Post Your Problems/Lawrence Walsh: Beyond the piggy bank
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How younger Americans can resolve to save it, manage it and avoid losing it in financial scams is the goal of a new publication by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
The publication, "For Young Adults and Teens: Quick Tips for Managing Your Money," is a collection of practical steps the upcoming generation can take to hang on to their hard-earned cash.
It also includes suggestions for parents and caregivers about saving for a child's future and teaching them about money.
The financial guide features ideas and information on:
• Saving money to meet specific goals, a task made easier with the help of automated services.
• Selecting and using an account for everyday banking.
• Mobile banking by smartphone.
• Establishing a good credit record.
• Obtaining and repaying student loans.
• Getting a good deal on an auto loan.
• Avoiding mistakes with credit cards.
• Recovering from debt or bill payment problems and guarding against fraud, including identity theft.
The FDIC said the tips for teens focus on how they can assume more responsibility for handling their money. They range from suggestions on opening a checking or saving account to warnings about identity theft when applying for part-time or summer employment.
The money guide, designed to help prepare children for financial independence, is in the current issue of FDIC Consumer News. It can be read or printed at www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/cnfall12.
The agency said the guide may be reprinted in whole or in part without obtaining permission.
Congress created the FDIC in 1933, during the Great Depression, to restore pubic confidence in the nation's banking system. The agency insures deposits at the country's 7,181 banks and savings associations. It promotes the safety and soundness of those institutions "by identifying, monitoring and addressing risks to which they are exposed."
The FDIC receives no federal tax dollars. Insured financial institutions fund its operations.
Just in time for the arrival of frigid temperatures comes Hot Topics, the local Better Business Bureau's monthly alert about companies currently targeting Western Pennsylvania consumers.
BBB President Warren King said the following report is based on the agency's research as of Dec. 27 and includes information it has received on companies marketing to local consumers.
In other words, make a New Year's resolution to keep an eye out for:
• American Entry Exchange's prize promotion scheme.
Mr. King said the exchange, which the BBB refers to as an F-rated company, has generated 71 complaints in the past 12 months.
"Consumers allege they received a 'Rapid Notice' letter from the company stating that they had won a prize of $2,536,092.23. After paying a $20 transfer and processing fee, consumers complain [they] never receive the money."
Mr. King said the company responds to most complaints "by removing requested names from its mailing list and issuing refunds."
• Big State Industrial Supply Inc.
Consumers have complained about "the quality of the merchandise and unethical collection practices," the BBB said. "Some consumers report being harassed for payment of merchandise that was returned, shipped without authorization or never received, as well as receiving unwanted solicitations."
The agency said the company has responded in some cases "by indicating orders are verified prior to shipment, reiterating its refund policy or threatening to report negative information to credit reporting agencies or use other means of collection."
• Nicols & Grant LLC, also known as N&G Capital, a collection agency.
Consumers have complained the company "makes harassing phone calls to their homes, place of employment and sometimes to family members regarding alleged or false debt claims.
"Some [consumers] also report being threatened with lawsuits and jail time, as well as not being given any proof of the alleged debt after requesting further information."
• Tummy Tuck Slimming System's television advertisement.
The BBB said the majority of the complaints it has received about the company regard "billing and collection issues."
"In many cases, the company issues a complete refund to the consumer, deems that no product return is necessary and/or responds by explaining its offer terms and conditions and product cancellation instructions."
Mr. King urged consumers to read all disclosures and fine print prior to making purchases, especially through home shopping services, and to be aware of their mail order rights.
• US Public Yellow Pages, a directory publisher, has generated 260 complaints since the BBB opened a business review file on the company in October.
Businesses allege receiving invoices of $599.99 for listings they never ordered. The BBB said the company has responded by stating the bill has been canceled or maintains the services were ordered. It claims it has "audio files authorizing $599.99 in services, which many businesses claim [have been] doctored."
• World Law Debt, a debt relief services company, and Orion Processing, its parent company.
The BBB said consumers alleged World Law Debt "accepts payment for services to negotiate debt, but does not render the agreed services or contact creditors to begin negotiations."
For more information on these companies: www.pittsburgh.bbb.org.
First Published January 17, 2013 12:00 am