Harrisburg, PA - The Department of Banking and Securities (DoBS) is reminding Pennsylvanians of the importance of growing their personal financial capability.
"Financial capability empowers individuals to make confident decisions about their money," said Secretary of Banking and Securities Richard Vague. "It is critical for people to build this skillset to help ensure they are making the soundest decisions when it comes to managing debt, investing, saving, and building towards their futures."
Here are five ways to brush up on your financial capability skills:
- Protect your personal and financial information. Guarding your personal information is one of the best steps you can take to protect against identity theft and financial scams. The commonwealth's cybersecurity guide provides practical tips and resources to protect your information online.
- Keep a close eye on your credit report. Information on your credit report can impact your ability to rent an apartment, get hired for a job, or whether you can obtain insurance or a loan. You are entitled to a free copy annually of your credit report, weekly during the duration of the COVID-19 national emergency declaration, from each of the three main credit reporting companies – Experian, Equifax, and Transunion – through annualcreditreport.com. Understanding Credit Reports and Scores can help you find where to start and what to do if you find misinformation on your report.
- Research and verify your financial professional. Before agreeing to working with any investment professional, take the time to research them. There are a number of free online tools available to you, but you can also contact the department at any time if you are unsure where to start.
- Become a well-informed consumer and investor. Protecting and growing your money is an essential part of financial capability. Attend free, virtual programs or presentations on a variety of financial topics. From budgeting to cybersecurity to saving and investing, the department carries a full slate of programming that can be found on its events calendar. Groups interested in scheduling a presentation can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Know the Red Flags of Financial Scams. Consumers lost more than $3.3 billion to fraud in 2020. Taking a few simple precautions can help you detect a scam or fraud and prevent you from becoming the victim of one. Is the a "deal" that requires you to act quickly? Are you being contacted out of the blue or only online? Does it all sound too good to be true? Learn to recognize the red flags common scams.
Each April during Financial Capability Month, Pennsylvania recognizes the importance of accessible, high-quality education and resources to improve personal financial capability and the many state agencies and private partners that uphold that mission.
Have a question or complaint about a financial transaction, company, or product? Contact the department at 1-800-PA-BANKS (800-600-0007) or online. Connect with the department online on Twitter and Facebook to stay informed.
To schedule a media interview with a department expert on improving financial capability, contact DoBSComm@PA.gov.
MEDIA CONTACT: Virginia Lucy - 717.214.6036, DoBSComm@PA.gov
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