7 Tips for Building Your Credit Without Credit Cards

Everyone knows that the best way to build credit is to get a credit card. But, there are certain ways to build your credit history without using a credit card. Typically, a credit card means debt, and too much debt can affect your credit score. To avoid it, check out a few tips for building your credit without using credit cards.

1. Utility companies
Typically, a utility company doesn’t report to the credit bureaus on a regular basis. It only sends updates when you don’t pay your account. If you have some utility in your name and you are trying to build your credit without using your credit card, call the company and ask them to report your regular payments to the credit bureaus.

2. A landlord
Like a utility company, a landlord doesn’t report to the credit bureaus. However, you can ask your landlord to notify the credit bureaus of your rental history, but first make sure your rental history is really good. Every positive report from your landlord will establish your credit history and better your credit score.

3. A federal student loan
If you are planning to go to a university or college, you can build your credit by getting a federal student loan. Despite your credit history, you can qualify for a loan. Although repayment may be deferred until 6 to 9 months after you graduate, you can begin paying it off while you are still in college. Timely payments every month will add positive information to your credit history.

4. Add your name to your parent’s credit card
Another way to build your credit without using your credit cards is to add your name to your parent’s credit card. As an authorized user, your parent’s credit card’s activity will appear on your credit report. Just ensure your parent uses this credit card responsibly, otherwise it can affect your credit score.

5. Financing a used car
If you do not have a credit history, many car dealerships may not offer financing. But if you buy your car from a fresh start car dealer, consider qualifying for a loan without credit history. It usually offers in-house financing. Yes, you might pay a higher interest rate, but timely payments every month will help you build your credit history, and it can even help you qualify for a better loan down the road.

6. Peer-to-peer lending
Nowadays there are many individual investors who give private loans to people with no credit history. Typically, these loans have lower rates than rates offered by banks. Plus, if you ask politely, a private investor can report your timely monthly payments to the credit bureau.

7. A small collateral loan
Have you already opened an account with a credit union or bank? If no, consider getting a small personal loan. This will help you to build your credit without using credit cards. You can use any valuable assets as collateral, such as jewelry or electronics. Qualify for a small loan and pay it off over the next several months. The credit union or bank will certainly report your timely monthly payments to all credit bureaus.

A credit card is convenient and useful, but you can get into debt if you can’t control your spending. Follow these tips and you can establish your credit history without having a credit card. Are you going to use any of the suggestions mentioned above?

7 Cute DIY Valentine’s Day Ideas

Valentine’s Day has always been a special holiday. Nowadays, this holiday is a lot commercialized. Many call Valentine’s Day another Hallmark holiday, while others dread to create Valentine lists. Try to think out of the box, though, and you will come up with a host of creative and frugal ideas that will make everyone happy and will not wreck your budget. If you have no idea, check out these ones. Hopefully, you will pick something for yourself.

1. Wall of Paper Hearts


Wall of Paper Hearts
pinterest.com

Add a touch of 3D to your room by creating a wall of paper hearts. This is an easy way to boost your Valentine’s Day spirit and remind you of the most romantic day of the year. A wall of paper heart is quick and easy to make and is ideal for kids and people working from home. Hopefully, those tiny hearts will feed your creative soul and reduce your everyday stress.

2. Matchbox Valentines


Matchbox Valentines
pinterest.com

When you have a long Valentine list, your wallet may scream for help. Matchbox Valentines will save your budget from ruin. Plus, if your kids need a lot of valentines too, consider making as many matchbox valentines as you need. This wonderful photo tutorial will help you. Not only will you save some cash, you will keep your little ones entertained for hours too.

3. Valentine’s Candy Huggers


Valentines Candy Huggers
pinterest.com

Have you ever seen anything cuter than these Valentine’s candy huggers? Even though it takes some time and effort to create them, your children’s and their friends’ smiles will make you forget about your efforts. Get your little ones or friends to help you in cutting animal shapes out of construction paper.

4. Photo Strip Valentines


Photo Strip Valentines
pinterest.com

Want to wow your significant other with a personalized gift on February 14? This DIY idea is right for you. All you need is time, a mini kraft gift box, cardstock paper of your favorite color, photos of two of you, heart-shaped sweets, and some additional things like ruler, kraft knife, etc. This budget-friendly Valentine’s Day gift idea is perfect for your friends, parents or siblings too.

