Friday, August 31, 2007

Bush Pledges Relief for Mortgage Holders


President Bush today pledged some relief for struggling borrowers to help them keep their homes. Foreclosures are at an all time high. Bush stated the proposals are to help those borrowers who would be able to keep their homes with some help during this crisis period.

The FHA will launch a program for borrowers with good credit histories but who have bad loans that they can't afford. Those borrowers will be eligible to refinance their mortgages through loans insured by the FHA. Bush also proposed limiting tax liabilities for victims of foreclosure.

"It's not the government's job to bail out speculators or those who made the decision to buy a home they knew they could never afford," Bush said in the Rose Garden. "Yet there are many American homeowners who could get through this difficult time with a little flexibility from their lenders or a little help from their government."

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Credit Card Defaults Rising


Defaults on credit card accounts are on the rise according to a report by the credit rating agency Moody's.

The rate of late payments is up also. Credit card companies are writing off 30% more payments in this first half of this year as compared to last year as cardholders seem less willing to make payments on credit card accounts.

Source - Cnn Money

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

IRS Issues Scam Email Warnings


An urgent warning has been issued by the IRS about a new email scam purporting to come from the IRS but is in reality just another phishing expedition by identity thieves.

Updated Aug. 24, 2007 — The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers of a new phishing scam, in which an e-mail purporting to come from the IRS advises taxpayers they can receive $80 by filling out an online customer satisfaction survey. The IRS urges taxpayers to ignore this solicitation and not provide any requested information. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers through e-mail.

A warning issued in July tells consumers of a different scam, the intention of which is to install malicious programming into your computer. This email tries to mislead consumers into thinking they are being investigated by the IRS for tax fraud.

Updated June 19, 2007 — In another recent scam, consumers have received a "Tax Avoidance Investigation" e-mail claiming to come from the IRS' "Fraud Department" in which the recipient is asked to complete an "investigation form," for which there is a link contained in the e-mail, because of possible fraud that the recipient committed. It is believed that clicking on the link may activate a Trojan Horse.

The IRS does not send out unsolicited emails. Recipients of questionable e-mails claiming to come from the IRS should not open any attachments or click on any links contained in the e-mails. Instead, they should forward the e-mails to phishing@irs.gov (follow the instructions).

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Comcast Disconnects Heavy Internet Users

According to a report by ConsumerAffairs.com, telecom giant Comcast is cutting off Internet service to customers that they say are using too much bandwidth.

The problem is that Comcast refuses to reveal how much is too much, leaving customers baffled as to what they have done wrong.Customers who exceed the unwritten download cap are subject to a twelve-month suspension of their Internet services.

Comcast spokesperson, Charlie Douglas, said only .001 percent of Comcast's customers ever horde too much bandwidth...Douglas said the company shuts off people's Internet if it affects the performance of their neighbors because often many people will share a connection on one data pipe.


Customers who want more bandwidth can purchase the business account which can cost $1,500 per month.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Monster.com Hacked

There's been a major security breach at the job website Monster.com. Hackers, using stolen recruiter credentials, have been able to get personal data on more than 1.6 million candidates who had resumés entered into the system.

Using a Trojan called Infostealer Monstres, the hackers were able to get personal details such as names, email addresses, home addresses and phone numbers on hundreds of thousands of candidates. This information can be used by spammers and the Trojan is capable of sending spam email from the remote server where the data was sent by the hack program.

According to Symantec, who reported the breach, care should be taken when posting to a resumé site such as Monster.com and candidates should remember to limit personal and sensitive data.

"Never disclose sensitive details such as your social security number, passport or driver's license numbers, bank account information to prospective employers until you have established they are legitimate," said the firm.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Foreclosure Rate on the Rise Again

The rate of home foreclosures rose by 9 percent from June to July of this year, making the rate of foreclosure a whopping 93% higher than it was a year ago.

The sagging home market and falling home values made it difficult for many holders of subprime loans and adjustable rate mortgages to sell their homes, giving rise to an ever-increasing number of foreclosures as the homeowners fall behind on payments with no way to satisfy the debt.

The highest foreclosure activity was concentrated in just five states - California, Georgia,Florida, Michigan, and Ohio.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Debt Collection and Statute of Limitations

Have you ever been contacted by a collection agency about an old bill or account that you thought was written off long ago or that no longer shows on your credit report? Depending on the age of a debt, collection of it may be unenforceable as the statute of limitations may have expired on collecting it. However, if you validate the debt with even a token payment, the statute is revived and the collection of the debt is now enforceable by law.

Do you know what your rights are under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act? What may debt collectors do or assert in their pursuit of payment, and what are they not permitted to do when they contact you regarding debts?

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act provides rules and regulations that govern how you may be contacted, when and how often. For instance, debt collectors may not use false or misleading statements to get you to pay a debt and they may not contact you at work if you request that they do not.

For more information on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, visit the FTC website, Facts for Consumers.

Friday, August 17, 2007

401K COLA Increase

Are you contributing regularly to your 401K? Are you getting closer to the decade in which you will begin to take distributions? When it comes time to retire, you will want your 401K to be a healthy source of income.


If you haven't been contributing as much as you can or should, then consider this:

If you will turn 50 in this calendar year, you can take advantage of the IRS Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increase that gives you a higher limit on contributions to your 401K. In 2007 you will be able to contribute up to $20,500 to your 401K plan as opposed to the $15,500 limit for those under 50 years of age.

Take advantage of this higher limit and raise your contribution amount to the maximum if you can or at least to the maximum your company matches.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Good Credit Card Habits

The top reason people prefer to use plastic over cash is convenience. Using a credit card to purchase something that you already have the money to pay for is not a problem. When you use credit cards as loans on the future, that's where your bad credit habits begin.

