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The www.FedPrimeRate.com Personal Finance Blog and Magazine

Monday, July 19, 2021

Quantitative Easing Explained

 Quantitative Easing Explained:






How Quantitative Easing Works

How Quantitative Easing Works

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Sunday, July 11, 2021

Beware of LendingTree® Loans

www.FedPrimeRate.com: Beware of LendingTree® Loans

So, I decided to try and consolidate my credit card debt via a LendingTree® loan.

Bad idea. I did not get approved.

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They lure you in with words like "No hidden fees," "No points," "No collateral required," and "Borrow up to $35,000."

Then, when you initiate the loan request at LendingTree.com, you'll be asked to submit all kinds of personal information, like:

  • What's your employment status?

  • What do you need the money for?

  • How much do you want to borrow?

  • Estimate your credit score

  • How quickly do you need the money?

And they'll want you to submit your most sensitive personal information too, like your Social Security number, your address, your current and former employers, etc.


You'll be presented with a list of potential lenders and their terms (maximum loan amount, interest rate, monthly payment, etc.) 

So, despite having a very good FICO® credit score (780), the bank I chose, First Midwest Loan (www.firstmidwest.com) did not approve my application.

Why?  Well, 1) They did not like the fact that I am self-employed and 2) They asked me to submit 2 years of tax returns, which I did not have (The online tax preparer I used promised to save all my returns, but they didn't.) 

So, If you're going to apply for a loan online, be sure you are ready to submit your tax documents.

And if you are self-employed: good luck.

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Of course, applying for this loan resulted in a hard inquiry, so my credit scores will almost certainly experience significant dings.

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Does LendingTree sell your personal / sensitive information?

Well, there's a link at the bottom of the First Midwest Loan homepage that reads, "Do Not Sell My Personal Information."  When you click this link, you are taken to a page that says:


"...Residents of California have certain rights regarding the sale of personal information to third parties. First Midwest Bank, our affiliates, and service providers use information collected through cookies or in forms to improve the experience on our site and pages, to analyze how our site is used, and to present personalized advertising.

At any point, you can opt-out of the sale of your personal information by selecting Do Not Sell my Personal Information.

You can find more information and how to manage your privacy choices by reviewing our California Consumer Privacy Disclosures located on our Privacy information page by following the link on the bottom of any page..."
In other words, unless you visit the bank's opt out page and waste a significant amount of time filling out the opt out form, your personal / sensitive information can be sold to...Whoever....

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Borrowers: Beware

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Monday, May 17, 2021

Nearly Two Dozen Cities Are Handing Out Cash With No Conditions

Free Money
Free Money
Los Angeles is working on a plan that would offer $1,000 per month to 1,000 families using public funds.

 
Income inequality intensified by economic hardships brought about by the coronavirus pandemic has spurred cities across the country to take action by offering some residents a guaranteed income.

The idea of guaranteed income was made popular by former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who wanted to give $1,000 a month to every American.

But before Yang brought national attention to the fringe idea, Aisha Nyandoro had her own project up and running in Jackson, Miss.

Income inequality intensified by economic hardships brought about by the coronavirus pandemic has spurred cities across the country to take action by offering some residents a guaranteed income.

Nearly two dozen U.S. cities have started to adopt the idea of no-strings-attached income, which was a popular tenet of former presidential candidate and now New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang’s campaign. Yang wanted to give $1,000 every month to every American.

But before Yang brought national attention to the fringe idea, Aisha Nyandoro had her own project up and running in Jackson, Miss., NPR reported. Nyandoro started Springboard to Opportunities in 2018, which began giving $1,000 monthly to 20 mothers.

"Unfortunately, without COVID and without the pandemic and the economic downturn, I don't know if we would be having the conversations with the intensity that we are regarding guaranteed income,” Nyandoro told NPR. "But we are. So we'll take it."

Now, cities like Los Angeles are entering the mix, but a city program in LA would be different from Nyandoro’s program. LA is working on a plan that would offer $1,000 per month to 1,000 families using public funds, according to NPR.

America is changing faster than ever! Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news.

President Biden has proposed various programs outside of guaranteed income to target poverty. The president introduced the American Jobs Plan during a joint session of Congress in April, which includes free community college education for all Americans, $85 billion in federal Pell Grants and universal preschool for three- and four-year-olds.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics recorded an unemployment rate of 6.1 percent in April, but a study from researchers at The University of Chicago and The University of Notre Dame estimated the April poverty rate at a pandemic-high 11.2 percent.  

Isabel Sawhill, senior fellow in Economic Studies at The Brookings Institution and a member of former President Clinton’s welfare task force, told NPR Yang’s highly visible push was a major benefit to the movement. Sawhill noted that the burgeoning movement can be viewed as a reaction to policies under Clinton that effectively slashed payments to needy people in order to promote work-based programs.

"One of the things that surprised me is that a lot of welfare moms really don't like welfare,” Sawhill told NPR. "It's not their first choice. They'd much rather be working."

