Financial literacy makes good business $en$e
Imagine for a moment your ideal customer. They consider their choices carefully before buying. They keep their accounts current. When service is top-notch, they spread the word to friends and family. If there’s a glitch, they give you a chance to correct the problem before posting thumbs-down reviews. Now imagine you could “create” your own cadre of contented customers. Fantasy Land? It’s more real than you might imagine.
April is Financial Literacy Month — which is a great time to help your customers become savvier shoppers. The FTC is there to lend a hand with free resources on need-to-know topics for wiser money management:
- Free Annual Credit Reports offers details about a person’s right to a free copy of his or her credit report from each of the three national credit reporting companies, upon request, once every 12 months. You use information in credit reports to evaluate applications for credit, insurance, employment, housing, etc., so it’s important that reports are accurate and up-to-date. In addition, your customers will want to know that monitoring their credit is one of the best ways to spot ID theft.
- Money Matters offers practical tips, videos, and links to reliable sources in English and Spanish on financial topics ranging from credit repair, debt collection, job hunting, and job scams to vehicle repossession, managing mortgage payments, and avoiding foreclosure rescue scams. Money trouble can be a source of stress and frustration for your customers and can ultimately leave you with a stack of receivables you'll never receive. Practicing positive, tried-and-true money management techniques and learning how to recognize and avoid some “ripped from the headlines” scams and rip-offs can help your customers weather tough economic times.
- Fighting Back Against ID Theft is a one-stop national resource with information about deterring, detecting, and defending against the crime of identity theft, including child ID theft and medical ID theft. For the twelfth year in a row, identity theft topped the list of consumer complaints filed with the FTC. Of more than 1.8 million complaints filed in 2011, 279,156 or 15 percent, centered on ID theft. Nearly 25 percent of the identity theft complaints related to tax- or wage-related fraud — a topic of particular interest to your employees and HR staff.
All of the FTC’s education materials are free and in the public domain. They can be posted, reprinted, or adapted to educate your customers and employees. Consider these options:
- Order free materials from the FTC. Make them available at your place of business or tuck in a title when sending out monthly invoices. Also, most FTC publications are designed to look handout-ready fresh from your photocopier. So you'll always have something topical to distribute with the push of the PRINT button.
- Include messages and tips in your organization’s newsletter. Choose from any of the FTC’s feature articles or use content from FTC materials to write articles of your own.
- Link to ftc.gov or any of our individual publications. Visitors to your website will appreciate having a direct link to important information from the nation’s consumer protection agency.
- Post videos from the FTC’s multimedia library. All are free to use and copy without permission.