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Hall Of Shame: Are Credit Repair Services A Hoax?

We get asked all the time whether credit repair services are the real deal. Can they truly fix your credit rating and lower your payments, or are they just one more ripoff scheme? Consumer advocate and author Sid Kirchheimer says in his opinion these services deserve a big thumbs down. “They may charge $5,000 or monthly fees […]

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What “Catch Me If You Can” Frank Abagnale Says About Debit Cards

Fraud expert and former con artist Frank Abagnale – the man behind “Catch Me If You Can” – now makes a living protecting consumers from scams. Wait until you hear what he said about the dangers of debit cards in a recent interview with Hugh Delehanty of AARP Bulletin. “I don’t have (a debit card),” says […]

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Warning! Do You Know Which Online Tax Prep Services Could Be Putting Your Security At Risk?

If you use a free online tax prep service to file your tax returns, you could be at risk for identity fraud. Six out of 13 online tax prep services audited by the global nonprofit Online Trust Alliance failed cybersecurity tests, meaning they could be putting your privacy and security at risk if you use them […]

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Financial Hall Of Shame: Free Lunches Can Cost You A Bundle

You’ve heard the saying that there’s “no such thing as a free lunch”? That’s especially true when it concerns your hard-earned money. Financial regulators say free lunches can pressure seniors into making “unsuitable, even fraudulent investments.” Financial and insurance companies, brokers, and other salespeople use free lunches to lure older Americans into high-pressure investment pitches. Afterward, older investors may feel […]

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Warning: Are You A Victim Of The IRS’s Latest Hack?

The Internal Revenue Service announced on Monday that cyber-thieves may have hacked 334,000 taxpayer accounts, three times as many as the IRS had stated earlier this year. While it’s still unclear what information was actually stolen, and exactly whose accounts were compromised, we do know that the thieves may have accessed Social Security numbers, birth dates and street addresses. The IRS […]

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Financial Hall Of Shame: The Infamous “Biweekly Mortgage Accelerator”

Want to pay off your mortgage faster? Who wouldn’t? That’s the appeal of the “term reducer” pitch that arrives in your mailbox. Mine – signed in cursive by a nice girl named Kate from Ohio – said I could cut over 12 years and $230,000 off of my mortgage (which seemed pretty amazing since I just refinanced my mortgage to a […]

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Consumer Watch: Can Credit Inquiries Hurt Your Credit Score?

Understanding Your Credit Report: Hard vs. Soft Inquiries               by Rachael Grattan, Senior Client Services Associate Many of our clients are understandably concerned about identity fraud and protecting their good credit status. We were recently working with one of our clients, who contacted us after receiving an alert from his credit monitoring company about a new inquiry […]

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Florida Leads In Identity Fraud

In the category of dubious distinctions, our state once again figures at the top of the charts. It seems that on a per capita basis, Florida leads the nation in identity theft. And within Florida, Miami is head and shoulders above the rest of the state in terms of the sheer number of identity fraud complaints. […]

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Important Alert: Heartbleed Internet Security Breach

Take a minute to read up on the Heartbleed computer security breach, which has been called potentially “catastrophic” by  the Wall Street Journal. If you’re not a computer expert, here’s a (kind of) plain-English description of the problem from CNN reporter Heather Kelly: “Heartbleed is a flaw in OpenSSL, an open-source encryption technology that is used by an […]

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