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HandFF Radio Dont let gift card blunders spoil your holiday

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WASHINGTON (12/7/07)--Confused by all the gift card do’s and don’ts? Listen in to this Sunday’s H&FF Radio show as experts sort out what you should look for, what you should avoid, and how to save yourself--and the gift card recipient--postholiday headache and hassle. Home & Family Finance airs Sundays at 3 p.m. EST on the Radio America Network. The one-hour program devoted to consumer finance issues is brought to you by America's credit unions and their 90 million members, and is presented by CO-OP Network. Sunday’s show, which you also can hear later via the Internet, features Paul Berry, Washington, D.C., journalist and broadcaster, discussing these topics with special guests:
* “Sixth Annual Gift Card Survey: Buyers and Users,” with Ellen Davis, senior director, National Retail Federation, Washington, D.C.; * “Gift Card Do’s and Don’ts,” with Jack Gillis, director public relations, Consumer Federation of America, Washington, D.C.; * “Debt Consolidation,” with Gerri Detweiler, author of “The Ultimate Credit Handbook” and credit adviser for Credit.com, Sarasota, Fla.; * “2008 Financial Challenge for H&FF Audience,” with Susan Tiffany, director of personal finance information for adults, Center for Personal Finance, Credit Union National Association (CUNA), Madison, Wis.; and * Listener E-mail Questions.
Home & Family Finance is a resource center for personal finance information at CUNA. The radio show is sponsored by CO-OP Network, the national credit union ATM network; Cabot Creamery Cooperative, makers of cheddar cheese; and Visa. For more information, read, “'Tis the Season for Trouble-Free Shopping, Returns” in Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

Consumer brief (12/06/2007)

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* MADISON, Wis. (12/7/07)--If you're holding a traveler's check that someone other than your financial institution gave you, you may be holding a fake. Recently there's been another rash of counterfeit traveler's checks--similar to the ubiquitous fake check scams in which you’re asked to mail part of the money back--that leaves you, the consumer, in the lurch. According to Joan Jager, relationship development director, Travelex, Napa, Calif., you may be held liable for the amount--after the fact--if your financial institution cashes a fake traveler's check and then discovers it's not legitimate. To verify the legitimacy of a Visa Travelers Cheque, go to http://www.quickcheque.net. Jager also advises consumers, as well as merchants, to hold the Visa Travelers Cheques up to the light and look for the Visa dove watermark on the back of the check (on the right-hand side) and for the silver thread on the front which runs up and down just before the customer right-hand signature line. The National Consumer's League Fraud Center warns consumers that American Express Gift Cheques are not issued for amounts over $100, so if you see one for more, you know it’s a scam (CUNA Center for Personal Finance)...