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Tech Support Calling? Don't Answer!

Authorities warn that today’s biggest scam is the supposed call from “Tech support.” Fraudsters are racking up nearly $460 every 10 seconds for a yearly haul of $1.5 billion.

Here’s how the scam works.

You get a call from somebody claiming to be from “Microsoft,” “Windows” (a giveaway as Windows is the name of the operating system, not the company) or an anti-virus software company such as Norton or Symantec. The caller claims that software on your computer is sending them messages that you have very dangerous viruses on your computer. They can remove the viruses if you give them remote access to your computer.

What that remote access will really do is give the scam artists access to all your vital information, account numbers and passwords.

Here’s what you need to know:

1.) Companies like Microsoft and Symantec will never call you out of the blue. They just don’t.

2.) Anti-virus software is designed to catch and remove viruses all by themselves. There is no anti-virus software that alerts the home office and then requires a live tech support person to remove it.

Don’t fall for the scam. Either hang up or do what we do. Ask the caller if they think their mothers would be proud of how they’re spending their days as a thief who hides their true identity and tries to rip off old ladies.

Avoid These Vacation Time Scams

Have you received a phone call, text or email promising you a cruise or vacation getaway that sounds too good to be true?

Beware, it probably is.

If you receive an invite for a resort stay, airline tickets or other vacation come on via email, do not click on the link. Often times all you’ll get is malware. Or you may have to endure really hard-sell presentations for pricey travel and vacation clubs. And we don’t need to tell you never fall for any “free” offer that requires you to give up credit card numbers or personal information.

The Key to Home Safety

Experts warn against hiding a key in some “secret” place outside your home as a hedge against you losing or forgetting to bring along your house key.

Burglars know all the places people typically hide such keys and could be inside your house in seconds. Instead, security experts recommend leaving a duplicate with a neighbor you trust or a friend that lives nearby.

Being Debt Free Could Hurt You

If you’ve managed to eliminate debt for your life, good for you! But before you cut up ALL your credit cards, we have something you may need to think about.

Leaving without credit can actually have a negative impact on your credit score. If you don’t have any debt, your credit will simply disappear.

Why is that a bad thing? Without a credit score, you may wind up pay higher rates for things like auto and home insurance. You may have trouble leasing a car or singing up for cable, internet or cell phone service. And you’ll have real trouble should you ever need something like a car loan.

Experts recommend that you keep at least one card and use it regularly for smaller purchases, such as gas or groceries. If you pay off the card promptly, you won’t amass any debt, plus you’ll keep your credit score high.

Interest Rate Check-Up

Interest rates can work for us (when we’re saving or investing) or against us (when we’re buying cars or using our credit cards).

Here are some quick tips to make sure you getting the best rates in either case.

Car Loans: The rate you pay when you pay things like a new car depends on your credit score. If your score is above 740, you should be able to qualify for the lowest rates. Check your score (many credit card companies now furnish your score every month along with their invoice).

If you want to improve your score, visit MyFICO.com for helpful suggestions.

Mortgages: If it’s been a while since you last checked, find out what rate you’re currently paying. If you’re paying 1% or more over the rates banks are currently offering, it may be time to get with your bank or other lender and see if refinancing might lower your rate.

Credit Cards: If you’re a disciplined shopper, it can pay to take advantage of those 0% interest offers on balance transfers that credit card companies frequently offer. Just be aware that the transfer typically involves an up front interst charge, usually 2-3% of the balance being transferred. But if you can pay it off in the time allotted in the offer, you’ll still save far more interest.

Also it pays to shop around when getting credit cards as they can charge asignificantly different rates. To research rates and what card(s) might be best for you, visit credit.com or cardratings.com.

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