My Identity Has Been Stolen!


AngerManagement - StillcroppedWho am I?!  Don’t ya know me, Bert?

For only the 3rd time in my life, there was a fraudulent charge on one of my credit cards.  My credit report says I’ve had 61 cards over the past 25 years.  So, I feel pretty lucky.  Yes, this is considered having one’s identity stolen.

This was a pretty easy one to spot since I rarely use that card and even more rarely shop at Forever 21.  I’m more of a Lane Bryant gal.

The day after the charge hit my card, the transaction popped up in my Quicken.  Because I have Quicken download any new transactions in all my financial accounts, I knew about it the day after it happened.  No waiting for a statement in the mail.  Check out my Quicken review: I Feel Like Quicken Tonight.

I called the number on the back of the violated card.  They credited the amount back to my card.  I owed nothing.

The next step is that they send out a new card.  Because this was a card that was about to charge an annual fee (which is no bueno), I stopped them.

I asked them to transfer my credit line to another card that I had at their bank.  They were able to move over all but $500.  Then I canceled the card that had the fraudulent charge.  This way, I keep all but $500 of my credit line, thereby having very little impact on my credit score.

The still was taken from my appearance on ANGER MANAGEMENT. See it here.

EquiFax 819 1

How To Get The 3rd Bureau’s Free FICO Score


EquiFax - 819My previous post A Real FICO Score That’s Really Free! showed you how to get a free FICO score from Experian and TransUnion.  There is one more score in the credit bureau triumvirate: EquiFax. You can get that free FICO score if you have Quicken.

These aren’t just one-shot opportunities.  You can refresh your Experian and TransUnion score monthly.  The EquiFax score renews quarterly.

I’ve been using Quicken for years to easily track and organize all my finances.  Check out my review: I Feel Like Quicken Tonight.

Without paying anything, I have constant access to my “Excellent/Exceptional” FICO scores.

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Discover Credit Scorecard 200

A Real FICO Score That’s Really Free!


Discover Credit Scorecard-200You can get an actual FICO credit score for zip, zilch, nada.  There is NO catch!  This is NOT a free trial that charges you $10/month if you forget to cancel.  You do NOT have to have a Discover card.

Register for Discover’s “Credit Scorecard”.  Give them some basic info and answer some things that only you would know – to verify you’re you.  Then Voila!  You have your free FICO score.  You can come back to refresh it every 30 days.

There are other credit scores out there, but FICO is the one that matters.  That’s the one that lenders check when you want to borrow money for a big ticket item.

There are three major credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion and EquiFax.  The Discover Credit Scorecard is from Experian. Here’s my score:

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I Text On The Toilet Tshirt

Get Free Mobile Phone Insurance ($600 Per Phone x 4)


i_text_on_the_toilet_tshirtA rash of people in my life have dropped their cell phones in public toilets.  How many people in a “rash”?  Three.

My buddy’s wife gave her device a swirly TWICE last year.

This money tip is very simple: If you pay your monthly mobile telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Visa Signature or Wells Fargo Propel American Express personal credit card, you’ll get up to $600 protection (subject to a $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft at no cost. This applies to your primary phone and three additional lines.

You can do this twice a year.  If you need it more frequently than that, what’s wrong with you?

I got this card specifically for the phone insurance.  In fact, the only thing I charge on this card is my Sprint bill.  I set it up to automatically pay my Sprint bill monthly and my checking account automatically pays my credit card bill.  I don’t have to think about it AND I get insurance.

If you’d like to get his card (and the phone coverage), Click on “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” at the top right side of this website.  Then click the “Hotel Motel, Holiday Inn…” section (Wells Fargo thinks of this as a travel credit card).  Scroll down to the 11th card (Wells Fargo Propel American Express). Email me if you have any questions.  Full disclosure: I may get a commission if you apply using my link, so… Thanks!

Thinking of gaming the system?  Terms and conditions specifically address phones that are lost or “mysteriously disappear.”  There’s more on Page 6 of the Visa’s benefits.

What if you break your phone, take it swimming, or drop it in a Port-A-Let?  Your provider doesn’t let you out of your contract.  You have to buy a new phone unless you have insurance.

iPhone users: AppleCare is $79-129 per year.  I used to pay Sprint $8/month for insurance before realizing it was a bad plan.  If I used the Sprint insurance, I’d still

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It’s Southwest Companion Pass + 50,000 BONUS Time!!


SouthwestTailIf you EVER fly Southwest, this could save you thousands.

Every now and then, Southwest doubles the signup bonus on their cards to 50,000 points.  That time is now!  The increased bonus is reason enough to get this card.  To get the bonus, just spend $2,000 in the first three months your card is open.

The Catch: You will not earn the bonus if you have the same card already open, or have received a sign up bonus on the card you apply for in the past 24 months.

Depending upon where and when you are flying, 50,000 points can be several round trip tickets.

