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:



Choosing and Protecting Your Online Passwords

When’s the last time you evaluated your passwords? Do you reuse the same password on multiple sites? Choosing a secure password is important. Arstechnica has some tips and tricks regarding password safety, as well as software recommendations to help you store your passwords securely.

Read the article: How Elite Security Ninjas Choose and Safeguard Their Passwords

Read the article: The secret to online safety: Lies, random characters, and a password manager



Help Protect Yourself from Phishing with Facebook Privacy Controls

When’s the last time you checked your privacy settings on Facebook? If it was more than a few months ago, you might want to check again: Facebook frequently updates how its settings work, so you may inadvertently be sharing information you’d rather keep private.

Consumer Reports has a great how to video that walks you through the Facebook Privacy Settings.  Please give it a watch and make sure your settings are how you want them.  While you are there, check out Consumer Reports free Guide to Internet security.




Top 10 Credit Score Myths

Financial news website Quizzle offers up the top 10 myths about credit scores.  Take a look and make sure you are informed on what actually affects your credit score and how you can manage it properly.  Some of them are common sense, or things you already know, but there might be a few surprises on there too.

Read the article at Quizzle.



The Best and Worst of PIN Numbers

Here’s an interesting article from back in September about PIN Numbers.  Using a database of exposed passwords as a proxy for PIN Numbers, the researcher does some statistical analysis on the most common and least common PIN Numbers.

Statistically, with 10,000 possible combinations, if passwords were uniformly randomly distributed, we would expect the top twenty passwords to account for just 0.2% of the total, not the 26.83% actually encountered in the database.

The article is filled with many interesting tidbits of number data:  The most popular PIN code of  1234  is more popular than the lowest 4,200 codes combined!

Read the article and find out what the most popular and least popular PIN Numbers are.  Note, that now that the least popular PINs have been published, bad guys will probably add these to their lists to just give them a try.

Remember to always pick good PIN Numbers for your ATM Cards.




Beware Unsolicited Phone Support Calls

While it might seem convenient that a stranger calling you on the phone claims to have discovered a problem with your computer, beware that this common phone scam is designed to trick you into paying for support you may or may not even need. If you didn’t initiate the support call in the first place, things are probably not as they seem. Even if the caller’s company name sounds familiar, it is a good idea to call them back using the vendor phone number from your own bills or records to initiate contact.

Read the Ars Tech Article