Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy Financially Sound New Year!


Happy Financially Sound New Year!
In preparation for a new year, it is time to unveil the scams consumers can get into.
1. Foreign currency. Beware of anything foreign. Not that everything foreign (currency, stocks, real estate investments) is a bad idea, it's just that there are many unknowns. For the average "joe" who wants the easy path without doing a lot of homework, perhaps foreign investing is not the way to go.
2. Energy. Everything with the word "Energy" in the title is not created equal. Once again, do your homework. NAIC (National Association of Investment Clubs) advises not investing in any business less than 5 years old, providing a track record of income/profit.
3. Debt negotiation companies/organizations. Some of these companies do no more than take your hard earned money and not even contact your lenders. Check out the two following legitimate websites: www.hopenow.com and www.HUD.gov. Your county extension office has trained volunteers to help sort out financial struggles.
4. Mortgage and foreclosure websites. If you are having problems making your mortgage payments, trust me the vultures are out there waiting to "rescue" you from your lender. Do not jump into the arms of these vultures. The first thing you want to do is contact your lender. Most lenders today are so happy to have a responsible borrower, they will work with you to get your monthly mortgage payments within a limit you can afford.
5. Bank 'phishing". This is happening more also. You may get an e-mail saying your bank has just been purchased by "XYZ Bank" with the following instructions: "Please follow the link below to renew your account information." Of course they are after pertinent personal information to steal you identity and your cash!
6. Report fraudulent e-mails (spam) to : www.ucc.gov or www.FTC.gov.
7. Report any ID theft to www.ftc.gov/idtheft.

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