CLEVELAND - Here's Danielle Serino's 'One for the Money' for Wednesday:
Cut That Cell Phone Bill
There was a time when I was paying something like $175 a month for my cell phone service. But when I was out of work, boy did I learn how to get that bill down!
The first way to save: stop paying insurance…at least on an older phone. Insurance adds an average of $5-$12 to your monthly bill. And since a lot of insurers have high deductibles and limit replacements, it's not worth the extra expense.
Even if you have a newer phone, you could replace it with a used or lesser model. And a quality phone case will help prevent the screen from getting cracked.
There are also several credit cards that will pay to replace your lost or stolen phone including ones from Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank and First Citizens.
The second way to reduce your bill: don't pay for unlimited data if you mainly use Wi-Fi.
Most of us use our phone on our home or work Wi-Fi network, so you probably don't need all that cellular data.
The third way to save: If you can, don't pay for your phone in installments, even if it's interest free. That's because in many cases, the best plan deals are with the pre-paid carriers or Mobile Virtual Network Operators which offer "bring your own device" plans.
Data Breach Protection?
And with that savings, you can pay to protect your identity after that outrageous Equifax breach. But if you need protection...you may want to think twice about LifeLock. The company uses credit products and services from Equifax as part of its ID protection services. That means LifeLock is getting your credit information from the very company that caused the mess, LifeLock is trying to protect you from. In fact, LifeLock may share personal information with Equifax, including stuff they don't normally have such as your driver's license, passport numbers and your email address.
Social Security Number Safety
Those credit companies also have your social security info. And when thieves get that…it's game over. But there are ways to protect your number...if it hasn't been stolen already
First create a www.ssa.gov account before a crook beats you to it, and tries to create an account in your name. Once they have control of your account, they can use it to steal your benefits.
You don't need to use it, but the online account also lets you enable a secondary method of security; requiring your cell phone number or email address to access your account.
Also, consider asking them to block electronic access. That means no one can get your info online or through the administration's automated phone service
You also might want to try getting a new social security number all together…specially if your identity's been stolen. But know, that even if you get a new one, your problems may not disappear. Your old info is still out there with other governmental agencies and private companies.
And that’s One For The Money.
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