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Survey Americans make tough economic decisions

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WASHINGTON (6/2/08)--If you’ve been trying to stretch your paycheck a little further these days, join the club. In a recent AARP survey, 81% of respondents said the U.S. economy is in fairly bad or very bad condition, and nearly 75% believe the economy is getting worse (AARP May 6). AARP commissioned the nationwide survey to assess how Americans age 45 and older are responding to the economic downturn. The results showed more middle-aged and older Americans are worried about the economy, and are changing their habits as a result:
* One of four (26%) had trouble paying their mortgage or rent; * Two-thirds (66%) had trouble paying for essential expenses like food, gas, and medicine; and * More than half (53%) had trouble paying for utilities.
Roughly 60% of respondents tried to make up for these budget shortfalls by eating out less and spending less money on entertainment. Almost half had postponed plans to travel or make a large purchase. The struggling economy also has affected retirement plans. One-third of survey respondents stopped putting money into their retirement accounts, and 23% withdrew funds from investment accounts prematurely. In addition, more than one-fourth of all workers age 45 and older have postponed their retirement start date. The difficult economic decisions Americans face may affect their decisions at the polls in coming elections. The majority of survey respondents (74%) believes elected officials are not doing enough to help people hurt by the economic downturn. A CNN/Opinion poll revealed that nearly half (49%) of Americans consider the economy the most important issue when deciding whom to vote for in November’s presidential election. Seek help now if you’re struggling financially:
* Prevent foreclosure: Visit hopenow.com or call 888-995-HOPE (995-4673); * Seek credit counseling: Visit nfcc.org or call 800-388-2227; and * Map out a spending plan: Contact your credit union, or the local cooperative extension service via csrees.usda.gov/Extension/.

Safety and security is theme of HandFF Radio show

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WASHINGTON (5/30/08)--Six experts on Sunday’s Home & Family Finance Radio show have one common theme: protection. Guests share valuable tips on protecting your home from foreclosure, your finances from economic woes, and your personal information from fraud. Home & Family Finance airs Sundays at 3 p.m. EDT 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. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and Radio America are podcasting Home & Family Finance through iTunes, Podcast Alley, Odeo, and other popular podcast library sites, as well as on Radio America and CUNA’s websites. Sunday’s show, which you also can hear later via the Internet, was taped in front of a live audience at Western Corporate FCU’s Future Forum in La Jolla, Calif. It features Paul Berry, Washington, D.C., journalist and broadcaster, discussing these topics with special guests:
* “Home Protection: How to Safeguard Your Home by Maintaining Your Mortgage Payments and Avoiding Foreclosure,” with Diana Dykstra, CEO, San Francisco Fire CU, San Francisco, and Joe Schroeder, CEO, San Diego Metropolitan CU, San Diego; * “Financial Protection: How to Create a Savings Strategy,” with Robert Gleisberg, membership education and development officer, Pacific Marine CU, San Diego, and Donna Bland, senior vice president and CFO, The Golden 1 CU, Sacramento, Calif.; * “Self Protection: How to Prevent Becoming a Victim of Identity Theft,” with Mari Frank, Esq., mediator, certified information privacy professional, and radio host, Laguna Niguel, Calif.; and * “Family Protection: Developing a Disaster Plan to Keep the Family Safe--at Home or While Traveling,” with Yvette Urrea Moe, public information specialist, Office of Emergency Services, San Diego County, Calif.; and * Audience questions to all guests.
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, maker of award-winning cheddar; Visa; and Western Corporate FCU and its member credit unions. For more information, read “Tough Times Series: Lenders, Counselors Help Homeowners Avoid Foreclosure” and “Disaster-Proof Your Important Papers” in Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

