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Focus on Financial Issues Program Bulletin

Wise Giving

Does your club research the organizations that solicit donations from you? When it comes time to disperse your club’s hard-earnd fundraising dollars, you should check out the Wise Giving Alliance, www.Give.org. The Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance aids donors in making giving decisions and raises the standards of conduct among organizations that solicit contributions from the public. The Alliance produces reports on national charities and publishes a quarterly magazine, the Wise Giving Guide. Make an informed decision about charities or nonprofits based on facts abouthow they use the funds, including for programs, fundraising, administrative, and other expenses.

Planning Ahead: Retirement

WISER (Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement) has created a variety of consumer publications, including fact sheets, booklets, and a quarterly newsletter, that explain in easy-to-understand language the complex issues surrounding Social Security, divorce, pay equity, pensions, savings and investments, banking, home-ownerships, long-term care, and disability insurance. GFWC members can sign up on WISER’s e-mail list to receive monthly updates about events and current issues. Sign up for WISER Women, WISER’s quarterly newsletter, by e-mailing Info@WISERWomen.org. Visit WISER’S blog to read and comment on current events relating to retirement, Social Security, and other issues. Go to www.WISERWomen.org and download “WISER’s Retirement Readiness Checklist!” checklist under publications.

Identity Theft

To minimize or eliminate the risk 0f becoming a victim of identity theft or fraud, just remember the word SCAM.

S—Be Stingy about giving out your personal information.
C—Check your financial information regularly.
A—Ask periodically for a copy of your credit history.
M—Maintain careful records of your banking and financial accounts.

Seven ways to prevent identity theft:

  1. Stay on top of your credit report. Everyone is entitled to receive a free credit report every year from the major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnions. You can request a copy of your report by visiting www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
  2. Pay attention to credit card statements. Consumers should review their monthly credit card statements. This insures you were not charged twice and that there is nothing strange on your statement.
  3. Take advantage of card protections. For online shoppers, some credit-card issues offer single-use credit card numbers that only work for one online transaction among other protections.
  4. Shop secure sites only. To protect against online identity theft install and update your virus protection software.
  5. Skip the debit card. Credit cards have more protections in place than debt cards.
  6. Don’t fall for solicitations. Never give away personal information over the phone.  Remember to ask any callers his/her name, title, department, and phone number. Call the company’s general number and request to speak to the person who called.
  7. Get a shredder. Identity thieves have become more creative, but the old fashioned way of stealing personal information hasn’t gone completely out of style.  Shred everything with any personal information.
These were taken from an article from www.SmartMoney.com.  The article is titled “7 Ways to Help Prevent Identity Theft.”

These are four signs that you could be a victim of credit fraud:

  1. Your credit cards or other bills don’t arrive when you expect them
  2. You start to receive credit cards for accounts you didn’t open yourself.
  3. You are denied credit even though you know you have a good credit history.
  4. You get a call from a store about a purchase you know you didn’t make.
These were found on www.WalletPop.com; the article, “Top Signs You May Have Been a Victim of ID Theft,” elaborates on the situation which should trigger “red flags” for the average consumer.

If you are a victim of identity theft you should place a fraud alert with all three credit-reporting agencies. They will place a 90-day alert on your account, which can be extended. They will also send you a copy of your report to be sure there aren’t other problems.These are the contact numbers to report fraud:

Armed with information, you can prepare to keep your personal information as private as possible, and take steps to eliminate your “financial footprint.” Remember to report any club activities to this chairman!

—Kathy Canzano (N.Y.), GFWC Focus on Financial Issues Program Chairman

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