Credit cards come with a pre-established limit but that doesn't mean you should ever reach that limit unless you can afford to pay the bill off each month. Before considering a purchase, imagine making it in cash. If you had to go to the bank and withdraw cash to make this purchase, could you or would you? If you don't have the money, don't spend it. Once your balance is beyond the amount you can afford to pay off, you incur interest and tie up your funds for years. Make too many unwise purchases and your credit could suffer when you can't make the payments.

Into every life, a little emergency must fall. Sometimes, a credit card is the only way out of an emergency. As long as you pay off the balance as quickly as you can, it's okay to use a credit card in this instance.

Make resolutions about how and when you will allow yourself to use credit and you will establish a good credit history.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

How's Your Budget Health?


If you're one of the money-savvy people who make a budget part of your New Year's Resolutions in January, now that we have passed the halfway mark of the year it's time to review it and see how healthy it is.

That is, does your budget reflect your real expenditures and savings, or does it need some tweaking?

If you're running short of money for bills, letting interest grow on credit card accounts because you are only paying the minimum payment or just finding that you have nothing left over for savings, then your budget isn't healthy.

Some ways to perk up a sagging budget:

1. Review expenditures. Go over debit card receipts and ATM withdrawals. Did you need the items you bought or were they conveniences and luxuries? Did you have more cash in your wallet than you needed and end up spending more because of it?

2. Go over existing bills for necessary services and see if you can get a better deal or trim some features to lower your monthly total. For instance, go through your telephone bill. If you make a lot of calls to certain areas, check with your phone company to see if there is a plan that would consolidate them or give you a better rate. Remove any unnecessary services.

3. Find ways to cut your electric bill. Check appliances for wear or needed service, replace light bulbs with more energy-efficient ones and don't run ACs or TVs when no one is in the room.

4. Be meaner to yourself. Pass up that daily coffee shop stop and limit yourself to the occasional "treat day". You will enjoy it more and also enjoy the extra money left in the budget for more important things.

5. Save, save, save. Even if you don't think you can, squeeze out some money for savings. Americans are not saving enough on the whole and it is imperative to have savings to tide you over in an emergency.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Earn Money Online with Blogsvertise


The Internet is rife with online moneymaking schemes but unfortunately, many are scams and others don't really pay off when you compare the long hours you put into them and the paltry earnings you receive. But what if you could make money from something you are already doing? Blogsvertise offers you a chance to earn money from what you are already doing online: Blogging.

You love to blog, right? When you come across some great blog, website or service, you are anxious to tell your readers and give your opinion. That's what blogging is all about. Why not get paid to do what you love?

Blogsvertise connects bloggers with Advertisers who want to get their websites mentioned and talked about on the blogosphere. They understand the exciting, interactive nature of blogging and seek bloggers to write about their products and services. When you sign up with Blogsvertise you will receive tasks assigned. Simply write a blog post about the Advertiser's website and products and Blogsvertise will pay you.

The best thing about Blogsvertise (besides the paycheck) is that you may write about the internet advertiser in any way you like: review the site, be complimentary or even complain about it. They don't dictate your opinion to you, so you retain your integrity as a blogger. The only requirement is that you link to the advertiser's website three times in your blog post.

Blogsvertise makes payments via Paypal, which I consider to be a real convenience. If you're blogging and looking for new and exciting ways to make generate income from your blog, why not check out Blogsvertise?

Phone Numbers from Resumés Used by Scammers

An article at ConsumerAffairs.com highlights a danger for those who post resumés on internet job posting sites such as Monster.com. Job-seekers have been receiving phone calls from numbers such as "223-038-0000" and "223-039-0000." Sometimes the caller will not speak when the call is answered and hangs up only to call again. Other times, the caller will tell the job-seeker that they got their information from his net posting on Monster.com or another job website and may reference a job fair or possible job lead.


Authorities are not sure if this is a scam to sell phone lists to telemarketers or if there is some kind of international call charging scam involved. However, the number of people who have their resumés listed at Monster.com who have received these calls is growing.

Posting personal information on the internet means it may be available to anyone and may be accessed by scammers or other third parties. Be careful about posting personal information on any internet site.

source

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Internet and Your Job

Can your writing, blogging or postings on the Internet affect your career? The answer is yes, and the effect can be positive or very negative.

Many companies are now wise to the ways of blogging, social networking sites and chat rooms. If an employee is revealing information about his job or badmouthing the company, they can easily find that out. Anonymity is not as protective as you may think. You never know who is reading your blog. If you are blogging about your job, all it takes is one slip of something recognizable for you to be found out.

1 in 4 managers surveyed said that they research job applicants on the Internet. Blogging, social networking sites and other types of net postings could cost you the job if the prospective employer finds them to be negative or unprofessional.

Using your real name and divulging personal information can be dangerous but often an inappropriate or obscene screen name is the reason that an employer may pass on hiring you. Research on the net may also clue in a prospective employer that you may not possess all of the qualifications you claim on your resumé.

Is it possible to have a net presence and still be employable? Of course. Whether you use your own name or a pseudonym, be honest and don't say anything you wouldn't want your boss to read. In some jobs, it could be considered a plus.

Be aware though, that what happens on the net, doesn't necessarily stay on the net.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

No to Subprime Buyouts - Freddie Mac

Defaults of subprime mortgages continue to go up but there won't be any rescue from Freddie Mac, according to Freddie Mac CEO Richard Syron.

Syron said an agreement with regulators limits Freddie Mac's portfolio size and The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight instructed them to avoid loans that did not meet the standards set by regulators.

In an interview with the New York Times, Syron opined that many subprime loans should never have been made and that to buy these distressed loans would only make the situation worse in the long run.

Source