March 7, 2014
I LIKE TO hear from readers, especially those with specific questions about financial issues. Here are five: Q: Given the increased frequency with which credit cards are being compromised, I wonder if using a secure credit card is a safer way to shop online. My reasoning is that a secured credit card requires the user to deposit money into a bank account. Because this account wouldn't be linked to my checking, it seems more secure. Should the account become compromised, the only risk is what money you've already earmarked for online shopping.
January 27, 2014 |
PHILADELPHIA To illustrate his point, Spencer Ackerman ordered the panel moderator to hand over her wallet, from which he then withdrew a credit card. "I'm going to make a little indentation copy of it," Ackerman, the national security editor for the Guardian newspaper, told about a hundred in the audience at the American Library Association's annual meeting at the Convention Center in Philadelphia on Saturday. "Now, I have an impression of her credit card. Have I taken something from her when I took the card or only when I use the impression to make a purchase?"
January 20, 2014 |
Credit-card debt can sneak up on you. If you think $20,000 in such debt is no biggie, you're wrong. If you think you'll never have to deal with that kind of number, better think again. For all but a few of those facing it, living with a credit-card debt of $20,000 or more is a major life problem. A Credit.com online survey this month found 5 percent of respondents had such debt - and a significant portion of that group thought most people were like them. The most common reason for running up such debt, the post says, is that people "don't have sufficient income to cover their expenses.
December 24, 2013 |
Give yourself the gift of losses. There are only six trading days left in 2013, so it's time to review your portfolio to see if there are any tax losses you can harvest. In other words, sell your portfolio's losers, use the losses to offset realized taxable gains, and lower your 2013 tax bill. Remember, you need to act by Dec. 31. Tax-loss harvesting, or selling investments such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds that have lost value, can reduce your taxes on capital gains realized from selling winning investments.
December 11, 2013
CAN I CONFESS? There was one time when I got into credit-card trouble, and it scared me quite a bit. I had a department-store credit card. I was just starting out as a reporter for the Baltimore Evening Sun . I wanted some nice clothes for work and a few items for my newly purchased condominium, which I bought a year out of college. I ran up $500. Today that amount may not seem like much, but for me it felt like $5,000. When I opened the statement and saw that my charges were that high, I panicked.
November 28, 2013 |
PHILADELPHIA Jurors in Dorothy June Brown's federal fraud trial heard Tuesday about multiple salaries paid to Brown and money she received from management firms she controlled. Brown is accused of defrauding the four charter schools she founded of $6.7 million and then conspiring with two former administrators to obstruct justice by orchestrating a cover-up. Francis L. Gizaza, an accountant who began preparing tax returns for Brown's schools in 1998, reviewed several years of nonprofit tax forms for the schools.
November 28, 2013 |
A potential stumbling block to the rapid takeoff of online gambling in New Jersey - where casino sites opened to the public Tuesday - is the refusal of many banks to allow gamblers to deposit money into online casino accounts with Visa cards. A 2006 federal law cracked down on such transactions, forcing banks to put rigorous systems in place to weed them out. Though they are legal now in New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada, many big banks continue to snub Internet gambling. "For seven years, banks have been conditioned on the ramifications and the penalties associated with accepting illegal Internet gaming transactions," said Joseph Pappano Sr., vice president and managing director at Vantiv Inc., which is processing Visa and MasterCard transactions for online gambling in all three states.
November 27, 2013
The Justice Department's largest-ever civil settlement with a single company may suggest the federal government is finally getting tough with the financial institutions whose reckless practices led to the recession. But in reality the punishment may not prevent a similar catastrophe because it doesn't go far enough to sanction the responsible firms. The government settled for $13 billion from JPMorgan Chase, which was accused of knowingly selling bad mortgages to investors, including pension funds.
November 18, 2013 |
Right about now, foes of 2010's health-care reform are gleefully pointing to the law's rocky rollout as evidence for Ronald Reagan's famous declaration that "government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. " Even some Obamacare supporters worry it's a sign that government can't get things right. But before you fall for a notion that helps too many Americans gloss over the government's achievements - say, Social Security, Medicare, and the moon landings - you might want to consider the epiphany reported recently by University of Chicago economist Neale Mahoney.
October 29, 2013 |
ROSCOE CAMPBELL retired from the Philadelphia Police Department 28 years ago, but he must have felt the force was still with him over the weekend when he allegedly tried to shake down a motorist for parking in a handicapped spot at an Upper Darby Wawa. Now Campbell, 79, finds himself on the dark side of the law, charged with impersonating a police officer, robbery and related offenses for the incident at the convenience store on State Road near Highland Avenue about 3 a.m. Saturday.