Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions For Consumers

Pennsylvania Secretary of Banking and Securities Robin L. Wiessmann is offering 10 resolutions to help consumers protect and grow their money in 2018.

Secretary Wiessmann encourages consumers to consider the following 10 New Year’s resolutions for 2018:

Take time to change or reset all your passwords. Changing your passwords will help prevent hackers from accessing your accounts to steal your financial and personal information. Read “Cybersecurity” for tips to protect yourself: www.dobs.pa.gov/Documents/Publications/Handouts/Cybersecurity%20for%20Consumers.

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Investigate Before You Invest.

Before spending your time and money on a financial service, product, or company, contact the department at 1-800-PA-BANKS to get started. Learn how to investigate financial services and products: www.dobs.pa.gov/Documents/Publications/Brochures/ InvestigateBeforeInvestv3.pdf

Pay cash for your big expenses this year, such as vacation or Christmas shopping. Avoid taking on debt from big purchases. Banks and credit unions can offer a safe place to deposit your money for these short-term goals, and some even offer special savings accounts, such as Holiday or Vacation Club accounts. Learn more about “Banking Basics”: www.dobs.pa.gov/Documents/Publications/Brochures/Banking%20Basics.pdf

Start saving for your future. No matter how much or how little, getting started now ensures that time is on your side through the power of compounding interest: www.dobs.pa.gov/Documents/Publications/Brochures/TimeIsOnYourSide. pdf

Pull each of your credit reports this year. You are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies –Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion –each year. Rather than checking them all at the same time, you can instead check one every four months to monitor your credit throughout the year. Learn more about “Understanding Credit Reports and Scores”: www.dobs.pa.gov/Documents/Publications/Brochures/ CreditReportsandScoresWeb. pdf

Create a realistic spending plan. Department of Banking and Securities staff travel across Pennsylvania to present a variety of programs –including “Spending Plans” --at community groups. Contact us at informed@pa.govto book a presentation.

Learn to protect yourself from financial fraud and scams. Scams and schemes may take different forms, but the underlying method usually preys on your emotions, circumstances, or your lack of knowledge. Take time to become well-informed about prevalent scams designed to rob you: www.dobs.pa.gov/Documents/Publications/Brochures/Scams%20Booklet.pdf

Learn more about how the Equifax breach, or any data breach, could affect you. The Equifax data breach will affect people for months and even years. You can take steps to control your personal data. Learn more about this issue: www.media.pa.gov/pages/banking_details. aspx?newsid=179

Check on the senior citizens in your life and report any signs of elder financial abuse. This type of abuse often goes unreported. Our neighbors, friends, and family members are all susceptible to this crime and deserve our assistance. Check out these resources for “red flags,” prevention tips, and where the abuse can be reported: www.dobs.pa.gov/Documents/Publications/Brochures/ElderAbuseGuide. pdf

Protect Yourself from ID Theft. While technology has made some tasks easier, it has also made it easier for scammers to steal your personal information and financial security. Read “Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft” for warning signs and ways tips to protect yourself: www.dobs.pa.gov/Documents/Publications/Brochures/ IDTheft2014.pdf

The Department of Banking and Securities regulates financial services and works to ensure consumers and businesses are well-informed about the marketplace. Members of the public are also invited to connect to the department through Facebook and Twitter, subscribing to the department’s newsletter, or visiting www.dobs.pa.gov.