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Credit Card Skimmer Use Is On the Rise

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The police recently arrested five suspects for stealing personal information from gas pumps, prompting an official investigation of credit card skimmers.

"It's crazy," said Craig VanBuren, director of the Consumer Protection Section at Michigan's Department of Agriculture. "What we're finding since August has just really blown our mind."

Skimmers, devices which allow thieves to record credit or debit information, are being found in both large and small towns.

Image via Flickr/Mike Mozart

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How to Use Credit Cards for Holiday Savings

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It's no secret that your bank account gets a bit strained during the holidays. But if you use your credit cards strategically, you can ease some of the financial burden.

If you're traveling a lot for the holidays, consider using a travel rewards card. Buy your tickets with the card to rack up miles for future trips and gain other special perks.

When you're cooking big holiday meals, you're going to be spending a lot of money at the grocery store. Get some of that cash back with a grocery rewards card.

Image via Flickr/Alan Cleaver

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Luxury Entry Doors Are Newest Trend in NYC Real Estate

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In New York City, one of the biggest trends right now are luxury entry doors. These doors help to personalize an apartment and create a grander entrance.

"It’s not just the front door — it’s the entrance to the apartment,” Ian Bruce Eichner, CEO of the Continuum Company. “And it’s the message you get when you walk off the elevator and look at it."

Buildings are also going beyond the door and putting more effort and money into creating dramatic entry spaces.

Image via Flickr/Sandra Cohen-Rose and Colin Rose

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Mortgage Applications On the Rise

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Despite the higher interest rates of the past five months, buyers are still taking out home loans at an increasing rate.

According to a survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association, mortgage applications increased 6.2 percent last week, up from the week before.

"This was despite the fact that mortgage rates reached their highest level since July," said Michael Fratantoni, the association's chief economist.

Image via Flickr/Rental Realities

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What You Should Know About Real Estate Investments

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Your home represents a large portion of your overall wealth. But it might not be your best investment. However, it can still play an important role in your portfolio.

Real estate investments have low correlations to other investments, like stocks and bonds. That lack of correlation could signify stability in your portfolio.

From a tax perspective, real estate investments are hugely beneficial. But be sure you're not overdoing it on real estate. It should make up just 5 percent of your portfolio.

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