If you don’t live under a rock, you’ve probably heard there was yet another corporate data security breach. This time it was at Anthem Health Insurance.
If you are an Anthem member, you can get two years of free credit monitoring. Anthem will be posting details here later today. Add that to my free year of credit monitoring at Home Depot and then another from Target and I’m going on four years of unpaid credit monitoring. Thanks a lot criminals!
On that note…go check your credit.
Thanks to hackers who breached their credit card files, Home Depot is offering free credit monitoring for U.S. customers who “believe” they may have used their credit card at HD from April 2014 and on. I “believe” you did.
RueLaLa (my favorite place to buy high-end goods on the cheap) is offering a $25 account credit to new members who make a purchase by 8/25/2014. Refer friends and get another $25 credit when they use their $25 credit. Mind blowing!!!
I just logged onto Mint to do my daily account check and was alerted to a finance charge on my credit card!!! No way!!!!
I knew I paid the balance in full before the due date, as I hate to pay to borrow money (But it does happen. I like to travel and that’s not always cheap). So, I went back through the online statement and made sure my math was correct and that it wasn’t my mistake. Nope. It was theirs.
I called the number on the back of the card and the customer service guy went through the credits and debits and mentioned every possible way that the finance charge was correct. Once he had determined that, yes, the charge was actually incorrect, he reversed it. It wasn’t a huge amount, but why pay for something that I don’t owe?
It pays to go through each of your account statements, line by line, every month. Computers do make errors and those errors might be costing you money.
Because I’m an avid Costco shopper, I’m also an American Express cardholder. It’s the only credit card Costco takes. I rarely use the card anywhere else because their cashback earning level is a joke.
In an attempt to lure my card out of Costco, AmEx has introduced the AmExSync program. AmExSync lets me add special statement credit deals to my card via Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and TripAdvisor. The deals change frequently and I have to log in and choose the ones I want to use. Right now I’ll get a $5 statement credit if I spend $15 at Panera and a $25 statement credit if I spend $100 at J. Crew. The deals they offer are usually 25% back or more. Not too shabby.
Do you know what’s on your credit report? You really should. What’s on there can affect you for the rest of your life. Mortgage lenders, banks and credit card companies will check your credit report when you apply for an account and then check it regularly once your account is open. Some employers even check them before they’ll hire you. Typically the better your credit, the lower your cost of borrowing (interest rates).
The U.S. government has made it free and easy for you to know exactly what’s on your credit report. AnnualCreditReport is the official site. Do not go anywhere else for your free reports!
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.
Don’t check it from a public computer. Understand that you will be inputting your very personal info and answering verification questions to which only you should know the answers. You’ll get to see exactly what’s being reported and be able to dispute inaccuracies. You don’t get to see your credit score for free but each credit reporting company will offer to show your score for a fee.
Make checking your credit report a recurring annual task on your calendar. Print it out each year so you can compare the current report to last year’s report. Know where you stand in the world of credit.
You know I love my Target. I’ll still shop away, with very little abandon, even after the whole security breach thing. I feel like it could happen anywhere and to any retailer. It doesn’t mean you need to freak out and only pay in cash. You just have to be vigilant and check your accounts as much as possible. Use Mint to monitor your card activity. Also, use a credit card rather than a debit card. At least if there are unauthorized charges, your checking account won’t be instantly depleted.
Anyway, if you used your credit or debit card at Target between November 27 and December 15, 2013, Target is offering one free year of credit monitoring. Sign up by April 23, 2014 for an activation code. They aren’t verifying whether or not you actually used your card during that time period. Hint. Hint.