NextAdvisor Blog - Gabriel

Gabriel Wood is a personal finance and technology writer for NextAdvisor.com, covering personal and small business loans, VoIP, and Internet fax services. He is a graduate of American University in Washington D.C., and currently lives in Oakland. Follow him on Twitter @GabrielAdvisor.

Posts by Gabriel:

What is the SCRA and How Does It Help Military Service Members?

Members of the American uniformed services face challenges that uproot their lives, cause them massive amounts of stress and take their focus from more mundane aspects of life like personal finance. That’s why, in 2003, the U.S. government enacted the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, or SCRA, to
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Can You Negotiate Credit Card Fees with Issuers?

No one likes paying credit card fees, but that’s the trade-off you make for the convenience, security and rewards cards provide, right? Well, if you’re willing to ask, it turns out that doesn’t always have to be the case. Like many things in business, credit card fees
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Refinance Loan or Balance Transfer: Will It Save You Money?

When dealing with debt, restructuring it through a refinance loan or balance transfer is a common way to save money or make your payments more manageable. On the other hand, refinancing can also make your circumstances worse, adding to your debt, giving you less favorable repayment terms
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FTC Cracks Down on Debt Relief Scheme: How to Find Trustworthy Resources

Recently, the FTC stopped several student debt relief companies from operating after it found the companies were making false claims that they could reduce loan payments and even eliminate student loan debts entirely. Impetus Enterprise, Inc. and two related corporations charged customers upfront fees for debt relief,
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What You Need to Know About Cardless ATM Fraud

People around the world are increasingly turning to their mobile phones to pay for everything from rent to restaurant bills, so it was only a matter of time before ATMs caught up. Some banks are installing cardless ATMs that don’t require debit cards to handle cash withdrawals,
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5 Ways to Save on Flights for Your Next Getaway

Flying is both one of the most exciting and frustrating parts of travel. On the one hand, it can take you around the world to new places you’ve never visited or bring you home in a matter of hours. On the other, it can sometimes be shockingly
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Will My Credit Card Earn Cash Back on This Purchase?

If you have a cash back credit card, you’ll want to maximize all of your purchases. That’s why whenever possible, you want to make sure you’re taking advantage of your credit card’s high cash back categories, or the purchases that will earn you higher cash back rates
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Gift Card Fraud: Don’t Let Thieves Steal Your Balances

This holiday season, there’s no doubt that people are going to be giving a lot of gift cards. By the end of 2018, gift cards are expected to be a $160 billion industry, and about 40% of Americans hope to receive a gift card as a present.
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How to Know When It’s Time to Change Credit Cards

Many people like to think that they use the best financial tools available to them, including their credit cards, but data shows that’s not always the case. A research paper by the Reserve Bank of Australia published in 2018 found that most people would benefit more by
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New UltraFICO Credit Score Aims to Help More People Get Loans

Fair Isaac Corporation, the company behind the FICO model for scoring consumer credit, recently announced a new alternative scoring method dubbed UltraFICO. The goal of UltraFICO is to give people with spotty or shallow credit histories easier access to credit, boosting the number of people who are
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Are Presents You Give Subject to the Gift Tax?

This holiday season, you may be planning to give a large gift to a family member or loved one. Maybe you’re going to make a hefty contribution to a relative’s college fund, or you want to offer your friend a sizable loan with no interest. Before you
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IoT Holiday Gift Guide: How to Give Secure Smart Home Devices

The Internet of things (or IoT) is growing at a rapid pace, as each year people add more smart home devices to their lives. They were a big hit last holiday season, and they’re likely to be popular again this year, so you may be considering giving
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Cybersecurity Matters: Lessons to Keep Your Kids Safe Online

These days, many kids are playing with computers, tablets and smartphones before they can even walk. They’re digital natives, who have a familiarity with technology and online connectivity that a lot of parents can’t hope to match. However, just because your kids know a lot about technology,
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What’s the Difference Between Credit Locks and Credit Freezes?

