News from the Reference Desk Category: Credit Cards

What to Do when Debt Collectors Call

From the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

Learning about your rights can help to prevent problems and avoid scams during this stressful time. If you have outstanding debts, you can use the When debt collectors call tool from our Your Money, Your Goals financial empowerment toolkit to be prepared to respond to debt collectors.

The tool will help you to:

  • Take action to verify whether the claim is valid
  • Know how to dispute the claim if you do not owe the debt
  • Know what to do next if you do owe the debt

This information can also help you be prepared to avoid scammers who may pose as debt collectors to get you to pay on debts that you don’t owe.

Public Library Association and Capital One Offer Tools to Increase Financial Well-Being

The Public Library Association (PLA) and American Library Association (ALA) are working with  to bring innovative financial well-being resources to public libraries across the U.S. Through this project, PLA and ALA will help public libraries nationwide learn about Capital One’s , which teaches consumers basic mobile banking skills. Ready, Set, Bank is designed specifically for older adults, and offers numerous, unbranded videos to guide learners through every step of the process, with overviews and step-by-step tutorials to help them manage their finances online — regardless of where they bank. The curriculum is also available in Spanish, through .

May Is National Older Americans Month

Are you an older American interested in improving your financial literacy? Get informed with free tools and resources available at the CFPB’s Working with Older Adults webpage. You can also download guides for specific topics such as Reverse Mortgages and Managing Someone Else’s Money, as well as find informational blogs about related topics. Free publications—such as Money Smart for Older Adults and Understanding the Benefits of Social Security (in English and Spanish)—can be ordered here. The Administration for Community Living is the federal government agency that sponsors this observance. Get more information here.

Start 2019 with a Free Credit Freeze

Security freezes, also known as credit freezes, restrict access to your credit file, making it harder for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name.

As of Sept. 21, 2018, you can freeze and unfreeze your credit file for free. You also can get a free freeze for your children who are under 16. And if you are someone’s guardian, conservator or have a valid power of attorney, you can get a free freeze for that person, too.

How will these freezes work? You should contact all three of the nationwide credit reporting agencies—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. If you request a freeze online or by phone, the agency must place the freeze within one business day. If you request a lift of the freeze, the agency must lift it within one hour. If you make your request by mail, the agency must place or lift the freeze within three business days after it gets their request. The freeze can be lifted temporarily without a fee.

Don’t confuse freezes with locks. They work in a similar way, but locks may have monthly fees. If you want a free freeze guaranteed by federal law, then you should opt for a freeze, not a lock. Learn more about credit freezes and other Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection resources here.

Get Smart About Money in 2018!

Well, the holidays are over and it’s the start of another year–and another opportunity to reevaluate your financial life and practices, woo-hoo! The good news is that it just got a lot easier, thanks to all the wonderful resources and tools available at Smart About Money (SAM). Smart About Money is one of the many programs of the National Endowment for Financial Education®. NEFE® is an independent, nonprofit foundation committed to educating Americans on a broad range of financial topics and empowering them to make positive and sound decisions to reach their financial goals. They offer tips, strategies and information on diverse topics like crisis and fraud, saving and investing, spending and borrowing, housing and transportation, taxes and more.

Click through and take a look at some of the tools like the Life Values Quiz, designed to help you better understand how and why you make financial decisions. Knowing your own habits and patterns is the first step to making positive changes in your financial life!