Americans step up credit card use sharply in May
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans put more on their credit cards in May than in any single month since November 2007, one month before the Great Recession began.

But overall credit card use is still well below where it was just before the downturn. Economists say May’s increase was likely a temporary response to weaker hiring and poor wage growth and not a sign of sustained confidence in the economy.

‘‘We might see additional increases in credit card debt in the coming months,’’ said Paul Edelstein, director of consumer financial economics at IHS Global Insight. ‘‘But they won’t match the May surge.’’

Consumer borrowing rose by $ 17.1 billion in May from April, the Federal Reserve said Monday. The gain drove total borrowing to a seasonally adjusted $ 2.57 trillion, nearly matching the all-time high reached in July 2008.

Borrowing has increased steadily over the past two years. But most of the gains have been driven by auto and student loans, which rose to a record level of $ 1.7 trillion in May.

Consumers cut back sharply on credit card debt during the recession and immediately after. Only in th…………… continues on

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Take steps to protect against identity theft
News from Columbia Daily Tribune:

According to a Javelin Strategy & Research report, 11.6 million adults in the United States had their identities stolen last year. Some of these crimes are relatively minor, such as the unauthorized use of a credit card number. In other cases, the perpetrators have used stolen identities to rent a home or buy a new car. Here are some practical steps you should take to protect yourself and your family.

Safeguard your Social Security number. This is the best step you can take to prevent the most serious forms of identity fraud. Take your Social Security card out of your wallet or purse. Never give out your Social Security number to anyone who calls, emails or texts requesting personal information. In general, your bank, insurance company, doctor’s office or anywhere else you have an existing relationship will not call you for personal information. If a business you have an established relationship with calls requesting personal information, politely hang up, look up its contact information independently and c…………… continues on Columbia Daily Tribune

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