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How many Credit Cards should you have?

Will you be putting this on your store card today?  Oh, you don’t have one?  Well, if you apply for one today, we can give you $50 off your purchase! Well, if you’ve ever been shopping, I’m guessing that sales pitch sounds familiar. But are department store cards a smart way to save money … or are they a bad idea?

Most of us know someone who has more credit cards than Baskin Robins has ice cream flavors. But 3 out of 10 adults don’t have a credit card, and the average is 2.6 per person which is the lowest number is decades.

Branded retail credit cards can save you money on your purchase when you apply, and often there are other discounts or rewards. So, are retail cards a smart way to save money? No, I don’t recommend them. They are a marketing tool by retailers who also make a lot of money on the interest they charge customers who carry a balance. You’re also more likely to be a victim of identity theft if you have lots of cards.

My suggestion: perform some plastic surgery! Any scissors will do the job!



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A surefire way to prevent identity thieves from getting your tax refund

What do 3 out of 4 Americans have in common this time of year? And no, it’s not waiting to see who’ll be eliminated from American Idol. The vast majority of us expect to receive a refund from the IRS. The problem is— way too many won’t be getting a check from Uncle Sam any time soon. The reason? Identity theft!

The Federal Trade Commission says a quarter of all identity theft complaints now involve fake tax returns, and with the average return around $3,000, it’s no wonder thieves have moved in. With just a little of your personal information, identity thieves can easily file a false return and steal your refund, especially with electronic filing and direct deposit refunds.

Your first clue will be a letter from the IRS saying more than one return was filed with your social security number. Then, you’ll have to prove to the IRS that your identity was stolen and that you’re still due a refund. And believe it or not that could take up to a year and a half.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way you can prevent identity thieves from intercepting your tax refund— don’t get one! Simply reduce your withholdings to bring your tax liability as close to zero as possible. If you don’t get a refund, thieves can’t steal it.