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Consumer Protection
Given advancements in technology and the wide range of financial products and services available to consumers these days, understanding and protecting your finances is more important today than ever. Educating yourself and doing your homework can go a long way toward avoiding many problems. Taking the time to become a knowledgeable consumer will work to your advantage, especially when making financial decisions that will affect you for years to come.

Red Flags: Exhibit caution when:

  • A sales representative tries to pressure you or talk you into extra products, services, or features.
  • You receive incomplete or conflicting information, such as being told something different than what you've read.
  • You receive or are asked to sign any document that has blank spaces.
  • An agent seems unwilling to answer your questions or tends to talk around them without addressing your concerns.
  • An advertisement or salesperson promises a quick fix to a problem, particularly when you have to pay a lot of money up front before receiving any help. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

 

New Pamphlet Aims to Help Consumers Protect Their Credit

The AFSAEF recently unveiled a new pamphlet, Protecting Your Credit, that provides tips, warning signs of fraudulent activity, and resources for help. The new brochure was created to educate consumers and help them take charge in avoiding abusive and fraudulent practices related to consumer finance.

The information presented on this page can be found, in more detail, in the new, free pamphlet.

Download Brochure

 

Create a Budget to Know Where You Stand

Before making any financial decision, the first step you should take is to develop a budget so that you can evaluate your current financial picture. An important way to protect yourself is to make sure that you are not talked into a financial services product or service that you can't afford - and knowing beforehand what you can afford. The AFSAEF's consumer budget planner is an interactive tool for creating and adjusting your budget.

 

AFSAEF News Releases

Scam Alert

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is warning consumers about a scam that targets individuals who may be seeking assistance rebuilding credit history or restructuring debt. A bogus Florida bank using the name AmTrade International Bank sends consumers offers via U.S. mail for credit cards. Victims are instructed to send between $500 and $900 in order to secure their credit card. The checks are cashed, but the cards never arrive.

If you receive an offer for financial products in the mail, research the company offering the product before signing paperwork or sending payments. Reputable and legitimate financial institutions are required to be registered with both state and federal government agencies.

Past Scam Alerts

 

Ten Financial Tips That Can Make a Difference

  1. Research thoroughly - educate yourself on basic terms and available products and services.
  2. Comparison shop for credit.
  3. Be selective about the financial services companies with which you do business.
  4. Only shop or conduct financial business on secure Web sites.
  5. Check your monthly financial statements and contact your lender promptly if you see anything unusual.
  6. Check your credit report regularly.
  7. Don't sign a contract until you have read it, your questions have been answered, and all blank spaces have been filled in.
  8. Don't disclose sensitive personal information in emails or social media outlets, or if you haven't initiated the contact.
  9. Keep financial statements and credit cards in a secure location.
  10. Use a shredder to destroy any financial information that you are disposing.

Where to Turn for Help

Credit-Related Fraud

Federal Trade Commission
1-877-382-4357
Identity Theft Web site
Bureau of Consumer Protection

National Consumers League Fraud Center
1-800-876-7060

National Association of Attorneys General
Provides a state-by-state listing of attorneys general

The Better Business Bureau

Credit Reports

Credit Cards

American Express Fraud Protection Center
1-800-THE-CARD (1-800-843-2273)
Discover Card Security & Protection
1-800-DISCOVER (1-800-347-2683)
MasterCard
1-800-MasterCard (1-800-627-8372)
VISA Security & Protection
1-800-VISA-911 (1-800-847-2911)

Debt Education and Counseling
National Foundation for Credit Counseling
1-800-388-2227



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American Financial Services Association Education Foundation
919 Eighteenth Street, NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC, 20006-5517 / Tel: 202-466-8611 / Fax: 202-223-0321 / E-mail: info@afsaef.org

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