In our weekly Fine Print Alert we call out news from the financial community and shine a spotlight on any sneaky changes in the fine print. We also share our favorite reads from the week.
FINE PRINT ALERT
Hackers Steal One Billion Dollars From Banks…
Kaspersky Lab, a Russian security company, released a report that alleged a global crime ring stole up to $1 billion from banks globally. The criminals used phishing and other methods to gain access to bank systems. Over time, they would learn about the internal control processes of the banks, which included isolating the process weaknesses. They would then proceed to siphon off funds, but never too much from any one bank. The amount of money stolen from each bank was typically less than $10 million. The crooks targeted banks around the world, including in Europe and the Americas. But they didn’t stop with the banks. 28.8% of phishing attacks were aimed at stealing financial data from customers.
Learn how to protect yourself against phishing scams here.
Student Loan Defaults Continue to Rise…
This week the New York Fed released its report on household debt and credit for the fourth quarter of 2014. Student loans held the highest level of delinquency with 11.3% of student loans being 90 days or more delinquent. Students loans now have the highest delinquency level of any form of household debt. Because it is nearly impossible for people to eliminate student loans in bankruptcy, we are seeing the creation of an “ever-increasing pool of delinquent debt.”
American Express Loses Lawsuit…
American Express has always charged merchants higher interchange and sets strict rules for merchants who accept their credit cards. One of those rules prohibits merchants from favoring one credit card company over another. A small store accepting both MasterCard and American Express was not able to encourage people to pay with their MasterCard, even though the costs to the merchant would be lower. The court believed that these non-discrimination rules prevented competition, and remedies will be launched against American Express in the near term.
MAGNIFYMONEY IN THE NEWS
- Kiplinger: When Customer Loyalty Doesn’t Pay
- Main Street: 3 Things People With Debt Need to Know About Balance Transfer Credit Cards
OUR FAVORITE READS
Rethinking Money, Not as Good or Bad but as a Tool What if we start treating money like a tool? Tools are meant to be used. They’re not meant to sit on a shelf and collect dust. Instead of thinking in terms of saving and spending money, I started to think of using it. Carl Richards explains his new way of thinking in The New York Times.
How To Invest Your First $5,000 Since the Great Recession in 2008, many people lost their stomachs for investing. It can seem like a scary thing, reserved for the world of Wall Street and financiers. But that doesn’t mean that millennials shouldn’t get involved. Whether you want to buy a house in 10 years or save for your retirement in 30, it is important to start now. Alexandra Talty shares expert opinions on how to begin investing in the stock market on Forbes.
Goodbye Sallie Mae – I realized I needed to get out of debt after I finished with my Finance MBA program. I knew I was just months away from receiving my first monthly student loan bill, and I knew it was going to be expensive. I didn’t want to feel like I was drowning in student loan debt forever, so I created an action plan to pay off my student loans as fast as I possibly could. Chenell of Bright Cents shares Michelle Schroeder’s tale of dumping $38,000 of student loan debt in 7 months.