Financial Education and Fraud Prevention
AARP provides numerous resources for individuals aged 50 and over, including information on a broad range of topics. These include AARP's public policies; answers to financial-planning questions; guidance on health and wellness; tips for coping with difficult life transitions; financial planning; and opportunities to contact government officials and participate in discussion groups and on-line courses. AARP has established a voice in Washington, D.C., and each state, representing members on issues like Medicare, Social Security and consumer safety.
This Web site contains information about AARP's activities in Arkansas.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of the nationwide credit-reporting companies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — to provide individuals with a free copy of their credit report, upon request, once every 12 months. The three companies have set up this central Web site to order credit reports. Individuals without access to the Internet can request their credit reports by calling 1-877-322-8228.
The Attorney General is charged with many duties under Arkansas law, including serving as the state's top law enforcement officer and its chief consumer advocate. Consumers can file a complaint on-line with the office's Consumer Protection Division. When a complaint is received, it is promptly assigned to a consumer investigator. The Consumer Protection Division mediates thousands of complaints every year, assisting consumers in resolving legitimate disputes and navigating resolutions to all types of consumer problems.
Across the United States and Canada, there now are 114 Better Business Bureaus (BBBs) that provide Business Reviews on local and national businesses and charities. The BBB is the resource to turn to for objective, unbiased information on businesses. The network of BBBs monitor and take action on thousands of business issues affecting consumers. The Arkansas BBB, established in 1960, serves all consumers and businesses in Arkansas from its centrally located office in Little Rock and offers services to more than 3,000 accredited businesses in the state.
The State Insurance Department serves and protects the public interest through the equitable enforcement of the state’s laws and regulations affecting the insurance industry. The primary mission of the Department shall be consumer protection through insurer solvency and market conduct regulation, and fraud prosecution and deterrence. The Department's Consumer Services Division assists consumers with complaints and inquiries regarding insurance companies, producers and adjusters, and provides educational information and materials, free of charge. In addition, the Department's Senior Health Insurance Information Program provides free counseling, education and information to individuals with Medicare.
The Arkansas Jump$tart Coalition's goal is to educate students early in life about money management, saving, investing and spending. The Coalition is a non-profit organization with many individuals and organizations representing business, government and education who have joined together to improve the personal financial literacy of Arkansas's youth. The Arkansas Coalition is an affiliate of the National Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. The National Jump$tart Coalition, based in Washington, D.C., was first convened in 1995 and consists of about 150 national partner organizations committed to improving the financial literacy of America's youth.
The Arkansas Securities Department works to promote an environment in which the securities and financial markets within the Department’s jurisdiction function efficiently and without unnecessary regulatory impediments and in which the Department ensures the financial well-being of Arkansas citizens through effective consumer protection and education.
The State Board of Collection Agencies (SBCA) regulates collection agency activities in Arkansas. The SBCA works to protect creditors who give their accounts to collection agencies to be collected and consumers who are being contacted by collection agencies. It is the Board's goal to prevent undesirable collection activities, ensure compliance with Arkansas debt-collection laws and educate Arkansas consumers of their rights when dealing with a collection agency. The SBCA investigates consumer complaints of unfair or unconscionable collection practices, assessment of prohibited collection charges and unlicensed activity.
The Center for Household Financial Stability was launched by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in May 2013 to research and strengthen the balance sheets of struggling American families. The Center’s work includes conducting and publishing research on key balance sheet issues and organizing research, policy and community forums locally and nationwide. The intention of these initiatives is to better understand and respond to the balance sheet issues affecting struggling families and communities.
The Champlain College for Financial Literacy, using national data, has graded all 50 states and the District of Columbia on their efforts to produce financially literate high school graduates.
The central mission of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is to help consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. The Bureau can answer consumers' financial questions about topics such as mortgages; money transfers; payday loans; credit reports and scores; debt collection; and planning for retirement.