Schools out save on summer trips

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NEW YORK (5/28/08)--Gas and food prices are soaring, but that doesn’t mean your family has to forego its summer vacation (MarketWatch May 14). A few money-saving strategies will have you building sand castles or sleeping under the stars in no time:
* Decrease food costs. It’s fun to eat out, but buying food at restaurants or convenience stores really adds up. When lining up lodging, try to book a suite with appliances so you can cook your own meals. Stick to a plan such as eating only one meal out each day. Purchase snack items ahead of time and assemble treat bags before your trip. * Stay in the neighborhood. Instead of spending big bucks on skyrocketing flights, consider day trips that are close to home to save on gas and lodging. Among local museums, historical sites and parks, you’ll get to take advantage of places you didn’t even know existed but are practically in your backyard. * Find inexpensive lodging. If your travel requires overnight stays, use the Web to search for the best deals. Consider staying during the week when many hotel prices are cheaper than on weekend nights. Campgrounds, hostels, and college dorms also are inexpensive lodging options. * Take advantage of off-season locations. Summer is peak season at many attractions, but traveling to popular winter destinations can help your budget. Summer is a great time to relax at a ski resort or visit Florida. You even might find some deals for vacations to the Caribbean and Mexico. * Have a souvenir strategy. Trinkets are tempting, especially to kids, but ask yourself what will happen to the items once you’re back home. Set a souvenir budget and enforce a policy such as: Everyone gets to choose one souvenir within a certain dollar amount or everyone gets a T-shirt that they’ll actually wear. Or choose a souvenir the entire family can enjoy such as a Christmas ornament or special photo (Thedollarstretcher.com).
For more travel tips, watch the “Money and Travel” video and read “Take a Summertime Drive to Safety” in Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

HandFF Radio Financial resources for military families

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WASHINGTON (5/23/08)--Expert guests on Sunday’s H&FF Radio show share a wealth of resources--savings programs, readiness programs, housing assistance, and more--geared to military personnel and their families. Home & Family Finance airs Sundays at 3 p.m. EDT 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. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and Radio America are podcasting Home & Family Finance through iTunes, Podcast Alley, Odeo, and other popular podcast library sites, as well as on Radio America and CUNA’s websites. 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:
* “Financial Resources for Civilian Spouses of Military Personnel,” with Jennifer Plantier, Ph.D., visiting professor, economics, College of Business and Economics, Towson University, Towson, Md.; * “Savings Deposit Program and the Importance of Saving,” with James Murphy, personal financial manager, Marine and Family Services, Arlington, Va.; * “Financial Readiness,” with Roland “Arty” Arteaga, president/CEO, Defense Credit Union Council, and colonel (USA, retired), Washington, D.C.; * “Military Families and the Mortgage Crisis,” with Jessica Perdew, deputy director, Government Relations, National Military Family Association, Alexandria, Va.; and * Paul Berry Answers Your Questions: Odometer fraud; payday lenders and check cashers; benefits of Roth IRA; and credit counseling.
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, maker of award-winning cheddar; Visa; and Western Corporate FCU and its member credit unions. For more information, read “New Law Helps Military Servicemembers Avoid Financial Exploitation” in Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

Disaster insurance tips for homeowners renters

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (5/21/08)--Daily news reports of natural disasters--tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes--still haven’t provided the incentive to plan ahead: Nearly half of us aren’t sufficiently prepared to deal with potential losses (National Association of Insurance Commissioners May 13). Forty-eight percent of Americans admit to not having a checklist or inventory of their possessions, according to a national survey on disaster preparedness conducted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). And even those who do have a checklist aren’t going far enough: 58% have no receipts to back up their records, 44% say their inventory is not stored in a remote location, and 32% haven’t taken photos of their possessions. Another alarming survey finding: Only 43% of U.S. adults with homeowners or renter’s insurance carried policies with replacement cost payout. If your policy insures your home for the actual cash value, that’s the amount it would take to repair or replace damage to your home and its contents after depreciation. NAIC officials warn that purchasing an actual cash value policy puts you at risk of not being able to recover from a disaster, because of depreciation on assets. Are you prepared for a natural disaster? NAIC offers these tips:
* Complete a home inventory checklist. Use a camera or video in each room, and include documentation. Put a copy in a safe deposit box, and give a copy to your insurance agent. And include sales receipts and/or canceled checks for certain items, as well as model and serial numbers if applicable. Go to knowyourstuff.org for tips and checklists. *Go digital. Store digital photos in your e-mail or on a website that you can retrieve from a remote location. * Purchase riders for special items. These may include jewelry, art, heirlooms, and antiques not typically covered by a basic homeowners or renters insurance policy. * Consider replacement cost insurance. It probably costs more, but in case of a disaster, the difference between replacement cost and actual cash value policies could mean thousands of dollars in payout. * Review your policy annually. Are you covered for floods, earthquakes, water line breaks, or sewer line breaks? Make sure you have the coverage you need for your location. For example, the U.S. Geological Survey concluded recently that California has more than a 99% chance of having a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake within the next 30 years (U.S. Department of the Interior April 14). * Appraise your home periodically. Does your policy accurately reflect home improvements or renovations? * Sign up for online banking. If your home and all its contents are destroyed and you’re living in temporary quarters, you still can access your accounts 24/7 and pay bills electronically. * Make a disaster-preparedness plan for your family. Go to ready.gov for frequently asked questions, checklists, and printable wallet cards for family members so they know who to call and where to meet in case of an emergency.
For more information, read “Disaster-Proof Your Important Papers” in Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

