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This basic piece of information is obviously hard to keep secret, but there are some steps you can take to make thieves' lives harder.

By Credit.com Mon 1:41 PM

A man types on a computer keyboard in a cyber attack © Kacper Pempel/ReutersBy Adam Levin, Credit.com http://www.credit.com/


Your personally identifiable information (PII) is all around you, and much of it is impossible to protect. While your driver’s license and Social Security numbers are a significant part of the equation, you can take certain protective measures to keep those from prying eyes. 

 

Unfortunately, that's not the case when it comes to more visible forms of PII -- like your birthday, email address, home address and even your name. There are criminals out there who see you as their day job, and they know how to use the most easily obtained pieces of your PII, like your name, to commit crimes.


The fact is, most everyone will experience some form of identity-related compromise during their lifetime. Yes, you most likely will become a victim. The crimes are often hard to detect, but they happen all the time, and there is absolutely no service out there that can give you complete protection from identity-related crimes.

 

Fewer cars are stolen than in decades, but that's no comfort if you own one of thieves' perennial favorites, like a Honda Accord or Chevy pickup.

By MSN Money producer Mon 12:48 PM

Silver Honda Accord © Q-Images/AlamyBy Des Toups, Insurance.com Insurance.com


The good news: Car thefts continue to drop. The National Insurance Crime Bureau reports in its annual Hot Wheels report that the number of stolen vehicles reached its lowest since 1967.


The bad news: That’s still a car stolen every 45 seconds – and the vast majority of them are older models that are easier to steal and whose owners may not be covered by comprehensive car insurance.


Looking at preliminary data for 2013, the FBI predicts a reduction in national vehicle thefts of 3.2 percent from 2012, to fewer than 700,000. Compare that with 1991, the peak year: 1,661,738.

 

With a little patience and effort, you can repair your own credit without soliciting the assistance of a credit repair company.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 6:10 PM

By Allison Martin,  Money Talks News    Money Talks News

 

You've managed to get back on your feet after a financial disaster, and you've finally reached the last hurdle: the credit repair process.


It's no secret that your credit needs to be rebuilt, but the thought of undertaking what seems to be such a complicated task frightens you. Should you go it alone to save money, or place the task in the hands of a professional who's far more experienced than you are?

 

To cut costs more students are living at home and picking two-year programs and in-state schools.

By MSN Money producer Fri 2:46 PM

Diploma, mortarboard cap and cash © zimmytws/Getty ImagesBy Katie Simon, LearnVest  LearnVest

 

A college education is supposedly more valuable than ever -- so families are sacrificing everything to make sure their kids can attend their dream schools, right?

 

Not quite.

 

Many families are choosing to forego those dream schools in favor of more affordable options. In fact, over two-thirds of students and parents dismiss certain college choices because they’re too expensive. That's a big increase from 2009 when, even at the height of a recession, only 56 percent of families said "no" because of cost.

 

According to a study by Sallie Mae, 34 percent of families surveyed chose two-year programs, cutting the cost of school by nearly half, from an average $21,072 per year at a four-year institution to $11,012 per year at a two-year college. Meanwhile, 69 percent of families are taking advantage of discounted tuition at in-state schools.

 

Do your homework to make sure you don't get swindled or stuck with higher interest rates.

By Credit.com Fri 1:13 PM
College student with laptop sitting on library floor. © Hero Images/Getty ImagesBy Gerri Detweiler, Credit.com Credit.com 

When Johnnie was trying to figure out what to do about his student loans that were in collections, he got more than the runaround. He was almost misled into making what could have easily been a costly, bad decision.


Johnnie was thinking of getting a personal loan to consolidate about $12,000 in federal student loan debt that had gone into collections. He was in the process of rehabilitating his loans to get back on track, but the student loan debt collector made it sound like taking the rehabilitation route would bring Johnnie nothing but misery in the future.

 

He wrote in a comment on the Credit.com blog:

I was told my loans can be bought and sold at (the lender's) discretion and that I would have to randomly renegotiate my terms. That bothers me a lot. Should I just constantly deal with this ridiculous flip-flop of lenders selling my loans off and always renegotiating my payments and interest constantly changing, or will it be OK to pay them with something I can get set in stone?

What Johnnie says the lender told him was flat-out wrong.

 

Sales of jeans are down by 6% in the US as clothing choices move toward active and casual.

By MSN Money Partner Thu 5:59 PM

Rack of blue denim jeans © Joanna Pecha/Getty ImagesBy Krystal Steinmetz, Money Talks News http://www.moneytalksnews.com/

 

Denim is singing the blues.


Sales of the American-born fashion staple have plummeted, according to NBC News. The NPD Group, a market research company, told NBC that domestic jean sales declined by 6 percent last year.


"A 6 percent drop may not seem like much, but it's rare for denim to take such a dramatic drop. It's a commodity business, we buy it and replenish it all the time," said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst of The NPD Group.


Jeans have been an American uniform for decades. But Americans' love affair with jeans isn't what it used to be. Women prefer "athleisure" clothing these days, a comfort-based casual clothing that includes yoga pants, leggings and jeggings. NBC said:

 

Some restrictions may apply. But you can still get in absolutely free at plenty of places during Sept. 27 event.

By MSN Money Partner Thu 4:47 PM

Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. © Rick Friedman/CorbisBy Donna Freedman, Money Talks News Money Talks News

 

More than 1,500 museums in all 50 states will be open free of charge on Saturday, Sept. 27, aka "Museum Day Live!" That is, they'll be open to those who take advantage of a Smithsonian magazine offer: a ticket good for two people to any participating museum.


Register online and a ticket will be emailed to you. Then just print it out and take it to the venue of your choice. All participants also get a one-year digital subscription to Smithsonian magazine; you can opt out if you like.


That's one sweet deal. But it's not the only way to get in free at museums -- or at zoos, aquariums, science centers and children's museums.


Do some restrictions apply? Naturally. But still: Free admission!

 

When dollar amounts are the same, we're more likely to say yes to renting -- and less likely to compare options or gather information.

By Credit.com Thu 1:47 PM
A house for rent sign © Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty ImagesBy Christine DiGangi, Credit.com
Credit.com

Consumers exhibit more reckless behavior when deciding to rent something rather than buy it, a new study out of the University of Maryland finds. The lack of commitment required when deciding to rent a product leads people to consider fewer options, gather less information and settle for a less appealing product than they would when buying, according to a release about the study.


Anastasiya Pocheptsova, the study's author and a professor at Maryland's Smith School of Business, worked with researchers from Columbia and Yale universities to conduct studies of people's behaviors while considering renting and buying the same products. Shoppers more often chose to buy when they had the choice of buying or renting, but when an item was presented only with an option to buy or only with an option to rent, more people chose to get the product when it was framed as a rental. The price of renting and buying was the same.

 

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