In our weekly Fine Print Alert we call out any good news from the financial community and shine a spotlight on any sneaky changes in the fine print. We also share our favorite reads from the week.
FINE PRINT ALERT
Citibank Forced to Rely Less on ChexSystems…
Attorney General of New York reached an agreement with Citibank. Citibank will consult Chex for anti-fraud purposes, but the bank is altering its use of negative information going forward. Citi has promised it will no longer refuse to open a bank account because of minor errors, like isolated examples of bounced checks or overdrafts.
Look At The Top Scams of 2014 to Prepare for 2015…
The National Consumers League (NCL) recently released the top scams of 2014, ranking the overall top ten scans as well as the top scams by category. It should come as no surprise that Internet scams featuring general merchandise sales took the top spot with 26.32% of total scams in 2014. People fall victim to this rouse when crooks offer the sale of a good and item is paid for and never delivered or misrepresented. Prize, sweepstakes and free gifts were the second place scam with “Phantom Debt” skyrocketing up to fourth place and check scams dropping from first to third.
Fraudster phones a consumer to demand payment on an old debt (aka phantom debt), which likely never existed in the first place. The crook will threaten jail time and legal action. If you receive this call and are unsure if it could be real, hang up and look to see if you have an item in collections.
You can read the full report from the NCL here.
Credit Report Disputes Going Unresolved…
Finding an error on your credit report is relatively common. The reason can be as innocent as misreporting because someone shares your name or a clerk mistyping your Social Security Number. It can also be the result of a villainous act like identity theft. Regardless of the reason, disputing incorrect information on a credit report can lead to a consumer nightmare.
A recently released FTC report followed up with survey participants from a 2012 report that had unresolved disputed and found the following:
- 69% of people believe there is still an error, while the other 31% agree that there was no error to begin with and thus agreed with the CRA’s finding
- Of those who believe there is still an error, only 45% plan to continue their credit report dispute
- 41% of people were not contacted at all by the bureau after filing their credit report dispute
- Of those who did get notified, 48% of them received no reason provided as to why there was a modification in the credit bureau’s response
- Of this who still believe there is an error but are giving up on their dispute, only 20% are giving up because they don’t think it’s hurting them or aren’t looking for credit. 42% are giving up because it’s too hard, or the time sink is fruitless
FAVORITE READS FROM AROUND THE WEB
Want to lose weight? Get on a budget – It’s almost the end January. How’s it going with those New Year’s resolutions? The most common goals people set at the start of the year are to lose weight and to get their finances in order — two seemingly distinct areas for improvement. Now a survey from TD Bank suggests they may go hand in hand. Jonnelle Marte of the Washington Post discusses why physical and financial health just may go hand-in-hand.
How Your Workplace Can Help You Manage Money – Funches’ experience [taking a financial education class] is an increasingly common one, as more companies are incorporating financial education into their workplace benefits. A big driver of this movement is the realization that many employees are feeling financially stressed, and the understanding that reducing their stress levels can increase their performance. Kimberly Palmer of US News & World Report details why employers should offer financial education courses and why employees should take advantage.
4 Reasons Zero-Sum Budgets Are Awesome – One of my clients hasn’t paid me in three weeks. Another just asked for additional work, which was fine, but it means that my invoice will be late. Meanwhile, my website made considerably less money this month than last month, meaning my income projections for January are going to be off. But pssshhhttt…. I don’t care, even though most people I know would be freaking out. Why? Because I use a zero-sum budget. That’s why. Read why Holly uses a zero-sum budget, and what exactly that means, on her blog Club Thrifty.