5. Hand Embroidered Valentine’s Day Card


Hand Embroidered Valentine’s Day Card
pinterest.com

This one is another budget-friendly idea for people with super long Valentine lists. Maybe someone considers this idea too simple, yet handmade valentines are way better than the ones you get from the store. Paper and thread are all you need to create hand embroidered Valentine’s Day card.

6. String Heart


String Heart
pinterest.com

You can make a bigger version of your valentine and even hang it on a wall like a picture. This idea is widely used at weddings, but this ‘picture’ can become a symbol of your love for many years to come. In order to create a big string heart, you will need a piece of wood, nails, string, spray paint, and white paper. Do not bother about the mess, you will love the result.

7. Heart shaped tea bags


Heart shaped tea bags
pinterest.com

Is your partner a tea junkie? Surprise him with a cup of his favorite tea with a heart shaped tea bag. It may seem like a waste of time, because he will throw this tea bag away as soon as he finishes his tea. But he will remember your love gesture forever, I promise. Heart shaped eggs, pancakes or toasts will match your heart shaped tea bag.

Oftentimes, the simplest things, gestures and gifts are the most thoughtful, memorable and beautiful ones. Handmade gifts have always been appreciated. When you are on a pinched budget, these DIY Valentine’s Day ideas might prevent you from swiping your credit card to buy expensive gifts that people we love may not even use or like.

Just because it is handmade, does not mean it is bad. It means you sacrifice your precious time to make those you love happy on February 14. Do you like any of these Valentine’s Day ideas? Maybe you have your own ideas? Share them with us please.

12 Incredible Ways to Reuse Your Old Books

Now that you have Amazon Kindle, you probably have no time or desire to read those old books, which are simply collecting dust on your bookshelf. While the best option is to donate your old books to a local library, you can also reuse them in so many creative ways. Whatever you are in the mood to experiment and create, turn those dusty books into something fabulous and high-end for your house.

1. Cute book clock


Cute book clock
Photo: pinterest.com

2. Creative book stool


Creative book stool
Photo: pinterest.com

3. Contemporary piece of furniture


Contemporary piece of furniture
Photo: pinterest.com

4. Weird planters


Weird planters
Photo: pinterest.com

5. Tissue box


Tissue box
Photo: pinterest.com

6. Book knife holder


Book knife holder
Photo: pinterest.com

7. Book clutch


Book Clutch
Photo: pinterest.com

8. Card holders


Card holders
Photo: pinterest.com

9. Book drawers


Book drawers
Photo: pinterest.com

10. Jewelry box


Jewelry Box
Photo: pinterest.com

11. Secret organizer


Secret organizer
Photo: pinterest.com

12. Indoor wreath


Indoor wreath
Photo: pinterest.com

Well, do you still want to throw away your old books? Give these ideas a try and you will not regret you tried. Feel free to come up with your own ideas and don’t forget to share them with us.

7 Things You Shouldn’t Put on Your Credit Card

If you are strapped for cash, a credit card may seem like an easy solution to your financial woes. However, this does not mean you should use your credit card as if it is an electronic bankcard in a game of Monopoly. Although a credit card could help improve your financial standings, it could also throw you into financial ruin. Because of this, there are some things you should think twice about before swiping your card.

Things You Should not Put on Your Credit Card
What is your available credit?
Before you swipe your credit card, you should at least have an estimation of what your available credit is. Although many major banks have eliminated overage fees and have spending limits, you should still avoid exceeding your limit. You could trigger interest rate increases or lower your credit score.

Mortgage payments
Although this may be a viable solution in a pinch, it is not a good idea to make a habit of paying your mortgage or rent payments with a credit card. After all, it is not a good idea to pay off one debt with a method that could force you into another if you cannot afford the payment.

Taxes
If you pay your taxes with a credit card, you will have to pay a 2 to 3 percent convenience fee of what you owe. This is in addition to the interest rate on your card. Credit card issuers may also be less likely to approve you for another card because you appear to be a risk.

Medical bills
The interest rate associated with your credit card can make it more difficult to pay off the bill. Again, if you are unable to make the payments on time, you could damage your credit score or see your interest rates increase.

Tuition
Although continuing your education is important, paying your tuition with a credit card can do more harm than good. In most cases, you will be unable to pay off the full balance and incur more interest charges. If the college accepts your payment through the credit card, you may have to pay a 2 to 3 percent processing fee.

Gambling
It can be easy to lose track of how much money you are spending while gambling. Because of this, it is a bad idea to use your card. Although some credit cards exclude gambling, the ones that do not consider these purchases as cash advances. The interest rate and other fees associated with your card can cause issues and potentially ruin your credit score.