Tips for avoiding foreclosure scams offered by OCC

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WASHINGTON (5/19/08)--Foreclosures are up nationwide, and the government is warning consumers that scams promising to "rescue" homeowners from foreclosure are increasing. An Office of the Currency (OCC) consumer advisory warns about these scams:
* Lease-Back or Repurchase Scams. Someone offers to pay your mortgage and rent your home back to you, or promises to sell your house for you. Signing over a deed gives the con artist power to evict you, raise your rent, sell the house or steal the equity in your home. * Refinance Fraud. People posing as mortgage brokers or lenders offer to refinance your loan to more affordable payments. But they may trick you into signing over ownership of your home by telling you that you're signing documents for a new loan. * Bankruptcy Schemes. Several scams attempt to abuse bankruptcy laws. One asks you to give a partial interest in your house to one or more persons. Each holder of a partial interest can then file bankruptcy, one after another. A stay order against foreclosures won't excuse you from having to repay the full amount of your loan.
OCC suggests you protect yourself by:
* Knowing what you are signing; * Getting promises in writing; * Making mortgage payments directly to your lender or mortgage servicer; * Being careful about signing over your deed; and * Reporting suspicious activity to the Federal Trade Commission and to your state and local consumer protection agencies.
For the full advisory, use the link.

Struggling Americans use plastic to stay afloat

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ATLANTA (5/19/08)--More Americans are turning to credit cards to keep them afloat as they swim in a sea of debt, spawned by high gasoline and food prices, low savings rates, and shrinking home equity (CNNMoney.com May 9). Saying “charge it” to meet basic living needs is drawing concern from credit counselors nationwide, who report seeing clients dig themselves deeper into debt. Many struggle to scrape together funds just to make minimum payments on their cards. Americans’ credit card debt load soared to $957.2 billion in the first quarter of 2008, a 6.7% increase from the previous quarter (Federal Reserve May 7). And despite reports of banks tightening guidelines and not offering credit to consumers with spotty credit records, mailboxes tell a different story: More than five billion credit card solicitations were sent to U.S. households last year alone (Los Angeles Times May 7). For most Americans, there’s no fall-back. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling and MSN Money 2008 Consumer Financial Literacy Survey, prepared by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (April 29), revealed that the majority of consumers don’t have sufficient emergency funds--defined as three to six months of after-tax income--to cope with layoffs or unexpected expenses. If you feel yourself falling victim to the credit card crunch, take steps now to start climbing back to solid ground:
* Reassess spending habits. Try to identify some budget busters--such as cigarettes, soda, the morning latte, video rentals, or casino visits--that may be draining much-needed funds for gas or food. * Find free or low-cost alternatives. Until your finances get back on track, set a goal to make painless adjustments. Instead of that $3.50 latte, make coffee at home and fill a to-go mug. Borrow free videos from the local library. Or pack a picnic lunch and take the kids to the park. * Revise your written spending plan. Unless you can increase your income, allocate more money for the categories that require more funds (transportation and food), and decrease anticipated spending in other areas. Then stick to your new budget. And if you don’t have a written spending plan, now’s the best time to start one. * Don’t be tempted by new card offers. Shred them right after they come in the door, and then visit dmachoice.org/consumerassistance.php to get your name off prescreened credit card lists. * Steer clear of cash advances. The interest rate is typically higher than for straight purchases. The same goes for payday loans, rent-to-own, and refund anticipation loans--all of which prey on consumers with less-than-stellar credit and charge excessive interest rates and fees. * Check your credit history. If you’ve been late with some payments, check to see if those “dings” made it onto your credit record. They may make it difficult for you to get credit--or get good interest rates on credit--in the near future. Go to annualcreditreport.com to order a free credit report every year from each of the three major credit-reporting agencies. Correct any errors, and vow to pay all bills on time. * Get help. Contact the credit union for help developing a spending plan, particularly during these tough economic times. For help working out a repayment plan with creditors, contact the nearest Consumer Credit Counseling Service by calling 800-388-2227 or visiting nfcc.org. * Put something—even a little—into emergency savings regularly. This cushion will give you some much-needed peace of mind in the months ahead.

