Jeane' Holley: (216) 698-2544
Rich Luchette: (216) 698-5637, (216) 797-0931, or firstname.lastname@example.org
CLEVELAND – Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald recognizes “National Financial Literacy Month” for the month of April. With food and gas costs on the rise, it is important that residents know about all the helpful and free resources available to assist with money management and building or creating a budget.
“Financial literacy is essential for any family to get closer to obtaining financial stability,” said FitzGerald. “With today’s economy it is important to know how to reach your future financial goals and how access to the right tools. This is why programs like the Cuyahoga County College Savings Account Program have an important emphasis on financial literacy.”
In celebration of National Financial Literacy Month, the Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs encourages consumers to follow these five steps:
- Avoid identity theft and financial scams. Never give out personal identifiable information to anyone where you did not initiate the phone call, email, text message or directly input the website. If you receive an email, text message, mail or phone call claiming you won a prize, gift card, lottery or grant, do not respond as it is a scam! Scammers rely on consumers to log in with a user name and password or click on the link provided in the unexpected email or text message. They are phishing for your name, address, passwords, and account numbers or payment for a fake debt or nonexistent job. Why? To collect money or your information, where they can sell it or use it to commit fraud.
2. Build a budget. Studies have reported that more than 50% of adults do not have a budget to help manage their money. A budget is the best tool to gain control of your finances and helps you meet your financial goals. Find a budget style that will work for you. Budget style applications can be found for your smartphone, tablet, notebook or calendar. If you already have a budget, make sure it is meeting your goals.
- Check your credit report. Your credit history is linked to a lot of the consumer transactions you are involved in from buying/renting a home or car, prospective employers, car insurance, deposit on utilities or smartphones, etc. To get your FREE ANNUAL credit report once every twelve (12) months from the three national credit reporting agencies call 877-322-8228 or go online at www.annualcreditreport.com.
- Review your account bills. By reviewing all your account bills monthly you can spot illegal activity happening immediately and put a stop to it. Often scams come in the form of unauthorized charges on your bill in the amount of $2 or less. Read and know what the charges are on accounts and question any charge you are not familiar with. Remember legitimate businesses welcome your questioning.
- Start savings or college fund savings. It is easier said than done, but try and set aside a reasonable amount of money each month for a goal you set for yourself. The Cuyahoga County College Savings Account Program is designed to increase college and vocational school graduate rates for County residents. The Program creates a flexible college savings platform wherein families can deposit additional funds and intermediaries such as schools districts, foundations, and special purpose programs will potentially provide program incentives and matching funds. Beginning with the current school year, Cuyahoga County will deposit $100 into a deposit-only account for each kindergarten student. For additional information, parents are encouraged to email email@example.com or call (216) 698-2092.
Additional Money Management Tips & Tools
Financial Literacy and Education Commission
Federal Reserve Bank
Office of the Comptroller
360 Degrees of Financial Literacy American Institute of CPAs
To report scams, inquire about a business or file a complaint concerning a consumer problem, contact the Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs at 216-443-7010 or find more consumer tips and information by visiting our website at http://fiscalofficer.cuyahogacounty.us/en-US/ConsumerAffairs.aspx.