Newsletter for September 2002

Identity theft is the fastest growing financial crime in the United States, affecting an estimated 750,000 people per year. Protect your financial well being by not becoming one of them - this month's Featured Question provides important tips on minimizing your risk. Also, our Resource Link to the Direct Marketing Association will help you reduce unwanted mail and safeguard against wider release of your personal information. The Article Briefings feature a sampling of recent financial and retirement news, including a looming long-term health care crisis, inaccurate rate-of-return projections for pensions, real estate investments, and more.

Featured Question of the Month
Preventing Identity Theft

Article Briefings
Long-Term Care Crises Are Beginning to Loom
Honey, I Shrunk the 401(k)
Heightened Pensions
Should You Invest Where You Sleep?
A Quick Fix From Congress May Be Bad for Retirees

Resource Link
Removing Your Name from Marketing Lists

Q: I've heard that identity theft is a growing problem. How can I prevent becoming a victim?

A: Identity theft occurs when someone uses your name and personal information (such as your social security number, credit card number, or drivers license number) to commit fraud or theft. An identity thief can exploit your personal information in many ways. For example, the thief might open a new bank account in your name, then use it to write bad checks. Or the thief might open a credit card or cell phone account in your name and run up charges that will never be paid. Whatever the means, the result is the same: the debts and delinquencies appear on YOUR credit report.

Identity theft is on the rise, but you can minimize the risk of becoming a victim. In general, control the distribution of all personal information: know who you release it to and why. If it's in print, be mindful of where those papers are and, ultimately, how they are discarded. Here are some specific safeguards to consider:

If you are a victim of identity theft, act immediately. Report it to the police and to the credit reporting bureaus listed above. The credit reporting bureaus can help you determine if new unauthorized accounts have been opened and they will issue a fraud alert to stop it. If new accounts already exist, contact the companies involved and send a written statement explaining that this is a case of identity theft (you have the right to examine all application and transaction documents). Also, contact the companies and creditors you do business with and freeze the activity on all appropriate accounts.

*NOTE: Some Internet email programs do not maintain links to extended web addresses. If you would like to read the full abstract, and the links below do not work for you, try copying the entire link and pasting it into the address window in your Browser.

Long-Term Care Crises Are Beginning to Loom
The cost of long-term health care is rising, partly due to increasing malpractice insurance rates, and those high rates have forced various for-profit and nonprofit nursing facilities to either go out of business or drop their coverage.

Read the full abstract at: http://www.ira.com/news/insure/9ba59a194f58a58c55879b41fd0adbeb.html

Honey, I Shrunk the 401(k)
Employers are starting to take notice as defined benefit plans, defined contribution plans, and hybrid plans become more popular among workers with shrinking 401(k)s.

Read the full abstract at: http://www.ira.com/news/plan/be69f1faca0e5875f1b859ac87fd1fb1.html

Heightened Pensions
Companies are allowed to assume an expected rate of return for their defined benefit pension plans, but a recent study shows a wide discrepancy between that assumption and the pension funds' actual losses.

Read the full abstract at: http://www.ira.com/news/plan/96824da8e1835d7d667b5be66c446c80.html

Should You Invest Where You Sleep?
The recession, the recent accounting scandals, and the subsequent stock plunge has prompted many investors to pour their money into real estate.

Read the full abstract at: http://www.ira.com/news/plan/54d3b1b010f45d4cff694bc77198649c.html

A Quick Fix From Congress May Be Bad for Retirees
Both Congress and the Bush administration are looking for fixes for damaged retirement plans that will at least get them through the next election, and the latest idea is to raise or eliminate the age level at which retirees must begin making withdrawals from their individual retirement accounts.

Read the full abstract at: http://www.ira.com/news/plan/3c829cf3aebe4e962568563b18a233a3.html

Removing Your Name from Marketing Lists
http://www.dmaconsumers.org/consumerassistance.html#mail

This web site from the Direct Marketing Association provides links and information to help remove your name from a variety of marketing lists. The site covers traditional mailing lists as well as those for telemarketing and email, and it also provides tips and cautions on entering sweepstakes and shopping by phone.


DISCLAIMERS

(c) 2001 Copyright Claimed, Internet Retirement Alliance.

Abstracts (c) Information, Inc., Bethesda, Maryland 301-215-4688. Redistribution is prohibited.

The material and information herein is obtained by from a wide variety of sources. The Internet Retirement Alliance (IRA.com) believes this information is accurate, current, and authoritative, but it may not be. The Internet Retirement Alliance (IRA.com) provides the information "as is" without any express or implied warranties.

The Internet Retirement Alliance (IRA.com) does not provide legal, accounting, investment, or other professional services. If the reader requires legal, accounting, investment, or other expert assistance, the services of a competent professional person should be sought.

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