If you’re trying to protect your identity, you might be a little confused about the best way to secure your credit. The two primary ways you can prevent identity thieves from opening fraudulent accounts under your name, credit freezes and credit locks, sound similar and seem to
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New: Get a 21-Month 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers with the Citi Simplicity Card

Learn More When it comes to cards with a combination of no late fees, no annual fees and no penalty rates, the Citi Simplicity Card – No Late Fees Ever (a NextAdvisor advertiser) has always taken the cake, but now it has a whole new head-turning offer.
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What to Look for in Your First Credit Card

Whether you’re a young adult still in school or someone who’s always gotten by on cash and debit, trying to find your first credit card can be stressful. The world of credit cards is filled with all kinds of different offers, and not all of them are
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Cybersecurity Matters: Security Tools and Features to Keep Your Data Safe

When protecting yourself from cybersecurity threats, knowledge is probably your greatest resource. However, knowledge can only get you so far when hackers are constantly scheming sophisticated ways to break into your computer, mobile devices and online accounts. In addition to knowledge, you need the right security tools
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BankAmericard Debuts a New 18-Month 0% Intro APR Offer

Updated: Oct. 17, 2018 Learn More If you’re sick of paying over-the-top interest rates, then we have the card for you. The BankAmericard credit card just extended its 0% intro APR to a lengthy 18-month 0% intro APR on purchases and any balance transfers made in the
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Credit Card Tips We Wish We Knew Before Becoming Credit Card Experts

Everyone occasionally wishes they could go back in time and give their younger self some advice. With age comes knowledge, experience and exposure to new ideas, giving you perspectives and priorities that can improve your life immeasurably. Endless research also does the same. That’s why we thought
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What the Fed Rate Hike Means for Your Wallet

Updated: Oct. 11, 2018 The Federal Reserve is increasing the federal funds rate by 25 basis points, raising it from 2% to 2.25%. This follows two other Fed rate hikes this year, one in May and another in June, as the Fed attempts to curb inflation while
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Google Lets App Developers Look Through Your Gmail Account

While at this point it’s relatively well-known that social media platforms, such as Facebook, let other companies gather data from their users, the same can’t be said for email services. However, recent reports have highlighted that third-party app developers can read the emails of Gmail users and
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Watch Out for Fake Check Scams

Check fraud is a crime that has been around for literally centuries, but recently it’s seen a modern revival. Criminals are now sending fake checks as a part of clever scams that can bilk victims out of hundreds or thousands of dollars. Instead of businesses or banks,
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New Federal Law Lets You Freeze Your Credit for Free

Back in May, Congress passed the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, which included some consumer-friendly changes to credit freezes and fraud alerts. The act’s most notable change is that it now requires credit bureaus to allow you to freeze your credit for free, drastically
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4 Tips to Responsibly Reach Your Credit Card Sign-Up Bonus Spending Minimum

Sign-up bonuses for credit cards can jump-start your rewards, giving you a pile of cash back, points or miles shortly after opening your card. To earn a sign-up bonus, though, there’s one thing in your way: the card’s spending requirement, an amount of money you have to
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From Application to Arrival: How Long It Takes to Get a Credit Card

When you apply for a credit card, one of the first questions on your mind is probably when you can expect to get it. For all the things they do right, credit card issuers aren’t the best at communicating how long it takes to actually receive a
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How Does Credit Card Fraud Protection Work?

Credit card fraud is a huge problem for every party involved in card transactions. For credit card issuers, merchants and card transaction processors, credit card fraud was responsible for about $22.8 billion worth of losses in 2016 alone. For consumers, having your card stolen can be a
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How Your Credit Can Impact Your Employment

Several weeks ago, the federal government implemented new rules regarding security clearances for federal employees, including servicemembers. While previously federal employees would undergo an initial credit check and follow-up checks every five to 10 years to get and maintain their clearances, now the Department of Defense will
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How Transferring Credit Card Points to a Travel Program Can Boost Your Rewards

Updated: Sept. 27, 2018 Compared to straightforward cash back, credit card rewards points have a bit more mystery to them. There are a variety of ways you can redeem points, and some of those ways are worth more than others, so it’s up to you to figure
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Visa Signature vs. World Elite Mastercard: Which Gives Better Benefits?

