A recent study on credit report accuracy found that 1 in 5 of the participating consumers had an error on at least one of their three credit reports.
Why Do Credit Report Errors Matter?
Errors on your credit report can negatively affect your credit score, which is used to evaluate your applications for credit cards, loans, jobs, housing, insurance, and more.
What Can You Do?
Check Your Credit Report
Check your credit report with all three credit reporting agencies at least once a year. You are entitled to one FREE credit report annually from each agency (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax).
Checking your report will help you identify and correct errors that could be affecting your credit score and help protect you from identity theft.
If you find an error on any of your credit reports, follow instructions on the report that explain how to dispute errors. If errors have not been corrected after you’ve disputed them with the credit reporting agency, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Get more information about disputing errors on your credit report.
By Katie Bryan, America Saves Communications Manager
The theme for America Saves Week 2013 is more than just a theme; it’s the essence of a sound approach to savings, designed to help individuals take financial action. Set a Goal. Make a Plan. Save Automatically. Knowing what you want to save for, how to achieve it, and then making the savings process automatic will allow you to reach your savings goal.Set a Goal
You can save more by having a goal in mind. Visualizing what you want to save for gives your savings a purpose. You may be tempted to withdraw from your savings if it has no purpose. But once you have a goal in place, you know that taking money out of your savings is taking away from that ultimate goal. So what are you saving for? An emergency fund, a home, retirement, a car?Make a Plan
Once you have your goal in place, make a plan for how you are going to save. To start, cut down on your spending and reduce high-cost debt. Next, keep track of what you spend and make a budget. Once you know where your money is going each month, you can cut down on unneeded spending and save the difference.
Don’t forget to keep your savings safe, secure, and growing. Banks, credit unions, and even the government offer a variety of financial products that can help you save.Save Automatically
It can be hard to put aside money for savings. But there is an easy way to save money without ever missing it. Once you know how much you can save, make saving automatic. Many employers allow you to divide your paycheck into different accounts through direct deposit. Take advantage by putting part of your pay into a savings account. If you get paid in cash, take a small amount to the bank to deposit into a savings account each week.
Sequestration, sometimes called the sequester, is a process that automatically cuts the federal budget across most departments and agencies.
Congress included the threat of sequestration in the Budget Control Act of 2011 as a way to encourage compromise on deficit reduction efforts.
Congress couldn’t agree on a budget by the deadline set in the Budget Control Act, so mandatory budget cuts were scheduled to go into effect on January 2, 2013.
Congress stopped the cuts from happening by passing the American Taxpayer Relief Act on January 2. This law pushed the budget cuts back until March 1, 2013.
If Congress cannot agree on a budget to reduce the deficit by March 1, then sequestration would happen and $85 billion in spending cuts would go into effect.
These reports give detailed information about the amount that programs may be cut and which programs are exempt from sequestration:
- White House Office of Management and Budget Sequestration Reports to the President and Congress
- Congressional Budget Office Report on Estimated Impact of Automatic Budget Enforcement Procedures Specified in the Budget Control Act
- Congressional Research Service Report on Budget “’Sequestration’ and Selected Program Exemptions and Special Rules” (PDF)
We will host a National Consumer Protection Week Twitter chat on Wednesday, March 6 at 2 p.m. EST.
Experts from USA.gov, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be on hand to answer your consumer-related questions and and provide government resources that can help. So whether you have questions about how to file a complaint with a company or how to learn about the latest scams, now is your chance to get answers.
You can submit your questions on Twitter (@USAgov) using the hashtag #NCPW from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST next Wednesday, when experts will be available to answer them live. As always, you can also ask questions on our Facebook page or here on the blog.
National Consumer Protection Week runs from March 3-9 and encourages you to take full advantage of your consumer rights and make well-informed decisions in the marketplace.
What consumer questions do you have?
By Katie Bryan, America Saves Communications Manager
America Saves Week, February 25 – March 2, 2013, is chance for individuals to assess their own saving status and take financial action. Studies reveal that having a savings plan with specific goals can have beneficial financial effects, even for lower-income families.
Here are 5 easy ways to get involved in America Saves Week:
Those with a savings plan are twice as likely to save for emergencies and retirement than those without a plan. Join over 310,000 people who have already committed to save. Pledge or re-pledge today!
People save more successfully when they have a goal in mind. That’s why we’ve created posters so you can put your savings goal into perspective and, share it.
Find out if you are saving in all the right places with this 12 step savings assessment.
Take this savings quiz to reveal how much you understand about the realities of savings in America.
5. Share Savings Tips and Advice with Family and Friends
On Twitter and Facebook? Share these social media posts (Word) with your friends and followers to encourage them to save.
America Saves Week is coordinated by America Saves and the American Savings Education Council. Started in 2007, the Week is an annual opportunity for organizations to promote good savings behavior and a chance for individuals to assess their own saving status.
Copies of vital records, like birth and marriage certificates and military service records are often necessary in order to access a variety of government benefits and services.
But sometimes life happens and those vital records go missing. Maybe they were misplaced in a move, were stolen or got damaged in a fire.
We can help you find copies and replacements of your vital records so you can apply for whatever benefits and services you need.Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates
These records come from the states. In order to find a copy, you’ll have to contact that state office where the life event occurred. Find the contact information for state and territory offices that can help you.Passport
Report lost or stolen passports to the State Department right away by calling 1-877-487-2778. To replace the lost or stolen passport, you’ll have to submit forms DS-11 and DS-64 in person at a passport agency or acceptance facility. If you lose a passport, and then find it again, you won’t be able to use it to travel. You should return the lost passport and request a new one.Military Service Records
You often need copies of military service records to apply for a variety of government programs available for veterans, like health care, retirement or education benefits. The National Archives keeps copies of all veterans’ services records, and you can apply online to receive a copy of yours or an immediate family member’s if they are deceased. If you prefer to mail or fax a request for your records, you can download form SF-180. You can also find out how to replace lost military medals and awards.Social Security Card
If you can’t find your Social Security card, you may not actually need to replace it. As long as you know your Social Security number, you will still be able to collect Social Security, get a job and apply for many government benefits and services. However, if you do want to replace the card, you’ll need to gather documents proving your identity and citizenship to mail or take to a local Social Security office.Green Card
If you have a U.S. Permanent Resident (Green) Card, you may need to replace it if it was lost, stolen or damaged or if your name or other biographical information has legally changed since it was issued. You can easily request a new one online. If you’re outside the United States and have lost your green card, you should contact the nearest U.S. consulate or immigrations office before you apply online for a new card.
If you need help getting copies of other vital records like tax returns or school records, you can find the information you need to replace them.