What's Your Financial Advice For A 24-Year-Old?

What's Your Financial Advice For A 24-Year-Old?

Andrew has a pretty good job, and not a lot of debt. Now he’s ready to start preparing for the next phase of his financial life, and he wants to know what advice Consumerist readers have for him.

New Credit Card Rules Won't Stop You From Making Bad Decisions

New Credit Card Rules Won't Stop You From Making Bad Decisions

Barbara Kiviat in Time takes a look at the one aspect of credit card debt that no amount of government reform is going to fix: the human brain’s tendency to fail miserably when it comes to making decisions about spending.

Should You Detox Your Colon?

Should You Detox Your Colon?

Is your colon all gummed up with old food that you can’t seem to get rid of? Well, if you think it is—probably because some advertisement told you so—there are plenty of colon detox products on the market. In the June print issue (and online), Consumer Reports looks at the possible health benefits of colon detoxing and determines that it’s not necessary, mainly because waste doesn’t build up in the intestine in a way that would require some sort of flushing in the first place.

Four Unexpected Situations Where Bad Credit Hurts

Four Unexpected Situations Where Bad Credit Hurts

If you aren’t planning on getting a big loan in the next couple of years, you probably shouldn’t be worried about your credit score right? Wrong.

Getting Crafty For Fun Holiday Frugality

Getting Crafty For Fun Holiday Frugality

Personal finance blogger JD Roth is on a mission to help us all save a bundle during the holidays. First he shared a ton of frugal Christmas ideas, and now he’s posted a list of 34 gifts you can make yourself. A few of our favorites include:

What It's Like To Be A Flight Attendant

What It's Like To Be A Flight Attendant

“Who would have thought, after 30 years, that we’d be a flying 7-Eleven,” Becky Gilbert, a three-decade veteran of the industry told me during a break in our training session in Fort Worth.

Online 'Security Questions' Can Be Too Easy To Crack

Online 'Security Questions' Can Be Too Easy To Crack

The ease with which a student was able to reset Sarah Palin’s Yahoo email password highlights a vulnerability of so-called “challenge questions” designed to verify your identity: if the questions are about personal details from your life, there’s a risk that somewhere out there on the web, that info is visible to the public. That might be a realistic risk only for public figures, but it’s also possible that friends or family members could answer your questions with a little guesswork. If you want better security, make up fake answers that you’ll remember.

Give The Gift Of College For Your Next Birthday Party

Give The Gift Of College For Your Next Birthday Party

Thanks to state-sponsored 529 plans, friends and family can finally contribute to college savings funds without drowning under long forms and boring paperwork.

Ask For A Raise At The Right Time

Ask For A Raise At The Right Time

Personal finance blog Free Money Finance suggests that employees can improve their incomes by asking for a raise, but you have to make sure to time it right.

FreeCreditReport.com Doesn't Practice Good Security Hygiene

FreeCreditReport.com Doesn't Practice Good Security Hygiene

You’d think a credit monitoring service—even one as skeevy as freecreditreport.com—would take great pains to keep up the appearance of security and confidentiality. You’d be wrong. When Brian called to cancel their service he was asked to call out his social security number and his mother’s maiden name, even though it turned out they could easily access his account and cancel his service with only his phone number and birthday. Oh, and the first CSR hung up on him, but (sadly) that’s not really very newsworthy anymore.

Collection Agency's Server Stolen; Had 700,000 Accounts On It

Collection Agency's Server Stolen; Had 700,000 Accounts On It

Indiana broke its own record for computer security breaches last month, when a server containing personal data on 700,000 people was stolen from the offices of Central Collection Bureau, a debt collection agency. The stolen data included names, personal billing information, last known addresses, and social security numbers of people who hold delinquent accounts with a variety of companies, including utilities and hospitals. The company said the server was behind “three locked doors” and “was protected by two passwords, but was not encrypted.”

Data On Over 40,000 Patients Stolen From NYC Hospital

Data On Over 40,000 Patients Stolen From NYC Hospital

The New York Times is reporting this morning that an unnamed employee stole personal data on over 40,000 patients from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The theft “occurred over the past several years and included patients’ names, phone numbers and Social Security numbers.” As we’ve come to grimly expect in these cases, the hospital was made aware of the theft in January, and announced it publicly on Friday after an internal audit. “We obviously deeply regret that this has happened,” said the hospital’s spokeswoman, Ms. Manners. She also said that investigators are “looking into the possibility that the theft could be part of a larger criminal scheme.”

Maryland's Dental HMO Security Breach Was One Of Nearly 40 In The State Since January

Maryland's Dental HMO Security Breach Was One Of Nearly 40 In The State Since January

A few days ago we linked to a Baltimore Sun article that investigated the recent accidental release of private patient data online by The Dental Network. Now the reporter who broke the story, Liz F. Kay, has contacted us with news that “this was the largest of nearly 40 breaches affecting Maryland residents” since a disclosure law went into effect in January:

Thirty-nine businesses or groups have reported losses of sensitive information involving about 87,500 Maryland residents in the three months since a state law took effect requiring that people be informed of such incidents, records show.

http://consumerist.com/2008/04/01/were-you-affected-by/

Were you affected by The Dental Network’s security breach in Maryland earlier this year? Last week we didn’t have the address for the official “what to do now” website, but now we do: lds.thedentalnet.org. (Thanks to Liz!)

Identifight Tells You What Sites Your Email Address Is Publicly Linked To

Identifight Tells You What Sites Your Email Address Is Publicly Linked To

Matthew wrote in to complain about a new website called Spokeo, which sounds like a stalker’s dream: it sucks up all the entries in your address book, then returns a Big Brothery smorgasbord of all the publicly accessible accounts and services linked to each email address, along with updates any time something happens. It might surprise you to see just how easy it is for someone to assemble a picture of your Internet footprint with only an email address.
 
Don’t like the sound of that? Luckily for you, someone has already been inspired to follow Spokeo’s model and create a tool—Identifight—that lets you track your own email address to see what shows up, so you can patch up privacy leaks.

CareFirst Dental HMO Exposes SSNs, Says You Should "Take It Seriously"

CareFirst Dental HMO Exposes SSNs, Says You Should "Take It Seriously"

Last month, The Dental Network—a dental HMO owned by CareFirst BlueCross Blue Shield—discovered it had accidentally revealed personal data and Social Security numbers online for about 75,000 of its customers. It told the members about the screw-up three weeks later. “The company says that to its knowledge, no one has misused the information. But it says ‘the risk … should be taken seriously,'” and it’s offering affected members one year of credit monitoring. After that, as you know, the thread of identity theft plummets. Wait, what?

California's Consumer Data Law Isn't Working Too Well

California's Consumer Data Law Isn't Working Too Well

The “Shine the Light” law passed in California in 2005 requires all businesses to tell customers who they sell their private data to, and to provide a no-cost way to remove your name, address, and phone number from their lists. Unfortunately, it’s not being followed by more than half of the companies tested in a new report: “The California Public Interest Research Group found only one third of the survey participants received responses from companies consistent with the law.”

Keep A Police-Accessible Record Of Your Serial Numbers With JustStolen

Keep A Police-Accessible Record Of Your Serial Numbers With JustStolen

JustStolen offers a free online database where you can store information about your personal property—”Any descriptive information can be entered into the database including make, model, color, serial number and any thing else you can think of. You can even upload photographs of your items.” The company makes its data available for free to police departments everywhere, so they can locate the owners of recovered items by (for example) typing in a serial number. It’s based in Boston but, since it’s an Internet company, it can be used by consumers and police departments no matter where they’re located.