In terms of payment card acceptance rates, Visa and Mastercard are remarkably similar. They’re both accepted by roughly 8 million merchants in the U.S., and 40 million merchants spanning over 200 countries worldwide. One place where Visa and Mastercard diverge, though, is in the rewards they offer.
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Why Do Credit Card Issuers Reduce Cardholder Benefits?

While we’re used to credit cards gaining new and improved features over time, unfortunately, sometimes the opposite happens. This year, a number of major credit card issuers have announced and enacted cuts to several common credit card benefits, including price protection, return protection and travel insurance in
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5 Unexpected Places Where Your Credit Card Can Get Stolen

There are times when you know enough to brace yourself for a credit card theft attempt, like if you’re shopping on a sketchy website or getting a call from someone claiming to be your computer’s tech support. On the other hand, there are situations where you have
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Late Saving for Retirement? Here’s How to Catch Up

Ideally, everyone would start saving for retirement early so they have the time to slowly build a nest egg through decades of regular contributions and compound interest. In reality, though, that’s not what happens. Whether it’s due to a lack of financial stability or just plain-old procrastination,
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The Upsides and Downsides of Automating Your Finances

Personal finance is filled with tedious transactions and having to remember to make payments, but you can ease some of that if you take some steps to automate your finances. Automating your finances can save you time, help you avoid late fees and make it easy to
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Is There a Bad Way to Check Your Credit?

Regularly reviewing your credit scores and reports is an important part of financial health, as maintaining good credit can help you secure the best credit card offers, interest rates and even housing. There are a variety of ways to check your credit, from free websites to subscription
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Are Balance Transfers or Personal Loans Better for Paying Off Debt?

Living with debt can put you under a lot of pressure, especially if that debt has high interest. While you could opt to settle your debt or file bankruptcy, there are other ways for you to pay off the debt before getting to those extreme options. These
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Do Business Credit Cards Affect Your Personal Credit Scores?

There are a lot of reasons why a small business owner would want a business credit card, from building commercial credit to earning rewards for office supply purchases. However, if you’re considering a business credit card, you might be worried about whether it will affect your own
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Citi ThankYou Premier Card Bumps Up Its Intro Bonus to 60,000 Points

While this information was accurate at the time this post was published, these cards’ offers and perks may have expired or changed over time. Visit our reviews of the best credit cards to find the right card for your needs. The Citi ThankYou Premier Card (a NextAdvisor
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Limited-Time Offer: Earn 10,000 Bonus Points with the Blue Business Plus Credit Card

While this information was accurate at the time this post was published, these cards’ offers and perks may have expired or changed over time. Visit our reviews of the best credit cards to find the right card for your needs. For a limited time, the Blue Business
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Emergency Funds: Why You Need One and How to Get Started

If you do much research into personal finance, you’ll probably find a lot of advice telling you to build an emergency fund. Emergency funds, stockpiles of money you save up in order to pay for unexpected and urgent expenses, are commonly recommended as a part of organizing
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How to Tell Whether You Can Afford a Pet

Almost everyone can agree that pets are wonderful. They’re good for cuddling, company and they can even make you healthier. According to the CDC, studies show that bonding with a pet can lower your blood pressure, make you less stressed and encourage fitness. Pets don’t just take
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What is the Average Credit Limit for Americans?

Having a high credit limit available to you is almost always a good thing, even if you don’t intend to use all of it. Not only does it mean that financial institutions trust that you’re responsible enough to borrow a lot of money, but it also makes
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Receive a Financial Windfall? Here’s How to Manage It

Suddenly receiving a large amount of unexpected money, also known as getting a windfall, seems like a problem that most people would want to have. However, coming into a lot of cash very fast comes with a lot of pressure, and a windfall can actually create more
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What is an Investment and How Can You Get Started?

Investments are one of the pillars of personal finance, and when money is invested well, it can grow by leaps and bounds to help you achieve your financial goals. What exactly qualifies as an investment, though, can be hard to define. Some people have very narrow ideas
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Barclaycard Ring Mastercard Adds a 12-Month 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers

While this information was accurate at the time this post was published, these cards’ offers and perks may have expired or changed over time. Visit our reviews of the best credit cards to find the right card for your needs. The Barclaycard Ring Mastercard, one of the
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How Can You Exchange Currency for Overseas Travel?

