The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

January 27, 2014

The Color of Money: Protect credit by freezing it

Since the major data breach at Target, many readers have been asking how to best protect their credit.

     "My wife and I are vigilant and we replaced our debit cards because of Target," one reader from Richmond, Va., wrote. "Our credit has been 'frozen' at the three credit agencies for years and we view the reports annually. Do you consider 'frozen' at the agencies as ample protection?"

     It's likely you've heard that if you're a victim of identity theft or you want to protect your files from fraud because you suspect you are vulnerable, you should put a fraud alert on your credit files at the major credit reporting agencies -- TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. But you may not be familiar with a security freeze, a much stronger option to help protect yourself and prevent identity theft.

     With a fraud alert, a business must verify your identity before it issues credit. The alert is supposed to let lenders and others know that they need to give closer scrutiny to any request under your name because something might be amiss.

     You can have an initial fraud alert placed on your file for at least 90 days. For an alert that lasts for seven years, you must submit a copy of a theft report filed with a law enforcement agency to get the extended status. Both types of fraud alerts are free.

     Placing a fraud alert does not affect your credit score or your credit accounts. You only need to make one telephone call because that agency will inform the other two. All three bureaus have identity-theft information on their websites -- www.transunion.com, www.equifax.com and www.experian.com.

     But here's something to keep in mind -- a fraud alert isn't foolproof. It can be overlooked, allowing criminals to open accounts in your name.

Text Only
Business
  • The Color of Money: No easy way to get out of debt

    Many people who are deeply in debt are desperate for a quick fix. They ask the question: What can I do to get out of debt?

    July 21, 2014

  • Watercooler: When to speak up if you see problems down the line

    Q: Our organization has hired a new director. I am one of a number of division heads; above us, there's the associate director, and above him is the director. The associate director is feared and disliked for his duplicity and dictatorial nature, though few have come forward because of his vindictiveness.

    July 18, 2014

  • Career Coach: Bringing a purpose-driven spirit to work

    Increasingly, religious beliefs and practices of employees are becoming more evident in the workplace. Religious diversity and concepts of spirituality are more prevalent in organizational settings.

    July 18, 2014

  • Ask the Mompreneur: It’s best to farm out your payroll

    When my husband and I hired our first employee at our Web development company, we had it easy when it came to doing payroll.

    July 17, 2014

  • Protecting against unnecessary losses

    QUESTION: I run a small bar and grill which is open 7 days a week and have to rely on others for some of the shifts. How can I ensure employees have not become my partners?

    July 17, 2014

  • A checklist for keeping you focused at work

    A quick check of Facebook and next thing you know, a half-hour’s passed. Start chatting with a co-worker and suddenly 20 minutes is gone and the report you were supposed to finish by lunch is late.
    Workplace distractions are everywhere, especially in an age of social media and open-plan offices. In the face of so much temptation, accomplishing what you’re paid to do can be tough.

    July 16, 2014

  • It could be time for a career coach

    Need a little help figuring out your next career move?
    If you’re putting in the hours and still not seeing the rewards, feeling undervalued or simply striving to be more successful, it may be time to hire a career coach.

    July 16, 2014

  • Your Office Coach: Turn to boss for help with disgruntled underling

    QUESTION: When I joined this company a few weeks ago, I discovered that the person who previously held my position is now working for me. “Sarah” obviously resents my presence and frequently says I don’t have the authority to manage her, even though I clearly do. Her negativity has made my job much more difficult.

    July 15, 2014

  • You are not trusted

    If it seems like employers don’t trust employees - well, they don’t.

    July 15, 2014

  • The Color of Money: Beware of loan-modification scammers

    There are some good things going on in the economy these days. Just like temperatures across the country, the stock market has been hot lately. The economy added 288,000 jobs in June. The unemployment rate dropped to 6.1 percent. Yet there are still plenty of Americans who need financial help, especially with their mortgages.

    July 14, 2014

Business Video
Stocks