Financial Fraud

These are the online resources I reference in my presentation, Recognizing and Preventing Financial Fraud.

Password Managers

Read reviews of password managers from Consumer Reports. If the site prompts you to log in and you do not have an online membership with Consumer Reports, you can access it through your library. Ask your library for instructions about how to access Consumer Reports.

Managing Your Credit Information

Freeze and unfreeze your credit history at each of the three major credit reporting agencies using the contact information below. Or, you can add a fraud alert. For fraud alerts, you only need to contact one of the credit reporting agencies; by law, they will share that request with the other two without any action on your part.

Equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services or 800-685-1111 •Experian.com/help or 888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742) •TransUnion.com/credit-help or 888-909-8872

Request your free, annual credit report from each of those agencies by going to annualcreditreport.com/. Until April 2021, you can check your credit reports weekly. The three organizations joined together to provide this service during the pandemic. Use the same website to request those, annualcreditreport.com/.

Review Your Files with Other Consumer Reporting Agencies

There are other organizations who collect data about consumers. You may also have the right to obtain reports about that information, dispute incorrect information, or to freeze them. For details, check the annually updated list from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Some of the companies you might be particularly interested in are:

  • ChexSystems
  • National Consumer Telecom and Utilities Exchange
  • Medical Information Bureau

Report and Get Help

Go to IdentityTheft.gov to report what happened and receive guidance about how to deal with it. This is a largely automated system provided by the Federal Trade Commission. Even if you don’t want to provide any information, you can still benefit from the checklists at identitytheft.gov/Steps.

Money Smart Week 2020 has been cancelled. Click the image for more details.
Freeze Your Credit Reports for Free

As of September 21, 2018, anyone can freeze, unfreeze, or temporarily thaw a credit report for free. You must do this separately with each of the three major credit reporting agencies:

Equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services or 800-685-1111

Experian.com/help or 888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)

TransUnion.com/credit-help or 888-909-8872

How will the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017 affect you?

There are lots of moving parts to the new tax law, making it difficult to know how it will affect you beginning in 2018.  In three posts that I wrote for University of Illinois Extension’s Plan Well – Retire Well blog, I explain these changes.

  1. To see how your 2018 return will compare to your 2017, Check this head-to-head, line-by-line comparison of your 2017 and 2018 tax returns
  2. To understand how the changes will affect you, you need to know something about Tax Rates
  3. Other changes include Inflation Adjustments, IRAs, 529 Plans, ABLE Accounts, Student Loans, & Estate Tax
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