We’ve seen how available balances can disappear when lenders cut credit card limits, but SmartMoney points out that lenders can cut your limit below your current balance, causing all sorts of problems. They’ll send you a notice, of course, but you may not receive it for several weeks. Your best bet is to set up your own alert system. A web-based financial service (like Mint) will send you an email or SMS alert if your available balance drops below a specified threshold.
If you happened to be on Northwest Airlines Flight 51 from Frankfurt to Detroit last Tuesday, and you were one of the 17 unlucky passengers who sat near enough to Mr. Fancypants Lung Disease Person, you can look forward to a call from the CDC telling you that you need to get tested for tuberculosis. The risk of catching the disease is low, but the CDC is contacting passengers as a “cautionary move” according to the Associated Press. And if for some reason you do end up with TB, please do not get on any airplanes.
PC World notes that phishers are now targeting Steam account holders. Games are an easy target because you can make quick money off of them and the security isn’t as high as with, say, credit cards. The site that first reported this, SpywareGuide, demonstrates two examples—steamgift.com and steamverification.com—that will attempt to trick you into giving them access to your digital library of games.
Ralph discovered a mysterious $18 charge on his most recent AT&T bill. A little research turned up OSP Communications, which is apparently a front for a fraudulent biller that has repeatedly hit AT&T customers with a cramming fraud. Read Ralph’s email below, and be sure to check your own phone bill for charges like this each month.
Last Friday, Monster.com announced that their database had been attacked, and that account names, passwords, email addresses, and phone numbers had been stolen. Unfortunately, they haven’t sent out email alerts to anyone—they just put the announcement up on the security section of their site. As our tipster Erica points out, “Given people’s tendencies to reuse passwords on multiple sites (BAD!), that they aren’t actively emailing and informing members of this breach is quite irresponsible.”
Circuit City has reached an agreement with
Gordon Brothers Great American Group LLC, Hudson Capital Partners LLC, SB Capital Group LLC and Tiger Capital Group LLC to start liquidating all of its stores. Sha na na na, na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye, to the dirty, the poorly stocked, the indifferent, the incompetent, the irrelevant. [AP] (Thanks to Jeremey!)
Bad news! This uterus has been recalled because it presents a potential choking hazard. [iheartguts.com]
More killer cribs are on the loose, this time from Stork Craft. The CPSC has issued a recall for all Stork Craft cribs “with manufacturing and distribution dates between May 2000 and November 2008,” because the metal support brackets can crack and break, creating a suffocation danger. If you own one, call Stork Craft at 866-361-3321 to order a free bracket replacement kit, or click here.
The Boston Globe says that credit card users are noticing a mysterious charge for about 25 cents from Adele Services in Melville, NY. The trouble is, “There is no business by that name listed in Melville, or registered to any business anywhere in New York, for that matter.” No one knows yet whether these small charges are tests for larger unauthorized debits, or if this is the entire scam. Either way, check your statement and be sure to file a dispute—and request a new card—if you come across it.
If you have an account with Mint, and you’ve enabled mobile alerts, you can now text “Bal” or “Balance” to 696-468 (MyMint) and receive a summary of all of your accounts. [Mint]
Mars Petcare US is recalling 14 brands of dry dog and cat food made between February and July of this year, after two people who may have had contact with some of the food became infected with Salmonella. If you feed your dog or cat any of the brands listed below, here’s how to check the package code.
Rudder is a new personal finance service that differs from the dozens of other ones now available in two key ways: it presents a simplified overview of your available funds, which it calls “What’s Left,” and it delivers it (along with bill reminders and balance notifications) to your email inbox instead of requiring you to visit a website. Think of it as a highly customized “Very Short List” or “Daily Candy,” only the topic is always your current financial health.
Redbox rents DVD movies via vending machine in drugstores and supermarkets throughout the country, and on Friday they announced that they’d found credit card skimmers attached to three of their kiosks. What’s surprising is that they ‘fessed up so quickly, and in a highly public manner—they’ve got the text “SECURITY ALERT” at the top and bottom of their website, and the email they sent to their members is detailed, forthright, and helpful, and reposted in its entirety—along with photos of sample card skimmers—on their site. Attempts at identity theft no longer surprise us, but a competent handling of the issue by a company is pretty amazing.
Here’s a free idea for the taking: why doesn’t a bank (cough HSBC cough) offer the option to have text message alerts sent to a registered phone number any time a withdrawal is made from a specific account via ATM? “$120 was withdrawn at 2:51pm EST in Palo Verde, CA. Reference #293005” See how easy that was? Such exception-based reporting would drastically cut down on fraud (we’re guessing) by enlisting the help of customers to report unauthorized transactions immediately.
If you’re an HSBC customer, check your account, as there may be a wave of fraudulent activity hitting your bank. Two days ago we wrote about the guy in the U.S. who discovered his account had been drained by someone in Bulgaria. Later that day we received an email from Emily in NYC who was having similar problems, only her fraud-buddy was in California and Canada making withdrawals on her account.
Emily’s fiancé wrote back to us today with an update, and according to Emily, the HBSC Fraud Investigator who spoke to her “said that their fraud department was so overwhelmed, it was ‘still in the developing stage of how we’re going to handle’ it. I asked if she knew how many customers were affected and she stated ‘We don’t even know.'”
Texas: 14,800 pounds of stolen ground beef may be contaminated with E. coli, says the USDA. So, uh, just for now, don’t buy any ground beef from the back of a truck. [Reuters]