Equifax Data Breach

You may have heard about Equifax Credit Bureau in the news lately. Equifax is one of the three largest credit reporting agencies in the United States.

Last week they announced that their systems had been compromised several months ago by cyber criminals who may have obtained personal information such as:

  • Name
  • Social security number
  • Address
  • Birth Date
  • Credit card information

Equifax indicated that debit cards were not exposed, so it’s very unlikely that criminals have the ability to withdraw funds from a checking account.

Equifax estimates nearly 143 million consumers may be affected by this data breach.

Check the Equifax website to see if your information could be affected

You can check to see if your information was impacted by visiting the Equifax website.

If it was, you can enroll in complimentary identity theft protection and credit-file-monitoring through Equifax. Please read the details on Equifax’s website to ensure you are aware of the legal conditions of the agreements involved with this monitoring program.

If you are concerned about future data breaches and/or identify theft, we recommend considering the following: www.identitytheft.gov/

The federal government provides resources to help you report and recover from identity theft, please visit www.identitytheft.gov/

Or, you can call the three credit reporting companies directly at:

  • Equifax: 1-800-349-9960
  • Experian: 1-888-397-3742
  • TransUnion: 1-888-909-8872

The information contained herein is not intended to be personal legal advice. Nothing herein should be relied upon as such. The views expressed are for commentary purposes only and do not take into account any individual personal or financial considerations. First Federal Bank of Kansas City may provide hyperlinks to third-party web sites as a convenience, but we do not control third-party web sites and are not responsible for the contents of any linked-to, third-party web sites or any hyperlink in a linked-to web site. First Federal Bank of Kansas City does not endorse, recommend or approve any third-party web site hyperlinked from the Website. First Federal Bank of Kansas City will have no liability to any entity for the content or use of the content available through such hyperlink(s).

Here is the link to the above article on First Federal Bank’s website – http://www.ffbkc.com/financial_success/equifax_data_breach.aspx.

All the best,

Lee McLain

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Schooling College Students about Financial Responsibility from Allos Investment Advisors

Earlier today I received a great email from Allos Investment Advisors that I thought I would share with my readers.  With friends of mine taking their kids to college right now, I agree this is a very timely piece and helpful in guiding young people on a path to financial success.

Classrooms at universities and colleges across the nation are now opening for fall semester. You might have a child, grandchild, niece or nephew who is all set to spend their semester studying, socializing, and living on their own. You have prepared them for college life by teaching them how to grocery shop, prepare simple meals, and do laundry. Often, however, college students head to school with little knowledge about making a budget and managing money.   A National Student Financial Wellness Study, the first of its kind released in 2015 by Ohio State University, showed college students’ biggest worries were not exams or terrible roommates. Their biggest worries revolved around money. A little more than 72% of the students surveyed said they felt stressed about personal finances, monthly expenses, or whether they would be able to pay for college at all.   A 2016 survey found that among college students surveyed, 71% said they learned about money management from their parents. So take a few minutes and sit down with your college student today and share these tips. Your advice could help them not only during their college days but throughout their lives.  

Financial Advice for Your College-Bound Students

Help your college student set up necessary accounts. College students likely will need at least checking and savings accounts. Start teaching them good habits now and ask them to research banking institutions that would be convenient for them to get to from campus or their residence.

Establish clear financial responsibilities. Determine who will be responsible for which expenses. If you are planning to take care of bills such as auto and health insurance, or cell service, be clear with your student that he or she is responsible for living expenses including rent, utilities, groceries, and other household costs. 

Wean them off your bank accounts. It might be tempting to continue paying your college student’s expenses to help them get a strong start, but that does not teach them to be self-sufficient; it is likely to make them more dependent on you. 

Decide whether a credit card is appropriate. Credit cards often give college students the most trouble. Credit cards are an effective way to establish early credit history, but it is common for students to run up balances without fully understanding how credit cards work. If your student gets a credit card, be sure they understand how credit cards work and how important it is to pay off the balance every month. 

Will your college-bound student work during college? Holding down a part-time job while going to school has plenty of advantages. It helps cover living expenses or it gives them a chunk of money to save each month. It also makes it easier for them to manage money and gain valuable work experience. And finally, it looks great on their resume after they graduate and go looking for a job in their field.

It is never too late to sit down with your college-bound child, grandchild, niece or nephew and talk frankly with them about the importance of being financially responsible.  

We are here to help you each step of the way, so please let us know if you have any questions about these tips or the bigger strategies that are helping guide you to your financial future.

Sources Available Upon Request

Again, my thanks to Allos Investment Advisors in Overland Park, Kansas for the article.  Click on their name to go to their home page and learn more about them.

Any questions, please let me know.

All the best,

Lee McLain

3 Mistakes That Will Tank Your Credit Score

Great, short article and I’ve seen the damage these mistakes can cause. Don’t do the first one and you would be surprised by how much the second one can cost your score.

https://www.cbinsight.com/3-mistakes-will-tank-credit-score.html

If you have any questions, please let me know.

All the best,

Lee McLain

Identity Theft

Here are 5 ways to protect yourself from identity theft and unpleasant work to fix your credit and get your money back. These are all basic and we have all heard them before, but how many of us are really doing them?  Also, the 5th item is so important some banks will compensate a higher interest rate on your deposits if you check your account online – that should tell you something.  The article is “5 Ways to Thwart Identity Theft” by John Pettit at CBINSIGHT.COM and the link is https://www.cbinsight.com/5-ways-thwart-identity-theft.html.  Finally, a great, free way to check your credit is www.annualcreditreport.com.

All the best,

Lee McLain