Sunday, August 31 2014 11:12 PM EDT2014-09-01 03:12:06 GMT
The Mississippi Highway Patrol has issued an Amber Alert for 17-year-old Katelyn Beard. She was abducted this morning between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. from 4244 Lynda Street in Jackson. She is describedMore >>
The Mississippi Highway Patrol has issued an Amber Alert for 17-year-old Katelyn Beard. She was abducted this morning between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.More >>
Thursday, August 28 2014 9:33 AM EDT2014-08-28 13:33:06 GMT
SPARTANBURG COUNT, SC (WYFF) - Fifteen children living in a double-wide trailer were put into protective custody and seven adults were arrested, according to the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office. DeputiesMore >>
Fifteen children living in a double-wide trailer were put into protective custody and seven adults were arrested, according to the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office.More >>
Sunday, August 31 2014 4:22 PM EDT2014-08-31 20:22:18 GMT
A Marion County man was killed Saturday night. Marion County Corner Norma Williamson confirmed the death of 21 year-old Justin Burch. Burch was sent to Jackson for autopsy around 7 p.m. Saturday night. ThisMore >>
A Marion County man was killed Saturday night.More >>
For some, it may be hard to believe that nine years have passed since Hurricane Katrina made landfall and left major devastation in Louisiana and Mississippi. Most people will never forget where theyMore >>
Friday marks nine years since Hurricane Katrina made landfall, causing major devastation in Louisiana and Mississippi.More >>
Last month, hackers
broke into Target's data system just as the holiday shopping season got
underway. More than 40 million customers who made purchases between Nov. 27 and
Dec. 15 may have had their debit and credit card numbers stolen. Target now
says thieves also stole personal information for an additional 70 million
customers. These customers are at high risk for identity theft. If you are
concerned that your personal finances are now sporting a bullseye, take these
steps to safeguard yourself.
Step 1: Monitor your accounts daily
Keep an eye on bank
and credit card accounts for unauthorized activity. Do not wait until you receive
your monthly statement. Rather, check for discrepancies frequently each week.
Thieves often use small, unusual amounts ($1.21 or 6 cents) as a test before attempting
a pricier transaction. You will need to monitor your accounts for quite some
time, as data thieves can wait months before taking action. Experts say it is
not necessary to ask your bank or credit card companies to issue new cards
unless you have a problem.
Step 2: Report suspicious
If you notice unauthorized charges, call your bank or creditor
immediately. The fraud monitoring department will cancel your card and issue a
new one. They will help you dispute charges. You will not be liable for unauthorized
charges. If you paid for purchases at Target between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, call
the Target hotline (866-852-8580). Target
will cover the cost of any fraudulent activity that results from the data
Step 3: Change your PIN
identification numbers (PINs) were among the data stolen from Target. A PIN is
the number you enter when processing debit card transactions or making cash
withdrawals from ATMs. Because the stolen PINs were encrypted, experts believe
the thieves will unable to use them. It's still wise, however, to ask your bank
and credit card companies to change your PINs.
Step 4: Register for free credit monitoring
Target is providing all customers one year of free credit
monitoring and identity theft protection via credit bureau Experian. You can sign up for
this service even if you are not a known victim of the cyber-attack. Visit CreditMonitoring.Target.com and enter your name and email address. Experian
and Target will email an activation code and instructions. You have until April
23 to register for this service and until April 30 to activate it. You will
receive one free credit report as well as notice of any inquiries, newly opened
accounts or delinquencies. Victims of identity theft related to the Target
security breach will be assigned an agent to help resolve problems.
Step 5: Beware of scams
If Target has ever contacted you by mail
or email, it is possible that your information (along with your phone number) is
now in the hands of crooks. This makes you a more likely target of phishing
scams. Thieves phish for additional information (such as your bank account or Social
Security numbers) in several ways. They may send emails that look like they are
coming from a bank, creditor or store (like Target). The message asks you to
click a link, which directs you to a fraudulent website that may look authentic.
To protect yourself, do not open emails or attachments from unknown senders, or
click links from these senders. Use an Internet search engine instead to
navigate directly to a bank or credit company site. If you receive a call from
someone claiming to be from your bank or a credit card company, tell the person
you will call them back. Then call the toll-free number on the back of your
credit or debit card to verify the earlier call's authenticity.
Any business is at risk for a cyber-attack. This
month, luxury retailer Neiman Marcus announced that some of its customer
information also had been compromised. With the popularity of
computer-processed credit card transactions, data breaches may become more widespread.
For these reasons – as well as your ability to stick to your budget – paying
with cash is a great way to protect yourself. But when cash is not feasible, observe
safe shopping practices while remaining vigilant about your personal finance
Andrew Housser is a co-founder and CEO of Bills.com, a free one-stop online portal where consumers can educate themselves about personal finance issues and compare financial products and services. He also is co-CEO of Freedom Financial Network, LLC providing comprehensive consumer credit advocacy and debt relief services. Housser holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Stanford University and Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College.
The information contained on or provided through this site is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional financial or accounting advice. Always seek the advice of your accountant or other qualified personal finance advisor for answers to any related questions you may have. Use of this site and any information contained on or provided through this site is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
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