Be an informed consumer

Published 11:12 am Thursday, January 18, 2018

Most of us have made our New Year’s resolutions to lose those extra pounds, pay off bills, spend more time with the family and so on. You may want to consider adding “be an informed consumer” to the list. It does take time to be a well-informed consumer, but the consequences of not paying attention can be devastating.

Unfortunately, devious folks are hard at work, figuring out new ways to relieve you of your hard-earned money. From a few hundred dollars to a person’s life savings being wiped out, these people have no morals and no qualms about taking as much as they can get.

If these deviants would spend as much time trying to earn a living as they do scamming, the world would be a much better place.

Here are a few basic steps to protect your identity, bank account and financial security:

• Never share your Social Security Number, bank account or credit card information with someone you don’t know that calls or emails you.

• Set up a security code with your bank and credit card providers to further protect your identity.

• Read all contracts and paperwork before you sign it. Make sure you understand what you’re signing. If you don’t know, don’t sign.

• Never pay money to get a loan or win a lottery or sweepstakes. If you are asked for money up front, this should be a huge red flag. Just say no.

• Letters or emails that ask you to help transfer money into your bank account or wire money out of the country are scams. Don’t respond to these requests.

• If you receive a check in the mail telling you that you have won an unexpected prize, don’t cash it. The check is probably fake and you will be out the money once you cash it.

This year vow to be a smarter consumer and stay informed.