Learn What to Do if Your Email is Hacked

While millions of people rely on the convenience of email for personal and business use, hackers often target these services to retrieve vulnerable information from under our noses. Security issues can affect nearly anyone, so it's important to know what to do if your email is hacked. CashMax is here to guide you through the process of taking back your account, so you can avoid a repeat incident in the future. Find out more about staying safe online, and then get in touch with us about our personal loan services.

How to Secure Your Account

After you've been hacked, you may feel overwhelmed by the aftermath. However, many users have dealt with this scenario successfully and emerged with even greater knowledge of email safety. Follow this step-by-step guide to prevent damage and secure your account for the future.

  • Get in touch with the email provider to regain control over your account, and be sure to report the hacking incident to protect others. Your provider can offer in-depth information about process of reactivating your account, as well as personalized advice about the steps moving forward.
  • Strong passwords are the first step to security, so make sure to change your email password to something strong. Avoid obvious passwords that involve personal indicators like your birthday, kids' names, and others. Consider changing your security questions as well, and changing passwords on other sites linked to your email.
  • Warn friends, family, and other members of your contact list that you have been hacked. They may be vulnerable to attacks as well, so it's important to spread the word.
  • Update and scan your computer with an anti-virus or anti-malware program. These programs help ensure that all threats have been removed.
  • Double check your privacy settings to ensure that you receive the protection that you need. Make sure that hackers left nothing behind, especially within your email signature.
  • Scan your account for private information that hackers may have stolen, like bank logins or insurance information. Contact those companies to ensure that nothing has been altered since the hack.
  • Keep an eye on your credit score and monitor your bank account for any suspicious activity. You can even freeze your credit temporarily to ensure that hackers don't put extravagant charges in your name.

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Stay Prepared for the Hidden Costs of Moving

Even the most well-prepared movers may find themselves overwhelmed by the hidden costs of moving. These unexpected fees can add up quickly, leaving you in a state of total panic on moving day. Luckily, CashMax offers a financial safety net to those who find themselves struggling during the moving process. Contact CashMax online for more information about the different loan options that can help you transition smoothly!

Unexpected Expenses

While relocating from place to place is expensive enough, many movers forget about the little things. Here are just a few of the many hidden costs of moving that you may need to consider when budgeting for a big move:

  • If you are moving from state to state, investigate the car insurance rates. You may find your normal coverage changes when moving to a new location. Also, it's important to factor in parking costs. Be sure to see whether parking is included in your new home, or whether you need to pay an additional fee.
  • Your health insurance rates can also change drastically from one location to the other, especially if your previous insurer is not provided in your new state. Compare the different insurers carefully, or think about hiring an independent broker for expert help.
  • Utility costs may also differ in your new home. If you are renting, then ask your landlord how the costs are divided among the tenants. This allows you to prepare and budget for your new rent more effectively.
  • Think again before closing out all your accounts. While you want to pay off your debts before moving, closing all your credit lines may hurt your credit score. Consider your total available credit before making any decisions. Further, keep your old bank account open for a few extra months to avoid overdraft fees.
  • Take inventory of memberships like gyms, recreation centers, childcare facilities, and other organizations with a monthly or annual contract. You may have to pay a fee to cancel your membership, and you may have to provide documentation of the move.
  • In the shuffle of moving, you may lose track of bills in the mail and get hit with late fees. Switching to a paperless, online bill paying system can help mitigate these issues.
  • After considering all of the hidden costs of moving, don't forget about your security deposit! Be sure to ask your landlord about the collection process, and don't be afraid to seek out legal help if your tenant's rights are not being honored.

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Paying Back Student Loans While Living the Life You Want

Are you fresh out of college and embarking on a new, exciting job? Getting that first real paycheck and living on your own can give you a huge boost of confidence, until those student loan bills arrive in your mailbox. Don’t panic. Paying back student loans while still living the life you want to live is possible. Here’s how:

Check Your Repayment Plan

If you’re totally overwhelmed by your monthly payment, contact the servicer on your federal student loan to see if you can switch to an income-driven student loan repayment plan. This helps you lower monthly payments, while avoiding missing bills and accruing additional interest charges. But, if you can, stick with the standard 10-year repayment plan. This plan charges the least amount of interest and sucks the least amount of time out of your life. If you’re able to put more money toward the principal, by all means, do!

