Credit Cards

The holiday season data breach at Target that hit more than 70 million consumers was part of a wide and highly skilled international hacking campaign that's "almost certainly" based in Russia. That's according to a report prepared for federal and private investigators by Dallas-based cybersecurity firm iSight Partners.

And the fraudsters are so skilled that sources say at least a handful of other retailers have been compromised.

"The intrusion operators displayed innovation and a high degree of skill," the iSight report says.

A Federal Reserve study showing that Americans lost wealth in the Great Recession turned up another, perhaps more surprising, result: Credit card debt fell sharply.

"The percentage of families using credit cards for borrowing dropped over the period; the median balance on their accounts fell 16.1 percent" between 2007 and 2010, the report concluded.

Photo by KUT News

The City of Austin has teamed up with the Austin Housing Finance Corporation to host a series of financial education seminars. The first installment of the series will be held tomorrow night from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the University Hills Branch Library, 4721 Loyola Lane.

“One of the things they’re going to learn about are things like how to choose the proper credit card. And I’ll teach them about things like usury law,” says Janice Kinchion, the Coordinator of Asset Management and Loans for the City of Austin.

“Credit, in and of itself is not that difficult to get. What is difficult is the budgeting of it,” Kinchion adds. “Proportionate understanding of your income and how it can be spread among your expenses and needs is something that people just don’t simply think about.”

Photo courtesy

The revelation that a leading credit card payment processor had some 1.5 million card numbers breached has put Texas consumers on alert.

Details are scarce about who has been affected at this point, but the latest potential for identity theft may raise a collective groan in Texas. Just a year ago, the State Comptroller’s office revealed it had left the Social Security information of 3.5 million state workers online, on an unsecured webpage.

The Comptroller’s Office offered those affected one year of free credit monitoring. But now that that period is drawing to a close.

Global Payments, a third-party processor of credit card payments for Visa, MasterCard and Discover, said late last night that the data breach made public last week may have risked about 1.5 million credit card numbers.

Image courtesy Eliazar Parra Cardenas

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott relesed educational materials on to credit card and debt to the University of Texas at San Antonio.

The materials, created by the Attorney General’s Office, will be introduced during UTSA’s new student orientation.  In 2007, Texas lawmakers passed a law requiring state colleges and universities to educate students about managing personal finances and to prevent potential debt problems.