Avoid 8 Summer Scams Targeting Your Wallet

Warmer days bring thoughts of relaxing summer activities and plans for vacations. Summer is also a popular time for doing home maintenance. Warmer days also bring scams that use all these summer activities to steal your hard-earned money. Watch out for these wide-spread cons and take steps to protect yourself.

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Heard About the LinkedIn Breach? Here's What You Need to Do

A data breach at LinkedIn has recently been in the news. What makes this news different is that the breach originally occurred in 2012. It's back in the news because the information stolen was recently found being sold on the Internet. And the amount of data stolen was larger than originally thought. The information that was stolen was member email addresses, member IDs, and hashed passwords.

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Q&A: Medical Bills

Dear Liz: My husband and I have run into some serious medical bills recently. We have insurance, but one provider is out of network with a huge deductible and low payout, while another claim was flat-out denied. We're looking at around $16,000 in bills, assuming nothing else is denied. What can we do to get these bills lowered?

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Q&A: Retirement

Dear Liz: Are retirement calculators a hoax? It seems that the published estimates for the amount of savings required are insanely high. If most U.S. citizens haven't saved much and have a decent standard of living in retirement, where is the misperception?

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Spring Cleaning? Don't Forget Your Digital Home

For many people, the arrival of spring means a thorough cleaning of their home. Spring cleaning is also a good way to get your digital home in order too. With all of the personal information that our digital devices have on them, it is important to make sure that they are clean, protected, and secure.

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Budget Trouble: Broke Right After Payday?

You know that feeling you get when you get paid? You feel happy and rich and the sky is the limit! It's a great feeling, but it doesn't last long, does it?

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Q&A: Co-signnig a Private Loan

Dear Liz: My wife and I both had excellent credit scores. Now mine are in the dump. I co-signed for a friend's daughter's school loan 10 years ago. I know now this was a bad mistake. I guaranteed $25,000. Now two things have happened: The daughter quit paying the loan and the friendship took a bad turn.

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Saving for Retirement? Comparing Traditional and Roth IRAs

Individual retirement accounts, known as IRAs, are popular tax-advantaged vehicles for saving for retirement. Although there are actually 11 different types of IRAs, the most common are the traditional IRA and the Roth IRA.

The most well-known difference between the traditional and Roth IRA is the nature of the tax advantage. In general, the contributions to a traditional IRA are deductible from the investor’s taxable income in the year of the contribution. Tax on the contributions and their earnings is then deferred until funds are withdrawn from the IRA. In contrast, contributions to a Roth IRA are not deductible, but the contributions grow tax-free and are tax-exempt when withdrawn.

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Donating to Earthquake or Flood Victims? Beware of Scams

In the past few weeks, earthquakes have hit Japan and Ecuador and heavy rains have caused flooding in  Texas. After disasters like these, many people want to help. Unfortunately, fake charities and other scams will take advantage of the disaster.

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Be Aware of These Scams Targeting Women

I encountered my first online scam as an undergrad. I was looking for a roommate and received an inquiry via a popular online forum that seemed legitimate. A few conversations later the prospective renter asked me to deposit a check for them. I found out from a friend that this was a scam people were using to obtain a person's account information.

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Q&A: FICO Score

Dear Liz: My wife and I co-signed on our daughter's mortgage, then the home went into foreclosure. My wife and I have no debt and a net worth that exceeds $1 million. We purchased our cars with cash and the single credit card we have with a $35,000 limit is paid off in full each month. Since the foreclosure, our FICO score has been in the "fair" range. We have no plans to take out a loan for anything and plan to continue our "cash and carry" lifestyle. However, the low FICO is a little disconcerting. It appears the only cure is time (measured in years). We welcome any additional guidance.

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Q&A: Repossession

Dear Liz: I own a car that I can no longer afford. Unfortunately, buying it was a poor decision and came with terrible interest rates and terms. I've been 30 to 60 days late on the payments for close to a year and have other debts that I haven't been able to pay. Because of this, my credit is already in the basement. I'm underwater on the car (by about $7,000) and am feeling like the only option is to have it "voluntarily" repossessed.

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Q&A: Annuity

Dear Liz: I have a life insurance policy that is worth $16,000 if I cash out. Our agent says if we convert this to an annuity, we would eliminate our monthly fee of $25. The policy is worth $35,000 if I should die with it still in effect. We purchased this only for the purpose to have me buried. Is converting this to an annuity a better option?

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Coming Soon to an ATM Near You? No Card Required

ATM skimming continues to be problem for financial institutions. Skimming is the stealing of account data from ATM, debit, and credit cards usually by inserting a device in the card slot on ATMs, self-service gas pumps, and other card readers. PINs can also be stolen by hidden cameras. Some estimates place the loss to the global banking industry at around $2 billion in 2015.

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    • Financial Well-being


      Want to improve your credit score? Want to cut your tax bills?  Like to tear up hundred dollar bills? (You're probably doing that). How about this:  want to wake up retired and without money?  Your Financial Well-being rules your life.  We put you in charge of the rules.

       

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      Every worry about identity theft?  Worry about young people and the dangers of the web? Mind if I read your private emails?  Or browse through your medical records? This section takes you into the scary world of privacy, fraud and identity theft.  FoolProof gives you the information you need when it comes to identity theft and privacy issues.   

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