Budget and Prioritize

First, you should lay out your budget. Begin with your student loan payment, rent, and other necessities like transportation and utilities. Prioritize the things that are important to you. If you love to travel, save money by living with several roommates to cut costs. Look at smaller expenses and see what you can eliminate. Look at your monthly recurring bills in particular: the gym, Netflix, and all those little charges that hit your credit card. Try living without them, or at least negotiating new deals with the providers.

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Take it Slow: Financial Help for Widows

No one is ever ready for the loss of a spouse, and when it happens, the hard reality of dealing with money comes along with the intense grief. Financial help for widows should come only from trusted sources, so remember, go slow and be cautious.

Six Important Pieces of Advice

  1. Get organized – If you were already handling bills and other financial matters, you’re fortunate. You’re already up to speed on what’s going on. If not, the first thing you should do is tackle all the files and paperwork. Use an accordion file, three-ring binders, or whatever filing system works for you to set up a system for managing information.

  2. Pay the bills – It’s easy to feel overwhelmed as you try to locate account passwords and understand your household bills, so enlist the help of your children or close friends. Focus on setting up a system for paying your bills automatically and on time. Make sure you have funds to cover your immediate needs. If you’re in an urgent cash crunch, a resource like CashMax can help you with short-term loans and other services.

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What to Do After a Car Accident

Nobody plans to be involved in a car accident, but when it happens, it can quickly become one of life’s most stressful experiences. In the immediate aftermath of a collision, things happen fast and the details can become blurry. You may also feel at a loss about what to do after a car accident. Take a look at our post-accident checklist and, the next time a collision happens, you can avoid some common mistakes and come out in better shape.

At the Scene

  1. Safety First: When a collision has occurred, attend to safety matters. If the vehicles are drivable, get them off the road and out of traffic by pulling to the shoulder or into a parking lot. If they aren’t drivable, turn on any operable emergency flashers and put out cones, reflective triangles, and/or flares, if you have them, to warn approaching drivers to slow down. Ascertain whether anyone is injured; if they are or think they might be, make sure 911 is called right away.

  2. Make the Call: If the accident is serious, you most definitely want officers on the scene. Even if your accident was minor, it’s a good idea to call authorities so that a police report is filed. Some cities won’t dispatch officers to a crash if the incident wasn’t serious; if that is the case, you’ll have to file your own report with local authorities, which leads us to…

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The Real Cost of Raising a Child

As new parents become caught up in the love and enjoyment of having a baby as well as the stresses and lifestyle changes, ­­the cost of raising a child also begins to quickly make itself felt.

The exact cost of raising a child from birth to adulthood is something the U.S. Department of Agriculture has spent decades trying to pinpoint. The USDA released its latest data in 2013, revealing some interesting spending changes that have taken place for parents over the last 50 years or so.

Child-Rearing Price Tag

As of 2013, the USDA has found that, on average, middle-income families composed of two parents and up to five kids will spend $245,340 raising a child from birth to age 18. For low-income households, that number drops to $176,550. For high-income households, the cost rises to an average of $407,820 per child.

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Managing Finances After Losing a Job

When you find yourself dealing with job loss, it can be a very stressful time as you seek new employment and figure out how to cope financially in the meantime. Along your road to re-employment, there are some things you can do to lessen the financial blow.

1 – Assess the Situation

Taking stock of your finances is the first natural step when you’ve lost a job. The initial shock and stress can make things seem worse than they really are, so examine where you are at financially. Assess your monthly expenses and what it’s going to take for you to survive until you’ve found a new job. Consider savings accounts, investments that can be easily liquidated, lines of credit, home equity, and nonessential valuables that can be sold or pawned. Many creditors will also work with you when you experience hardships like a job loss and will allow you to skip payments. A lending company like CashMax Title & Loan can also be of help to provide you with extra cash while you’re getting back on your feet.

