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As children increasingly get targeted for identity theft, companies are offering new protections -- for a monthly fee.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 27, 2012 2:13PM

This post comes from Alyssa Abkowitz at partner siteSmartMoney.


Axton Betz had just rented her first off-campus apartment in West Lafayette, Ind., when the power company told her she needed to pay a $100 deposit to turn on the electricity. Betz, who was 19 at the time, assumed they required the large deposit because she had no credit history. But, for safe measure, she requested a copy of her credit report.


Image: Spy (© Photodisc Green/Getty Images)"I thought it would be just one page on student loans," Betz says. Instead, she found 10 pages of defaulted credit cards -- showing someone had been using her identity since she was 11 years old.


Stealing Social Security numbers to buy cars, apply for credit and obtain driver's licenses has now shifted to a new demographic: those under age 18. Credit companies and other firms are responding by offering monthly services promising identity-theft protection for children.


A new incentive program for mortgage principal reductions might help more struggling Americans keep their homes.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 27, 2012 1:10PM

This post comes from Brian O'Connell at partner siteMainStreet.


Freddie Mac is hinting that government-sponsoredhome mortgages may soon offer a big "out" for troubled homeowners -- reduced principal on their mortgages. Is it too good to be true? Maybe not.


Image: Couple with home (© Stockbyte/SuperStock)There's no debating the fact that mortgage foreclosures, after a brief respite, are creeping upward again.


According to RealtyTrac, foreclosures could rise by 25% in 2012 as banks and mortgage lenders clamp down on delinquent homeowners now that the "robo-signing" scandal is in the rearview mirror.


We'd go back to a deeply flawed system that leaves millions uninsured and facing ruinous health care costs.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 27, 2012 1:08PM

This post comes from Rick Newman at partner site U.S. News & World Report. on MSN MoneyIf the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate in President Barack Obama's health care law, it could be the loose thread that unravels the whole ball of string.


Image: Pills (© Corbis)Since the mandate is meant to expand the pool of people covered by health insurance, it makes other parts of the law possible, such as subsidies for people who can't afford insurance and a ban on denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. Without the mandate, those provisions might be unsustainable and the whole law could effectively become moot.


If that happens, Republicans would gladly declare victory. But we'd revert to a health care system that was deeply flawed to start with and is now arguably in worse shape than when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act became law in 2010.


Bank of America's 'mortgage-to-lease' trial gives select homeowners an escape from debt troubles while they rent their former homes for a reasonable price.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 27, 2012 10:47AM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.


Bank of America, which owns a million mortgages and services an additional 9 million, is experimenting with a new alternative to foreclosure called "mortgage-to-lease." A select group of defaulting owners is getting the chance to turn in the keys to their homes in exchange for having their outstanding mortgage debt forgiven. They can live on in the homes as renters, at or below market rental rates, for up to three years.


Health insurance policies -- and their premiums -- vary widely. But you have more control over your costs and coverage than you might think.

By Stacy Johnson Mar 26, 2012 5:26PM

This post comes from Brandon Ballenger at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyLast week was the second anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- "health care reform" to its supporters, "Obamacare" to detractors. This week, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing legal arguments about the law and may strike none, part, or all of it.

That makes this a good time to give your health insurance a checkup. If the cost of your coverage is entirely borne by your employer, you should still understand your policy. And if you cover the cost yourself, you're already aware of the bite it takes our of your budget. Learning what you're paying for and how it works allows you to make decisions that can lower the cost.


An 83-year-old woman wants medical expenses plus punitive damages for inadequate warnings on the Long Island store's modern glass front.

By Giselle Smith Mar 26, 2012 4:25PM

An 83-year-old woman who broke her nose when she walked into the glass wall of an Apple store is suing the company for $1 million.


Evelyn Paswall wants $75,000 in medical expenses and the remainder in punitive damages, according to news reports.


At fault is the design of Apple's stores, attorney Derek T. Smith told the New York Post. "Apple wants to be cool and modern and have the type of architecture that would appeal to the tech crowd," he said. "But on the other hand, they have to appreciate the danger that this high-tech modern architecture poses to some people."


FOMO is escalating because of the popularity of social media. Here's how to tell if your case is excessive.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 26, 2012 1:42PM

This post comes from April Dykman at Get Rich Slowly. 


Get Rich Slowly on MSN MoneyWhen I was in the fourth grade, I had a bad case of FOMO.


I contracted it when I realized that all of my classmates (or so it seemed) had Nickelodeon, and I didn't. They talked about cartoons and television shows watched the night before -- something about a game show where the losing contestant was "slimed."


One day, I decided to take this to the top.


Take a lesson from China, where luxury cars can cost millions of dollars -- and 60% to 90% of cars are involved in accidents every year

By MSN Money Partner Mar 26, 2012 1:18PM

This post comes from Des Toups at partner


Bus drivers in the Chinese city of Jinghua have been issued a spotter's guide that helps them identify badges on expensive automobiles. The guide features logos and price tags for such marques as Bugatti, Maybach, Ferrari, Bentley, Aston Martin and Lamborghini, CarNewsChina reports.


Image: Insurance adjuster assessing damage to car © Echo/Cultura RF/Getty ImagesThe message to drivers: Don't hit the expensive stuff.


It's a start.


Chinese roads are believed to be the world's deadliest, and its developing insurance system -- which has just invited U.S. companies to enter the fray -- typically covers a driver's liability up to only about $32,000.



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