Be vigilant. If you haven’t already, sign up for online access to your bank and credit card accounts. You should be reviewing your transactions at least weekly.
Be reachable. Update your contact information so your issuer can reach you quickly in case they spot fraud.
Be alerted. While you’re at it, sign up for alerts. Most issuers allow you to get a text or email alert for large or overseas transactions.
Beware fraudulent deal sites. Their eye-popping bargains may just be a way to get your credit card numbers. Stick with the real deal, like DealNews.
Be diligent. Install and update anti-malware software.
Be smart. Use your credit card rather than your debit card in high-risk situations, as I wrote in “Debit cards can be riskier than credit cards.” If you must use a debit card, sign for it rather than using your PIN since that typically offers you better protection against fraud.
Today’s top story: How to avoid the worst credit cards of 2013. Also in the news: A new debt collection law, five things you should ask your financial advisor, and three investing mistakes retirees must avoid at all costs.
How To Avoid The Worst Credit Cards Of 2013
Easy credit can come at a gigantic price.
A New Debt Collection Law: What It Means for You
If you live in California, debt collection just became more consumer friendly.
5 Things You Should Ask Your Financial Advisor
Determining if your financial advisor is a good fit for your situation.
3 Investing Mistakes Retirees Must Avoid At All Costs
What to do in order to protect your lifelong earnings.
How social media ruin insurance claims
Not everything requires a status update.
Top Story: Predictions for the 2014 housing market. Also in the news: When is the best time to buy a new home, how we’re feeling about money, and the best place to rebuild your nest egg.
Glinkonomics: Predictions For The 2014 Housing Market
What’s to come in the year ahead.
Is There a Best Time to Buy a Home?
There is, and it’s coming up fast.
Survey Says … Our Many Moods About Money
How people are feeling about money.
Where Boomers Should be Investing Now
The best places to rebuild or secure your nest egg.
Best Credit Cards With 5% Cash Back Rotating Categories
Making your credit card work for you.
HealthSherpa is the creation of three guys who actually seem to know how to program. Instead of fighting your way through confusing interfaces, legalese and a long sign-up process, you just type in your Zip Code and bam! Your options start to show up.
HealthSherpa allows you to modify your results by the number of family members and your income (which determines whether you get subsidies to cut the cost–most people do).
HealthSherpa doesn’t have the links to Social Security and the IRS that would allow you to sign up for a plan directly on the site. But it does offer links and phone numbers to insurers that can help you sign up once you pick a plan.
If only Kathleen Sebelius had hired these guys in the first place…
UPDATE: As commenter Kitty notes below, you’ll still need to go through Healthcare.gov to sign up for coverage if you want the subsidies and other cost reductions available through Obamacare. The HealthSherpa site allows you to see and explore your options, which should make signing up a bit easier.
Today’s top story: Figuring out what car repairs really cost. Also in the news: Protecting your children’s credit, tips on smart charitable donations, and how to prepare for Black Friday.
How to Figure Out What Your Car Repair Really Costs
How not to be at the mercy of the repair shop.
Protecting Your Children’s Credit
Even children are at risk for identity theft.
6 tips to donate to charity the smart way
Getting the most out of your generosity.
Top 10 Black Friday shopping tips
Practice, practice, practice.
The ’4 Boxes’ Approach To Helping Elderly Parents
Inventorying your parents’ possessions could make important financial decisions easier.
Dear Liz: I’m trying to transfer some credit card balances to existing accounts that are now offering 0% for 12 to 18 months. If I come close to maxing out the credit limit using one of those offers, will that affect my credit score adversely? Or, should I open up a new card, since I’ve gotten several 0% offers recently?
Answer: Using all or even most of your credit line on any revolving account can hurt your credit scores.
Although opening a new card may ding your scores a few points, it’s usually preferable to spread your debt over several accounts rather than pile it all on one card. This advice assumes you plan to use these offers to pay off your debt as rapidly as possible, rather than as an excuse to continue carrying balances.
If you can’t pay off your balances before the teaser rates expire, consider getting a three-year personal loan from your local credit union and using that to get free of debt. The interest rate you pay may be somewhat higher initially but you’ll likely save money in the long run.
Today’s top story: Essential tips for navigating Obamacare. Also in the news: How to boost Millennials’ retirement savings, when couples should separate their finances, and how to monitor your credit after a data breach.
10 Essential Tips for Navigating Obamacare
How to find your way through the Affordable Care Act maze.
The Obamacare Trick Early Retirees Should Know
Subsidies could be a game changer for early retirees.
Two Surest Ways to Boost Millennials’ Retirement Savings
Teaching Millennials’ the importance of planning ahead.
Video: When Should Couples Separate Their Finances?
Navigating personal finances with your spouse.
How to Monitor Your Credit After a Data Breach
Keeping an eye out for suspicious activity.
Aid & Attendance: This benefit helps pay for nursing home, assisted living and home health care for low-income vets. The benefit can be $1,700 a month for the veteran, $2,000 a month for a couple and $1,000 a month for a veteran’s widow. Yet few people take advantage or even know about this benefit, and the VA isn’t always forthcoming. A New York Times article last year said only about 38,000 of the 1.7 million World War II vets alive in 2011 were receiving it. The site VeteranAid.org has details on how to apply.
Family Caregiver Program: Eligible Post-9/11 veterans can opt to receive home health care from a family member, and that family member may be eligible for a stipend, mental health services, respite care and access to health care insurance. Family Caregiver program application are available at www.caregiver.va.gov and Caregiver Support Coordinators are stationed at every VA medical center and via phone at 1-877-222 VETS (8387) to help with the application process.
VA Mortgages: These mortgages aren’t exactly unknown, but Terry Savage wrote in a recent Huffington Post column that 70% of younger veterans had yet to take advantage of this program which offers zero down payment home loans at attractive rates. Find out more from the VA mortgage loans help desk at 800-983-0937.
Post 9/11 GI Bill: Again, not a hidden benefit, but one that’s probably underused. This version of the GI bill has paid college expenses for nearly 1 million veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, but there are nearly 6 million vets from those conflicts. At a time when college educations are all but essential for staying in the middle class, more vets should be looking into this program, which provides up to 36 months of benefit, including full tuition and fees for in-state schools plus possible help with housing and books. You’ll find details here.
Today’s top story: Planning for Black Friday. Also in the news: How the CARD ACT saved consumers billions, five factors that could increase your insurance rates, and three tax moves you should make before the end of the year.
Score on Black Friday by doing research now
Developing a plan of attack could save you a lot of money.
CARD Act Helped Consumers Without Limiting Credit Access
Saving consumers over $20 billion a year.
5 Factors That Could Raise Your Insurance Rates
You might want to put out that cigarette.
3 Tax Moves to Make Before the End of Year
It’s time to get your investments in order.
DHS Secretary warns of Obamacare scams
Your personal information could be at risk.