Cara Henis

Posts by Cara Henis

Living with credit

‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’ credit card tales of trouble

The tables turn on reality TV Real Housewives of New Jersey co-star Teresa Giudice — and this time she’s not the one flipping them.

No, don’t worry RHNJ fans. She wasn’t arrested for being a “prostitution whore,” but Teresa, the big-haired spendaholic, known for her extravagant shopping sprees and lavish lifestyle, is flat broke.

News recently surfaced that she and husband Giuseppe “Joseph” Giudice filed for bankruptcy in October of last year. The couple is approximately $11 million in debt, according to court documents. Unpaid mortgages and home renovations (some of which the Giudices dispute) constitute a majority of what they owe, but their credit card balances aren’t pretty either. The Giudices owe a staggering $100,000 spread across eight credit cards. Of that, they charged nearly $20,000 in total on their Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom cards alone.

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Fine print, Protecting yourself

Protect your identity from life online

So, you clicked on a certain picture or perhaps you’ve included ice fishing as one of your interests. Other people will probably find out.

The tales of sites tracking their users’ actions or pimping out personal information to marketers are becoming more commonplace. For the most part, though, this type of information exchange has become a tolerated side effect of life online.


But there are some types of information that consumers expect sites to keep private. Consider the number of times people save credit card information online, or enter bank account numbers into budgeting sites. Even the contents of our e-mails and Google Docs, which are all stored in cyberspace, are assumed to be safe from prying eyes.

The tales of sites tracking their users’ actions or pimping out personal information to marketers are becoming more commonplace. For the most part, though, this type of information exchange has become a tolerated side effect of life online.

But there are some types of information that consumers expect sites to keep private. Consider the number of times people save credit card information online, or enter bank account numbers into budgeting sites. Even the contents of our e-mails and Google Docs, which are all stored in cyberspace, are assumed to be safe from prying eyes.

That’s not a wise assumption.
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New products, Protecting yourself, Shopping

Fashionable ways to fight identity theft

I’m pleased to announce that shopping for new fashion accessories might be a more valuable activity than you think. Companies around the world are now selling wearable ways to minimize your chances of falling victim to identity theft. From smart wallets to stealthy socks, here are a few of my favorites. Happy shopping!

The iWallet: If James Bond had a wallet, I think he would own the iWallet. This suave-looking contraption reads fingerprints and is unlocked in the same way as an iPhone. However, it won’t respond to just anyone’s touch. The wallet remains locked if the fingerprint does not match the owner’s. Another handy feature is that the wallet links via Bluetooth to the owner’s phone. An alarm will sound if the two devices are separated.

After buying the iWallet, however, you may not have much cash left to put in it. The cheapest model costs $399.

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Research, regulation, industry reports

College loan bubble next to pop?

The television commercials promising college degrees or professional certificates fast are hard to miss. The smiling TV actors offer assurances of future economic security and success. But might these programs really be subprime mortgages disguised in academic regalia?

Schools like University of Phoenix, ITT Technical Institute and a host of others are part of the growing for-profit education sector that might the next industry to crash, burn and drag us all down with it, according to Steven Eisman, the investor famous for predicting the subprime mortgage crisis that set off the recession.

The glaring similarity between the subprime mortgage business and for-profit education is the issuance of loans to people who cannot repay them.

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Fine print, Living with credit

Babies, puppies and ice: The best of Yahoo!

There are some bizarre credit-related questions being posed out there. Fortunately, I have some answers to their problems.
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