Weddings
Every penny you spend on services and items for your wedding has to be paid back with interest. In addition, it can be easy to exceed your credit limit trying to create your dream wedding. This can lead to overage fees or maxing out your card. Ultimately, it could damage your credit score.

Frivolous Items
It is so easy to swipe your card that you may not realize how much you are spending. $10 here and $20 there can easily add up to $300 later with interest. If you are unable to pay the balance, you will be subject to more interest fees and potentially ruin your credit score.

Having a credit card can help improve your credit score, but if used improperly it can damage it. Because of this, it is very important to think twice before using it. Avoiding the things mentioned above can help you avoid financial ruin caused by credit card debt.

8 Smart Black Friday Shopping Tips

Black Friday shopping doesn’t just have to be money splurging time. Some people spend more money on Black Friday than any other day of the year, believing they get the best deals. It’s not a secret that many companies raise the prices on Black Friday and trick us into thinking we get cheap things and save cash for Christmas. Fake Black Friday isn’t a surprise in many cities, which is why more and more people skip this big day. If you can’t stay home when others do shopping, here’s your guide to getting the best deals and purchase things you really need.

1. Leave your credit cards at home
Maybe I’m a credit card hater, but I think it’s one of the worst things that can ruin our happiness and quality of life. When getting ready for Black Friday shopping, create a list of things you need and prepare a certain amount of money. This way you will avoid overspending and running into debts. When you pay with cash during the holiday season, you ring in the new year debt-free, unless your friend will lend the money to you.

2. Don’t ignore the fine print
Large fonts, flashy language and seemingly fantastic prices are created to get our attention. We hurry to buy the item before someone else will get it, forgetting to read the fine print. Oftentimes, we are too lazy to read it. However, the fine print may contain the truth that many retailers and companies are trying to hide from us. The hustle and bustle of Black Friday can break the most savvy shoppers, albeit it all depends on how many things you want to purchase.

3. Don’t get blinded by flashy deals
When going Black Friday shopping, think outside of the box. Instead of stocking on Christmas gifts, think about other events too, such as Valentine’s Day, birthdays, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day etc. Look for little items that are cheaper on Black Friday. This way, you will always be ready for any occasion, even when you won’t have money at all.

4. Bargain
If you really love the item but don’t have enough money for buying it, look for the same item with some little scratch, tear or package damage and feel free to bargain. Most sellers and stores, especially those that are less heavily trafficked, are open to bargaining and negotiating. But don’t get angry. Bargain with a smile on your face and a great mood.

5. Get ready mentally and physically
It may sound ridiculous but those who are ready for Black Friday shopping mentally and physically get the best deals. Go to bed early, meditate or read before sleep in order to calm your mind, skip alcohol at party to avoid dealing with hangover in the morning, create a list of the things you want to buy and prepare money. On Black Friday, wake up earlier, exercise, have a healthy breakfast, increase your mood level, grab a bottle of water and go shopping. We tend to make better decisions when we feel healthy. Be ready to deal with angry people and don’t respond to rudeness.

6. Don’t open a store credit card
Store credit cards allows us to get extra savings on the items we need, but they are usually much higher than our ordinary bank credit cards. Opening a store credit card on Black Friday may leave you paying off your debt all year long, not to mention that you can end up paying up to 30% if you will be late on your payment.

7. Watch your change
Black Friday is a great opportunity for seller to earn some extra cash. Huge crowds and long lines are overwhelming, which is why it’s no wonder so many people find themselves feeling confused and losing money. Watch your wallet and change when going Black Friday shopping. Otherwise, you lose more than gain.

8. Don’t throw away the receipts
When you have the receipts of your purchases, you have more chances of changing or returning the item you bought mistakenly. Or, maybe that washer has some technical problems or serious damages that you failed to notice on Black Friday. A receipt is a proof that you have a right to get a high quality item and the store simply deceived you. The best advice is to keep your receipts every time you buy something no matter what day it is.

Black Friday is right around the corner, which means it’s time to start preparing for it right now. Don’t run to an extreme, though. If you have no money, it’s best to skip Black Friday shopping. The last thing you want to deal with in the coming year is debts. Are you ready for this year’s Black Friday shopping? What are you going to hunt for?

