The fires in Sonoma and Napa Counties are a sad reminder of how quickly disaster can strike. If you’re a homeowner and haven’t looked at your insurance policy lately, now is the time. It’s time to get reacquainted with what’s covered, what’s not, and how to balance the cost and benefits.
Between Equifax and the Yahoo breaches, millions of Americans and billions of accounts were exposed. Rather than rant and rave about how security violations happen, I’d like to focus on how to take control. Given the laws of probability, we all experience some kind of fraud or exposure. Many of the tips shared below I’ve done, or we’ve helped clients straighten out the messes caused by fraudulent activity.
For many of us over fifty, the idea of retirement is an enticing dream. Ditch the Silicon Valley commute. Eliminate the stress of a 40+ hour work week. Spend more time doing what we love. Yet only 60% of workers say they are confident about their financial outlook for retirement, based on the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s Retirement Confidence Survey quoted in NextAvenue.org (a PBS site for people over 50).
Do you daydream of winning the lottery? Even as a Daily Money Manager, I too fantasize about winning the big jackpot. Sometimes money can make people crazy… whether it’s an inheritance, unexpected windfall, or something like winning lotto. So here’s my advice.
A lot of my client work involves working with online banking apps and managing financial reports that I share electronically with other professionals like CPAs, financial advisors and estate attorneys. I’m a stickler for security and was curious about cyber insurance and if it was something my clients should have.
A computer connected to the Internet can be a lifeline for seniors. It’s a way to stay connected to their families as well as their finances. Unfortunately seniors are often targets for scam artists hoping to prey on their ignorance in managing their technology. I recently helped a client clean up the mess following a tech support incident. Hopefully the lessons we learned can help you or a loved one avoid falling victim to this type of scheme.
Now that Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Money and Giving Tuesday are over (!), your credit cards may have had a quite a workout. Over the years I find that the holidays can be a hectic time, filled with a flurry of transactions, paper receipts… and opportunity for fraud. Let me share some tips in keeping your credit cards and identity safe this holiday season.
That Have Nothing to do with Budgeting
Black Friday is behind us, and the shopping frenzy has started. By now (hopefully) you have a spending plan for your gift giving this season. Whether you are braving the malls or online retail shopping carts, I have several financial tips to keep your financial identity safe this season.
Similar to “phishing,” the latest con scammers are using cell and smart phones to smish victims out of bank account information. Identity theft has hit a popular communication tool: text messaging. In my work at keeping my clients financially organized, I see how easily our financial privacy can be compromised.
What is it?
Here’s how it works. Identity thieves pose as your bank and send a text message alerting you that your account, ATM card or credit card is close to the limit, or has been frozen. The text usually instructs victims to call a toll-free number to fix the problem.
Think you wouldn’t fall for it? Well, a very smart you person I know – who is Internet- and texting-savvy – fell for it hook, line and sinker. Identity thieves are pretty crafty, using bank-like language that can be hard to spot. In this person’s situation there was bad and good news. She gave away too much personal information to the scammers. However, she quickly realized her mistake, and since she happened to be near her bank branch she went in immediately. The bank staff worked diligently and shut down the accounts before any money was taken and a new debit card was sent to her within 48 hours. Fortunately for her this identity theft story had a happy ending without losing a penny. It doesn’t here though; since her name and social security number was compromised, she’ll have to monitor her credit report for years to come.
How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
There is a trend in banking to help consumers manage their finances. You can set up alerts to let you know when deposits are posted, when your balance falls below a certain dollar amount, or notification of an unpaid e-bill is due. These texts are legitimate since you have authorized your bank to send you these communications. If you receive a suspicious text or email, don’t rely on the phone number included in the correspondence. Don’t respond to the text by sending a reply. Instead use your bank’s website or current statement to find their toll-free number.
What To Do After Being Scammed
If you think you’re a smishing or identity theft victim, call your bank immediately. For additional ways to defend yourself, check out FTC for frequently asked questions about how to recovery from identity theft.
If you have identity theft protection, call your account monitoring provider. If you don’t have identity theft protection, consider getting a policy. For as little as $100 a year, it’s great insurance should your accounts be compromised.
Need help monitoring and reconciling your accounts? Then schedule a free 30-minute consultation with Fiscally Fit, Inc. Email me at Alison@fiscallyfit.us or call (650) 956-4090 for a no-cost, no-obligation appointment.