Spring Clean Your Identity Theft Risks

Spring cleaning should include more than decluttering your garage and closets. Take these simple steps to reduce your risks of identity theft: Shred — don’t just trash — unnecessary documents with your name, birth date, address, and account or Social Security numbers. Typically, bank deposit slips and ATM and credit card receipts should be shredded as soon as the transactions appear on statements, credit card statements within 45 days, and pay stubs and medical bills after one year. Never simply discard …

Millennials Are Spending Less and Saving for a Rainy Day

While waiting in line last week at Starbucks, I realized that I was the only “guest” ordering black coffee — not a grande, no-foam macchiato concoction — and the only person using cash. The mostly millennial customers were flashing a smartphone app or swiping credit or debit cards. The way our adult children spend and save money is very different from their boomer parents. “I want it fast, and I want it now” is the millennial mantra when it comes …

Arbitration Clauses for Credit Cards, Other Services May Harm Consumers

Millions of consumers may not be getting a fair resolution in disputes with their financial institutions over products and services, according to a report released Tuesday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB examined the arbitration clauses in contracts for credit cards, prepaid cards, private student loans, payday loans, cellphone service and checking accounts. These clauses generally permit companies to resolve consumer complaints using arbitration. Most bar consumers from filing class-action suits, which may provide a fairer and more …

FTC: $1.7 Billion Lost to Fraudsters in 2014 — ID Theft Top Complaint … Again

Consumers reported losing $1.7 billion to scams and frauds in 2014, according to an annual review released by the Federal Trade Commission. That figure is likely a fraction of actual losses, since many people never report their victimization. For the 15th consecutive year, identity theft was the top complaint in the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, accounting for 13 percent of the total 2.5 million filed complaints. That’s the same percentage as in 2013, but with more people reporting …

Hackers Access Records for Millions of Anthem Customers

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Health insurer Anthem said hackers infiltrated its computer network and gained access to personal information for “tens of millions” of customers and employees, including CEO Joseph Swedish. The nation’s second-largest health insurer said it was contacting customers affected by what it calls a “very sophisticated” cyberattack that the company discovered last week. It said hackers gained access to names, birthdates, email addresses, employment details, Social Security numbers, incomes and street addresses of people who are covered or …