Broker Check

February Newsletter

 February 4    , 2019

 

“…Let’s Invent Credit Cards…” 


This month I would like to address a specific financial planning topic; protection of the consumer!  There are some important action items to consider should you become a victim of financial fraud through mail or telephone solicitations. 

This past month I received an “unsolicited credit card” addressed to me at my office.  Out of concern, I called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB is a U.S. government agency that was created after the Great Recession of 2008 and is dedicated to protecting consumers from financial fraud. 

You should know that credit reporting agencies provide your credit information to credit card companies for a fee. Yes, they will sell your contact information without your consent.  The CFPB provided me with a phone number:  1 (888) 567-8688 to opt out for five years from prescreening lists. These prescreening lists provide your personal information to banks, credit card companies and insurance companies so they can send unsolicited credit offers based on your credit rating.  You can also go to the following website:  www.optoutprescreen.com to elect to be permanently removed from these prescreening lists.

If someone has applied for credit in your name, you need to take immediate action!  Do not call the phone number associated with the credit card, but do not ignore an unsolicited credit card. You should ask the credit card company to close or freeze the account(s) after researching a published phone number for that credit card company and calling that number. You should also review all three of your credit reports by going to www.annualcreditreport.com.  These reports can be requested free of charge once every twelve months.  From a financial planning and protection standpoint you should check your credit reports annually and follow up as needed. 

Let’s now consider annoying robocalls and text solicitations. Unwanted calls, including illegal and “spoofed” robocalls are the top consumer complaint made to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).   There are some simple actions you should take to protect yourself.  Do not answer calls from unknown numbers and beware of a local caller ID that you are not familiar with as this can be a front for a non-local caller (spoofed phone call). Do not respond to any questions you might be asked and do not hit a button to be removed from their call list.  Never give out personal information.  If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a familiar company or a government agency, disconnect the caller and call the phone number on your account statement or the number listed in the phone book to verify the authenticity of the request.  Talk to your phone provider about call blocking tools available to reduce or eliminate unwanted calls.  You can download an “app” to your mobile device to block unwanted calls.  To learn more about this issue visit the FCC’s Consumer Help Center at:  www.fcc.gov/consumers. Another good resource to consult if you suspect fraud is: www.stopfraudcolorado.gov.  If you believe you are a victim of fraud you must take action to protect yourself!

And now, let’s turn our attention to the financial markets.  2019 has started out with positive movement and much of what we saw in equity market declines over the last quarter of 2018 has since been recovered.  Savvy long-term investors focus on “the hill and not the yo-yo”.  As financial advisors we use this analogy to explain market volatility. Market “ups-and-downs” are a bit like a person walking up a gradual hill playing with a yo-yo. The hill represents the gradual increase in your wealth as you work to achieve your financial goals, while the yo-yo represents the short-term market “ups-and-downs” which occur along the way. The mainstream financial media puts the spotlight on the yo-yo effect, because if there is more drama to report it leads to a larger audience. Sound advice is to step back and see the person walking up the gradual hill.  Rest assured we have designed your portfolio to be durable and long lasting to match your long-term needs in retirement. 

If you find yourself in a position with someone you know and care about that may need assistance with their financial planning, I am happy to have a consultation call or personal meeting to provide guidance and help them steer clear of possible mistakes. 

 

Sincerely,

Intelligent Investment Management, LLP  

James Brost, CFP®, APMA®, AWMA®