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.
Even with ample warning, no business owner can truly anticipate the extent to which a disaster may impeded their business’ ability to get back to normal after the crisis is over. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), up to 60% of small businesses never reopen their doors after a disaster. One way to improve the odds is by having a Disaster Recovery Plan. Read more about it and download a Disaster Recovery Plan template created by experts at Purdue University Global here.
If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur with a great idea, you may be looking for resources to help answer some of the many questions you most likely have. Well, the Mount Prospect Public library is here to help–with a little assistance from the Small Business Administration (SBA)! The SBA is the government agency tasked with providing information and programs dedicated to assisting small businesses, and one of the best is their yearly Small Business Resource Guide. Inside you’ll find info on everything from how to start a business and writing a business plan to programs designed to help veterans and native Americans, as well as funding sources. Just click above or HERE to get started, or grab a paper copy from the Business Resource Center behind the Research desk. And if you need help navigating this or other business resources available at the library, MPPL Business Reference Joe Collier is available for one-on-one reference appointments–just email or call the library to set one up!
Financial fraud and exploitation of seniors seems even more rampant than ever. This population, more vulnerable than others due to an uneasy relationship to rapidly changing technology in the internet age, is often targeted by those unscrupulous folk looking for an easily duped victim. While most of us undoubtedly do our best to protect our loved ones close to us, what happens when they’re no longer as much under our wing? The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is here to help, with a handy manual designed to offer tips and strategies for caregivers and others responsible for the safety and well-being of those residing in assisted living facilities. Protecting residents from financial exploitation: A manual for assisted living and nursing facilities is published by the CFPB and provides practical advice on how to help protect seniors from falling victim to common scams or fraudulent schemes. Some of the most common include:
- -The resident receives news about a prize or other windfall that requires payment of fees or taxes up front.
-The resident is pressured to keep good news a secret until a transaction is complete or risk losing out on this one-time opportunity.
-A caller constantly seeks more information and pressures the resident to comply.
-A third party claims to be from a government agency, financial institution or other entity and asks for information that they should already have. A resident receives a lot of mail or email for sweepstakes, contests or other sources suggesting that he or she has already been scammed.
Review and download your copy today, and join the fight to protect our seniors!
Virtual currencies like Bitcoin are the newest buzzword for more and more investors–even if you can’t exactly explain what a Bitcoin “is,” you may still recognize the potential for return. However, as with all new technologies and financial endeavors, the fraudsters are keeping pace in their unrelenting mission to separate you from your money! One place to start before taking the Bitcoin plunge is at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. As Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are classified as commodities, the CFTC is the government agency tasked with regulating them. Subsequently, they provide a wealth of information on their website HERE for consumers to help avoid being defrauded and make safe investments in legitimate companies. If you’re considering getting into this financial area, cruise over and check it out!