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Comments of the week, debit card fraud edition

Posted By Claes Bell On 10/27/2013 @ 8:30 am In Personal Finance | 5 Comments

We had some great comments this week; as always, Bargaineering readers weighed in with perceptive commentary on the issues we covered.

A few readers had stories to share about how debit card fraud had affected them or people they knew, most of which turned out better than my poor friend’s story.

Here’s one from reader Lisa, who experienced what’s apparently a big tell for debit card fraud — thieves making a small purchase designed to test whether a stolen or counterfeited debit card works:

I recently saw an amount for $1 coming out of my debit card account [3] that I didn’t make. I called Patelco (local credit union) and they said they had already stopped it and also stopped the incoming $1,000 from the same place (looked like someone was using my number online for a BestBuy purchase). The bank told me that the small charge is usually what they see first as the “crook” tests your number to see if it’s real. For once I was happy with my bank.

Alissa struck a cord with her blog on her expensive love of coffee [4]. She had some readers scolding her for her vice, but reader CrazyRCPilot had some perceptive comments on the balance between saving and enjoying your life:

I am a perpetual “project junkie.” No, I don’t drink coffee and I don’t smoke either so I figure I am probably in the neighborhood of $3,000 in savings a year on that. I still purchase caffeinated drinks, but mostly a $4 bottle of Mio Water Additive can satisfy my buzz for a month.

The habit I do have is projects. I am constantly finding ways to improve my ’71 Super Beetle, my motorcycle or the fixer-upper house I reside in. I’m sure the total down-to-the penny costs would shock me, but the time spent is something I get great value out of.

I think Gabrielle Iglesias says it best, “I don’t drink Diet Coke to be healthy, I drink Diet Coke so I can eat regular cake.” So I am content in saying that I’ve curbed one habit to feed another.

I also had a lot of comments on the post I wrote on the efficacy (or lack thereof) of financial education [5]. Reader Dojo writes that financial knowledge is important, but what you do with it is even more important:

I have started paying more attention to my money and reading about how to save/make more 2-3 years ago. It helped me A LOT. I’m currently debt free, run a successful business and save money. I’d rather know more about this than nothing, so I’d say there’s a positive impact, too. But you need discipline and consistency though; if you know the ‘drill,’ but lack these two, you can have all the knowledge in the world and will still make huge mistakes.

On that same post, blogger Done by Forty [6] brought up some interesting thoughts on balancing financial choice and consumer protection from the book “Nudge” by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein:

I am an advocate of the authors’ approach in “Nudge”: paternalistic libertarianism. Set up the default choices and limit the default choices to a reasonable number, but allow the individual to opt out of the default and to access all possible choices.

Many 401(k)s are set up in this way now: you have a default of paying a certain percent in with a default increase of 1% a year. This gently nudges employees in the right direction. But an individual can opt out, save as much or little as he pleases, and most 401(k)s now allow for a brokerage options that gives consumers access to thousands of options.

Finally, my post on stock investing [7] had reader David S nodding:

I still invest in stocks because they are the only things that can provide a return greater than inflation over the long run.

Savings account rates are perhaps 1% over a long run of true growth, bonds are around 3%, but stocks are average of 7%.

Anyone who has kept their money in the stock market as a diversified portfolio, has made back any losses, even if they only bought at the peak 10k in 2000, 13k in 2008. (Though it would only have been a 4% yield)

Incidentally, what do you guys think of this feature? I’ve done it a few times now. Should I keep it going? Let me know in the comments.


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[1] Tweet: http://twitter.com/share

[2] Email: mailto:?subject=http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/comments-week-debit-card-fraud-edition.html

[3] debit card account: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/debit-card-fraud-more-risky-creditcard-fraud.html

[4] blog on her expensive love of coffee: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/broke-coffee-edition.html

[5] financial education: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/financial-education-work.html

[6] Done by Forty: http://www.donebyforty.com/

[7] post on stock investing: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/your-take-still-believe-stock-investing.html

Thank you for reading!