What are some signs that a romance scam could be taking place?
- a new love living far away requests money or use of your credit card number
- being asked to sign a document giving a new romantic interest control of your finances
- a new sweetheart wants you to open a joint bank account with them
While romance scammers usually focus on single, older people, anyone seeking a new relationship is a possible target. These scams can happen in person, but more often through social media, dating websites, smartphone apps. These scams happen when a new love pretends to be interested in you as a way to get your money. In fact, they may not even be who they say they are.
Beware of Cupid’s arrow striking your wallet instead of your heart! To protect you, friends, and family from romance and other scams, consider these actions:
- Avoid giving a new friend access to credit cards, bank accounts, or other financial assets.
- Report crimes or financial exploitation to local law enforcement agencies or to Adult Protective Services (APS); information available at gov.
- Contact your state attorney general and the Federal Trade Commission to report cases of financial abuse.
For additional information on romance scams, click here.
- Have students create and present possible scam situations to create awareness among various potential victims.
- Have students create a visual presentation (using computer software or a poster) to communicate actions to avoid scams.
- What are common warning signs that may indicate that a possible scam is taking place?
- Describe actions that might be taken to avoid various scams and frauds.
Youngsters learn money management attitudes and behaviors by watching family members and others. To help guide their financial literacy development, involve children in the shopping process using these steps:
- Have children help in the creation of the shopping list. Sit down together with paper or an app to list what you need. Talk through your list with your kids noting items that are low on in the household as well as things bought regularly. Have children check cabinets and refrigerator to determine things they use.
- While making your list, talk about a budget. Explain the need to keep track of how much is spent on groceries so there is enough money for household expenses. Make clear that a grocery list helps make sure you don’t overspend.
- Talk while shopping to explain brands you prefer and how sale prices or coupons might affect purchases. Also communicate why you choose certain stores for your shopping. As you select items explain why you’re buying that one instead of a similar item. Older children can be asked to comparison shop among different brands.
- While shopping, refer back to your budget. This will help you decide to buy an item now or wait until a later time.
- Provide explanations of buying choices. To avoid surprises, estimate your total before going to the cash register. Also explain different payment methods, such as a debit card, which subtracts money from your bank account right away.
Discussion of various decision-making elements will help kids learn shopping and money management skills they will need. Thinking out loud can clarify what you’re doing and why when in the store, paying bills, or shopping online.
For additional information on teaching money skills to children, go to:
Grocery Shopping Tips
Money skills, by age.
- Have students visit stores and explain to friends why they buy certain items and brands.
- Have students create a visual presentation (using computer software or a poster) to communicate learning experiences for teaching wise buying to others.
- What experiences did you have growing up that helped you learn financial literacy and wise money management skills?
- Describe other methods that might be used to teach shopping and money management skills to young people and others who might lack these abilities.
Every day American consumers report tens of thousands of illegal robocalls to the Federal Trade Commission, and now the FTC is helping put that information to work boosting industry efforts to stop unwanted calls before they reach consumers.
Under a new initiative announced by the FTC, when consumers report Do Not Call or robocall violations to the agency, the robocaller phone numbers consumers provide will be released each day to telecommunications carriers and other industry partners that are implementing call-blocking solutions.
Unwanted and illegal robocalls are the FTC’s number-one complaint category, with more than 1.9 million complaints filed in the first five months of 2017 alone. By reporting illegal robocalls, consumers help law enforcement efforts to stop the violators behind these calls. In addition, under the initiative announced today, the FTC is now taking steps to provide more data, more often to help power the industry solutions that block illegal calls.
For more information, click here.
- Ask students if they have received robocalls and what was their response to such illegal calls?
- Let students debate the issue of whether robocalls should be outlawed.
- Why is the consumer complaint data so crucial for the FTC to call-blocking solutions?
- How will the FTC attempt to stop unwanted robocalls before they reach consumers?
Many people in our society are not able to save. They are barely able to cover their monthly expenses. However, there are some actions that can help you get on a path to saving.
In the first month, open an online bank account and deposit a minimum amount, such as $5. This is a very important first step. In month two, save $15 (or more) in your online savings account. One way to do this is with Paribus, an online tool that searches various retailers to determine if you are owed money for past purchases as a result of a price drop.