Exploring a new country can be exciting, but one part of international travel that always drags the fun down is having to exchange your dollars for the local currency. The currency exchange kiosks you see at airports and tourist hubs usually feel like a rip-off, and you
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The Difference Between Credit Card Points, Cash Back and Miles

Rewards are supposed to be one of the biggest benefits of using credit cards, but card providers don’t always make their rewards easy to understand. According to a survey we commissioned earlier this year, 45% of Americans are generally confused about credit card rewards, and 24% don’t
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5 Travel Scams to Avoid on Your Summer Getaway

Summer is the ideal time to break out of your routine and see the world. However, while going to a place you aren’t familiar with can be wondrous, it also carries the risk that someone will try to take advantage of you. Getting scammed can derail an
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A Guide to Reading Credit Card Agreements

Credit card agreements are supposed to be a comprehensive guide to your card’s benefits and limits, answering any questions you may have about the way your card works. However, there’s a big problem: many of them are quite difficult to read, averaging nearly 5,000 words in length
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Attack of the Fee-Harvesters: Watch Out for Subprime Credit Cards

Updated: July 19, 2018 For people with below-average credit scores, you’ve probably seen offers for subprime credit cards; cards for people with bad credit that supposedly work just like mass-market credit cards. In the credit card world, these cards go by another term: fee-harvesters, named for their
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Avoid Fees with These Credit Cards

Credit cards used to have a bad reputation for charging tons of unfair fees, but in 2009 the Credit CARD Act changed the way many of these fees work to make them more fair to consumers. Things like inactivity fees, pay-by-mail fees and over-limit fees that you
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What You Should Do When Your Credit Card is About to Expire

Credit cards expire every few years to guard against old cards getting stolen and make sure cardholders always have a relatively fresh, functioning card. However, if your credit card’s expiration date is coming up, you may be a bit uncertain about what to do. Not only do
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What’s the Difference Between Credit Card Networks and Issuers?

Your credit card may just be one piece of plastic, but for many people there are actually two forces at work that make their cards function: the card issuer and the card network. These two entities both control different aspects of your card, from the rewards and
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4 Common Pieces of Bad Financial Advice You Should Ignore

While finances are ideally about number crunching and cold, unbiased decisions, there’s often quite a bit of emotion wrapped up with financial decision-making. People are afraid to make the wrong choices with their money, and because of this, it’s easy for bad financial advice to take root
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3 Delivery Scams to Watch Out for When Shopping Online

With intuitive website building tools and big online marketplaces like Amazon, it’s easier than ever for people to start selling goods online. Unfortunately, that includes scammers, who use online shopping’s impersonal nature to make quick cash and leave their victims with headaches. If you buy a lot
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How Much Money Should You Have in Retirement Savings?

With pension plans becoming harder to find, Americans are having to bear more of the burden when planning for retirement. Now, if you want to live well in your twilight years, it’s up to you to put away money for retirement savings. The question is, how much
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What Early Retirement Experts Can Teach You About Saving

A lot of people struggle to save money, with the average American saving less than 5% of their disposable income. However, while many are scraping by, others are thriving, putting away large portions of each paycheck while living lean to reach the goal of early retirement. These
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Are Premium Travel Rewards Credit Cards Worth the High Annual Fees?

While premium travel rewards credit cards can have some very nice bonuses and luxury perks, they also come with shockingly high annual fees. Can all of those rewards and perks really be worth it when you’re paying hundreds of dollars per year for the opportunity to earn
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What Consumers Should Know About Chargebacks

If you haven’t used this consumer protection feature for credit and debit cards yourself, you’ve probably at least heard of it. Chargebacks allow you to reverse a financial transaction by communicating directly with your card issuer, bypassing the recipient of the transaction. It’s a great way to
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Do You Know Your Credit Card Benefits? Research Shows Most People Don’t

Are you getting the most out of your credit card? According to a recent survey, probably not. A report from market research firm Market Strategies International says that 80% of credit card users aren’t familiar with all of the benefits provided by their primary card, and a
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Should You Pay Debts with an Early Withdrawal from Your Retirement Fund?