5 Credit Card Lies We All Believe

Can you imagine your life without credit cards? Not sure. While many claim we should get rid of all our credit cards, having one card will not hurt. Let’s not forget that Walter Cavanagh has 1,497 credit cards and he is not broke.

I am definitely not promoting to have tons of credit cards, but if you have one, make sure you do not believe in these common credit card myths that can prevent you from taking a full advantage of your current credit card.

1. Credit card is a source of constant debts
This is partially true. On the one hand, it is hard to stop buying things when you know you ‘have’ money. On the other hand, when you use your credit card responsibly, it can make your life easier. If you know that you can pay back at the end of the month, why not take advantage of it?

2. You should never pay down 100% of the balance
Credit cards save us in the most unexpected and difficult situation, so having the one is a great idea. Many people believe that if they pay down 100% of the balance, they risk having a bad credit score. It is a myth.

Unless you pay your credit card bill late or do not pay it at all, your credit score will keep increasing. Never miss your credit card bill’s due date and never buy anything expensive when you know that you have no money to pay even your minimum.

3. Cancelling your credit card affects your credit score
I have cancelled my credit cards many times, and it has never affected my credit score. If you do not use your credit card, and you are sure you will not need it down the road, cancel it. If you do not keep a balance, your credit score will stay the same. However, if you do keep a balance, make sure you pay it down before cancelling your credit card.

4. Having more than two credit cards is a disaster
There is a reason a lot of people have more than one credit card these days. First of all, because of bonuses that credit cards offer. You will not hurt your credit score if you open several credit cards to get those bonuses.

But if you have trouble splurging on the things you do not actually need, or your partner has a tendency to spend money on bad habits like drinking or smoking, it is best to cancel all of your credit cards. It is so easy to spend money, but it is so hard to earn them and give them back to the bank.

5. Opening a credit card to get the rewards is a bad idea
Again, if you have a strong self-control, why not? After all, you can get a plane ticket for your summer vacation for free, and then get another ticket for a spontaneous trip for free. Even though these bonuses and rewards are just smart marketing tools to get people to use the credit card more often, there is still an advantage to take.

Credit cards are not our enemies. They can be our friends too. All we should do is to learn how to use a credit card responsibly. I am definitely not suggesting you have dozens of cards. If you need them, it is okay. If you never use your credit card, cancel it. That’s it. Is your credit card your enemy or friend?

5 Ways to Save Money When Shopping in London

I grew up in Bournemouth, on the south coast of the UK. I first went on a shopping trip to London as a teenager with a friend and her mum, which was beyond exciting at the time.

Now in my thirties, I live and work in London. It has become my home and I am very accustomed to everything here. But I do remember traveling up here from Bournemouth and being stunned at how much money I could burn through in a day’s shopping trip.

As we are now entering the official season of shopping; from filling our stockings to blitzing the January sales, the little costs can really add up. If you are planning a shopping trip to London in the near future, then here are five money-saving tips.


1. Take a packed lunch
The cost of buying a take-away lunch from one of London’s many food chains will blow your socks off. Some of these companies have two prices at the till – one for takeaway and a higher price to eat in.

When it is cold outside that can really catch you out. If I am heading to the shops for the day I always take something from home with me in my bag. You do not want too much food anyway. Carbs will just slow you down, and you have a shopping mission to complete.

2. Don’t default to chain coffee shops
Without naming any brands in particular, we all know whom I am talking about. If you stop to refuel with a coffee then the good old department stores have cafes inside them. Because department stores cafes are not trendy they are cheaper, and also less crowded. Wouldn’t you prefer to put your bags down, sit and relax for a while?

3. Buy a travel card
If you are not a local then you probably will not have an Oyster card. London buses no longer accept cash either so you will want to find a paper or plastic solution for the day.

A day’s travel card will give you the flexibility to hop on and off of transport without paying a premium each time. Take a look at Transport for London’s website to find the best deal for yourself.

4. Shop around a little
One of the best things about shopping in London is the amount of choice. You have so much opportunity to shop around and not just accept the first price you see for something.

 

5. Don’t fall for the extras at the till
Do you remember when supermarkets used to have their confectionary shelves at each till to entice the queue? That was very crafty of them. Well, some fashion stores have followed suit and try to upsell you at the till or while you are waiting in the queue. Have your guard up; they are sneaky but you have street smarts.

And a final little money tip – have some emergency cash on you. London transport can be unpredictable, and the tube at rush hour is no walk in the park.

