Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: What the new COVID relief package means for you and your money. Also in the news: Second relief bill and vaccine rollout attract fraudsters, taking advantage of student loan breaks before 2020 ends, and why a down payment is just the beginning of buying a new home.

What the New COVID Relief Package Means For Your Money
It includes $600 checks for millions of Americans and revives federal unemployment aid and loans for small businesses.

Scam Alert: Second Relief Bill, Vaccine Rollout Attract Fraudsters
Staying skeptical and reading up on common schemes can help you keep your money and personal financial info safe.

Take Advantage of Student Loan Breaks Before 2020 Ends
Consider making a lump-sum payment, addressing defaulted loans or refinancing private loans before the year ends.

Want to buy a home? A down payment is just the beginning
What can go wrong, will go wrong, and you’ll need cash to pay for repairs and everything else for your new home

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: People with COVID-19 payment accommodations are finding mistakes in their credit files. Also in the news: 6 tips to teach your kids lifelong money lessons during the pandemic, Americans lost $77 million to Covid-19 fraud, and what to do if you can’t pay your taxes next week.

People with COVID-19 payment accommodations are finding mistakes in their credit files
One mistake could lower your credit score by nearly one hundred points.

Use these 6 tips to teach your kids lifelong money lessons during the pandemic
A unique opportunity.

Americans lost $77 million to Covid-19 fraud — and that’s just the ‘tip of the iceberg’
Scammers never rest.

What to do if you can’t pay your taxes next week
You have a few options.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Where Coronavirus relief checks go, fraudsters follow. Also in the news: What to do if you’re a U.S. citizen stranded abroad right now, how to strengthen your financial resilience with these 3 insights, and why you should keep paying your federal student loans right now, if you can.

Where Coronavirus Relief Checks Go, Fraudsters Follow
Scammers never take a holiday.

What to Do If You’re a U.S. Citizen Stranded Abroad Right Now
Patience is key.

Strengthen Your Financial Resilience With These 3 Insights
Developing new strategies.

Keep Paying Your Federal Student Loans Right Now, If You Can
Save yourself some interest.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: New scoring could help credit-shy millennials. Also in the news: Giving yourself the gift of a $0 credit card balance, 5 key steps to joining the 401(k) Millionaires Club, and why you should only share your credit card info at a hotel at the front desk.

New Scoring Could Help Credit-Shy Millennials
Introducing UltraFICO.

Give Yourself the Gift of a $0 Credit Card Balance
A gift with long lasting impact.

5 Key Steps to Join the 401(k) Millionaires Club
Starting early is crucial.

Only Share Your Credit Card Info at a Hotel at the Front Desk
Protecting your info during your stay.

Q&A: Reporting Social Security fraud

Dear Liz: You’ve written about Social Security survivor benefits and how after one spouse dies, the other gets only one check, which is supposed to be the larger of the two the couple previously received. I know a woman who is still collecting both her own and her deceased husband’s check. How is that possible?

Answer: That can happen if the death wasn’t properly reported to the Social Security Administration. Continuing to collect and cash the dead person’s checks is fraud. You can report it by calling Social Security’s fraud hotline at (800) 269-0271 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How your wallet can do more good this year. Also in the news: Talking money with our partners, how to file a claim in the Western Union fraud case, and why the Dow Jones breaking records isn’t helping your bottom line.

How Your Wallet Can Do More Good This Year
Putting your money where your values are.

Breaking the Last Taboo: Talking Money With Our Partners
Having the tough conversations.

Western Union Fraud Case: How to File a Claim
You have until February 12th.

Why the Dow Jones Breaking Records Isn’t Helping Your Bottom Line
When the numbers don’t match up.

Q&A: Credit freezes complicate setting up online Social Security accounts

Dear Liz: You’ve recently written about protecting ourselves by establishing online Social Security accounts. Social Security prevents me (or anyone else) from creating an online account because I have credit freezes in place. As I understand the process, Social Security uses the credit bureaus to verify my identity. With a freeze, there’s no identity verification. In other words, in order to set up a fraudulent online account, someone besides me would have to unfreeze my credit report first. Is that correct?

Answer: Pretty much. Another way to establish an online account is to go into a local Social Security office with proper identification. But most hackers are unlikely to take the trouble to do either.

You may still want to create an online account to monitor your Social Security earnings record and promptly correct any mistakes or spot employment fraud (someone using your number to get work).

You could make a trip to a Social Security office or temporarily lift your freeze with the bureau that’s providing identity verification services. Currently, that bureau is Equifax — and yes, that’s the bureau that suffered the massive database breach that started this discussion.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Loan forgiveness scaled back for defrauded students. Also in the news: an NFL rookie hoping to avoid money mistakes, giving to charity when money is tight, and New Year’s financial resolutions for your money.

Loan Forgiveness Scaled Back for Defrauded Students
An effect of the new tax bill.

When It Comes to Money, He’s Looking to Avoid Rookie Mistakes
Arizona tight end Ricky Seal-Jones.

Ask Brianna: Can I Give to Charity If Money Is Tight?
Being generous on a budget.

Make some New Year’s resolutions for your money
Start 2018 off right.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: What to do about the Fed rate hike. Also in the news: How to deal with credit card fraud, driverless cars, and how your credit card debt is costing you nearly $1000 a year.

Fed Rate Hike: Here’s What to Do
Don’t panic.

First Time Dealing With Credit Card Fraud? You Got This
Important steps to take.

Are Fully Self-Driving Cars Just Around the Corner?
Should we fear the driverless car?

Credit card debt is costing you nearly $1,000 per year
Interest piles up.

Q&A: Here’s a way to fight Social Security fraud

Dear Liz: To make us less likely to become victims of fraudulent activity, years ago I froze our credit bureau files. I assume the Social Security Administration could be hacked as well. Can those files be frozen?

Answer: No, but you can create an online account to track and monitor your Social Security records — and it’s probably a good idea to do so. Fraudsters are creating such accounts and using them to divert benefits onto prepaid debit cards. If you created yours first, this fraud will be harder to pull off. If someone has already created an account in your name, you can find out and start the process of taking back your identity. The place to set up your account is www.ssa.gov/myaccount.