Friday Grab Bag – 8/7/2009

What happens when a bank fails? The FDIC steps in

The 60 Minutes video above is a fascinating look at how the FDIC protects your money when your bank can’t. It involves an stealthy overnight takeover that results in a fairly seamless transition for bank customers. As a bank closes for the night, FDIC specialists come in to announce to bank employees that the bank has failed. They proceed to spend all night taking inventory of the bank’s liabilities and assets, opening on time the next morning to explain the situation to customers. The FDIC was created in 1933 to prevent runs on the banks. To date, no one has ever lost a penny on an FDIC-insured account.

Alum sues college because she can’t find a job

Trina Thompson, a recent graduate from the information technology program at Monroe College, wants a refund. Specifically, she’s asserting that Monroe’s career services department helps to find jobs only for those with stellar GPAs, while ignoring everyone else. Thompson, who graduated with a 2.7 GPA and has been job hunting for three months (without success), is suing for $72,000 (the full cost of her tuition, plus $2,000 for emotional stress). She’s also filed the lawsuit without the help of a lawyer, using a “poor person order” that exempts her from paying lawsuit fees.

Is your credit card a tool…or are you?

ManVsDebt raises the interesting question: “Who’s using who when it comes to credit?” His post discusses the pros and cons of using credit cards, and how more often than not it’s the “fat, old, ugly men” (i.e. the credit card company execs) who are using you (the unwitting consumer). Make sure you’re not the tool they want you to be, and that you use the plastic cards in your wallet only for your own gain—not theirs.

Older Americans carry an average of $10,235 in credit card debt

Working more than forty years only to realize you can’t retire due to credit card debt, medical bills, or a crashed economy is one of life’s cruel jokes. A recent Demos survey found that the credit card debt for people aged 65 and over has risen 26% since 2005.

I get by with a little help from my friends…or perfect strangers with money to lend

Are you looking for a loan, or simply a better interest rate than what your current credit card offers? Before stepping into your bank (boring!), consider a social lending site. Social lending is becoming increasingly popular, and with good reason. You might be surprised to find you can get a loan for $1,000 to $25,000 to cover upcoming expenses or to pay down existing high-interest debt. DebtFreeAdventure offers a detailed review of Lending Club, one of the more popular social lending sites.

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Sweet new gadget: the iPhone credit card reader

Is there anything the iPhone can’t do? Short of serving me breakfast in bed complete with lemon scones and a vase of rosebuds, I think its powers are nearly limitless. Now, it can process credit card transactions too, and e-mail you a receipt of your purchase along with a map showing exactly where the store is located (an unnecessary—but still cool—feature).

Hackers take advantage of leaked Erin Andrews video

If you’re still searching for footage of the Erin Andrews peephole video, stop. Not only is the video a blatant intrusion of the ESPN sports reporter’s privacy (or an elaborate PR stunt), but any actual footage has been taken off the internet. All that’s left are hackers’ attempts to infect your computer with malware. Hackers use hot search topics like this one to bait you into downloading “media players” or other software that will actually infect your computer.

Hackers learn new hacks at DefCon 17

DefCon, the place for hackers to hack and be hacked, took place in Las Vegas this week. Fake ATMs armed with skimming devices were placed in nearby hotel lobbies, stealing plenty of users’ card information and PINs. Inside the conference, speakers gave talks on everything from phishing e-mails and internet security to credit reporting loopholes. For instance, Harvard fellow Christopher Soghoian presented a legal way to get an abundance of new credit quickly by applying simultaneously for new cards and loans before any of the credit checks are reported to the credit bureaus. Identity thieves could potentially use this tactic to take out hundreds of thousands of dollars in your name.

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