Author Karen Haywood Queen

Karen Haywood Queen

Karen Haywood Queen is an independent tech, energy and finance writer. Her work has appeared in AARP Bulletin, AARP Livable,, Better Homes and Gardens, Costco Connection, Family Fun, Manufacturing Engineering Magazine, Mechanical Engineering Magazine,, Smart Manufacturing and South East Energy News. Karen lives in Williamsburg, Virginia, with her rocket scientist husband.


Karen Haywood Queen's stories on

Child identity theft on the rise -- Young adults often struggle to obtain credit due to a lack of borrowing history, but many are also hindered by identity theft that happened when they were kids. ... (See Child identity theft)

Artificial intelligence: How AI is changing credit cards -- Artificial intelligence is changing credit card rewards and powering financial tools to help you save more, stick to a budget and pick the perfect hotel based on past preferences. ... (See AI and credit cards)

Buying gift cards with credit cards is now easier -- EMV chip card readers have cut retailers' risk from fraudsters using counterfeit cards to buy gift cards. As a result there are fewer restrictions on gift card purchases. ... (See Buying gift cards with credit cards)

Banks make chargebacks easier -- To dispute a charge, often all it takes is the click of a button on the card issuer's website or app ... (See Chargebacks easier)

Who to call in the first hours after fraud strikes -- Who to call in the first hours after you've been a fraud victim. ... (See Fraud)

How to avoid 5 traps of balance transfer cards -- Paying late and not erasing your debt can be costly mistakes ... (See Balance transfer)

As online fraud spikes, here?s how to safeguard your accounts -- Protect your devices with strong passwords. That's just one step you can take to reduce your risk as e-commerce fraud soars ... (See Fraud)

Fraud alerts: Your credit's first (and free) layer of security -- A fraud alert notifies lenders that they should take special precautions to verify your identity before extending credit. But it comes with limitations -- and hassles ... (See Fraud alerts)

8-credit-mistakes-made-by-the-credit-experts -- Everyday cardholders can learn from gaffes made by gurus ... (See Mistakes)

Holiday layaway season now starts in late summer -- Earlier head-start lets shoppers spread payments from Labor Day through winter ... (See Layaway)

How to get free stays and perks faster with hotel rewards -- Loyalty programs from hotels, co-branded credit cards and third-party booking sites all can help you earn free nights, but work best when you choose a strategy that fits your needs ... (See Hotel rewards)

10 warning signs of ID theft -- Data breach notices and bogus charges on your card are just two red flags. Here?s what to do if you suspect fraud ... (See ID theft)

Account takeover fraud rising -- As credit card numbers fall in value on the black market, thieves are turning to a much more lucrative form of ID theft ... (See Takeover)

Debt collectors prey on soldiers and veterans -- Military personnel move regularly, earn steady paychecks and have to protect their security clearances. That makes them more vulnerable to illegal debt collection practices ... (See Military)

How you type, move your mouse may help catch fraudsters -- Some banks and e-commerce sites are monitoring your unique typing and mouse movements to verify your identity and spot fraud ... (See Security)

One credit card? Or many? How to decide -- Having one is easier and removes temptation, using many gives rewards ... (See Cards)

When good credit marries bad, it takes work -- You don't want your betrothed's bad credit history to bring down yours. Take these steps to protect your credit and help your spouse improve theirs ... (See Wedding risks)

How to fight medical identity theft -- When a thief steals your medical ID, it puts your health at risk as well as your credit. Here's what to do ... (See Fight medical ID theft)

7 quick tasks to protect your ID -- Got 10 minutes? Then you can take a step to prevent identity theft. Each of these seven steps can be accomplished in 10 minutes or less. ... (See Prevent ID theft)

Rating fraud: Not all security breaches are equal -- Different types of fraud have different risks involved. Knowing those risks might save you a headache ... (See Fraud risk)

Empty nest, full wallet: How to do it -- The kids are permanently away. Time to pull out the credit cards and play? Not so fast ... (See Empty next, full wallet)

Advances in fraud analytics promise to stop crooks, not you -- Geolocation technology and better analytics should help card issuers more accurately determine when it's a fraudster using your card and when it's you ... (See Anti-fraud technology)

What to do when a new gift card shows zero balance -- You give (or get) a new gift card, and the first time it's used, pfft! It's empty. Whether the problem is fraud or simple human error, follow these steps to retrieve its value ... (See $0 balance gift cards)

A day in the life of a common credit card crook -- Those who make, buy and use stolen credit cards have workdays like the rest of us. See what the daily grind is for the crooks who would profit from your card data ... (See Card crook workday)

