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  • How to Prevent Home Flooding

    As many as 15 million United States homes are at risk for flooding, according to data from the First Street Foundation analysis of flood risk, with other floods possible due to plumbing or water line malfunctions. Understanding that flooding is a potential threat in more places than you might expect is the first step to […]

    The post How to Prevent Home Flooding appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

  • How Much Will Cutting the Cord Save You?

    The post How Much Will Cutting the Cord Save You? appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.

    Cord-cutting will save you money but for many people, that’s only part of the equation. Yes, you want to spend less on cable, but you want to do that without sacrificing too many shows you enjoy watching. So, before you rip the Band-Aid off, look at the facts, and find out exactly what cord-cutting would … Read More about How Much Will Cutting the Cord Save You?

    The post How Much Will Cutting the Cord Save You? appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.

  • How to Buy a Second Home that Pays for Itself

    Recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that home sales were up more than 17% in June 2020 from the month before, and up more than 13% compared to the year prior. Those who have the means to buy a second home are wise to take on mortgage debt (or reorganize their current debt) […]

    The post How to Buy a Second Home that Pays for Itself appeared first on Good Financial Cents®.

  • GSCU Mortgage Rates Reviews: Today’s Best Analysis

    Granite State Credit Union (GSCU) provides members with a variety of mortgage products across the state of New Hampshire. GSCU AT A GLANCE Year Founded 1945 Coverage Area New Hampshire  HQ Address 1415 Elm Street, Manchester, New Hampshire 03101 Phone Number 1-800-645-4728   GSCU COMPANY INFORMATION Services the state of New Hampshire Offers conventional loans, […]

    The post GSCU Mortgage Rates Reviews: Today’s Best Analysis appeared first on Good Financial Cents®.

  • How to Protect Yourself From Credit Card Theft

    protecting yourself from credit card theft

    Last fall, I received an email that appeared to be from my web host. The email claimed that there was a problem with my payment information and asked me to update it. I clicked on the link in the email and entered my credit card number, thinking that a recent change I’d made to my site must have caused a problem.

    The next morning, I logged onto my credit card account to find two large unauthorized purchases. A scammer had successfully phished my payment information from me.

    This failure of security is pretty embarrassing for a personal finance writer. I know better than to click through an email link claiming to be from my bank, credit card lender, or other financial institution. But because the email came from a source that wasn’t specifically financial (and because I was thinking about the changes I had made to my website just the day before), I let myself get played.

    Thankfully, because I check my credit card balance daily, the scammers didn’t get away with it. However, it’s better to be proactive about avoiding credit card theft so you’re not stuck with the cleanup, which took me several months to complete.

    Here’s how you can protect yourself from credit card theft. 

    Protecting your physical credit card

    Stealing your physical credit or debit card is in some respects the easiest way for a scammer to get their hands on your sweet, sweet money. With the actual card in hand, a scammer has all the information they need to make fraudulent purchases: the credit card number, expiration date, and the security code on the back.

    That means keeping your physical cards safe is one of the best ways to protect yourself from credit card theft. Don’t carry more cards than you intend to use. Having every card you own in a bulging wallet makes it more likely someone could steal one when you’re not paying attention and you may not realize it’s gone if you have multiple cards.

    Another common place where you might be separated from your card is at a restaurant. After you’ve paid your bill, it can be easy to forget if you’ve put away your card (especially if you’ve been enjoying adult beverages). So make it a habit to confirm that you have your card before you leave a restaurant.

    If you do find yourself missing a credit or debit card, make sure you call your bank immediately to report it lost or stolen. The faster you move to lock down the card, the less likely the scammers will be able to make fraudulent charges. Make sure you have your bank’s phone number written down somewhere so you’re able to contact them quickly if your card is stolen or lost. (See also: Don’t Panic: Do This If Your Identity Gets Stolen)

    Recognizing card skimmers

    Credit card thieves also go high-tech to get your information. Credit card skimmers are small devices placed on a legitimate spot for a card scanner, such as on a gas pump or ATM. 

    When you scan your card to pay, the skimmer device captures all the information stored in your card’s magnetic stripe. In some cases, when there’s a skimmer placed on an ATM, there’s also a tiny camera set up to record you entering your PIN so the fraudster has all the info they need to access your account.

    The good news is that it’s possible to detect a card skimmer in the wild. Gas stations and ATMs are the most common places where you’ll see skimmer devices. Generally, these devices will often stick out past the panel rather than sit flush with it, as the legitimate credit card scanner is supposed to. Other red flags to look for are scanners that seem to jiggle or move slightly instead of being firmly affixed, or a pin pad that appears thicker than normal. All of these can potentially indicate a skimmer is in place. 