If you are relying on catching a coach or train back out of London at the end of the day, allow yourself extra time to get to your station, and that emergency cash is just in case you need a taxi to help you make your connection.

The less you spend on being in London, the more you will have left to shop with. Enjoy the shopping season and happy bargain hunting!

15 Warning Signs You Are Living Beyond Your Means

Nowadays most people are trying to improve their personal finances. Some people cut out unnecessary expenses, while others seek for some ways to increase their income. Living within your means actually makes good financial sense to be debt free. Check out these warning signs you are living beyond your means and start making some financial changes in your life right now.


1. You can’t pay bills on time
If you forget to pay your bills, it’s one thing. But, if you don’t have enough money to pay bills on time, you are overextended. Examining your spending habits and adjusting them can solve this problem. Perhaps, you can’t afford regular massages or weekly salon visits. So think it over.

2. Lack of a financial cushion
If you don’t have any savings account, it is one of the warning signs that you are living beyond your means. Money in the bank will support you after a job loss, a sickness and another emergency. When you live beyond your means, you spend all your money and you don’t think about saving them. Try to break this habit and you will free up money for a financial cushion. Eat out less, shop less and vacation less.

3. You’re constantly borrowing money
Do your family members or friends dodge your text messages and phone calls? Probably it’s because they know that you’ll ask for money. If your current income can’t support your lifestyle and you are always borrowing money, you are living beyond your means.

4. Housing ratio is higher than 28%
When you live within your means, your housing ratio is less than 28% of your income. To compute your housing ratio, divide your monthly housing expense by monthly income. You are living beyond your means if the ratio is higher than 28%.

5. Bad credit
Don’t think that the late payments are the only cause of poor credit. Too much consumer debt also affects your credit score. Even if you pay the bills on time monthly, your credit score never increases. So think of paying off your debt. Don’t rely on your credit cards since it can cause high credit card debt.

6. You’ve exceeded your credit card limit
Have you ever maxed out a credit card? It’s a bad feeling, right? And when you have exceeded your credit card limit, it’s even a worse feeling, because now you are paying your bill, interest and over-limit fees. That’s a ton of money to put towards only one bill. Plus, it can lower your credit score.

7. You use your credit card to pay bills
Using your credit card to pay off your basic bills such as utilities or other credit cards’ bills is a red flag. And transferring balances from one card to another is also a warning sign of living beyond your means because you are not paying anything down.

8. You only pay the minimum payment
If you only pay the minimum payment every month, its’ one of the biggest sign you are living beyond your means. Paying the minimum won’t help you pay off your debt and you will be paying more in interest, and this can only add to the problem.

9. Denied new credit
If you do not have the cash, but you want a new laptop or flat screen television, you might apply for store credit. You think that you have enough income and you can afford the monthly payments. However, income is not the only factor that can determine whether you’re approved. The stores also take into consideration your existing debt. Denied new credit indicates living beyond your means.

10. Your credit balances are high
It’s okay to have more than two credit cards. However, if all of the balances on your credit cards are high, you are definitely living beyond your means. Moreover, if you have high balances it will prevent you from getting a new credit and it’s more difficult to pay off, thus you will end up paying tons in interest.

11. You try to keep up with your friends
Does your best friend shop and vacation often? Do you try to keep up with her lifestyle? If so, you are probably living beyond your means. There is nothing wrong with a little fun, of course, if you can afford this fun.

12. You buy everything you want, even if you can’t afford it
Many people are guilty of this, including me. Although I write a good budget, sometimes when I get my paycheck, I spend all money on the thing I really want. Then, I end up living paycheck to paycheck, thinking where to get money to buy the essential things, including food. That’s hard to do. If you really want to buy something, try to budget for it. Don’t just buy it. You should always remind yourself that if you can’t pay for it with cash, you shouldn’t purchase it.

13. You spend more than 25% of your income on eating out each month
Do you know how much money you spend on eating out each month? If you spend more than 25% of your paycheck on eating out monthly, you are definitely living beyond your means. You might have a super busy schedule, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t cook at home. There are lots of healthy snacks and meals which are quick and easy to make at home. Meal planning can save you a lot of money.

14. You are saving less than 10% of your income for retirement
If you have not been saving at least 10% of your paycheck for retirement each month since age 25, that’s a red flag. Saving for retirement is among the most important things everyone has to do. Even if you are in your 20s, you need to start saving. The earlier you start saving for retirement the less you’ll need to put aside monthly to achieve your retirement savings goals.

