A key part of your financial success is understanding how to protect your money. Discover what identity theft is and how to protect against it. Learn what types of IDs banks accept to open an account or cash a check. Understand what inflation means and how it affects your purchasing power.
Question: My identity was recently stolen. What should I do? – Paul from Long Beach, California.
Answer: Identity theft occurs when a criminal steals someone’s personal information to commit fraud. This can include the person’s full name, home address, Social Security number, driver’s license number, bank account numbers, user ids and passwords. With the stolen information, the thief can apply for loans and credit cards, file tax returns to claim a refund, use health insurance to receive medical care, rent an apartment, or pass an employment background check. If you are a victim of identity theft, the first thing you should do is notify the three major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, that your identity has been compromised. Make sure they place a fraud alert and a security freeze on your credit reports. This will make it much harder for the fraudsters to open new accounts and apply for credit products. The next thing you should do is review your credit report to see if any mysterious accounts have been opened. Also check the activity history on all of your bank accounts to see if there are any suspicious transactions. If you find something that wasn’t authorized, make sure to notify the company where the fraud occurred. Finally, you should update your usernames and passwords and make sure your personal electronic devices weren’t compromised with malware and viruses.
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Question: What types of IDs do banks accept? – Anita from Flagstaff, Arizona.
Answer: Most financial institutions will require at least one primary form of identification and possibly a secondary form of identification to open an account or cash a check. A primary form of identification is almost always government issued, unexpired, and includes a photo of the individual. In the United States, a primary form of identification includes a driver’s license, state issued ID card, passport, military ID card, U.S. Permanent Resident card, and U.S. Resident Alien card. A secondary form of identification is used as another way to confirm an individual’s identity. This includes a debit card, credit card, student ID card and employee ID card or badge. Since it is difficult for a minor to obtain either a primary or secondary form of identification, most financial institutions will also accept a birth certificate and Social Security card.
Question: What is inflation? – Keith from Clarksville, Tennessee.
Answer: Inflation is when the price of several goods and services increases. Inflation is normal and can be good when it is mild. The Federal Reserve has an annual target rate of 2%. When the inflation rate is too high, it can lead to a deceleration in economic growth. There are three types of inflation. First, there is demand-pull inflation. This occurs when the demand in the market is excessive and the supply side can’t keep up. The second is cost-push inflation. This occurs when the cost of raw materials dramatically increases and, in turn, causes an increase in production costs. For example, if the cost of lumber doubled, it would cause the prices of home building and renovations to go up. Finally, there is built-in inflation. This occurs when workers demand and receive higher wages to increase their cost of living. Unfortunately, those higher wages will result in higher production costs which leads to higher prices and the cycle repeats itself.
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Written by: Alex Sanchez, Branch Manager
Important: For your specific questions about banking, contact your banking expert, Alex, at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex is starting his 18th year in the banking industry. He has worked for such notable banks as Bank of America, US Bank, and Chase. Alex has his bachelor’s degree in Business Economic from the University of California Riverside.