HandFF Radio Former gambler candid about online addiction

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WASHINGTON (5/16/08)--Two of the guests on Sunday’s H&FF Radio show take an in-depth look at the costs of gambling and its effects on families. One, a former gambling addict, talks candidly about her debilitating habit and subsequent struggle to dig out. Home & Family Finance airs Sundays at 3 p.m. EDT 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. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and Radio America are podcasting Home & Family Finance through iTunes, Podcast Alley, Odeo, and other popular podcast library sites, as well as on Radio America and CUNA’s websites. 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:
* “How to Financially Prepare Your Child Before High-School Graduation,” with Caroline Lane, vice president of corporate development, CO-OP Network, Ontario, Calif.; * “Preparing Financially for a Possible Job Layoff,” with Jason Alderman, director of financial education, Visa USA, San Francisco; * “Consumer Federation of America Study Looks at Gambling: Recreation or Investment?” with Keith Whyte, executive director, National Council on Problem Gambling, Washington, D.C.; * “Hats and Eyeglasses: A Family Love Affair With Gambling,” with Martha Frankel, columnist and author of a memoir about gambling addiction, Woodstock, N.Y.; and * Paul Berry Answers Your Questions: Free debt reduction and credit counseling; avoiding credit card finance charges.
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, maker of award winning cheddar; Visa; and Western Corporate FCU and its member credit unions. For more information, read, “Tough Times Series: Negotiate Before Accepting Employer's Buyout Offer” in Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

Self-employed must master year-round tax planning

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NEW YORK (5/14/08)--Although the typical tax season has come and gone, tax planning never stops for the self-employed. If you’re a small-business owner, keep your eyes on two major goals: Meeting your tax responsibilities and claiming the tax breaks you deserve (MarketWatch.com May 4). For anyone starting a small business, it pays to get--and stay--organized for maximum tax benefits:
* Keep good records. To get accurate estimates of quarterly tax payments, your best bet is to use computer software--such as Microsoft Money Plus or Intuit Quicken Home and Business 2008--to keep your finances organized. * Take allowable deductions. Besides taking home office deductions if that’s your principal place of business, don’t neglect certain start-up costs, as well as health insurance (MSNBC.com April 7). You may be eligible to deduct the cost of health insurance--as well as contributions to a health savings account--for yourself, your spouse and your dependents. * Consider shifting income to family members. This has significant advantages if the family member in question is in a lower marginal tax bracket. Don’t go overboard, though--the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may question a disproportionate amount of compensation to a family member. * Don’t neglect retirement contributions. If you don’t have any employees, set up a Keogh, Simplified Employee Pension (SEP), or Individual Retirement Account (IRA) so your contributions grow tax-deferred until withdrawal. If you have employees, you may have to set up a retirement plan for them as well. * Keep track of auto expenses. Check the IRS website (irs.gov) for details on what can and cannot be deducted.
For more information, read “SEP, SIMPLE Plans Help Entrepreneurs Reach Retirement Goals” in Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

