FDIC Consumer News
See our money and banking tips for the tax season. Consider reviewing our most recent article on ways to make tax time less taxing. The Winter 2013/2014 FDIC Consumer News (www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/cnwin1314/taxtips.html) provides guidance on how to guard against tax-related identity theft, such as when a criminal calls and impersonates an IRS employee to ask for immediate payment or for confidential information. (Note: The most common form of identity theft reported to the Federal Trade Commission in 2014 was tax-related.)
You'll also find information on free tax preparation services offered through the IRS or IRS-coordinated programs for many taxpayers, plus ideas to put some of a tax refund into savings or toward paying down debt.
The FDIC has launched a pilot program to identify ways banks are combining financial education with safe, low-cost savings accounts for school children. FDIC-insured banks in the program are working with schools and/or nonprofit organizations to help children open savings accounts in conjunction with financial education programs. The FDIC ultimately hopes to highlight promising approaches for encouraging the development of good money management and savings habits at a formative age.
To learn more, start at www.fdic.gov/youthsavingspilot.
A new federal Web site can make it easier for consumers to conduct a thorough background check of financial professionals, including brokers who offer FDIC-insured certificates of deposit. The site from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) — www.smartcheck.gov — enables consumers to access a variety of databases from different government and self-regulatory organizations to learn more about the background of a financial professional.
FDIC Consumer News has previously cautioned readers to be careful when buying bank CDs from deposit brokers because the accounts they sell may involve more risks than working directly with an insured bank. Reminder: The FDIC does not have the authority to examine, approve or insure deposit brokers, who can be anyone from an individual transacting business alone from a home office to a major financial services firm. For more information, see our article in the Spring 2013 issue (www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/cnspr13/cdsfrombrokers.html).