The theory of “welfare queens” became popular as Republicans voiced the idea that some women on federal welfare programs were found to be living lavish lifestyles.

"In Chicago, they found a woman who holds the record," Ronald Reagan said in a radio address in 1976, before his presidency. "She used 80 names, 30 addresses, 15 telephone numbers to collect food stamps, Social Security, veteran's benefits for four nonexistent deceased veterans husbands, as well as welfare. Her tax-free cash income alone has been running $150,000 a year."

But critics on both sides of the political aisle agree that the success of current programs can only offer so much insight into how they will translate on a larger scale and might not adequately reflect conservative concerns.

"The kinds of concerns that most conservatives have about the impact on work are not going to typically show up one year into the experiment," said Scott Winship, director of poverty studies at the American Enterprise Institute. "They're going to show up five years into the experiment, ten years into the experiment."

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Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Business Email Compromise (BEC) Scams

This one is costing both companies and individuals big $$$$.  The scams never end.

From the FBI website:

"...Business Email Compromise

Business email compromise (BEC) — also known as email account compromise (EAC) — is one of the most financially damaging online crimes. It exploits the fact that so many of us rely on email to conduct business — both personal and professional.

In a BEC scam, criminals send an email message that appears to come from a known source making a legitimate request, like in these examples:

  • A vendor your company regularly deals with sends an invoice with an updated mailing address.
  • A company CEO asks her assistant to purchase dozens of gift cards to send out as employee rewards. She asks for the serial numbers so she can email them out right away.
  • A homebuyer receives a message from his title company with instructions on how to wire his down payment.

 

Versions of these scenarios happened to real victims. All the messages were fake. And in each case, thousands—or even hundreds of thousands—of dollars were sent to criminals instead.

How Criminals Carry Out BEC Scams

A scammer might:

  • Spoof an email account or website. Slight variations on legitimate addresses (john.kelly@examplecompany.com vs. john.kelley@examplecompany.com) fool victims into thinking fake accounts are authentic.
  • Send spearphishing emails. These messages look like they’re from a trusted sender to trick victims into revealing confidential information. That information lets criminals access company accounts, calendars, and data that gives them the details they need to carry out the BEC schemes.
  • Use malware. Malicious software can infiltrate company networks and gain access to legitimate email threads about billing and invoices. That information is used to time requests or send messages so accountants or financial officers don’t question payment requests. Malware also lets criminals gain undetected access to a victim’s data, including passwords and financial account information.

If you or your company fall victim to a BEC scam, it’s important to act quickly:

  • Contact your financial institution immediately and request that they contact the financial institution where the transfer was sent.
  • Next, contact your local FBI field office to report the crime.

  • Also file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

How to Protect Yourself

  • Be careful with what information you share online or on social media. By openly sharing things like pet names, schools you attended, links to family members, and your birthday, you can give a scammer all the information they need to guess your password or answer your security questions.
  • Don’t click on anything in an unsolicited email or text message asking you to update or verify account information. Look up the company’s phone number on your own (don’t use the one a potential scammer is providing), and call the company to ask if the request is legitimate.
  • Carefully examine the email address, URL, and spelling used in any correspondence. Scammers use slight differences to trick your eye and gain your trust.
  • Be careful what you download. Never open an email attachment from someone you don't know, and be wary of email attachments forwarded to you.
  • Set up two-factor (or multi-factor) authentication on any account that allows it, and never disable it.
  • Verify payment and purchase requests in person if possible or by calling the person to make sure it is legitimate. You should verify any change in account number or payment procedures with the person making the request.
  • Be especially wary if the requestor is pressing you to act quickly..."


Business Email Compromise (BEC) Scams
Business Email Compromise (BEC) Scams


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Monday, July 20, 2020

Fast Gaining Jobs In The Wake of COVID-19

From the exceptional folks at LinkedIn: Fast Gaining Jobs In The Wake of COVID-19:

Fast Gaining Jobs In The Wake of COVID-19
Fast Gaining Jobs In The Wake of COVID-19


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Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Free Online Credit Reports Until April 2021

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the three major credit reporting agencies -- Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion -- are offering free access to online credit reports, weekly, until April 2021.


Free Online Credit Reports Until April 2021
Free Online Credit Reports Until April 2021


You can Start Here.

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Sunday, May 31, 2020

Transunion and Equifax Credit Score Update - May 29, 2020


Transunion and Equifax Credit Score Update - May 29, 2020
Transunion and Equifax Credit Score Update - May 29, 2020


I'll be doing a lot of traveling soon, and I was feeling quite insecure about my Dell laptop.  Still works, but the hard drive started to get noisy -- a strong signal of impending drive failure -- and it does this sputtering lockup thing often enough to be totally annoying. So I decided to buy a new one.

I bought another Dell for a bit over $800.  I put the purchase on my favorite rewards credit card, which has the highest credit limit in my card arsenal ($30K), with plans to pay it down to zero within two or three months.

Credit scores still looking OK.  Stay tuned.

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New Dell Laptop with Sony Wireless Headphones

New Dell Laptop with Sony Wireless Headphones



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