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Protecting Your Money

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Keeping an eye on your money is more important than ever—whether it’s managing cash, using debit and credit cards, insuring things you cannot afford to lose or making investments.  Fraud comes in all shapes and sizes, from losing a small amount of money by donating to a charity that doesn’t exist or thousands of dollars in a phony investment scheme. Thieves and con artists not only steal your hard-earned money, they can ruin your credit rating, making it difficult to get a credit card or loan, rent an apartment, or even find a job.  In this section of moneysbestfriend.com, you can learn more about avoiding scams, protecting yourself from identity theft and whether your money is insured.

The safest place to keep your money is in an institution insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).  Not only do these institutions insure your deposits for up to $250,000 but also provide a sensible way to manage your cash.  If you do not have a checking account, you are probably paying too much to manage your money.  If you keep lots of cash on hand, it can be lost or stolen.  Alternative financial services such as check cashers, payday lenders, pawnshops and other outlets charge very high fees for their services and do not provide any insurance against loss.

Before you invest, check out Finding a Financial Planner and Finding the Right Investment in the Saving & Investing section of moneysbestfriend.com. If you’re considering a loan, read the Borrowing section, particularly How to Spot Predatory Lending. Also, read Online Banks vs. Online Banking before you sign up online.  And remember, reputable financial institutions will never send you an unsolicited e-mail asking you to respond with confidential, personal, or account information.

Buck's Two Cents

 

On average, victims of identity theft spend 175 hours and $800 to clear their names, according to the Florida Department of Financial Services.

In 2004 alone, the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel database received over 635,000 complaints of consumer fraud and identity theft, with consumers reporting $547 million in losses.


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Protect Yourself, Protect Your Money
This free booklet from the Pennsylvania Department of Banking tells you how to spot common scams involving lotteries, charities, home improvement, credit repair, online auctions and more.  Plus, what to do if you’re a victim.  Learn more…

Investor Ed
The Pennsylvania Securities Commission has an online library of information about investment schemes and fraud.  Learn more…

Consumer Protection
If you think you have been taken advantage of or if you have questions about an offer you received in the mail, online or on the phone, call the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s  Bureau of Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-441-2555 or visit the Attorney General’s website.  Learn more ...

File a Complaint
Start at the Federal Citizen Information Center’s website, where you can search by topic for the names and numbers of federal agencies to contact. In some cases, you can file your complaint online.  Learn more ...

Getting Results
Consumer Action has updated its guide How to Complain. The free and comprehensive booklet is designed to help you complain effectively and get results.  Learn more ...

Is My Money Safe?
The AARP brochure discusses the safeguards for your money and their limitations.  Learn more…  

Tips for Safe Banking Over the Internet
The FDIC discusses the safety of internet banking.  Learn more…

Internet Security
The Federal Trade Commission has a list of organizations that deal with information security on the Internet. Learn more ...

Government Resources
The Federal Citizen Information Center’s Scams & Frauds section includes information about schemes of all types, plus resources for reporting scams.  Learn more ...


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