Showing posts with label credit card. Show all posts
Showing posts with label credit card. Show all posts

Add Credit Awareness To Your Back To School Shopping List

If you're the parent of a student, you're probably already aware of the fact that the start of the new school year is just around the corner. And, while you may be overjoyed that your kids are heading back to the classroom, you might not be thrilled about what it can cost you. However, with a little planning, you can keep this year's school supply shopping from turning into a credit nightmare.

1. Establish a plan. Before you rush out to the stores, try to make a plan and a budget. Figure out exactly what your kids need, what you already have at home and how much you have to spend. Figuring out what you can realistically afford can help keep yourself from having to swipe your credit card for a surprisingly big payment.

2. Use discretion when dealing with the option to open retailer credit cards. Chances are you've considered the “too good to be true” credit card offer at the checkout counter. This may be tempting, but you might want to resist the temptation and stick with your original method of payment. While these upfront savings may be nice, if you can afford to pay for it now, you might save yourself from potentially racking up interest costs later.

3. Use sales tax holidays. One way to save if you're on a tight budget is to take advantage of your state's tax-free holiday. Generally held over a weekend or a whole week, you can  make school-related purchases tax free, which could save you hundreds of dollars.

Being aware of your three credit reports and scores before you hit the stores can help save you from making mistakes that will potentially negatively affect your credit score.

To make sure you're at the top of the class when it comes to your personal credit report knowledge, visit the PrivacyGuard website.

Top 3 Ways To Help You Avoid Identity Theft From Skimmers

Top 3 Ways to Help You Avoid Identity Theft from Skimmers While Traveling

Being Mindful Along The Way

Identity Theft Travels
Traveling is fun but it can also be the perfect time for identity thieves to attack. It doesn't matter whether you’re traveling to another state or another country, it can happen. 

Here are some ways to help protect your identity while traveling:

1. Be careful when using ATMs. 
One technique used to steal identities at ATMs is called skimming. Here, thieves have the ability to attach a device that scans the magnetic strip of the card. This obtains the information they need to copy it. They can also use a hidden camera to record the PIN so they can pretend to be you and open your account. 

To avoid this, consider using ATMs located inside banks as they are less likely to be tampered with. Before using any ATM, you may want to inspect it first. If anything seems wrong, try calling the bank to check before using it.

2. Use cash or credit instead of debit.
There have also been cases where skimmers have been found installed in gas pumps. Using cash or credit can be safer than a debit card (where you’ll have to enter your password). A PIN number is just another element that can make the process easier for identity thieves, as they can use a “keypad overlay” to gain access to your four digit password. Using cash or credit can help eliminate this risk. 

3. Get a chip-and-PIN card.
Chip-and-pin cards don’t have a magnetic strip that can be easily copied. Instead, they have a microchip that often requires a PIN before it can be used. 

These cards are popular in Europe and Asia, but not as much in the US. So if you want to use one card for both domestic use and traveling, consider getting a combined ‘chip’ and ‘strip’ card. Ask your bank if they have one that has both a strip and a chip. These can be a safer and more convenient option.

Skimmers are on the constant lookout for victims, but being aware of their existence and their common tricks can help prevent the chances of becoming a victim of identity theft.

Credit Card Cloning

The Sacramento Bee published an interesting article this week about credit card cloning.  Credit card cloning is a relatively new form of credit card fraud where a person can steal your credit card’s information when you swipe your card through a “skimmer”.  Your card data is then stored and can be re-created on anything with a magnetic strip like a gift card or hotel key. 

The Javelin Strategy and Research report, states that credit card fraud has increased 87 percent since 2010, culminating in aggregate losses of $6 billion nationwide.

Read the article’s tips on how to prevent yourself from being a victim of credit card cloning. 

Here at PrivacyGuard, we agree with taking preventative steps to protect your credit and identity!

Posted by Katie