What You Should Know About the Capital One Hack Affecting 100 Million People

Poike/iStock via Getty Images
Poike/iStock via Getty Images

What’s in your wallet? Possibly a compromised credit profile. Capital One announced Monday that more than 100 million people in the U.S. and 6 million in Canada have been affected by a data hack that’s left their personal and financial information vulnerable.

According to MarketWatch, the hackers were able to secure credit scores, ZIP codes, email addresses, and birth dates of Capital One card members and applicants. Worse, roughly 140,000 Social Security numbers were nabbed. So were about 80,000 bank account numbers.

The company acted in concert with the FBI to investigate the hack, which Capital One says it first discovered on July 19. A suspect, Paige A. Thompson, was arrested in Seattle and charged with one count of computer fraud and abuse. At this point, Capital One has no indication the data has been used for fraudulent purposes, but there’s no way of knowing if that could change.

The company intends to reach out to cardholders affected by the crime to notify them of the hack and to offer two years of free credit monitoring, which has become the standard gratuity for companies trying to address the shaken faith of consumers. Recently, Equifax agreed to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that would give consumers affected by their 2017 hack free credit monitoring or up to $125, with the option of claiming another $250 to $500 for time spent resolving fraud issues or identity theft as a result of compromised personal data.

If you’re concerned your information might be used for identity theft, it’s best to monitor your credit reports or cards for suspicious activity. If your bank account was compromised, notify your banking institution. You can also opt to “freeze” your credit profiles from the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. Freezing the reports prevents any business from checking them and makes opening new accounts impossible. If you want to open an account or take out a loan, however, you’ll need to unfreeze the reports.

[h/t MarketWatch]

The ChopBox Smart Cutting Board Has a Food Scale, Timer, and Knife Sharper Built Right Into It

ChopBox
ChopBox

When it comes to furnishing your kitchen with all of the appliances necessary to cook night in and night out, you’ll probably find yourself running out of counter space in a hurry. The ChopBox, which is available on Indiegogo and dubs itself “The World’s First Smart Cutting Board,” looks to fix that by cramming a bunch of kitchen necessities right into one cutting board.

In addition to giving you a knife-resistant bamboo surface to slice and dice on, the ChopBox features a built-in digital scale that weighs up to 6.6 pounds of food, a nine-hour kitchen timer, and two knife sharpeners. It also sports a groove on its surface to catch any liquid runoff that may be produced by the food and has a second pull-out cutting board that doubles as a serving tray.

There’s a 254nm UVC light featured on the board, which the company says “is guaranteed to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria" after a minute of exposure. If you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to cleanliness, the ChopBox is completely waterproof (but not dishwasher-safe) so you can wash and scrub to your heart’s content without worry. 

According to the company, a single one-hour charge will give you 30 days of battery life, and can be recharged through a Micro USB port.

The ChopBox reached its $10,000 crowdfunding goal just 10 minutes after launching its campaign, but you can still contribute at different tiers. Once it’s officially released, the ChopBox will retail for $200, but you can get one for $100 if you pledge now. You can purchase the ChopBox on Indiegogo here.

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The Best Way to Defer Your Credit Card Payments During the Coronavirus Shutdown, Explained

Credit card companies can offer financial assistance, but there can be drawbacks.
Credit card companies can offer financial assistance, but there can be drawbacks.
alexialex/iStock via Getty Images

A number of financial relief options are available to Americans who have been affected by the unprecedented health situation created by the spread of the coronavirus. Mortgage companies are offering forbearances; insurance companies have lowered premiums for cars that aren’t being driven. Credit card companies have also acknowledged that cardholders may have trouble keeping up with their bills. While many companies are eager to help with debt and interest, there are some things you should know before picking up the phone.

The good news: If you’re unable to make your minimum monthly payment in a given month, major card issuers like Chase, Capital One, and others are willing to grant a forbearance. That means you can skip the minimum due without being hit with a negative strike on your credit report for a missed payment.

A forbearance is no free ride. Interest will still accrue as normal, and the card issuer may consider the missed payment deferred, not waived. If you pay $50 monthly, for example, and are able to skip a May payment, make sure the card won't expect a $100 minimum in June to cover both months. Ask the company to define forbearance so you know what’s expected. Some may be willing to lower your minimum payment instead, which could be a better option for you.

While the skipped payment won’t impact your FICO credit score directly, be aware that it could still have consequences. Because many minimum payments mainly cover interest, your balance won’t remain the same—it will continue to grow. And because that interest is still adding up, your total amount owed is still going up relative to your available credit, which can affect your score.

If you have a sizable amount due, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) recommends looking into alternatives to forbearance, like using savings to pay down some high-interest cards, taking advantage of zero-interest balance transfer offers, or even taking out a personal loan with a lower interest rate.

If you have multiple credit card balances and the prospect of trying to get through to a human to discuss payment options seems daunting, the NFCC is offering their assistance. The agency can put you in touch with a credit counselor who can act on your behalf, obtaining forbearances or other relief from the card companies. Be advised, though, that card issuers may want to get your permission to deal with the counselors directly. The program is free and you can reach the NFCC via their website.

Be mindful that emergency relief is different from a debt management plan, which consolidates debt and can have a negative impact on your credit card accounts.

In many cases, the best thing to do is to pick up the phone and deal with the card issuer directly. Explain your situation and ask about what options they have. Some might waive payments. Others might offer to lower your interest rate. No two card issuers are alike, and it’s in your best interest to take the time to see what’s available.

[h/t lifehacker]