2 – Take Advantage of Unemployment Benefits

Many people mistakenly equate filing for unemployment with applying for welfare. Collecting unemployment is in no way the same thing as taking a government handout. You have earned that unemployment cushion, and you’d be foolish not to utilize it during your period of joblessness. Collecting unemployment achieves two things: It gives you a weekly income, albeit smaller than what you were earning at your job, to help you get by while you hunt for employment; and it also helps motivate you in your job search, as you have to apply for a certain number of jobs each week in order to remain eligible. And don’t assume you won’t qualify to receive unemployment. Even if you’ve been fired from a job, you may still be approved to receive those benefits, so apply!

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How Traffic Violations Increase Insurance

Most people don’t leave their homes thinking, “I’m going to drive poorly today.” But as life happens over the course of your day, you may find yourself at the receiving end of a traffic violation, which can mean court appearances, expensive fines, and even a suspended driver’s license if you’re a repeat offender. Whether your traffic violation was true negligence or just an accident, getting that ticket can also mean a car insurance increase. If you are in a tough financial situation following a traffic violation, CashMax offers short-term financial solutions that may help.

Rate Hikes

We’ve explored some of the ways in which receiving a traffic violation can affect your auto insurance rates. To put it simply, the more insurance companies view you as an unsafe driver, the more you are likely to pay for your insurance. But, specifically, the following factors can affect how much your insurance is impacted by a traffic violation:

  • Frequency: When you’ve received a lot of traffic tickets, insurance companies will typically see you as a liability and as someone who is more likely to be involved in an auto accident. The consequence of that is that you will pay more for your insurance than someone with a clean driving record.
  • Severity: The impact a traffic violation will have on your insurance depends on the severity of the infraction. Being cited for something more minor, like traveling 5 miles over the speed limit, will likely have little—or even no—impact on your insurance rate, particularly if it’s the first ticket you’ve had in a long time. However, being cited for, say, traveling 30 miles per hour over the speed limit is much more extreme and can have more severe repercussions. An even more serious violation, like a DUI or vehicular manslaughter, will have dire consequences—both legally and in terms of your insurance costs.
  • Location: Many people mistakenly think that receiving a traffic violation in another state won’t affect their car insurance, but that isn’t necessarily true. Before you engage in any risky driving behaviors while on vacation, bear in mind that most states take part in an interstate information sharing program that reports citations and moving violations. So, odds are good that the speeding ticket or DUI violation you received during spring break is going to follow you home and end up on your driving record—which means your insurance provider will likely find out about it and may adjust your premium accordingly.

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Best Online Shopping Tips

As the holiday season approaches once again, millions of consumers will be turning to the Internet as a convenient way to do their holiday shopping and purchase gifts. As you prepare to head into the cyber world armed with your credit card, take heed of some of these online shopping tips to ensure your holiday spending is safe and secure.

Use Secure Sites

Check for SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption before you shop on any website. Sites with SSL will show HTTPS:// in the address bar instead of HTTP://, and there will also be a padlock icon.

Stick to the Familiar

Shop on familiar, trusted websites that you know are legitimate, like Amazon.com or the official website of a major retailer, like Walmart or Barnes & Noble. When navigating to one of these major sites, make sure you are on the official website. Misspelled words and the use of domains like .net instead of .com are indicators that you could be on a copycat site, so watch out for that. You can also download the official apps for major retailers and do your shopping that way.

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Addressing Financial Challenges With Elderly Parents

When the people who raised you are suddenly the ones that need taking care of, it can be uncomfortable to broach certain subjects with them. Discussing financial challenges with elderly parents, for instance, can be particularly riddled with conversational land mines. The last thing an aging mother or father wants to hear, after all, is that they’ve become incapable of managing their money and of living independently.

Egos can become tender when discussing the transference of financial responsibility with an aging parent. Having these conversations is nevertheless very important. When a parent starts falling victim to dementia or other conditions related to old age, you may suddenly find you’ve waited too long to set the framework for taking over their finances. If you don’t have the legal power, the necessary documentation, and the information to begin overseeing your parent’s finances, you and your siblings could quickly find yourselves scrambling and panicking.

Advance Preparation

When you approach parents about their finances, it may take more than one conversation to make progress. It may also require kid gloves.

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