Ideally, the money in your retirement funds is supposed to stay in there for the long haul, building tax-advantaged interest so you have a nice nest egg for your twilight years. Sometimes, though, you just need money, and tapping your retirement fund to make an early withdrawal
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How to Spot Fake Reviews and Save Yourself from Getting Scammed

With online stores and app marketplaces giving people so many choices for what they can buy and download, online consumer reviews are vital to help sort through the chaos. However, those are becoming less and less reliable, as services like Amazon and the Google Play Store are
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Upgrade Your Stay with the Hilton Honors Card from American Express

While this information was accurate at the time this post was published, these cards’ offers and perks may have expired or changed over time. Visit our reviews of the best credit cards to find the right card for your needs. For frequent travelers who enjoy staying at
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How to Negotiate with Credit Card Providers

When you’re using a credit card, sometimes it’s easy to think of yourself as shackled to your credit card company, especially if you’re carrying a balance. Remember, though, that credit cards are a business, and you are a customer. Credit card companies will do what they can
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Is Saving Money While You’re in Debt a Good Idea?

If you’re in debt, conventional wisdom says paying off that debt is your top financial priority. Paying off debt is generally a good idea, but, like many things in finance, it actually isn’t that simple. Even when you’re in debt, saving money can be the right approach
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Thinking of Changing Banks? Here’s How to Do It Safely

These days, most people are spoiled for choice when it comes to banks. With national bank chains, regional banks, credit unions and online banks all competing for your business, there’s often no reason to put up with a bank you don’t like. While it can seem daunting
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Where to Keep Your Money When You’re Saving

You’ve got your debt under control, you’re sticking to your budget and now you’re ready to start saving. However, you shouldn’t just keep your entire life savings in a checking account where most of it sits unused. By learning about different kinds of financial accounts and safe
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Government Agencies That Can Help You with Consumer Complaints

When you have a problem with a product or service you’re getting, it’s a good idea to contact the company that provides it to try and sort out your issue. However, sometimes that doesn’t work, and the company just strings you along without ever really fixing anything,
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FTC Identity Theft Assistant Links with IRS to Help Tax Fraud Victims

With tax season having just ended, millions of Americans are sighing with relief after getting their taxes done on time — or filing their extension to do them in October. Unfortunately, thousands of Americans are also learning that they’ve fallen victim to tax identity theft, and their
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Document Storage Tips to Prepare for an Emergency

Like it or not, sometimes our lives are ruled by pieces of paper. In an emergency situation, the last thing you want to do is scramble to find some important file that you need to take with you, and if a disaster such as a fire or
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How to Avoid and Recover from Remote Access Scams

Normally, most people would never let a stranger use their computer, as it would be easy for that stranger to steal your private files, your money or your identity. However, remote access scams prey on peoples’ fear, greed or lack of technological understanding to impair their judgement,
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Credit Cards with the Best Consumer Protection Perks

Credit cards provide more than convenience and rewards points, they also give you a safer way to pay. In addition to the standard security features inherent to credit cards (e.g., $0 fraud liability), some cards go above and beyond to make sure their cardholders get the best
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How to Protect Yourself from Medical Billing Errors

Medical bills are a major source of debt, with one study from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finding that medical debt is responsible for 52% of all debt listed on credit reports in America. One thing that could be making your healthcare bills even more expensive, though,
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The Most Common Scams of 2017 and How to Avoid Them

Every year, the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, puts out a report on consumers’ biggest complaints from the previous year, using data gathered from feedback sent in by everyday Americans. The report, officially titled the Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, pays special attention to the most common
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Key Privacy Settings to Secure Your Social Media Profiles

With the recent news of Cambridge Analytica secretly influencing political campaigns around the world using data it gathered from 50 million people on Facebook, the hashtag #deletefacebook is picking up steam, encouraging people to get rid of their Facebook profiles to protect their personal information. If you’re
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Ink Business Cash Credit Card Ups Its Intro Bonus to $500

To complement its generous cash back rewards and yearlong 0% intro APR period, the Ink Business Cash Credit Card just raised its intro bonus from $300 to $500 for cardholders who spend $3,000 or more on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Combined with
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5 Tax Penalties to Know About

Tax Day is looming, which means it’s time to get your paperwork together and crunch some numbers if you haven’t already. You’ll want plenty of time to make sure things are right, because with taxes, mistakes you make can result in more than just inconvenience. Do something
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Avoid Scams by Looking for These Financial Service Certifications

