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Possible data breach at Title Company: First American Financial

Possible data breach at Title Company: First American Financial

As your Credit Union continues to focus on you, our member family, and remain the trusted financial advisors you have relied on for guidance through the years we feel that keeping you informed is our duty. On May 24th it was reported that First American Title Insurance Company (First American) may have exposed Non-Public Information (NPI) of potentially millions of consumers. Records including bank account numbers and statements, mortgage and tax records, social security numbers, wire transaction receipts, and drivers license images were available without authentication to anyone with a web browser, according to the Krebs on Security report. The report added that there was no information on whether fraudsters had been aware of the exposure. If the investigation shows that any confidential information has been compromised, the company will notify and provide credit monitoring services to the affected consumers. First American is providing incident updates at here. This potential data breach does not impact Power Financial Credit Union members who have settled with our recommended business partner, as they are not affiliated with First American. Here are some other steps to take to help protect yourself after a data breach: • Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — for free — by visiting annualcreditreport.com. Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft. Visit IdentityTheft.gov to find out what to do. • Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing...
Track Spending More Effectively with Money Management

Track Spending More Effectively with Money Management

Tracking your spending used to be an ongoing and neverending task. To live is to spend and that spending has to be tracked somehow. Times change and pen and paper, once your most reliable option, were made obsolete with the introduction of computers, excel, and the game-changing spreadsheet. While spreadsheets brought with them some much needed added features like built-in calculation and a customizable grid, it still required diligent manual input and oversight. With the increasing connection between your financial information and your phone, it is now possible to automate expenditure tracking to a degree of detail that would have previously required cutting your hours back to part-time. Furthermore, this technology can boil those trends down into easy-to-digest graphs and charts that give you insight and suggestions on your spending habits. With optional email or text alerts backing it all up, you’ll never feel out of the loop when it comes to your accounts. That’s why we reached out to an industry leader for help in making this a reality. We don’t think you should be wasting your time stressing lines on a spreadsheet or staring at a computer screen poring over your daily/weekly/monthly/yearly spending. We are proud to provide Money Management to help you effortlessly monitor your spending easier and more effectively. Money Management is a personal financial wellness tool designed to help you track all account activity in a streamlined and easy to manage platform. We chose to offer Money Management after experiencing its all-encompassing financial summarization functionality. This functionality allows you to track spending, create a budget, and assists in improving overall financial well-being. It’s free...
Medical Expenses Have Gone Crazy. You Don’t Have to Do the Same

Medical Expenses Have Gone Crazy. You Don’t Have to Do the Same

In the United States, healthcare has grown into a $3 trillion industry. That’s $3,000,000,000,000. That’s a lot of zeros—so many that for most of us, the number doesn’t even seem real. But if we break it down to a personal level, that means the average American spends more than $11,000 per year on healthcare costs. If that doesn’t sound troublesome, consider the fact that the annual cost of healthcare for a family of four tops $28,000. With the median household income coming in at $63,000 per year, that means the average US family can wind up spending more than 40% of their annual income on medical-related expenses. That’s steep. Even with employer-provided health insurance, which covers roughly 56% of the US population, the employee contribution and out-of-pocket deductibles can leave families buried under an avalanche of medical debt. It’s hard to understand how an industry responsible for personal care can seem so unconcerned when it comes to the financial state of its patients. But with a growing number of hospitals being operated as investor-owned, for-profit businesses, return on investment often seems more important than compassionate patient care. Difficult Times Call for Creative Approaches As medical bills continue to climb, the corresponding rise in medical collection agencies only perpetuates the healthcare industry’s callous reputation. In a conversation about the cold, impersonal nature of medical collections, Elizabeth Rosenthal, author of An American Sickness, observed, “…to them [collection agencies], a bill is a bill is a bill. They don’t care if it’s for somebody’s heart transplant…or if someone spent a lot more money on a Rolex watch that they couldn’t afford.” Over...
Credit Card Regret: It’s More Common Than You Think

Credit Card Regret: It’s More Common Than You Think

“Regrets, I’ve had a few. But then again, too few to mention.” – Frank Sinatra If you’re the kind of person who prefers to play it safe, there’s a good chance that, like Ol’ Blue Eyes, your list of regrets is mercifully short. But if you’re the adventurous type who’s more likely to yell “YOLO!” than take the time to consider pros and cons, you may have made more unfortunate decisions than you care to admit. Either way, it’s safe to say we all have regrets. And if we’re being honest, some of them are probably related to finances. Going into credit card debt is one of the most common financial regrets. According to a recent NerdWallet survey, “About 6 in 7 Americans (86%) who have or had credit card debt say they regret it.” With numbers that high, it’s safe to assume most of us would make different credit decisions if given a chance. Have you ever signed up for a new credit card and immediately wished you hadn’t? If so, the following reasons will probably ring a bell. If not, pay close attention. You can learn a lot from others’ mistakes. Common Reasons for Credit Card Regret If you’ve ever opened a new credit card account and felt that distinctive twinge that tells you it was a bad decision, there’s a pretty good chance you filled out that credit application for the wrong reason. Bad reasons come in a variety of forms. Here are a few of the most common: You wanted that sign-up swag. – T-shirts. Koozies. Collapsible drink coolers. It doesn’t matter what it is;...