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  • Identity Theft | CALPIRG Students
    you have more rights that protect you in case of identity theft when using a credit card You should never use debit cards online and it s best not to use them at all If you do use one however be extra careful not to lose it and to know that the business or organization you use it for is trustworthy What you should know about credit cards Try to carry as few credit cards with you as possible and keep a list of all your accounts in a secure place This information should include account numbers expiration dates and telephone numbers of customer service and fraud departments in case something goes wrong Make a note of when cards are coming and call the company if the card doesn t arrive on time Finally always cancel inactive credit cards because you may lose track of unusual activity if it occurs Keep track of all financial accounts It is important to review your statements on a regular basis to make sure everything looks right Also dispose of your receipts and statements in a way that they won t be accessible to dumpster divers When you order checks you should pick them up at the bank rather then have them mailed to you and you should destroy all checks when you close a checking account Know the warning signs of identity theft If phone calls have been made to your bank s security department asking about your purchases by someone other than yourself you could be in danger The same goes for phone calls from debt collectors about debts you don t owe If your card is rejected in a merchant transaction if odd accounts are appearing on your credit report or if you are receiving bills for accounts you did not open you should worry What To Do if You re A Victim In general if you suspect you are a victim of identity theft or fraud you should not be responsible for fraudulent charges but you do need to clear your name To lessen the impact of fraud and theft take the following steps immediately Contact one of the three major credit bureaus Place a fraud alert on your credit report and obtain free credit reports Once your alert has been confirmed by the credit bureau the other two bureaus will be notified and all three must send you a free credit report Fraud victims are entitled to a free report from each bureau even if they have already obtained one under their state s law The bureaus will immediately send you additional information including information how to 1 extend your initial 90 day fraud alert to 7 years 2 How to file fraud affidavits to dispute charges made by a thief to clear your name and 3 how to block false trade lines from appearing on your report You ll need to check your reports again to make sure these steps are taken Victims are entitled to 2 additional

    Original URL path: http://www.calpirgstudents.org/page/sp/identity-theft (2016-04-29)
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  • Renter's Rights | CALPIRG Students
    enforced by a court of law in spite of what the printed form says Be certain that both parties initial any modification Have you carefully inspected the unit This will avoid future disputes about breaks damages or cleanliness Did you get a copy of the signed rental agreement The landlord is required to give you a copy of the rental agreement and it is best to get the copy in person at the time you sign it If there is any later dispute the first thing you need is the agreement If you lose your copy of the lease you may request that the landlord make you a copy Your Rights as a Tenant Responsibility for maintaining a decent dwelling and a good rental relationship is shared by the landlord and tenant Tenants must Use the unit only as a dwelling and not as a business unless the landlord agrees in writing and not for illegal activities Use the parts of the unit kitchen bath etc as they should be used Keep areas under their control clean sanitary and free from accumulation of debris garbage and filth Use facilities such as electric heat and plumbing in a reasonable manner Not deliberately or negligently damage or remove or knowingly allow others to damage or remove any part of the premises Conduct themselves and visitors in a manner that will not disturb the neighbors tenants are responsible for the actions of their guests and parents for the actions of minors You have a right to live in an environment free from harassment If you are upholding your responsibilities your landlord should do the same You have a right to be treated with respect and dignity as does your landlord The landlord must keep the rental habitable at all times Habitable generally means A weatherproof and waterproof exterior roof walls doors and windows Approved plumbing facilities in good working order Hot and cold running water from an approved water supply connected to an approved sewage system and maintained in good working order Safe drinking water if the water is under the landlord s control Adequate and approved heating facilities in good working order Electric lighting wiring and equipment approved and in good working order Clean and sanitary buildings and grounds free from accumulation of debris filth rubbish garbage rodents and vermin and safe for normal and reasonable uses these obligations only apply to common areas after the tenant moves in Adequate garbage receptacles It may be the tenant s responsibility to pay for garbage collection if specified in the rental agreement Floors walls ceilings stairs and railings in good repair If provided ventilation or air conditioning elevators or other facilities and appliances washers dryers stoves refrigerators etc in good working order Safety from fire hazards Working locks for all outside doors except doors to common areas and keys to locks that require keys Working latches for all windows that open except common areas unless fire or safety regulations prohibit them Be sure to

