ALEXANDRIA, Va. (12/19/07)— National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Chairman JoAnn Johnson, as a member of President Bush’s Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC), made use of the holiday season to alert consumers about safe credit card practices. She said the increase in consumer spending this time of year makes it a good time to remind credit card users to take steps to guard against identity theft. Johnson outlines the following practices for the wise use of credit cards:
* Be cautious when using cash advances and read the fine print in the agreement, particularly since they usually carry higher interest rates; * Be aware that paying the maximum amount possible on your credit card balance, instead of the minimum required, decreases the time it takes to pay off your credit card, saves money in interest charges, and helps establish a better credit rating.
In addition to prudent use of credit cards, Johnson also stressed greater consumer awareness as a tool to combat identity theft. The NCUA noted a recent survey released by the Federal Trade Commission, which reported 8.3 million American adults were victims of identity theft in 2005. Johnson recommended these steps to help prevent identity theft include:
* Safeguard any documents that contain sensitive personal information, including proper disposal and shredding; * Read financial and credit card statements as soon as they arrive and look for unauthorized transactions; and * Review your credit report from all three credit reporting agencies and make certain there are no inaccuracies, annually if possible.
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