more than 2.3 million calls since it launched in 1992 and assisted millions of older adults and caregivers connect with local aging resources.
7 Ways Financial Reform Will Impact Your Life is an insightful article written by Lynnette Khalfani-Cox. I placed a question mark by the title because I thought it best for you to read it and judge for yourself. Lynnette Khalfani-Cox has presented a very balanced and investigative report on the new financial reform.\
I note that because the article was not just a rant or political platform discussion. I liked it. I was informed, empowered and can look at the reform with a critical eye. I am looking forward to the focus on cash instead of credit. She is known as The Money Coach and has an extensive social media presence.
So take a few minutes and read her article on the financial reform and let me know what you think.
A new credit card law will be in effect on Feb. 22, 2010. But according to a special report I just read, the credit card companies have found a way around the law. Now, the reason why I am posting this is not to put all the employees working for credit card companies out of a job. No, indeed, my concern is for anyone who carries a credit card balance. I want everyone to be aware of ways to manage their credit card debt. I am learning and trying to learn more.
I actually know people who DO NOT USE A CREDIT CARD. I do not know how they do it but -How cool! (Cool is a baby boomer word)
In the past getting personal finances in order was a New Year’s resolution many made without serious commitment to getting it done. But these dire economic times has changed all that and people are looking for help. The Complete Credit Management Toolkit 3.0 is coaching people to financial success. Learn About The Credit Toolkit 3.0 Sales Rep Opportunity
A court ruling requires the three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion to report all debts that are discharged through Chapter 7 bankruptcy to be listed as such on consumer credit reports.
Our guest author for this post is Morlino and Lathea Morris on How to Avoid Bankruptcy Double Jeopardy
As more people remain unemployed and layoffs continue, more and more consumers are finding themselves unable to pay their bills and forced to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Although you expect your credit score to take a hit when you file bankruptcy, you shouldn’t be penalized twice. But many consumers who have filed bankruptcy and anxiously applied for financing soon after their bankruptcy is discharged, are shocked to learn they have been denied only because the credit bureaus have failed to do their job. Credit bureaus sometimes don’t update consumer credit reports to show debts that are included in the bankruptcy. A court ruling requires the three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion to report all debts that are discharged through Chapter 7 bankruptcy to be listed as such on consumer credit reports. Delinquent debts that were discharged through bankruptcy that still appear on your credit report not updated will negatively impact your credit score. Why? These debts will be looked upon as current debts and will appear to a potential lender that you still owe these debts.
A customer who has been using our Complete Credit Management Toolkit to smartly manage his credit after filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, unfortunately, missed a very important follow-up step. He spent a period of time getting his family finances in order and remaining debt free. But it wasn’t until his mortgage application was denied, that he realized he had failed to take a very important step. Had he reviewed his credit reports after his bankruptcy was discharged, he would have discovered credit cards debts that had been included in the bankruptcy were being inaccurately reported on his credit reports. So despite the fact in reality he was debt free, to the mortgage lender he was carrying more debt than he could afford, and he was delinquent on these accounts as well. The lesson here is this, if you see a bankruptcy in your future, remember, once your bankruptcy is discharged, your job is to follow-up with the credit bureaus to make sure they have done their job. Unresolved errors will negatively impact your credit worthiness. Here are some Smart Credit Moves:
1. Request a copy of all three of your credit reports from the three major credit reporting agencies, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. You can get them free online at www.annualacreditreport.comor call 877-322-8228.
2. Examine your reports carefully for errors. Pay particular attention to any accounts that were discharged as part of a bankruptcy. Any civil judgments discharged in a bankruptcy should be reported as discharged or included in bankruptcy and show a zero balance. Any other accounts discharged in bankruptcy should be reported as discharged or included in bankruptcy and show a zero balance versus showing charge-off or any other reporting.
3. Report to the credit bureaus any errors uncovered. Send them a copy of the credit report with the errors high-lighted, include any supporting documents from the bankruptcy court.
During these economic times, it’s more important than ever for consumers to review their credit reports for inaccuracies that could cause their credit score to plummet -and interest rates and insurance premiums to spike! It is your responsibility to make certain credit bureaus are doing their job. Be Proactive!
This is another excellent post which is part of the
Boomer Credit Fitness Series
By Morlino and Lathea Morris
Business Credit and Capital: How to Get it
& Who to Get it From
Having access to capital is vital to the success of your business. However, due to the current condition of capital markets – getting capital or credit can be a difficult, if not an insurmountable challenge. So what do you do? Well, continuing to waste your valuable time trying to convince a traditional bank to loan you capital, approve a line of credit or credit card is not the answer. It’s Time For You to Investigate Alternative Sources of Capital & Credit! Most business owners have no idea about the numerous alternative funding sources
Join Special Guest Presenters along with Lathea Morris who will lead this teleseminar. She’s an entrepreneur andsmall business professional trainer who in many circles is known as the “Credit Guru.” She knows about capital resources – who to consider doing business with and who to stay away from. This is a Unique Opportunity to Learn About:
Alternative sources of capital and credit
How to get access to these resources
The new rules of credit and steps to take before applying for capital
Business credit scores
Never before has it been a time so urgent for small business owners to get practical advice on how to take advantage of alternative funding options. Register Now! Get a 10% Discount – Put in code:myguest01
I am excited to have two awesome guests post a series called Credit Fitness! Morlino and Lathea Morris will be sharing some powerful tips. They are credit experts. So put your seatbelt on and enjoy the ride!
Managing your credit can be a challenge. There’s a lot of information that most lay people just don’t know. To educate consumers about credit management is one of the major reasons why we created and launched our first credit toolkit in 2004. So, put this need to know information in your arsenal of knowledge about credit bureaus.
What can cause your credit score to take a major dive? The answer – Errors in your credit report can steal points from your credit score and money out of your wallet. In the hope of getting errors cleared away as quickly as possible, many consumers go online to dispute credit report errors. Is this a smart credit move? Well, disputing errors in your credit report online can sometimes be tricky.
All three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion process most disputes using a system that’s almost entirely automated. e-OSCAR is a web-based automated system that enables data furnishers (your creditors and others) and credit bureaus to create and respond to consumer credit history disputes. However, some lenders do little more than check the disputed information against their own records, even if those records were the source of the error. This is precisely why we coach our clients to dispute errors with their creditor first. I know this is not a perfect system, but, believe it’s a better strategy. Credit bureaus are often skeptical of disputes submitted by consumers, however, they are more inclined to trust information coming from your creditors, clients of the credit bureaus.
Additionally, credit bureaus retain contractors who gather tax lien and bankruptcy information from courthouses and government offices. If these contractors transpose a digit or misread a document, their error gets entered on your credit report. These are just a few more reasons why it’s so important for consumers to keep their finger on the pulse of their credit reports. Take advantage of getting free credit reports from annualcreditreport.com. You can get all three copies of your reports free annually or request one report every four months.
If you have exhausted all sources to get an error deleted, consider retaining a consumer advocate attorney to fight on your behalf. Go here to find an attorney. Now, that’s a smart credit move.