    If you find something that looks hinky, go to a different gas station or ATM. Better safe than sorry. (See also: 18 Surprising Ways Your Identity Can Be Stolen)

    Protecting your credit card numbers at home

    Your home is another place thieves will go searching for your sensitive information. To start, you likely receive credit card offers, the cards themselves, and your statements in the mail. While mail theft is relatively rare (it’s a federal crime, after all), it’s still a good idea to make sure you collect your mail daily and put a hold on it when you go out of town.

    Once you get your card-related paperwork in the house, however, you still may be vulnerable. Because credit card scammers are not above a little dumpster diving to get their hands on your credit card number. This is why it’s a good idea to shred any paperwork with your credit card number and other identifying information on it before you throw it away.

    Finally, protecting your credit cards at home also means being wary about whom you share information with over the phone. Unless you’ve initiated a phone call of your own volition — not because you’re calling someone who left a voicemail — you should never share your credit card numbers over the phone. Scammers will pose as customer service agents from your financial institution or a merchant you frequent to get your payment information. To be sure, you can hang up and call the institution yourself using the main phone number.

    Keeping your cards safe online

    You should never provide your credit card information via a link in an email purporting to be from your financial institution or a merchant. Scammers are able to make their fake emails and websites look legitimate, which was exactly the reason I fell victim to this fraud.

    But even with my momentary lapse in judgment about being asked for my payment information from my "web host," there were other warning signs that I could’ve heeded if I had been paying attention. 

    The first is the actual email address. These fake emails will often have a legitimate looking display name, which is the only thing you might see in your email. However, if you hover over or click on the display name, you can see the actual email address that sent you the message. Illegitimate addresses do not follow the same email address format you’ll see from the legitimate company.

    In addition to that, looking at the URL that showed up when I clicked the link could’ve told me something weird was going on. Any legitimate site that needs your financial information will have a secure URL to accept your payment. Secure URLs start with https:// (rather than http://) and feature a lock icon in the browser bar. If these elements are missing, then you should not enter your credit card information. (See also: 3 Ways Millennials Can Avoid Financial Fraud)

    Daily practices that keep you safe

    In addition to these precautions, you can also protect your credit cards with the everyday choices you make. For instance, using strong, unique passwords for all of your online financial services, from shopping to banking, can help you prevent theft. Keeping those strong passwords safe — that is, not written down on a post-it note on your laptop — will also help protect your financial information.

    Regularly going over your credit card and banking statements can also help ensure that you’re the only one making purchases with your credit cards. It was this daily habit of mine that made sure my scammers didn’t actually receive the computer they tried to purchase with my credit card. The fact that I check my balance daily meant I was able to shut down the fraudulent sale before they received the goods, even though I fell down on the job of protecting my credit card information. 

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    It’s better to be proactive about avoiding credit card theft so you're not stuck with the cleanup. Here's how you can protect yourself from credit card theft. | #Creditcard #creditcardtheft #personalfinances


  • Planning a Home Office? Check Out These Budget-Friendly Tips

    When you’re setting up a home office for remote work, keep these key principles from ergonomic experts in mind. Your body—and your productivity—will thank you.

    The post Planning a Home Office? Check Out These Budget-Friendly Tips appeared first on Discover Bank – Banking Topics Blog.

  • 5 Things You Should Pay Premium for as a Homeowner or Renter

    Being a homeowner on a budget is nothing to be ashamed of, if anything, most people prefer to keep their expenses low, especially after recently purchasing a home! But,there are some things you shouldn’t cheap out on, and we’ve got you covered.

    The post 5 Things You Should Pay Premium for as a Homeowner or Renter appeared first on Homes.com.

  • What to Know Before Buying a Foreclosed Home

    If you’ve been keeping your eye on real estate home listings, you might’ve seen more foreclosed properties for sale at a reduced price.  With record levels of unemployment and underemployment, many homeowners are falling further behind on their mortgages. Currently, there’s a federal moratorium on the most common mortgage programs through December 31, 2020. Unless […]

    The post What to Know Before Buying a Foreclosed Home appeared first on Good Financial Cents®.

  • The Best Renters Insurance for 2021

    Renters insurance is so affordable, not having it is a huge financial risk. While your landlord’s home insurance may cover damages to the structure you live in, it won’t cover any of your belongings. Renters insurance costs an average of $180 a year, making it an incredibly affordable policy. To find the best renters insurance […]

    The post The Best Renters Insurance for 2021 appeared first on The Simple Dollar.