April 19, 2013
Press Release: Schuette Marks Money Smart Week with Events
Michigan Department of Attorney General
Office of Communications
Copy of Press Release:
LANSING – Attorney General Bill Schuette Friday announced the kick-off of Money Smart Week in Michigan, a public awareness campaign incorporating free seminars and activities hosted by businesses, financial institutions, schools, libraries, not-for-profits, and government agencies to help consumers manage their personal finances.
“Every week of the year, my office offers free educational seminars on how to spend wisely and avoid criminals who prey on honest citizens,” Schuette said. “Money Smart Week is a welcome opportunity to remind consumers to take the time to learn how to make smart financial decisions, now and in the future.”
Schuette notes there will be several events hosted by community groups, government agencies and organizations to mark Money Smart Week and encourages consumers to tune-in and take advantage of the free resources provided for personal finance management. Money Smart Week partners will be hosting their events April 20 – 27, 2013.
Detroit Public Television will air a special program for Money Smart Week called “Be A SMARTY!” on Saturday, April 20 at 10 a.m. and will feature important consumer protection advice from the Department of Attorney General on scams and identity theft. In addition to the special broadcast, Money Smart Week is partnering with several organizations to host free seminars in Southeast Michigan. To see the full list of seminars with locations near you, please visit the Attorney General’s website: http://bit.ly/11iALJG.
To mark Money Smart Week Schuette has compiled the following list of five tips for savvy consumers:
1. Reduce telemarketing calls by registering with the FTC’s free national do-not-call program. To register for the national do-not-call program, consumers may call toll-free 888-382-1222 from the number they wish to register. Online, consumers may register with a valid e-mail address at www.donotcall.gov.
2. Eliminate pre-approved credit card offers in the mail. Consumers may call toll-free at 888-567-8688 or visit www.optoutprescreen.com. You may remove your name from the list sold by major credit reporting agencies for a period of five years or permanently. You will be asked to provide your name, address, date of birth, and Social Security number.
3. Order your free annual credit report. To maximize your protection against fraudulent activity, order a report from a different credit reporting company every fourth month. Consumers can make a toll free call at 877-322-8228. The Annual Credit Report Request Form is available at the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) website: http://1.usa.gov/14zTXYb. Online, consumers may access the only truly free credit report website by visiting: www.annualcreditreport.com. Consumers may also mail a request:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
4. Never provide personal information to anyone that calls or e-mails you out of the blue. Don’t click on links in an e-mail or call phone numbers that are left on your answering machine. If you are concerned about your credit or debit card account status, call the number on your card or your statement and check it out.
5. Don’t pay an advance fee to a mortgage foreclosure rescue or loan modification company. Schuette reminds Michigan homeowners that citizens do not need to pay to speak with their lender or servicer or to obtain outside assistance with foreclosure issues. Free local assistance with foreclosure issues can be found by calling the Michigan State Housing Development Authority at (866) 946-7432.
Schuette offers additional suggestions for consumers at the Department of Attorney General website: http://1.usa.gov/15jKRh6.
Money Smart Week began as the project of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in 2002, partnering with businesses, financial institutions, schools, libraries, not-for-profits, government agencies and the media.
These groups come together once a year to stress the importance of financial literacy, inform consumers about where they can get help and provide free educational seminars and activities throughout the week.
Programming is offered to all demographics and income levels and covers all facets of personal finance from establishing a budget to first time home buying and estate planning. More information on Money Smart Week can be found at www.moneysmartweek.org.