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2 years ago

11 – Stop, Thief! How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Eva Velasquez - President and CEO of Identity Theft Resource Center

Identity theft is a serious and growing crime—and we’re all at risk. The losses are staggering: By one estimate, identity theft victims in the U.S. lost $56 billion in 2020. Last year, the FTC received more reports about identity theft than any other type of complaint.

Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of the nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center, explains how criminals get your personal information, how they use it, and how to fight back.

Additional resources:

Identity and Cyber Theft: How to Protect Yourself (including links for freezing your credit files)

Identity Theft Resource Center’s 2021 Annual Data Breach Report Sets New Record for Number of Compromises

FTC Identity Theft Homepage

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Roofing work is expensive. If you hire the wrong contractor, you can overspend by thousands of dollars and still get terrible work done. It takes time to find a good roofer who will do the job for the best price—you don’t just hire the first company that gives you an estimate.

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⁠Read Checkbook’s full report on roofers, including unbiased ratings and price comparisons⁠.

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50 – Finding a Credit Card That’s Right for You

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Sara Rathner - Credit Cards Expert at NerdWallet; Ted Rossman - Senior Industry Analyst at

The market is flooded with credit card offers, and some of the signup bonuses are mighty appealing. But slow down—applying for a credit card is something that shouldn’t be rushed. You need to cut through the marketing hype and understand all the terms, conditions, and fees. If you’re not careful, you could choose a card that hurts your financial well-being.

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Additional Resources:

Dealing with Debt

How to Pick the Right Credit Card

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1 month ago

49 – Shop Like a Pro

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Jamie Lettis - Checkbook Associate Editor

Whether you enjoy shopping or just grin and bear it, there are things you can do to score the best prices and make the process easier.

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2 months ago

48 – How will Scammers Use AI?

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Chester Wisniewski – Field Chief Technology Officer for Applied Research at Sophos; Lorrie Cranor – Director of the CyLab Security and Privacy Institute at Carnegie Mellon University; Brett Johnson – A Cyber Security Consultant and Former Identity Thief

Artificial intelligence has been around for decades, but the world changed in November with the introduction of ChatGPT, the AI app that lets anyone harness the power of this amazing supercomputing technology—including criminals.

In this episode, a look at how fraudsters might be able to use AI to their benefit. Will it change the types of scams they create or simply make it easier for them to fool us? Can AI companies make it harder for crooks to use their technology against us? Can the good guys use AI to fight fraud more effectively?

Special guests: Chester Wisniewski, Field Chief Technology Officer for Applied Research at Sophos, the global digital security company. Lorrie Cranor, Director of the CyLab Security and Privacy Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. Brett Johnson, a convicted cyber-criminal who stole millions, and now works as a digital security consultant.

Additional Resources:

Identity and Cyber Theft: How to Protect Yourself

Cyber Crime: A Former Cyber Crook Explains How to Protect Yourself

Stop, Thief! How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

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2 months ago

47 – Guide to Buying New Windows

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Kevin Brasler - Checkbook's Executive Editor

Today’s windows are technological marvels. They provide better insulation, reduce drafts, are easier to clean, and help lower home energy bills. But all these benefits come with very high price tags.

Window companies generate numerous complaints about high-pressure sales tactics and substandard installation. Checkbook cautions that some companies greatly over-promise the energy savings that will result from their windows.

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Additional Resources:

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Saving Energy at Home

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3 months ago

46 – Health Apps & Websites Often Share Your Data

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Pam Dixon - Executive Director, World Privacy Forum; Jen Caltrider - a privacy researcher at the Mozilla Foundation

Wearable devices, health apps, and online medical resources can help us stay fit and healthy. They also collect highly personal information that you might assume is confidential. In most cases, this data can be—and often is—shared and sold without your knowledge or permission.

In this episode, how to tell if your health information is protected by the federal privacy law known as HIPAA, and what to do before you use medical apps, smart devices, or go online for medical advice. We talk with Pam Dixon, executive director of World Privacy Forum, and Jen Caltrider, a privacy researcher at the Mozilla Foundation.

Additional Resource:

Health Tracking Apps and Other Tech Might Be Invading Your Privacy

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