The Best of National Consumer Protection Week: Part Three: Making the Most of Your Money

Submitted by Jen Jones on Wed, 03/16/2011 - 7:58am

The Best of National Consumer Protection Week: Part Three: Making the Most of Your Money

To commemorate the Federal Trade Commission’s annual National Consumer Protection Week (March 6 – 12, 2011), the FTC is providing a budget-load of handy-dandy information designed to protect your money, your credit, and your overall post-recessionary financial future. So whether you’re rebuilding your economic life post-bankruptcy, or simply trying to speed up your savings, the NCPW blog can yield a wealth of resources exactly at a time when average Americans need a financial infusion, including information about:

  • Avoiding foreclosure rescue and other mortgage-related scams;
  • Knowing how to spot employment opportunity scams;
  • Making the most of your money in the early stages of your career;
  • Building and maintaining a budget to improve financial stability;
  • Avoiding time-share and credit-card scams offered via text messages; and
  • Learning what steps to take to save your home from foreclosure.

In Parts One and Two of The Best of National Consumer Protection Week (March 6 – 12, 2011) we took a long, hard look at scammers targeting you in the hard-hit real estate and employment industries. In Part Three we turn from scams to savings, with brand-new resources for helping you make the most of your money, including:

Money Smart: A Financial Education Program
Money Smart is a national financial education curriculum created by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) that helps people just like you to enhance their financial skills. The guide includes information for young adults in the early stages of earning potential in several formats including computer-based instruction and network podcasts.

ConsumerAction.gov
This informative site features what the FTC calls “practical tips for being a smart consumer,” including resource links to timely consumer news and information.

OnGuard Online
Interested in making your computer safe from malware, while, at the same time, keeping safe your computer-based financial information? OnGuard provides all of the necessary practical tips to assist you in preventing Internet fraud by securing your computer and protecting your personal information, as well as news about phishing scams, Peer-to-Peer software, and online viruses.

Money Matters
In tough economic times, getting acquainted with the rules of credit, dealing with debt and safeguarding yourself from scams are some of the most basic ways to get you back on the road to a better financial future. This FTC site offers just the tips you need to navigate these very areas with more success.

Consumer Alternatives for Receiving Income Tax Refunds
Just in time for tax season, this Consumer Advisory, issued by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, provides refund anticipation options, resources on tax preparation, and information from the Internal Revenue Service.

Gift Cards
According to the FTC website, “This OCC consumer advisory provides important information that shoppers should have about the terms and conditions that apply to gift cards. “

Early Termination Fees (ETF)
If you have a cell phone, and have attempted to change your phone plan before the expiration of your contract, you’re probably familiar with Early Termination Fees (ETF). If not, these are the fees that you agree to pay to a service provider if you end a contract before it officially expires. This FCC resource provides much-needed tips on avoiding this type of trouble.

Preventing Bill Shock
According to the FCC website, “A recent FCC Survey indicated that 30 million Americans — or one in six mobile users — have experienced “bill shock,” a sudden and unexpected increase in monthly bills that is not caused by a change in service plans. Bill shock can occur for a number of reasons including unclear or misunderstood advertising, unanticipated roaming or data charges, and other problems. It can be difficult to know when you’re running up a surprisingly high wireless bill, especially if you don’t monitor your usage or receive automatic usage alerts.” In response, the FCC offers these trusty tips on avoiding this type of bill shock.

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