    Original URL path: http://www.calpirgstudents.org/page/sp/renters-rights (2016-04-29)
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  • Credit Cards | CALPIRG Students
    payments toward the card with the highest interest rate Always pay more than the minimum if possible 5 Reduce the number of direct mail credit card solicitations you receive by calling 1 888 5 OPTOUT This will remove your name from pre screening lists at the three major credit bureaus 6 Seek credit counseling as soon as financial problems arise To locate a free or low cost credit counseling agency near you call 1 800 388 2227 or visit www nfcc org For one on one counseling over the phone call 1 800 680 DEBT or visit www myvesta org on the Internet 7 If you believe you are the victim of unfair interest rate charges late fees or other penalties or deceptive marketing and the credit card company fails to address your complaint file complaints with your state Attorney General s office and the national Office of the Comptroller of the Currency E mail Customer Assistance occ treas gov fax 1 713 336 4301 or by mail Customer Assistance Group 1301 McKinney Street Suite 3710 Houston Texas 77010 8 Know your financial means and limitations and don t spend beyond your means Create a budget that takes into account your average credit card payments each month and stick to it 9 Free Credit Reports from One Source Consumers can get a free copy of their credit reports once every 12 months from the three major national credit bureaus Experian Equifax and Trans Union visit www annualcreditreport com or call 877 322 8228 or write Annual Credit Report Request Service P O Box 105281 Atlanta GA 30348 5281 10 Look out for Errors When you get a copy of your report review it carefully for errors According to a recent PIRG study one in four credit reports surveyed contained serious errors that could result in the denial of credit employment or insurance If you find inaccurate information dispute it with both the credit bureau and the person or company that provided the information to the credit bureau Visit www occ treas gov customer htm or call 1 800 613 6743 M F 9am 3 30pm CST How to Get a Copy of Your Credit Report It s important to check your credit report at least once per year for errors Your credit report and credit score can determine whether you qualify for insurance or loans the price you pay for credit and can even impact your ability to get a job How to Dispute Errors Once you have notified the credit bureau of any mistakes in your report the bureau will have 45 days to investigate the disputed items if you obtained a free annual copy of your report from the new centralized source it will have 30 days to investigate in all other cases but may extend this time period to 45 days if it later receives additional information from you that is relevant to the investigation The credit bureau must remove any disputed information that is found to

    Original URL path: http://www.calpirgstudents.org/page/sp/credit-cards (2016-04-29)
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  • Spring Break and Travel Ripoffs | CALPIRG Students
    must waive or limit their legal rights to file disputes with the travel company Here are some common hidden fees to watch out for International Departure and Arrival Taxes Processing Fees Peak Week Surcharges Late Booking Fees Departure City Surcharges Travel Insurance Fuel Surcharges How to Avoid a Spring Break Rip off Read ALL of the fine print carefully This is by far the best step you can take to protect yourself Companies need to tell you how your trip will operate Even if they make their policies difficult to read smart consumers will look them over before sending any money If you can t get answers to your questions or are misled or deceived you should avoid using that company Avoid any company that mandates arbitration for disputes Don t give up your legal rights Read your invoice You should understand the purpose and amount of each fee Research a company before sending money Do not assume that a company is legitimate based on its flyer Ask friends if they know anyone who has used the company before If you re unsure contact your Attorney General s office to find out if any complaints have been made against them File a complaint if you have a dispute In most states you can do this through the Attorney General s office This calls attention to the company so that future travelers will not repeat your experience Also the attorney general may mediate your dispute to help resolve it Be aware of cancellation policies Before sending any money you should know how much you will lose if you need to cancel About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments Frequently Asked Questions Campus Chapters UC Berkeley UC Davis UC Irvine UC Riverside UC San Diego UC Santa Barbara UC Santa Cruz UCLA

    Original URL path: http://www.calpirgstudents.org/page/sp/spring-break-and-travel-ripoffs (2016-04-29)
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  • Cell Phone Plans | CALPIRG Students
    that calling plan can carry an extra per minute long distance charge Tip To pick the best plan for you figure out whether you will be making most of your calls locally or outside of the carrier s local or regional areas Roaming Roaming refers to calls that you make or receive either when you are outside of your home calling plan or on another carrier s network Some cell phone plans charge high fees for roaming others do not Several carriers reserve the right to terminate service if over half of your calling time is used while roaming Tip Be aware that even nationwide plans can include roaming fees Some carriers define nationwide as anywhere in that carrier s service network not anywhere in the country Once outside of that network subscribers will have to pay roaming fees that can be as high as 79 cents per minute Included Minutes Most carriers offer different calling plans that include a set amount of minutes for use each month This is often called a basket or bucket of minutes Generally if you use more than that specified amount of minutes you will have to pay additional charges Many carriers will offer a limited amount of daytime or peak minutes and unlimited off peak minutes In addition some carriers offer plans with additional minutes that can be used for calling other subscribers to that carrier s network Tip Carriers can define peak and off peak minutes differently Read the contract terms carefully to understand the bucket of minutes included in a particular plan Exceeding your allotted minutes can be costly Service Contracts The national carriers all require that new customers sign a one to two year contract for service unless they sign up for prepaid plans While many carriers will allow you to move from one of its calling plans to another while you are under contract making this kind of change will often extend the length of your contract with the carrier Most contracts carry a high termination fee if you decide to cancel the service early Tip Read the service contract carefully Most providers contracts include clauses that allow them to modify the contract at any point in the future and that prohibit you from resolving any disputes through court or class actions Consider striking out these kinds of clauses The carrier ultimately may not agree to your suggested contract changes but at the very least you can express your dissatisfaction with the terms of its form contract Monthly Billing Some carriers will provide you with detailed billing itemizing each call you made or received during a billing cycle at no cost others will charge a fee for this information Tip Billing mistakes are the largest source of complaints about cell phone companies reported to the FCC When you get your first bill read it carefully to verify that the cost and terms of the plan are the same as the company represented to you If Something Goes Wrong If

    Original URL path: http://www.calpirgstudents.org/page/sp/cell-phone-plans (2016-04-29)
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  • Avoid the Debt Trap | CALPIRG Students
    the basics and watching out for the most common ways banks and credit card companies rip off their customers students can have the tools and information necessary to protect their financial health now and for the future That s why CALPIRG launched Avoid the Debt Trap a public education campaign to provide students with the tools to avoid misleading and predatory practices by financial institutions and provide them with the information they need to protect themselves Building on our 40 year history of campus engagement our campaign is reaching out through student volunteers and interns partnerships with campus groups faculty members and staff and through campus media We re connecting with students in person and through email texting Facebook and twitter Resource file download Download the report Related Issues Affordable Higher Education About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments Frequently Asked Questions Campus Chapters UC Berkeley UC Davis UC Irvine UC Riverside UC San Diego UC Santa Barbara UC Santa Cruz UCLA USC Get Involved Take Action Volunteer on Campus Campus Internships Start a PIRG Chapter Full Time Jobs Campaigns Stopping Global Warming California Water Watch Don t Get Ripped Off Hunger and Homelessness Protect Our Beautiful Places New Voters

    Original URL path: http://www.calpirgstudents.org/resources/ca/avoid-debt-trap (2016-04-29)
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  • Avoid the Debt Trap! | CALPIRG Students
    Protect Our Beautiful Places New Voters Project Protect Public Health 21st Century Transportation Make Textbooks Affordable Newsroom Latest Updates Blog PIRG in the News News Releases Reports Donate Internships Work on important issues learn valuable skills get hands on experience and make a difference Get Info Students in Action Like Us Follow Us RSS Contact Blog Posts by Campaign Affordable Higher Education 21st Century Transportation Great Pacific Cleanup Campaign Against

    Original URL path: http://www.calpirgstudents.org/blogs/ca/avoid-debt-trap (2016-04-29)
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  • Student Consumer Action Network | CALPIRG Students
    Credit Cards Spring Break and Travel Ripoffs Cell Phones Health Insurance Private Student Loans Thank President Obama for protecting consumers Issue updates Resource Consumer Protection SO YOU NEED HEALTH INSURANCE NOW WHAT Summary Having the facts can make all the difference when it comes to health insurance To make the most of new choices protections and financial help you need good information This guide can help you find quality coverage that won t break the bank Keep Reading Resource Consumer Protection Toy Safety Tips Summary From toxic chemicals to choking hazards to dangerous magnets see what dangerous toys to watch out for while you shop Keep Reading Report Consumer Protection Trouble in Toyland The 2012 Trouble in Toyland report is the 27th annual U S Public Interest Research Group survey of toy safety In this report U S PIRG provides safety guidelines for consumers when purchasing toys for small children and provides examples of toys currently on store shelves that may pose potential safety hazards Keep Reading Media Hit Consumer Protection New Account Fraud The California Public Interest Research Group has released a new report on identity theft that should raise some eyebrows Pulling together statistics from the High Technology Theft Apprehension and Prosecution program the Federal Trade Commission Javelin Strategy and Research and other credible sources CALPIRG paints an increasingly bleak picture concerning financial identity theft Of greatest interest to your Guide was the information on new account fraud Keep Reading Media Hit Consumer Protection Financial loss from identity theft increasing report says Fewer people were victims of identity theft last year than in 2010 but each person lost substantially more money according to a new report by the California Public Interest Research Group Keep Reading Pages first previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next

    Original URL path: http://www.calpirgstudents.org/campaigns/ca/student-consumer-action-network?page=1 (2016-04-29)
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