Sometimes, it’s a good idea to get some professional help with your finances. Unfortunately, not all financial service pros are created equal, and some who claim to be experts could actually be amateurs or even scammers looking to take advantage of your lack of knowledge. One way
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How Filing for Bankruptcy Affects Your Credit

If you’re being crushed by mountains of debt, filing for bankruptcy can be a way to get your life back together. However, it comes with a steep price; not just in the payments you have to make or the assets you may have to sell, but in
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Typical Signs of Small Business Fraud

Fraud is a big source of loss to small businesses. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners found that, in 2014, the typical business lost a median of 5% of its revenues just due to internal fraud, to say nothing of the money lost because of external criminal
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Cash Back and Travel Credit Cards with the Best Intro Bonus Offers

Updated: Aug. 10, 2018 Rewards credit cards are best-known for the ongoing points, miles or cash back they earn for their cardholders, but some credit cards take the extra step and offer more immediate rewards in the form of introductory or signup bonuses. Intro bonuses give you
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Can Using an Ad Blocker Protect You Online?

No one loves looking at online ads, but a lot of people can agree that they’re a vital part of the Internet, helping businesses attract customers and websites pay for content. However, not all ads are created equal, with some rogue advertisements delivering viruses and spying on
[Read More]

Citi ThankYou Premier Card Raises Its Intro Bonus to 50,000 Points

While this information was accurate at the time this post was published, these cards’ offers and perks may have expired or changed over time. Visit our reviews of the best credit cards to find the right card for your needs. Earlier this year, the Citi ThankYou Premier
[Read More]

How Does Getting Married Impact Your Finances?

Getting married doesn’t just unite you and your partner in holy matrimony; it also ties you together financially, and changes the way some rules apply to you. Most of the changes are positive, but depending on your circumstances, marriage can also sometimes throw a wrench into your
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CFPB Details 4 Aspects of Financial Health: Do You Meet These Criteria?

Updated: March 28, 2018 The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently released a report on financial health and well-being based on research, expert testimonies and interviews with consumers of all ages from around the country. The most interesting thing about the report is that it details four measures
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4 Financial Lessons You Can Learn from 2017’s Credit Statistics

Recently, credit bureau Experian released an analysis on the state of credit in 2017, looking at how statistics, such as average credit scores and total debt, have changed in the last year. The article includes several interesting trends concerning how people are using credit, as well as
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How to Prevent Senior Financial Abuse

Even among older Americans who are active and mentally sharp, senior financial abuse is a serious problem. A study in the American Journal of Public Health found that roughly one in 18 seniors suffer from financial abuse, and estimates put the total cost of this abuse at
[Read More]

Low-Tech Ways to Improve Your Cybersecurity

A lot of people think that you have to have a lot of technical knowledge to keep yourself safe from cyberattacks. While it definitely helps if you know how to configure anti-malware programs and monitor your web traffic, you don’t have to be a computer whiz to
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These are the Best 0% Intro APR Cards for Balance Transfers and Purchases

Updated: Sept. 13, 2018 Credit cards can offer some great rewards, but the value of those benefits can get eaten up if you don’t have a card with an APR that works for you. Since most credit cards are basically revolving unsecured loans, they often charge high
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6 Factors That Affect Your Interest Rate

If you’ve ever gotten a credit card or taken out a personal loan, you may have wondered how the issuer or lender decided on the amount of interest to charge you. Your credit history plays a big part, but it’s not the whole picture. There are a
[Read More]

Malicious Extensions Can Hijack Your Internet Browser

Extensions are a convenient way to add functionality to your web browser, but recently, they’ve been targeted by hackers as a weak point in cybersecurity. Security firm ICEBRG recently found that over half a million users and businesses were infected by a handful of malicious Google Chrome
[Read More]

Is Your Work from Home Job a Scam?

According to the average American, working from home is part of their ideal life, giving them more time with their family and freedom from the dreaded rush hour commute. Unfortunately, the number of legitimate work from home opportunities is quite low compared to demand for them. Flexjobs,
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Can You Be Financially Cautious and Still Use a Credit Card?

