January 2019

IG Warns Public About Fraudulent Phone Calls Threatening Arrest or Legal Action
This warning from the Inspector General of Social Security describes fraudulent phone calls from persons claiming to be from the Social Security Administration.

What Does the Check Engine Light Really Mean?
This article from Consumer Reports can help you determine if there is a serious problem with your car.

Data breaches can sucker-punch you. Prepare to fight back
This article from CNET provides tips to help you develop a plan if you should become a victim.

Subscription Traps and Deceptive Free Trials Scam Millions with Misleading Ads and Fake Celebrity Endorsements
This study from the Better Business Bureau describes these scams in detail with examples.

What Is the UltraFICO Credit Score and What Will It Mean to You?

Credit scores are used by lenders to determine if they will give you a loan (auto, mortgage, credit card). Businesses such as insurance and phone companies are also using credit scores to decide if they will issue you a policy or provide you with service.

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What You Need to Know About the Marriott-owned Starwood Hotels Breach

On November 30th, Marriott International announced that the Starwood reservation system had been breached and the personal information of up to 500 million guests had been stolen. Starwood brands include Westin Hotels and Resorts, W Hotels, Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, St. Regis, Aloft Hotels, Four Points by Sheraton, Le Méridien Hotels and Resorts, Tribute Portfolio, Design Hotels, Element Hotels, The Luxury Collection and Starwood branded timeshare properties. Marriott hotels, including Residence Inn and the Ritz-Carlton have a separate reservation system that wasn't affected.

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Beware of Phishing Phone Calls

Phishing scams using emails, texts, and websites have been around for years. Telephone-based phishing scams have been around for years, too. The phone phishers have some new tricks that are making it harder to detect the scams. What these scams have in common is that they use caller ID spoofing and have some of your personal information. The phishing call may be an actual person, an automated call, or a combination of the two. Here are two examples.

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It's Open Enrollment Time for Many Health Insurance Plans

No matter how you receive your health insurance, the fall is typically when you can make changes to your health insurance plan.

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Help Protect Your Identity With a Free Credit Report Freeze

Consumers no longer have to pay to use an important tool to help protect their identity. As of September 21, 2018, freezing your credit report at the three major credit reporting agencies is now free. Previously, a consumer had to pay a fee to freeze and unfreeze their credit report. The fees for placing, lifting, and removing a credit freeze were determined by state law.

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