Tips, advice, and the latest news from the savings world.
March 7, 2012
By Kristina Wedseltoft, America Saves Intern
Last week the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released the Top 10 Complaint Categories for 2011, with identity theft ranking first for the 12th consecutive year. Of the 1.8 million complaints filed with the FTC in 2011, roughly 15% were identity theft complaints. The FTC maintains an online secure database called the Consumer Sentinel that it enters the complaints into. These are then accessible to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the US and abroad, helping identify victims, research cases and track targets. To learn more about how you can protect yourself against identity theft visit www.IDTheftInfo.org
David Vladeck, Director of the agency’s Bureau of Consumer Protections said the “Consumer Sentinel Network is an incredibly powerful tool for law enforcers who are working to protect consumers and go after the bad guys”.
Following identity theft, the list of complaints in the top 10 included:
- Debt Collections with a complaint rate of about 10% of respondents
- Prizes, Sweepstakes and Lotteries with 6% of respondents
- Internet Services with 5% of respondents
- Imposter scams with 4% of respondents
- Advance-Fee Loans and Credit Protection/Repair with 3% of respondents
You can find the complete list of all 30 complaint categories and the Press release for the Top 10 Complaint Categories here. If you would like to file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
March 6, 2012
Sandra Parker is a staff writer at PT Money: Personal Finance.
Do you use an online-only bank? After working for years at a large, national brick and mortar bank, I have begun seeing more and more banks emerge that are strictly online. I started asking myself what my criteria were when it came to determining where to put my money. Are there benefits to being a member of an online-only bank? Are there drawbacks? Is my money safer in a brick and mortar establishment? I did a little research and found out that there was quite a bit I didn’t understand about online-only banks. Pros of Online Banking
Low fees: It's not fun having to pay my bank a monthly fee for the privilege of owning an account, a fee to use the ATM, a fee to get a cashier’s check, and another fee for the privilege of using my debit card. Online-only banks don’t have as much overhead since they don’t have to pay rent on hundreds of branches and the payroll of thousands of employees. They can charge me less (much less) for the services they provide.
Higher interest rates: Online-only banks typically pay a higher interest rate on your savings and interest bearing checking accounts thanks to point number two: lower overhead costs. This, in addition to lower account maintenance costs, makes my dollars go farther.
Same protections: Regardless of where you bank, look for the FDIC symbol. Most (if not all) online banking institutions that I’ve seen have FDIC insurance, just like brick and mortar banks. Cons of Online Banking Of course, not all that glitters is gold. There are a few drawbacks to using an online only bank.