The Bureau will forward a complaint to the company and work to get a response from it.
Since 1962, Economics Arkansas has been training Arkansas teachers in grades K-12 how to integrate principles of economics and personal finance into the classroom curriculum. Economically savvy students become smarter citizens, voters, consumers and producers.
The organization offers resources and professional development training for teachers throughout the year. Economics Arkansas encourages individuals and organizations to become supporters in its ongoing efforts to build an economically literate Arkansas.
As an intelligence-driven national security and law enforcement agency, the mission of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is to protect the United States from terrorism, espionage, cyber attacks and major criminal threats in defense of the nation's economy and physical and electronic infrastructure. The FBI also provides services, support, training and leadership to federal, state, municipal and international agencies, and other partners.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has produced a special edition of the agency's quarterly FDIC Consumer News, "A Bank Customer's Guide to Cybersecurity." Topics of the articles in the issue include safety precautions to take before connecting to the Internet with a personal computer, laptop, "smart" phone or tablet; tips on how to avoid identity theft on line; and what to know about the roles that banks and the government play in protecting customers.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Money Smart program is a comprehensive financial education curriculum designed to help low- and moderate-income individuals outside the financial mainstream enhance their financial skills and create positive banking relationships. The curriculum for consumers is available free of charge in several versions tailored for young people (grades pre-K through 12) and adults of all ages. A stand-alone, instructor-led module, Money Smart for Older Adults, has been developed by the FDIC and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In addition, the FDIC and Small Business Administration have collaborated to offer Money Smart for Small Business, an instructor-led curriculum focusing on the needs of new or existing entrepreneurs.
"Building Wealth: A Beginner's Guide to Securing Your Financial Future," offers introductory guidance to individuals and families seeking to help develop a plan for building personal wealth. The printed guide presents an overview of wealth-building strategies for consumers, community leaders, teachers and students. Free copies of the guide can be ordered on-line or by calling 800-333-4460.
The mission of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is to prevent business practices that are anti-competitive or deceptive or unfair to consumers; to enhance informed consumer choice and public understanding of the competitive process; and to accomplish this without unduly burdening legitimate business activity.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is an independent, not-for-profit organization authorized by Congress to protect America's investors by ensuring that the broker-dealer industry operates fairly and honestly. FINRA writes and enforces rules governing the activities of almost 3,900 broker-dealer firms with almost 641,000 brokers; examines firms for compliance with those rules; fosters market transparency; and educates investors. To protect investors, FINRA works to ensure: anyone who sells a securities product has been tested, qualified and licensed; every securities product advertisement used is truthful and not misleading; any securities product sold to an investor is suitable for that investor's needs; and investors receive complete disclosure about an investment product before purchase.
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation 2015 National Financial Capability Study
In consultation with the U.S. Department of the Treasury and President George W. Bush's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation commissioned the first national study of the financial capability of American adults in 2009. The overarching research objectives of the National Financial Capability Study were to benchmark key indicators of financial capability and evaluate how these indicators vary with underlying demographic, behavioral, attitudinal and financial literacy characteristics. The 2012 Study — similarly developed in consultation with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, other federal agencies and President Obama's Advisory Council on Financial Capability — updated key measures from the 2009 Study and deepened the exploration of topics that are highly relevant today. The 2015 Study continues in this vein. The 2015 Study reveals interesting changes in key measures of financial capability over the six-year period since the baseline Study was completed, but it also reinforces the original finding that financial capability varies greatly by socioeconomic status and other demographics, and that many Americans struggle to make ends meet, plan ahead and make optimal financial decisions.
The Get Smart About Credit program, sponsored by the American Bankers Association's Community Engagement Foundation, is a national campaign of volunteer bankers who work with young people to raise awareness about the importance of using credit wisely. Bankers who register to participate have access to the Get Smart About Credit resource page. Geared for high school students and young adults, the resource page contains school and parent outreach letters, presentation lessons, student activities, communication tools and promotional materials.