Know your fraudster: 8 types of card criminals -- Card fraud has become a big industry, with criminals specializing in each stage of the crime, from malware coders to skimmer installers to mules ... (See Know your fraudster)

9 tips for using mobile gift cards safely -- A growing number of mobile gift cards and apps let you give, receive and use gift cards all on your smartphone -- no traditional wallet needed. Convenient, right? But they also present new security issues ... (See Mobile gift cards)

If loan to friend or family goes bad, you may take a tax deduction -- When friends or family borrow from you and then default, the IRS allows a bad debt tax deduction -- if you documented the loan and file the right forms ... (See Bad debt deduction)

Poll: Many cardholders will avoid stores hit by data breaches -- As retail data breaches become more common, nearly half of 985 U.S. cardholders polled by say they're likely this holiday season to avoid stores that have been hit ... (See Breach poll)

Don't be 'breakage' -- 7 tips to avoid losing gift card value -- About $1 billion worth of gift cards will go unused in 2014. The industry calls that lost value "breakage" or "spillage" and it means big profits for them and lost money for you ... (See Breakage)

Personal line of credit: Is it best for you? -- Personal lines of credit are becoming more common for bridging short-term gaps in cash flow. Compare them first with other forms of credit, though ... (See Line of credit)

New moves to protect military members from financial fraud -- Federal and state regulators are cracking down and pairing with other groups to offer education, protection and recourse for military service members in the crosshairs of financial fraudsters ... (See Military and fraud)

The new math: Working through college may not pay off -- If students delay graduating because they're busy working, they may never recover financially -- and may never graduate, either. Here's how to decide whether working as a student is worth it ... (See Working through college)

Weighing work and study: one student's strategy -- Elise Birkner considered working to help pay for her college tuition. But after looking at the numbers, her family realized a part-time job would be too expensive ... (See Balancing work and study)

Assets online? Plan your estate for the digital age -- Financial accounts, credit card rewards and even treasured photos are often online-only these days. Take these steps to help an heir to find them, and pay your bills to boot ... (See Digital estate plan)

Complain and win: 4 tips for calling credit card customer service -- If you have a problem with your card, don't let endless options and hold music deter you. With a little knowledge and the right attitude, you can get results ... (See Service)

How to let kids fail their way to financial success -- As parents, the instinct is to protect children from making mistakes -- especially costly financial flubs. But knowing how to handle mistakes can mean the difference between an error becoming a learning opportunity and a bad habit ... (See Kids' money mistakes)

Using gift card exchange sites to stretch your holiday budget -- Gift cards have become so popular that a secondary market is booming. While you probably wouldn't give mom a used sweater for the holidays, you might be able to save money by buying other people?s unwanted gift cards at a discount ... (See Discount gift cards)

Q&A with 'What to Do When I Get Stupid' author Lewis Mandell -- Our cognitive ability related to credit cards and borrowing peaks around age 53. In his new book, "What to Do When I Get Stupid," behavioral economist Lewis Mandell explains how we can protect ourselves from hucksters -- and ourselves -- in our dotage ... (See Retirement)

How to get your adult children to leave the nest -- Instead of feathering their own financial nests, many parents who are retired or approaching retirement are going into debt and raiding their savings to support their young adult children -- all in the name of love ... (See Adult children)

How to protect a foster child from ID theft -- Foster kids are even more at risk for identity theft than the general population. Help protect yourself or a young person you know by following these tips ... (See Tips)

Foster children get help in combating ID theft -- A 2011 federal law says when foster children turn 16, child welfare agencies must help them get annual credit reports and clear up any mistakes. States are now implementing programs to do just that ... (See Foster kids and ID theft)

Don't be 'breakage' -- Tips to avoid losing gift card value -- About $1 billion worth of gift cards will go unused in 2014. The industry calls that lost value "breakage" or "spillage" and it means big profits for them and lost money for you ... (See Breakage)

The high price of cash-advance convenience checks -- The checks put instant cash just a signature away, but convenience costs: Watch out for fees, high interest rates and ID thieves ... (See Convenience checks)

Discounts: 8 ways to get gift cards for less -- Use these techniques to pay less than face value or boost buying power of a gift card ... (See Discount)

Protect your computer -- and your identity -- on campus -- Students heading to college need to take precautions to protect their computers and smartphones, and the sensitive information they contain ... (See College ID safety)

ID theft: 10 ways college students can protect themselves -- Campuses are often a young adult's first step away from the safety of home, so they need to raise their technological guard. ... (See Protect thyself)

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Updated: 06-27-2019