Updated: Sept. 28, 2018 Being financially cautious is generally a good thing. You may gain a reputation as a penny-pincher, but you’ll save yourself from the cycle of debt. Some people, though, take their caution to an extreme and completely swear off credit cards, thinking the best
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5 Security Features That Keep Your Credit Card Safe

Updated: June 12, 2018 One of the biggest advantages to using a credit card for your everyday spending is the complement of security features you get with it. The U.S. government provides great fraud protection to people who use credit, and card providers are constantly adding anti-fraud
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Best Cash Back Credit Cards for Grocery Shopping

Updated: Aug. 15, 2018 People are always looking for ways to shop smarter, especially when it comes to the essentials like food. Whether you’re a home chef or you just prefer to cook your own food, one of the easiest ways to get more value while you’re
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Western Union Scam Victims Can Now Claim Refunds

If you’ve ever been the target of a scam, you may have noticed that the scammer was asking for payment using a money transfer service, like Western Union. Scammers like using Western Union, and until recently, the company seemed happy to profit from the transfers sent to
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Phone Porting: How Hackers Can Hijack Your Mobile Phone Number

When defending ourselves from hackers, most of us put a lot of thought into making sure our computers are secure. However, there’s another piece of technology that’s just as vulnerable to attack: your cell phone. As we’ve discussed before, mobile phone-related identity theft has been steadily increasing
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Tactics Phishers Use to Target Tech-Savvy Consumers

If you’re knowledgeable about technology, you may not take phishing very seriously. When you hear about phishing attacks, you think of misspelled emails from people claiming to be Nigerian princes or long-lost relatives asking for money. However, phishers have gotten much more advanced in recent years, and
[Read More]

Financial Steps to Take After Losing a Parent

When people talk about losing someone close to them, they often talk about their emotions and grieving. That aspect of loss is important, but rarely do they mention another aspect that’s also critical: the work. The work of making calls, filling out forms and settling affairs that
[Read More]

The Dangers of Free Mobile Games

Tons of people play games on their mobile devices, to the point that these small games are doing big business. In 2015, over 50% of Americans played a mobile game, and in 2016, smartphone and tablet games collectively made nearly $40 billion. A lot of mobile games
[Read More]

Is Equifax Selling Your Work History?

You may remember the massive Equifax breach from September of this year, which gave hackers access to 143 million people’s personal information. The compromised data included names, birth dates, addresses, social security numbers and even credit card numbers, all of which Equifax was storing. What you may
[Read More]

How to Tell If Your IoT Devices are Part of a Botnet

Internet of things (IoT) devices are growing in popularity, and with the holiday season here, more homes will play host to Internet-connected appliances than any year before. These smart gadgets can make seemingly great gifts, but unfortunately, their online connectivity makes them vulnerable to being hijacked by
[Read More]

Google Ad Phishing Scams Can Hide Malicious Links in Your Search Results

In addition to being the most popular search engine, Google is one of the biggest advertising platforms on the Internet, serving billions of ads each day. What some people may not realize is that some of those advertisements wind up nestled in Google search results, only marked
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How to Talk About Money During the Holidays

Updated: Dec. 12, 2018 During the holidays, people who gather with their families tend to stick to fairly safe topics of conversation like sports, movies and the weather. However, a holiday gathering is actually the perfect time to talk about something that’s usually considered taboo in American
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Give Your Financial Security a Tune-Up with This Checklist

Think of your personal finances like a car. In order for the car to run smoothly, you need to regularly maintain each piece. The difference is, most cars have easy maintenance checklists written for them, breaking down how often you need to take care of each part.
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How to Handle Repeated Credit Card Theft

One day, you notice some charges you don’t recognize on your credit card billing statement, so you call your card issuer and file a fraud report. You get a replacement card with a new number, but a few months later, the same thing happens again – and
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Tips for Finding the Best VPN Service for You

We’ve written about how great virtual private networks, or VPNs, are for protecting your privacy online. We’ve also written about how dangerous using a free VPN can be, and how many of them make money by selling user data or don’t provide a private network, which defeats
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How to Avoid Downloading a Fake App

Recently, a fake version of the popular social media app WhatsApp was downloaded over 1 million times from the Google Play Store before users on Reddit discovered it. The fake WhatsApp contained code that would spam phone users with ads, secretly download other programs in the background
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Is Your Internet Provider Throttling Your Data Speed?