Are you thinking about opening a checking account but are not sure how to get started? The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has resources to help select a product that is best suited for an individual's financial needs.
The Homeownership Preservation Foundation is an independent national non-profit organization dedicated to guiding consumers onto the path of sustainable homeownership and improving their overall financial health. Through its Homeowner’s HOPE™ Hotline, 888-995-HOPE™ or 877-304-9709 with TTY device, the Foundation provides comprehensive financial education and confidential foreclosure prevention counseling. These services are provided free of charge in more than 170 languages 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
To make monthly mortgage payments more affordable, many lenders offer home loans that allow buyers to: (1) pay only the interest on the loan during the first few years of the loan term or (2) make only a specified minimum payment that could be less than the monthly interest on the loan. The latter loan type is referred to as a "payment-option adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM)." This information from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation can help a prospective homebuyer decide if these types of loans are appropriate for his or her situation.
The Investor Protection Trust is a non-profit organization devoted to investor education. The primary mission of the Trust is to provide independent, objective information needed by consumers to make informed investment decisions. The Trust serves as an independent source of non-commercial investor education. Since 1993, the organization has worked with the states and at the national level to provide the independent, objective investor education needed by all Americans to make informed investment decisions.
Junior Achievement's volunteer-delivered, kindergarten through 12th-grade programs foster work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial-literacy skills. The national organization uses experiential learning to inspire students to prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. With the help of almost 238,000 classroom volunteers, Junior Achievement (JA) students develop the skills they need to experience and realize the opportunities of work and life in the 21st century global marketplace.
This brochure was prepared by several federal agencies that enforce compliance with laws that prohibit discrimination in lending.
The MERS® ServicerID helps a homeowner identify the servicer associated with a mortgage loan registered on the MERS® System.
When you’re trying to decide if it’s a good time to refinance your home loan or whether to pay down your student loans or credit cards first, what you really want is to make a sound decision, fast — and feel confident that it was the right choice. MoneyGeek.com offers explanations on money topics that go deep enough but do not feel like reading a dry textbook. The site features step-by-step instructions and checklists; calculators that actually tell you what is going on with the numbers in plain English; and questions answered by industry experts.
Money Management International is the largest non-profit, full-service credit counseling agency in the United States. Since 1958, this organization has been helping consumers find the tools and solutions they need to achieve financial freedom. Money Management International provides professional financial guidance; credit counseling; community-wide educational programs; debt-management assistance; bankruptcy counseling and education services; and housing-counseling assistance to consumers via telephone, Internet and in-person sessions.
MyMoney.gov is the federal government's Web site that serves as the one-stop shop for federal financial literacy and education programs. The site was developed by the Federal Financial Literacy and Education Commission, which is made up of more than 20 federal agencies, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve Board, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the National Credit Union Administration.
Since 1969, the non-profit National Consumer Law Center® has used its expertise in consumer law and energy policy to work for consumer justice and economic security for low-income and other disadvantaged people, including older adults, in the United States. The Center works with non-profit and legal services organizations, private attorneys, policy makers, and federal and state government and courts across the nation to stop exploitative practices, help financially stressed families build and retain wealth, and advance economic fairness.
The mission of the National Cyber Security Alliance is to educate and, therefore, empower a global digital society to use the Internet safely and securely at home, work and school, protecting the technology individuals use, the networks they connect to and shared digital assets. The name of its Web site is StaySafeOnline.org.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving non-profit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.
The Nationwide Multistate Licensing System & Registry provides a free service for consumers to confirm that the financial-services company or professional with whom they wish to conduct business is authorized to do so in their state.
The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) is the leading private non-profit 501(c)(3) national foundation dedicated to inspiring empowered financial decision making for individuals and families through every stage of life. NEFE provides financial education and practical information to people at all financial stages. NEFE provides consumer resources, primary research, research funding, educational resources, and programs and initiatives for many specific audiences.
Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities Brochure to Aid Consumers in Understanding Credit Reports, Scores
The Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities has published a brochure to help consumers better understand what information should be included in their credit report and steps to take if there is an issue. The brochure includes reminders to consumers on how to handle a suspected case of fraud, as well as common traps to avoid when seeking a credit score report. The brochure is available here.
This guide, published by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is intended for consumers considering their retirement payout options from a private-sector plan. The guide gives near-retirees the information they need to understand the trade-offs of taking their pension in a monthly payment or in a lump sum.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides information and advice for optimizing how to pay off student loans.
Senior Medicare Patrols (SMPs) empower and assist - through outreach, counseling and education - Medicare beneficiaries, their families and care-givers to prevent, detect and report health-care fraud, errors and abuse. SMPs are grant-funded projects of the federal U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Administration for Community Living. Their work is in three main areas: (1) Conduct outreach and education. SMPs give presentations to groups, exhibit at events and work one-on-one with Medicare beneficiaries; (2) Engage volunteers. Protecting the health, finances and medical identity of older persons, while saving precious Medicare dollars, is a cause that attracts civic-minded Americans. The SMP program engages more than 5,200 volunteers nationally who collectively contribute approximately 155,000 hours each year; and (3) Receive beneficiary complaints. When Medicare beneficiaries, care-givers and family members bring their complaints to the SMP, the SMP determines if fraud, errors or abuse is suspected. When fraud or abuse are suspected, they make referrals to the appropriate state and federal agencies for further investigation.
The "Stop. Think. Connect." initiative is a national public awareness campaign intended to increase the understanding of cyber threats and empowering the American public to be safe and more secure on-line. The campaign is conducted by the United States Department of Homeland Security in cooperation with the National Cyber Security Alliance.
While TeenZeen is a Web site that emphasizes information about teen-age drug abuse and alcohol prevention, there also are pages pertaining to teen money management. This link is to a page with information intended to improve the financial intelligence of teen-agers and to teach them how to be smart with their money.
The task force brings together financial institutions to promote awareness and provide information to Texas bankers on "cyber"-related crimes and risk-management practices to help protect banks and their customers. The task force and Web site are initiatives of the Texas Department of Banking.
As use of the Internet continues to expand, more banks and thrifts are using the Web to offer products and services or otherwise enhance communications with consumers. The Internet offers the potential for safe, convenient new ways to shop for financial services and conduct banking business, any day, anytime. However, safe banking on-line involves making good choices – decisions that will help customers to avoid costly surprises or even scams. This brochure offers to customers thinking about, or already using, on-line banking systems, information and tips, including confirming that an on-line bank is legitimate and that its deposits are insured; how to keep personal information private and secure; understanding consumer rights; and learning where to go for more assistance from banking regulators.
This information from the Federal Trade Commission includes financing options when buying a new or used car, and other considerations before buying or leasing a vehicle.
Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans have been helping people become homeowners since 1934. FHA, which is part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), insures mortgage loans, providing an incentive to lenders to offer financing. HUD also offers information about financing manufactured homes and home improvements, and the importance to prospective buyers of having a home inspection. The Department also provides information to senior citizens on reverse mortgages.
United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Brochure, "Fair Housing: Equal Opportunity for All"
This brochure discusses the Fair Housing Act, including what types of housing are covered by the law and what actions are prohibited.
This federal agency provides a home loan guaranty benefit and other housing-related programs to help active service members, veterans and eligible surviving spouses buy, build, repair, retain or adapt a home.
The mission of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is to support and protect the Postal Service and its employees, infrastructure and customers; enforce the laws that defend the nation’s mail system from illegal or dangerous use; and ensure public trust in the mail. The Service works to assure that American businesses can safely dispatch funds, securities and information through the U.S. Mail; that postal customers can entrust their correspondence to the mail; and that postal employees can work in a safe environment.
The mission of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation.