Northern News : March 21st 2012
14 NORTHERN NEWS, MARCH 21, 2012 NEWS Scams on internet increase ' Get a second opinion from a friend, lawyer or even an internet search. ' Jarrod Rendle of Consumer Affairs This week is Fraud Awareness Week, so make sure you and your friends and family are scam savvy. If you find it hardtohangupona computer hacker, diffi- cult to say no'' to a new charity and impossible not to help out your online lover, you may just be too nice. Kiwis just aren't that savvy when it comes to online scams, we're a bit too trusting for our own good and internet fraud is getting more and more sophisticated,'' said Jar- rod Rendle of Consumer Affairs. These days most people can spot the obvi- ous scams and know to avoid Nigerian prin- cesses, prizes for lotteries that they never entered and requests for bank details from banks they don't even belong to. But the internet is full of scams and, like bacteria and viruses, they are always evolving. Now those pathetic pleas for bank details are sophisticated identical- looking websites; Nigerian princesses have morphed into western businessmen who just happen to be in Nigeria; and the prizes are now great deals on gold bullion. Being savvy is about keeping your guard up, watching out for the signs and not trusting appearances. Get a second opinion from a friend, lawyer or even an internet search. Don't fill in a form unless you know where it is going to. Check your accounts for unusual activity. Ignore anything that's an obvious scam, reacting can mean you are more likely to be targeted in the future. Keep your passwords private and difficult to guess. Test your cyber secur- ity savvies at www. netsafe.org.nz'' For more information visit www.scamwatch. govt.nz Free your future with a money plan By DAVID KNEEBONE Many of us would prefer not to have to think too much about money. But the reality is that mostofusneedtosowecan live how we really want to and not just scrape by. A great place to start is with a plan. If you think about a money plan allowing you to spend your money how you'd like to, chances are you'll feel more motivated to make one. A money plan that works can be liberating and the chances are you'll find your money's going further because it's going where you want it to. Everyone can benefit from making a plan for their money -- no matter how little or how much money they have. A first step to making a money plan is to track your spending. Look at your bank state- ments for the last month or two -- or keep a spending diary especially if you make a lot of cash withdrawals. Some banks offer an online spending tracker which you might prefer to a spending diary. Keeping track of your money will show exactly where your money goes. You'll have a true account of what you regularly spend on household bills, groceries and entertainment. The aim of a money plan is to earn more than you spend. If the difference between the two is a surplus you can put it towards reaching the goals you have in life -- whether that's a family holiday, a new couch or becoming debt-free. But if you're spending more than you earn -- it's time to adjust your spending. Write your money plan down and review it so you stay on track. If your income changes, you'll need to adjust it. The key is to make a money plan that's realistic -- one that's too tight will be hard to stick to. Using Sorted's money plan- ner is a great place to start. Or if you're planning for a special event like a holiday or wed- ding try the event planner. Sorted is New Zealand's free independent online money guide, run by the Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income. Sorted has free calculators to help you make financial decisions at sorted.org.nz/calculators. -- David Kneebone is a spokesman for Sorted Loan stress help available for free Is your finance company threatening to take everything in your home, or have you suddenly lost your job and are having trouble changing your finance deal, or are you pretty sure there was a strange deal between the car seller and the finance company and you got ripped off? Trying to sort out a problem with loans and credit purchases can get really stressful. But you can get help from a financial service disputes scheme. These organisations listen to your side of the story and can give you some advice on talking to the finance company. You can call 0800 LOAN STRESS to get transferred to the right disputes scheme for your problem. The disputes scheme will then work with you to resolve the situation. If you have already talked to the finance company and have come to the end of discussions with them, then the dis- putes scheme can talk to the finance company and try to find a fair solution. The disputes scheme can make a decision that the finance company must follow. The service is totally free and confidential. Language line is avail- able for people who would find it easier to explain the problem in their own language. It can be hard to know if a particular action by the lender is illegal or oppressive. Common problems are unreasonable fees, excessive security, over- priced car deals, ignoring hardship provisions and being pressured into being a guarantor. So even if you aren't sure what the problem is, you can still ring and get advice. You can find out what other people are having trouble with and share your stories at the facebook page www.facebook.com/Loan Stress. More information is also provided at www.loanstress.govt.nz.
March 14th 2012
March 28th 2012