Strategies to reduce home-insurance costs

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NEW YORK (5/12/08)--During tough times, families place a high priority on reducing expenses to save money. One expense that’s typically overlooked is home insurance, but there are plenty of ways you can lower the premium--often with minimal effort (MarketWatch.com May 4). First, find out if you’re eligible for credits:
* Guard against natural disasters. If you’ve taken steps to minimize loss from natural disasters--use storm shutters, install shatter-proof glass, purchase a back-up generator, or invest in a wind-resistant roof--you may qualify for a sizeable discount, particularly in disaster-prone locations. * Focus on security. If you live in a gated community, install a home security system or burglar alarm, use a sophisticated sprinkler system, or have built-in alarms that notify police or fire departments, chances are good that you’ll be rewarded with substantial discounts. * Automate detection systems. Some homes have central monitoring stations that automatically shut off the water while you’re away if a leak is detected or automatically raise the temperature if your pipes are in danger of freezing. Make sure the insurance company knows of these systems and ask about discounts.
Ask about additional discounts. You may save money by raising your deductible, staying with the same company for several years, insuring both your home and automobiles with the same company, and taking advantage of senior discounts (MSNMoney.com Feb. 15). And the Insurance Information Institute, New York, stresses the importance of maintaining a good credit record. Pay all bills on time, keep credit balances as low as possible, and correct credit report errors as quickly as possible. Having a clean credit record has a positive influence on the price you pay for many consumer goods--including insurance. Finally, shop around on the Web (The Wall Street Journal.com May 7). Compare rates at InsWeb.com and Insurance.com. Before you shop, review your policy and see if it needs to reflect any upgrades or new purchases. Make sure that whatever premium you pay, you’re properly protected with sufficient insurance coverage. For more information, read “FAQ: Homeowners Insurance” in Plan It: Retire Ready Toolkit.

HandFF Radio guest puts subprime shakeout in perspective

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WASHINGTON (5/9/08)--Getting a handle on the subprime mortgage crisis isn’t easy, but the bottom line is that millions of families are at risk of losing--or already have lost--their homes. One of the guests on this Sunday’s H&FF Radio show helps put the problem in perspective. Home & Family Finance airs Sundays at 3 p.m. EDT 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. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and Radio America are podcasting Home & Family Finance through iTunes, Podcast Alley, Odeo, and other popular podcast library sites, as well as on Radio America and CUNA’s websites. 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:
* “eXtension and Your Financial Security,” with Jane Schuchardt, national program leader, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, Washington, D.C.; * “Farm Transfers: Who’ll Get Grandpa’s Farm?” with Sharon DeVaney, Ph.D., professor, Department of Consumer Sciences and Retailing, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.; * “Refund Anticipation Loans,” with Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director and advocate, National Association of State Public Interest Research Groups (U.S. PIRG), Washington, D.C.; * “Paying More for the American Dream: The Subprime Shakeout and Its Impact on Lower-Income and Minority Communities,” with Geoff Smith, vice president, Woodstock Institute, Chicago, Ill.; and * Paul Berry Answers Your Questions: Make sure the credit bureau has been notified when you close an account; delays in health insurance payments could damage your credit; delete computer files with shredding software; and probate and payable-on-death forms.
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, maker of award-winning cheddar; Visa; and Western Corporate FCU and its member credit unions. For more information, listen to “Who Gets Grandma’s Yellow Pie Plate?” in Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

Hot on the trail of summer camp discounts

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NORTH PALM BEACH, Fla. (5/7/08)--If you want your child to have a summer camp experience this year, there are discounts to be had--if you look for them (Bankrate.com April 23). These tips can help keep summer camp expenses under control:
* Ask about scholarships. Most camps offer some sort of assistance, such as tuition reduction or discounts. These “camperships” may be based on financial need, while others may be based on talents and ability (Associatedcontent.com April 18). Check the camp’s website for details, but also call the camp directly and ask about unadvertised scholarships. * Check into organizational discounts. If your child belongs to the Girl or Boy Scouts, YMCA, or other group, ask about group discounts through the organization. Some churches or other nonprofit groups also may offer financial assistance based on need. * Stay local. With sky-high gas prices, try to keep travel costs to a minimum while still choosing the camp that’s right for your child. * Get sibling discounts. It’s likely the camp will give you a 5% to 15% discount if you send more than one child. * Book early. Camps want a full house, and early enrollment could put your child in a better position to receive a scholarship. If you’re sure your child will attend the camp next year, ask if signing up a year in advance can lock in this year’s rate. * Know the camp’s refund policy. Before you sign up, anticipate that camp plans may fall through. Know your obligations, as well as the cut-off date to receive a full or partial refund.
For more information, read, “Research, Plan, and Budget for That Special Vacation” in Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