Click on “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” at the top right side of this website.  Then click the “Airline Miles” section.  Scroll down to the 22nd card. Email me if you have any questions.  Full disclosure: I may get a commission if you apply using my link, so… Thanks!

This 50,000 point bonus on the personal and business cards makes it pretty easy for you to get something very special.

The Companion Pass – Greatest Travel Perk Ever!

SouthwestCompanionPassSouthwest’s Companion Pass is one of my favorite things.  It ranks up there with raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.

Here’s the deal:  In any calendar year in which you earn 110,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points or fly 100 one-way segments you earn a Companion Pass for the rest of that year, PLUS the following year.

You can have a Companion Pass through December 31, 2017.  That’s 19 months!

Your companion can go with you on EVERY FLIGHT whether you buy a ticket or use Rapid Rewards points.  This is not a free ticket that you can hand out to anyone.  You must designate your companion.  You can change your companion three times.  Because you must allow 21 days for processing changes, this ain’t gonna work for you playuhs out there.  Companion Pass and reward travel are free except for 9/11 taxes (you must pony-up $5.60 each way).

Are You Large And In Charge?

fat_guy_airplaneIf you are a “customer of size” you can use your Companion Pass to get an open seat next to yourself.

I confirmed this with Evonne at Southwest today. She said, “If you want to have an open seat as your Companion, give Southwest a call and they will set up a ‘Customer Account’ for your Companion. That Customer Account will be all of your same information but will have ‘XS’ (Extra Seat) as your middle name. At the gate, you will be given an official seat holder card designating the seat next to you as taken. You’ll be allowed to pre-board.” Check out the Companion Pass FAQs for more details.

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Dave Lengel: Estate Sale Treasure Hunter


A few years ago, I shot this Peter Piper Pizza commercial with Ben Brady playing my son.  Now he is all growsed up and making films himself!  Ben’s ART OF FLIPPING follows Dave Lengel as he fills his free time visiting estate sales and selling his unusual finds on eBay.

Note: Ben’s pop Jordan Brady directed the pizza spot.  Besides being only hours apart in age, Jordan directed me in other ads including one of my favorites for KIA.

Aa 35th Anniversary

700 Free American Airlines AAdvantage Miles in 60 seconds


aa-35th-anniversaryAmerican Airlines is celebrating their 35th anniversary by giving away 350,000 AAdvantage miles to 35 grand prize winners.  You’ll get 350 miles just for entering.  All you need to do is click this link and give your name, email and AAdvantage number.

After clicking “Register Now”, you will be given the opportunity to get another 350 miles if you share your milestone with your peeps via Facebook, Twitter or via an email to AA.  I chose the latter.

Besides being a quick way to pick up 700 miles, these miles will extend your expiration date.

The promotion ends June 1st.  Miles will be deposited into your AA account 6-8 weeks later.


Tale of The Plumber & The Check Cashing Place


MoneyDownDrain30 minutes after I gave my plumber a check, my pocket rang.  It was a check cashing place asking if I had written this to him.  I said, “Yes.”  When he finished the job a couple days later, we had this actual conversation:

Me: If you don’t mind me asking, how much do they charge to cash a check?

Dumb Plumb: $11, I think.

(I found out it’s actually 12 PERCENT of the check amount.)

Me: Did you know that you can cash a check for free at the bank on which a check is written – even if you don’t have an account there?

Dumb Plumb: Yeah… But I like this place.  I go there all the time.

Me: This is none of my business, so don’t feel obligated to answer.  Do you have a bank account?

Dumb Plumb: I used to, but I don’t trust banks.  I keep my money out of there…  My grandma says I am giving my money away (by using the check cashing place).

Me: Your grandma is a smart lady.

People are gonna do what they’re gonna do

CheckCashingPlaceFrom this $1,200 job alone, he gave the check cashing place $144.00 of his and my hard earned money.  Next time, I’ll offer to cash my check for him on the spot for only 10%!!

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Hotel Hangers

Hilton Amex Limited Time Offers (100k & 75k Points)


hotel-hangers1. Do you like to sleep around?

2. Have an affinity for weird hangers?

3. Like tiny bottles of booze in your refrigerator?

Well, have I got a deal for you!!

Two, count ‘em, TWO Hilton American Express card increased bonus deals end tomorrow, Wednesday May 4th.

I got the first one because it’s a no-brainer:

  • Hilton HHonors™ Card from American Express – Get 75,000 Hilton HHonors points if you spend $1,000 on it in the first three months your card is open. Never has an annual fee.
  • Hilton HHonors™ Surpass® Card from American Express – Get 100,000 Hilton HHonors points if you spend $3,000 on it in the first three months your card is open. $75 annual fee.

Sound good?  Click on “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” at the top right side of this website and then Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn…” for these cards.  Email me if you have any questions.

If need be, check out: 11 Ways To Meet A Spending Requirement.

What will your points get you?  Check out Hilton’s Search Tool.  Here are a few:

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