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Financial Literacy Skills Unit 6: Understanding Consumer Fraud and Identity Theft
Objective 1: Select guidelines for making purchases. • • Buy according to priorities of needs and wants. Compare quality and prices of products and services. Check for any “extra” charges added to the base price. Read and understand guarantees, warranties, and contracts. Compare credit/cash costs and decide which to use. Ask for recommendations from friends and family. Ask the salesperson to explain the store’s return or exchange policy. Research consumer magazines and online sources.
Objective 2: Distinguish advantages and disadvantages of advertising. Advantages • Informs consumer about new products and services, changes in technology, and how some products and services work • Promotes the individual’s right to choose • Increases demand for products and services, which helps the economy • Helps support the media by paying for space or time • Saves consumer time and money by telling when, where, and for how much money products and services are being sold
Objective 2: Distinguish advantages and disadvantages of advertising. Disadvantages • Encourages materialism • Tempts people to buy goods and services they cannot afford • Wastes resources • Gives sponsors (those who place ads) control over the media • May appeal to emotions more than reason (such as fad items, or those endorsed by celebrities) • Can be misleading
Objective 3: Evaluate advertising.
Objective 4: Analyze sales techniques.
Objective 5: Match consumer fraud techniques to their descriptions. • • • Bait-and-switch Contest Deceptive pricing Door-to-door Earn at home Mail-order • Misrepresentation • Phishing • Multi Level Marketing (MLM) • Referral sales • Unordered product • Vanity listing
Objective 6: Identify consumer fraud techniques.
Objective 7: Analyze consumer problems.
Objective 8: Put in order the steps in making a consumer complaint. Keep sales receipts and cancelled checks. Set up a file for guarantees, warranties, contracts, etc. Fill out the warranty card and send to the manufacturer. Follow instructions and safety warnings. Formulate your complaint and a fair solution. Return a product to the point of purchase if it does not work. • If the problem is not resolved at the local level, call or write a letter to company headquarters. • Keep trying. If necessary, seek assistance from other sources. • • •
Objective 9: Identify sources of consumer protection. • Federal agencies • State, county, and city agencies • Corporations • Trade and professional associations • Better Business Bureaus (BBBs) • Occupational and professional licensing boards • Mass media • Legal system • Private and voluntary consumer groups and testing agencies • Publications • Internet resources
Objective 10: Write a letter of complaint.
Objective 11: Identify types of information identity thieves look for. • Social Security number • Driver's license • Identification card • Birth date • Credit card number • Bank account number • Personal identification number (PIN) • Passwords • Retail/business account number • Miscellaneous personal information
Objective 12: Discuss ways in which thieves steal information. • • Telephone/telemarketing Online/e-mail Mail theft "Dumpster diving" Theft of wallet or purse Theft of information from businesses Impersonation
Objective 13: List ways that thieves use stolen information. • Open a bank or credit account • Change the address on an existing account • Divert mail by completing a "change of address" form • Begin utility services • Rent or lease goods • Write checks against an account • Obtain loans and mortgages • File bankruptcy • File taxes • Commit crimes anonymously
Objective 14: Select from a list ways to protect yourself from credit card fraud. • Keep a list of your credit card numbers and tollfree numbers in case your card is stolen or lost. • Never give out your credit card number to someone who calls you. • Never give out other identification, such as mailing address, telephone number, or social security number, with a credit card charge. • Be conscientious about getting your credit card back from salespeople.
Objective 14: Select from a list ways to protect yourself from credit card fraud. • Never let a salesperson throw away carbons from a credit card receipt; take them with you and tear them into tiny pieces yourself at home or put them in a shredder. • Shred any credit card mail offers that you do not want to accept. • Make sure handwritten charge slips do not leave an empty space between the charge and the total.
Objective 14: Select from a list ways to protect yourself from credit card fraud. • Report a lost or stolen credit card immediately. • Never keep your automated teller machine (ATM) personal identification number (PIN) in the same location as your credit card. Do not carry them both; memorize your PIN. • Take ATM transaction slips with you when you leave the ATM.
Objective 14: Select from a list ways to protect yourself from credit card fraud. • Be very careful and responsible about taking your credit card from the ATM and putting it in a secure place. • Cut up credit cards you do not wish to use, even if the card has expired. • Check your monthly statement carefully to compare it with your receipts. Notify the credit card company in writing for any amount that is in error.
Objective 15: State guidelines for protecting your identity. • • Keep an eye on your mail. Pay attention to billing cycles. Keep your passwords private. Avoid using the same information and numbers when you create a Personal Identification Number (PIN).
Objective 15: State guidelines for protecting your identity. • Order a copy of your credit report from the three credit bureaus every year to check on their accuracy. • Shred pre-approved credit card offers and any documents that contain personal information. • Do not give out personal information on the phone or over the Internet unless you know who are dealing with. • Weed out your wallet.
Objective 15: State guidelines for protecting your identity. • Install “firewall” software on your personal computer. • At work, become familiar with your employer's policies about protecting personal information. • Make sure that your employer keeps sensitive information in a safe place. • Before doing business with a new company, contact the Better Business Bureau or state and local consumer agencies to make sure the company has a good customer service record.
Objective 15: State guidelines for protecting your identity. • When businesses ask for your personal information, ask how the information will be used. • Make sure that businesses keep applications and other sensitive documents secure. • Make sure that mailings and identification cards have as little information printed on them as possible.
Objective 15: State guidelines for protecting your identity. • Never have your phone number or your Social Security number printed on your checks. • Request that additional passwords be used to access your credit, bank, and telephone accounts. • Most companies will not offer extra security options, so always ask a representative what is available when signing up for a service or beginning an account.
Objective 16: List the effects of identity fraud on victims. • • • Financial loss Poor credit rating Lost time Terminated services Lawsuits Fines Suspension of driver's license Arrest Emotional pain and stress
Objective 17: Determine the risks of shopping online by examining an internet business.
Objective 18: Distinguish among federal laws that address identity theft. • • Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act Fair Credit Reporting Act Fair Credit Billing Act Electronic Fund Transfer Act Fair and Accurate Transactions Act Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Graham-Leach-Billey Act
Objective 19: Research laws in your state that address identity theft.
Objective 20: List effective ways to determine if you are a victim of identity theft. • Order and examine credit reports. • Register fraud alerts with credit reporting institutions (CRAs). • Watch billing cycles for stolen or diverted mail. • Account for each expenditure on credit card bills, bank statements, and receipts. • Do a background check on yourself.
Objective 21: Explain steps to take if you are a victim of identity theft. • Contact the major national credit reporting agencies (CRAs). • Contact institutions, businesses, and agencies that provided goods, services, or credit in your name. • Contact local law enforcement. • Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). • Contact any agency associated with the crime.
End of Unit 6