Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: In ‘SIM Swap,’ criminals really have your number. Also in the news: Don’t let price be your only guide when choosing an airport, a new SmartMoney podcast, and why you shouldn’t sign up for an airline credit card when you’re on the plane.

In ‘SIM Swap,’ Criminals Really Have Your Number
How to reduce the chances of being victimized.

Choosing Among Airports? Don’t Let Price Be Your Only Guide
There are many factors to consider.

SmartMoney podcast: ‘How Much House Can I Afford?’
It’s about more than just the numbers.

Don’t Sign Up for an Airline Credit Card When You’re on the Plane
Resist the impulse.

In ‘SIM swap,’ criminals really have your number

If you’re not familiar with SIM swap fraud, prepare to be terrified.

This scam, also known as port-out or SIM splitting fraud, allows criminals to hijack your cell phone number. Once they have your number, the bad guys can clean out your financial accounts, confiscate your email, delete your data and take over your social media profiles.

Fraudsters can do all this because many companies — including banks, brokerages, email providers and social media platforms — verify your identity by texting a code to your cell phone. Intercepting those codes can give a criminal an all-access pass to your financial and digital life.

In my latest for the Associated Press, learn more about the fraud experts fear the most.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 4 tech tasks to keep your parents safer online. Also in the news: What to do if an ETF in your portfolio closes, 5 ideas for setting clear and effective personal finance habits in 2019, and the majority of Americans say they did not get a pay raise this year.

4 Tech Tasks to Keep Your Parents Safer Online
Protect them from fraud.

What to Do If an ETF in Your Portfolio Closes
Sell? Or wait for liquidation?

5 Ideas for Setting Clear and Effective Personal Finance Habits in 2019
Setting achievable goals.

The majority of Americans say they did not get a pay raise this year
The thriving economy isn’t showing up in paychecks.

4 tech tasks to keep your parents safer online

All of us are vulnerable to fraud. But the ways some older people use technology can put them at higher risk.

That’s where you come in. In my latest for the Associated Press, when you’re home for the holidays, or the next time you visit your folks, offer to help with a few tasks that can keep your parents safer online.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Identity theft risks for holiday shoppers. Also in the news: 5 guidelines for happier holiday tipping, what to buy (and skip) in December, and how to balance your short-term and long-term financial goals.

Holiday Shoppers, Beware of These 3 Identity Theft Risks
Protect yourself.

5 Guidelines for Happier Holiday Tipping
Saying thanks.

What to Buy (and Skip) in December
Hold off on that TV.

How to Balance Your Short- and Long-Term Financial Goals
Your short-term goals should feed your long-term goals.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Identity theft risks for holiday shoppers. Also in the news: What to buy and skip in December, paying down student debt on a nonprofit salary, and how to make the most of the child tax credit this year.

Holiday Shoppers, Beware of These 3 Identity Theft Risks
Watch out for grinches.

What to Buy (and Skip) in December
Hold off on jewelry.

Debt Diary: Paying Down $19K in Student Debt on a Nonprofit Salary
One man’s journey.

How to make the most of the child tax credit this year
A look at the changes.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 5 questions to ask before buying life insurance at work. Also in the news: Why credit cards should get another chance after you pay off debt, how not to get spooked by your credit card bill this Halloween, and setting up your financial accounts like you’re going to be hacked.

Answer 5 Questions Before Buying Life Insurance at Work
What to ask yourself before signing up.

Why Credit Cards Should Get Another Chance After You Pay Off Debt
The rewards are worth it.

This Halloween, Don’t Get Spooked by Your Credit Card Bill
How to avoid sticker shock.

Set Up Your Financial Accounts Like You’re Going to Be Hacked
Beat hackers to the punch.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Travel survival secrets for introverts. Also in the news: How to live with your credit card’s low limit, the pros and cons of a rent-to-own home, and how to protect yourself after Facebook’s recent hack.

Shh! Introverts Share Travel Survival Secrets
Self-care in a noisy world.

How to Live With Your First Credit Card’s Low Limit
Earning increases over time.

Is a Rent-to-Own Home Right for You?
A look at the pros and cons.

How to Protect Yourself After Facebook’s Recent Hack
Locking down your private information.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How an engineer digs out of $100,000 in loans. Also in the news: What to do if Hurricane Florence hits your home and/or mortgage, 3 low-stress ways to invest for retirement, and the pros and cons of identity monitoring.

Debt Diary: How an Engineer Digs Out of $100,000 in Loans
Accounting for every single expense.

What to Do If Hurricane Florence Hits Your Home, Mortgage
Recovering from disaster.

3 Low-Stress Ways to Invest for Retirement
How to get started.

The Pros and Cons of Identity Monitoring Services
Are they worth the expense?

Q&A: Credit freeze may be inconvenient, but it’s effective

Dear Liz: Is freezing one’s credit reports the safest bet even though it’s inconvenient to get it temporarily unfrozen? Plus you have to pay a fee. At my son’s urging, I had my credit reports frozen since the Equifax incident but I find it very inconvenient whenever some financial firms need to look into my credit score.

Answer: Credit freezes remain the best way to prevent new account fraud, which is when criminals open up bogus credit accounts in your name.

It is somewhat inconvenient to have to remember to thaw the freezes when you apply for credit or other services, and you have to keep track of the personal identification numbers (PINs) that allow you to do so.

The good news is that the fees for instituting and thawing freezes will go away as of Sept. 21. The Dodd-Frank reform that Congress passed this spring included a clause requiring credit bureaus to waive those fees.