Whether you’re shopping for a mobile data plan or a home broadband connection, reading through terms of service agreements will quickly get you mired in a swamp of fine print. However, not reading that fine print can mean getting stuck with an Internet plan that doesn’t give
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3 Things to Know About Cryptocurrency Scams

Cryptocurrencies, digital tokens like Bitcoin that secure themselves with computer cryptography, are a hot topic right now, both in the news and in the markets. Bitcoin’s value has increased nearly sixfold since the beginning of 2017, celebrities like Paris Hilton and Floyd Mayweather endorse cryptocurrencies and tech
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How Enforceable are Terms of Service Agreements?

If you use regularly use the Internet, software or smartphones, you’ve probably agreed to at least a few hundred terms of service agreements in your life. Chances are you probably haven’t read every single one of those agreements, as it would take the average person about 76
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The Dangers of Using a Free VPN Service

Virtual private networks, or VPNs, are great tools for protecting your privacy online. They can secure your Internet connection when you’re on public Wi-Fi networks and give your online activity an added level of privacy. You can sign up for a VPN service for only a few
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Financial Mingling Tips for Unmarried Couples

With marriage rates plummeting among young people in the U.S., the number of unmarried couples who are living together is on the rise. When you’re cohabiting with your other half, you probably aren’t experiencing the pressure to build a financial life together that married couples face, but
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Watch Out for These 5 Types of Cyberattacks

With so many aspects of our lives online now, cybersecurity is more important than ever. However, since there are so many different ways hackers can attack, and each requires its own type of defense, it’s a lot to handle. That’s why we’ve compiled five common kinds of
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Common Forms of ID Criminals Use to Commit Identity Theft

With so many data breaches, many people are rightly concerned about identity theft and want to learn how to defend themselves from it. However, there isn’t just one type of identity theft, and the documentation that the identity thief has access to determines what kinds of fraud
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Why are There so Many Credit Bureaus?

Credit bureaus gather and store massive amounts of data on consumers, including where you live, your birthday and your social security number. You’re probably familiar with the big three bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, but there are dozens of other smaller credit reporting agencies that you may
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3 Tips for Paying Safely with Peer-to-Peer Payment Apps

Figuring out how to split the dinner bill is a problem that has plagued social outings for years. Luckily, peer-to-peer (or P2P) payment apps like Venmo, Square Cash and even Facebook Messenger let you quickly and easily send and receive money to or from your friends using
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When Should I Give Out My Social Security Number?

Social security numbers are frustratingly insecure. It’s a vital piece of personal information that you’re supposed to keep secret, but you also constantly have to use it to identify yourself. It’s easy to see why identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the U.S., with
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When Do Your Credit Scores Change?

If you’ve been working hard to build up your credit scores, or you’ve recently made a mistake that put a damaging item on your credit reports, then you’re probably wondering when exactly you’ll see your credit scores change. The truth is that the major credit bureaus —
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What is a Credit Utilization Ratio?

When many people think of their credit scores, the first thing that comes to mind is their payment history. However, while payment history is the primary component of your credit scores, it isn’t the whole picture. There’s another piece, called credit utilization ratio, that plays a big
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3 Things to Know About Debt Collection

One of the scariest things about owing debt is the fear of it going into collections. Debt collectors have a bad reputation and tend to inspire worries of insecurity and loss in a lot of people. However, dealing with debt collection isn’t uncommon, and it isn’t the
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5 VoIP Security Threats and How to Safeguard Against Them

Switching your traditional analog phone to a VoIP service gives your phone system a lot of new capabilities, but it also opens you up to a new set of potential security issues. You shouldn’t let this scare you off from using VoIP, though, because for every VoIP
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Wells Fargo Settlement: How You Can File a Claim

Over the past year, banking giant Wells Fargo has been embroiled in a scandal for opening an estimated 3.5 million unauthorized accounts in customers’ names after setting unrealistic sales goals for its employees. Not only was it forced to pay $185 million in fines to the federal
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