Your goal for month three is to work toward savings $100. This could be accomplished by signing up with market research companies to participate in providing opinions. Or, you could try selling old items online. By consistently using various ideas for earning extra money, you should be able to save $100 a month.
For additional information on starting a savings program, click here.
- Have students to talk various people to determine actions they take to reduce spending or earn extra money.
- Have students create a summary presentation describing actions that might be taken to increase a person’s savings.
- Describe attitudes and behaviors that might result in people not being able to save for the future.
- What are actions you have taken to reduce spending and to earn extra money for savings?
Online shopping makes it easy and convenient to search for – and buy – the must have items on your wish list. Before you buy, follow these tips on avoiding hassles, getting the right product at the right price, and protecting your financial information.
To make sure you’re getting the best deal, compare products. Do research online, check product comparison sites, and read online reviews.
Confirm that the seller is legit. Look for reviews about their reputation and customer service, and be sure you can contact the seller if you have a dispute.
Pay by credit card to ensure added protections, and never mail cash or wire money to online sellers.
Keep records of online transactions until you get the goods.
Report online shopping fraud.
For more information, click here.
- Ask students if they have shopped online. If so, what have been their experiences?
- Why is it important to confirm the online seller’s physical address and phone number?
- If you return an item, who pays the shipping costs or restocking fee?
- What should you do if you get an e-mail or pop-up message that asks for your financial information while you are browsing?
- Why is it important to read the seller’s description of the product closely, especially the fine print?
- Why is e-mail not a secure method of transmitting financial information, such as, your credit card, checking account, or Social Security number?
- Where can you file a complaint to report online shopping fraud?
Pokémon Go has resulted in a loss of money and other concerns. In this popular game, users interact virtually with Pokémon characters placed in real world settings. The app is free to download, however there are in-app purchasing opportunities. Players are encouraged to pay for hints and tips for a competitive advantage.
In addition to financial losses, the Pokémon Go app has been used to lure robbery victims. Other players have been robbed of their phones. Police departments caution players to be aware of their surroundings.
Be warned that “free isn’t the same as no cost.” Users may pay in the form of data use, legal confrontations, injuries, and reduced work productivity. Higher insurance costs can also occur when playing the game while driving, which might result in an auto accident. Social concerns include disturbing church services and other occasions with players capturing creatures during the events.
For additional information on the cost of Pokémon Go, click here.
- Have students suggest ways that an app game might be used for improved learning or assisting others in need.
- Have students describe safety precautions when playing Pokémon Go.
- Why are people attracted to the game, often with a personal or financial cost?
- What actions might be taken to avoid the financial and personal dangers of the game?
Based on a recent study, chip-enabled cards used without appropriate technology and tax ID theft are the fastest-growing and most costly consumer complaints. People are often contacted by someone claiming to be from the IRS, a utility company, or a tech-support company, and asked to send money or provide personal information. This is a common danger sign of fraud as reported in a recent study of consumer complaints by the Consumer Federation of American and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators.
This report identified the following as the top ten most common sources of consumer complaints:
- Motor vehicle misrepresentations in advertising along with sales of new and used cars, lemons, faulty repairs, leasing and towing disputes
- Home improvement, such as inferior work, and failure to start or complete the job
- Utility service problems and billing disputes
- Credit and debt concerns, such as billing and fee disputes, mortgage fraud, credit repair, debt-relief services, predatory lending, abusive debt-collection tactics
- Retail sales problems related to deceptive ads, defective goods, problems with gift cards and certificates, rebates and coupons
- Services with poor or incomplete work, lack of licensing
- Landlord-tenant concerns, such as unsafe or unhealthy conditions, lack of repairs, and unfair eviction
- Furniture, appliances, and household products that are faulty or not properly repaired
- Health products and services with misleading claims
- Fraud and scams, such as phony sweepstakes, work-at-home schemes, deceptive online sales
Two additional recently reported scams are the “grandparent scam,” in which a phony grandchild calls an older person claiming to need quick cash for an emergency. With the CEO scam, employees are contacted with what appears to be an email from their company asking them to wire money to a foreign supplier for a deal that needs to close immediately with a promise to be reimbursed.
For additional information on current frauds and scams, go to:
- Have students present a talk with actions that might be taken to avoid consumer scams.
- Have students create a list of common consumer complaints among their friends.
- Why are people often victims of consumer frauds?
- What are common suggestions for avoiding various consumer scams and frauds?