15. You don’t have a budget
Finally, if you don’t have a written budget, you have a high chance of overspending your money and living beyond your means. A written budget shows if you’re spending more or less than you can afford. Start a budget now and you will see how much money you are actually spending and how much money you can save each month. This will help you live within your means without debts. If you have credit cards, make sure you keep track of the money spent with them too.

I know, living within your means is restrictive, but you can enjoy financial happiness and peace of mind. While buying expensive things can bring temporary happiness, it won’t make you happier. You may end up spending the whole month or even year paying off your debts. Are you living beyond your means? What are you going to do to change the situation? Please, comment below.

Macedonian Djevair Ametovski pleads guilty to running ‘Codeshop’ to sell stolen payment card data

Djevair Ametovski pleaded guilty to fraud and identity theft and faces 17 years in prisoniStock
A Macedonian citizen has pleaded guilty on Friday (25 August) to running a sophisticated nefarious website called Codeshop to sell stolen credit and debit card data, bank account details and personal identification data of people from around the world, US prosecutors said. Djevair Ametovski, who goes by the online pseudonyms “xhevo,” “sindrom” and “sindromx”, allegedly worked with co-conspirators to hack into the databases of financial institutions and businesses globally to steal victims’ personal data.

He also used various phishing scams to send fake emails to unsuspecting account holders and lured them into handing over their private information. Ametovski then packaged the stolen data for sale and posted it on the Codeshop website.

Prosecutors said the illegal online global marketplace featured a fully indexed and searchable website that “allowed users to search through databases of stolen data by bank identification number, financial institution, country, state and card brand to find the precise data that they wished to buy”.

Clients who bought data on the website generally used it to make online purchases and encode plastic cards to withdraw cash at ATMs, according to court papers.

To conceal his customers’ identities, as well as his own, Ametovski used a network of online money exchanges and anonymous digital currencies to reap the revenues.

The one-stop “carding shop” was run online from 2010 to 2014. The 30-year-old stole credit and debit card data for more than 1.3 million cards over the course of the illegal cyber scheme, officials said, resulting in millions of dollars in losses for tens of thousands of people.

Ametovski was arrested in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in January 2014, and was later extradited to the US in May last year. He pleaded guilty to fraud and identity theft at a federal courthouse in Brooklyn and faces up to 17 years in prison.

“Cybercriminals such as the defendant profit directly from the mass hacking of online businesses and theft of personal and financial information, and provide a platform for others to do the same,” Acting United States Attorney Rohde siad in a statement. “This Office, together with our law enforcement partners, will work tirelessly to shut down these illegal businesses and hold their operators accountable for their crimes.”

New Android malware can secretly steal your credit card data, calls and texts

File photo: A 3D printed Android logo is seen in front of a displayed cyber code in this illustration taken March 22, 2016. (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic)

At this point, we assume that most savvy Android users know to be on the lookout for suspicious apps and download prompts, but even as smartphone users become more aware of the risks of downloading apps, the creators of the most vicious malware have adapted by releasing increasingly subtle Trojans that can do a great deal of damage behind the scenes without alerting the user.

This week, security firm Kaspersky detailed a relatively new Android malware called Faketoken in a blog post on Thursday morning. Faketoken has actually been around for at least a year, but it has evolved into something especially sinister. Once it infects an Android device, Faketoken is capable of recording phone calls, intercepting text messages and stealing data from various apps, including banking apps.

Trending Articles

US Air Force prepping mysterious X-37B space plane for…
The United States Air Force’s X-37B program is readying its next robotic…

Worst of all, you’ll probably never know that the malware is active on your device. Kaspersky says that once the Trojan initiates, “it hides its shortcut icon and starts to monitor all of the calls and whichever apps the user launches.” The Trojan contains an overlay mechanism that can lift data from over 2,000 apps, including Android Pay, the Google Play Store, apps to book flights, taxis and hotel rooms and even apps used to pay traffic tickets. As soon as you open one of those apps, Faketoken replaces the user interface with a fake one asking users to input their financial information.

But what if a bank asks the user to input a code sent by SMS message in order to access the account? Faketoken’s creators have an answer for that too. The malware can steal any incoming SMS messages and send them to command-and-control servers, where hackers can use them to gain access.

According to Kaspersky, the evidence suggests that Faketoken is being targeted at Russian users for now, but this serves as a valuable reminder that you shouldn’t ever download anything from a source you don’t trust or recognize. Otherwise, you might end up suffering the consequences.