Credit unions call members to verify transactions

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MADISON, Wis. (5/5/08)--The next time your phone rings, it could be your credit union calling. Some credit unions, such as Great Wisconsin CU, Madison, Wis., are using automated telephone systems to verify account activity to stem the tide of fraudulent transactions (Credit Union National Association Center for Personal Finance). The calls from credit unions are triggered by suspicious activity that hits a member’s account. The past few years have seen a flurry of civil lawsuits (Heartland Institute May 1), legislative initiatives at the state level, and now federal legislation that would criminalizie pretexting--a technique crooks use by calling unsuspecting victims and attempting to gather personal information under false pretenses. So it’s important to know the difference between a legitimate call from the credit union and a fraudulent call from a crook. Here’s what to expect if your credit union is using an automated system designed to protect you from fraud:
* Watch for notices. You may receive pamphlets or statement stuffers announcing that your credit union may contact you in case suspicious activity hits your account. If you haven’t received any information, you may want to contact your credit union and ask what fail-safe system is in place. * Anticipate verification requests. An automated telephone call to protect you from fraud will ask to verify activity and is only used to prevent potentially fraudulent activity from continuing. A legitimate call from your credit union may ask you to verify your identity by confirming only the last four digits of your Social Security number. It will never ask you to give out account information. * Think personal touch. Instead of an automated call, you may receive a call from a staffer at your credit union if transactions on your account are deemed extremely suspicious. This happens in rare cases when a large number of suspicious transactions appears on your account, or you have several transactions originating in a foreign country known for fraudulent activity. * Be suspicious. If you are the least bit suspicious that the phone call you’ve received is not from your credit union and the caller attempts to extract account information, hang up. Pretexting is a form of phishing, a technique criminals use to gather personal and financial information and extract money from your accounts (ftc.gov/). Immediately notify your credit union by calling or visiting a branch to inform credit union officials that you’ve received a suspicious call. That way you can be certain you are speaking with a credit union representative and you can verify your account activity.
Finally, be proactive in preventing fraud in the first place. Switch to online banking for 24/7 access to your accounts. Keep up-to-date with your transactions and account activity whether your credit union has an automated telephone notification system or not. That way you can protect your account by notifying your credit union if you spot a transaction that isn’t legitimate. Also, contact your credit union if you’re taking a trip to a foreign country or expect to use your account for transactions you normally wouldn’t initiate. This will help you and your credit union better protect your account. For more information, read “Con Artists Switch From Phishing to Vishing” in Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

Ohio league ZENITH08 set the stage for HandFF Radio

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WASHINGTON (5/2/08)--Last week’s Ohio Credit Union League ZENITH08 conference was the stage for this week’s H&FF Radio show--designated as one of the conference “inspiration sessions” highlighting credit union programs and initiatives. Radio guests focused on payday loan alternatives and other topics high on credit unions’ agenda. Home & Family Finance airs Sundays at 3 p.m. EDT 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. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and Radio America are podcasting Home & Family Finance through iTunes, Podcast Alley, Odeo, and other popular podcast library sites, as well as on Radio America and CUNA’s Web sites. 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:
* “Financial Education,” with Becky Hart, vice president, public affairs, Ohio Credit Union League, Dublin, Ohio; * “Payday Lending,” with Bill Burke, president/CEO, Day Air CU, Dayton, Ohio, and Doug Fecher, president/CEO, Wright-Patt CU, Fairborn, Ohio; * “Elder Financial Abuse,” with Beverly Laubert, long-term care ombudsman, Elder Rights Division, Ohio Department of Aging, Columbus, Ohio; * “Resources for Small Businesses,” with Iris Cooper, director of entrepreneurship and small business division, Ohio Department of Development, Columbus, Ohio; and * Questions from the audience.
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; Visa; and WesCorp. For more information, read “Financial Elderly Abuse: Do You Know the Signs?” in Home & Family Finance Resource Center.