Test Your Financial Literacy

Do you have a fundamental understanding of basic financial principles? The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has created a quiz to test people’s  knowledge of how the market works with five general financial questions. After completing the quiz you can see how you stack up against the national average. Financial knowledge can be vital to ensuring a secure financial future.

Check and see if you need to increase your financial knowledge by taking the quiz today.



IRS and Identity Theft

It’s been a month since Tax Day, hopefully you have your tax return in hand, or have settled up with the government.  The IRS has published some tips with regard to Identity Theft.  Identity theft remains a top priority for the Internal Revenue Service in 2014. Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes nationwide, and refund fraud caused by identity theft is one of the biggest challenges facing the IRS. This year, the IRS continues to take new steps and strong actions to protect taxpayers and help victims of identity theft and refund fraud.

Read the IRS’s tips on protecting yourself.



Need Help Moving On From Windows XP?

It has been a few weeks since Microsoft officially cut off support, updates, and service for Windows XP. There are several options for moving on from Windows XP and on to a modern Operating System. Most Windows XP users will find upgrading to Windows 7 or Windows 8 an easy transition. Check if your PC’s hardware can handle an upgrade to Windows 7/8, and then decide between the two new Microsoft Operating Systems. You can find more tips here. Upgrading to a modern Operating System will ensure you receive updates as they become available, keeping your PC secure from threats.

Here’s an example for how one Texas Credit Union is informing their members about end of support for Windows XP.



Cloud-based Password Services – Secure?

Security experts recommend using password services such as LastPass, PasswordSafe, and KeePass. Recent security concerns regarding HeartBleed and OpenSSL have many internet users questioning how secure their passwords really are. Is putting all of your passwords in one spot such a good idea? Lifehacker has the answer.



Heartbleed Vulnerability

If you’ve been following the news this week you probably heard something about the Heartbleed bug in popular internet encryption software, OpenSSL. Vendors and websites have been announcing whether or not they were affected, and how they have mitigated any risk.  Users of affected sites will need to change their passwords after the vendor has fixed the software bug and had SSL certificates reissued.  It’s Me 247 Online Banking was not affected.

“The Heartbleed Bug is a serious vulnerability in the popular OpenSSL cryptographic software library. This weakness allows stealing the information protected, under normal conditions, by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet. SSL/TLS provides communication security and privacy over the Internet for applications such as web, email, instant messaging (IM) and some virtual private networks (VPNs).

The Heartbleed bug allows anyone on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software. This compromises the secret keys used to identify the service providers and to encrypt the traffic, the names and passwords of the users and the actual content. This allows attackers to eavesdrop on communications, steal data directly from the services and users and to impersonate services and users.”

Read More »



Identity Theft Most Common National Consumer Complaint

In an annual report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the top consumer complaint is Identity Theft. Out of 2 million complaints, 14% were Identity Theft related, with 20% of those complaints reported by 20-29 year olds. The report provides information on a state-by-state and national basis.

The FTC provides resources for dealing with and preventing Identity Theft:



5 Ways to Avoid Money Mistakes with your Significant Other

Personal Finances can be difficult. Add a committed relationship to that, and things can get even harder. But with these 5 steps from Consumerist, you can help ensure stability in your financial future.

Have you and your significant other taken any of these steps? Read the full article on Consumerist here.



5 Steps for Identity Theft Victims

12.6 million individuals fell victim to Identity Theft in 2012 according to this Javeline report. But what if you’ve become a victim of Identity Theft? What should you do? This Lifehacker article identifies 5 steps that victims of Identity Theft should take, such as contacting the FTC and filing a police report.

Read the full article here.

Additional information regarding how to recover from or prevent Identity Theft can be found at the FTC and the U.S. Department of Justice websites.



2013’s Most Commonly Used Passwords

When’s the last time you evaluated your passwords? Do you reuse the same password on multiple sites? Choosing a unique, secure password is important, yet many people are still using passwords from this list of 2013’s most common passwords.

Do you see a password you use on this list? If you do, it may be time to reevaluate your passwords.

Read the full article here on Arstechnica.



8 Tips to Help You Save

We all know that saving money can be challenging, and getting started can often be the hardest part.  Stephany Kirkpatrick has a list of 8 Small Financial Changes to help you in your savings goals, such as opening a separate savings account and bringing your own lunch to work. Doing these and other small changes can add up to big savings, and can have a large impact on your long-term financial success.

Read the full article here at Lifehacker.



How to Become Wealthy

The popular belief among many people is that growing their wealth is a complicated process that requires technical knowledge that is out of their reach.  As a result, over 50% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck and 15% are consistently digging themselves further into debt.  The good news is that reversing this trend is much simpler than managing complicated financial products on Wallstreet.  According to the Free Money Finance blog, building wealth comes down to two simple equations:

Income – spending = surplus

Surplus x time = wealth

What the author is arguing is that many Americans simply spend more than what they make.  As a result, no surplus is ever gained and no wealth is accumulated over time.  However, carefully managing what you spend compared to what you make will give you a surplus that can start working for you.  With some smart and safe investing your savings can start earning you money over time.  It may not be immediately gratifying, but it can make a big difference over the long run.  Talk to your local credit union and let their advisers help you find a financial investment that works for you so that you too can become wealthy.




Beware of Gas Pump Credit Card Skimmers

Be on the look out for gas pump credit card skimmers.  Last month Oklahoma thieves gained $400,000 before they were caught.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Muskogee, Okla. says two men indicted this month for skimming would rent a vehicle, check into a local hotel and place skimming devices on gas pumps at Murphy’s filling stations located in the parking lots of Wal-Mart retail stores. The fraud devices included a card skimmer and a fake PIN pad overlay designed to capture PINs from customers who paid at the pump with a debit card.  Read the whole article on Krebs on Security.

Here are some other articles about how to spot credit card skimmers.  Take a look at the pictures in these following articles and be informed: