8 Personal Finance Tips for Young Adults

Also obtain a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies at www.annualcreditreport.com. Review each report, correct any errors and check for suspicious activity that may indicate you are a victim of identity theft.

5) Stay safe online. Banking or conducting other personal business online can be a convenient way to handle your finances, but you need to take precautions. Among them: Install and automatically update antivirus software and firewall protection on your computer. Never give your Social Security number, credit or debit card numbers, personal identification numbers or any other confidential information in response to an unsolicited e-mail, text message or phone call, regardless of who the source supposedly is.

“Also, ignore online ‘friend’ invitations from people you don’t know, because these may be covers for fraud artists,” cautioned Michael Benardo, Chief of the FDIC’s Cyber Fraud and Financial Crimes Section. Likewise, he said, be careful about the profile and contact information you post on social-networking and employment- related Web sites, because in the wrong hands it can lead to identity theft and other crimes.

6) Keep important cards and numbers safe. Most experts suggest you carry in your wallet or purse only the plastic cards (ATM, debit, credit cards) you truly expect to use soon. Don’t carry your Social Security card, either. Also, don’t leave your birth certificate or documents with your Social Security number unprotected at home, at school or anywhere else.

7) If you need to buy a car, consider the best way to pay for it. Understand the difference between buying and leasing a car. If you’re renting a house or apartment, consider whether it’s time to buy. Once you start earning a steady income, and you expect to stay in your community for a number of years, you may want to consider owning your first home.

8) Always keep learning about how to handle your money. You can start, of course, with Black Enterprise. Also be sure to visit www.mymoney.gov to find financial education resources and tools from more than 20 different government agencies and Web sites.

SOURCE: FDIC Consumer News

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