4 Ways Scammers Can Steal Your Tax Refund, and more bits…

4 ways scammers can steal your tax refund – A thief who has your personal information can file a tax return before you do, collect a fraudulent refund and leave you waiting for many months to get your own refund and clear up the problem. And it’s only getting worse. Last year, the IRS launched 1,492 investigations into tax-related identity theft, where criminals used stolen personal information like Social Security numbers to claim fraudulent refunds. That’s up 66% from 2012 and more than 400% from 2011.

How to Keep Your Data Private – Is your identity at risk? Americans trying to maintain their privacy these days can be forgiven for feeling a little vulnerable. Every few weeks brings news of another huge security breach compromising the credit or debit information, passwords, e-mails, or other personal data of shoppers, hotel guests, college students or employees — in short, just about everyone.

How do you plan to spend your tax refund? – Every year around this time, Americans take what is often the largest windfall they’ll get all year — their tax refunds — and put the money in the bank or use it to fix up their homes, upgrade their wardrobes or pay for a getaway. So far this year, the average check is $2,800 and more than 70 million taxpayers have already received the cash, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

Is Your Student Loan Debt ‘Worth It’? – There’s no question that education is important. The statistics are clear: over time, a college degree is still a good investment. On average, Americans with bachelor’s degrees (regardless of field), over their lifetime, will earn about $1 million more than Americans who never attend college. Right now, Americans like you have over $1.2 trillion in student loan debt. Even worse, 1 in 3 loans are in some stage of default.
How Do Lenders Decide Your Auto Loan Rate? – Buying a car can sometimes feel like a massive undertaking. Beyond the initial, often hefty price tag, there are a number of stressful and potentially expensive decisions to make about add-ons, warranties, and, most importantly, financing. We’ve received a lot of questions regarding what specifically determines the interest rates on your auto loans.

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