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Google UK announces ad restrictions to help fight financial fraud online

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Google UK is to require financial services to verify their identity with the regulator before advertising on the platform as part of its efforts to fight online fraud.

The firm said the new requirement would take effect from September 6 and help prevent scammers from exploiting its platforms.

Advertisers must successfully complete the updated verification process by the time enforcement begins in order to show financial services ads to UK users.

Financial services advertisers will be required to demonstrate that they are authorised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority.

Google said ads relating to categories including debt services, gambling, cryptocurrencies and credit repair, among some others, would not be considered financial services for the purposes of the new policy, but were still required to comply with all other Google ads policies.

Google UK managing director Ronan Harris said: “Today’s announcement reflects significant progress in delivering a safer experience for users, publishers and advertisers.

“While we understand that this policy update will impact a range of advertisers in the financial services space, our utmost priority is to keep users safe on our platforms – particularly in an area targeted by fraudsters.

“We are committed to leading on necessary changes to help fight online scammers.”

An FCA spokeswoman said: “We welcome all steps which protect consumers from scams and recognise that this is a positive move from Google. We will review the detail. We want to see continued and concerted efforts by all organisations with an interest in protecting consumers to achieve a sustained reduction in scams.

“It is important that all social media firms ensure that financial promotions using their services comply with UK law, and we expect all social media firms to ensure they are in compliance.

“While this is an important step from Google we think a permanent and consistent solution requires legislation. We also continue to consider that investment fraud caused by online advertising should be included in the scope of the Online Safety Bill, and welcome the Treasury Committee’s recent statement on this.

“We will assess the outcome of Google’s decision once these changes take effect.”

In a report into the London Capital & Finance scandal, the Treasury committee said online fraud should be included in the Online Safety Bill.

The bill is looking at how to make tech giants accountable for ‘harmful’ content on their platforms – but does not cover sophisticated online scams.

Thousands were scammed out of millions by LCF, which used targeted online advertising to entice investors to buy mini-bonds from the firm.

Published in May, the Bill proposes a new duty of care for tech companies that host user-generated content, with large fines and having their platforms blocked as potential penalties for breaching rules on protecting users, with Ofcom overseeing as the regulator.

Consumer group Which? has also said the case for including scams in the Bill is “overwhelming”.

It said online scams had a devastating financial and emotional impact on victims – and “too often platforms like Facebook and Google are leaving their users worryingly exposed to criminals operating on their sites”.

Rocio Concha, Which? director of policy and advocacy, said: “Our research has repeatedly exposed scam ads on Google that can have devastating financial and emotional consequences for victims – so it’s good that Google is recognising that it must take far greater responsibility for fraudulent adverts that lead to financial scams. Google must now introduce this measure without delay.

“The success of these changes will be judged by whether they stem the tide of scam adverts and will depend on Google effectively enforcing its policies to prevent fraudsters from luring in victims on its platform.

“To ensure the right protections are put in place for consumers, the Government must urgently give online platforms, including search engines and social media companies, a legal responsibility to prevent, identify and remove fake and fraudulent content on their sites.”

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Are Sallie Mae Student Loans Federal or Private?

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When you hear the name Sallie Mae, you probably think of student loans. There’s a good reason for that; Sallie Mae has a long history, during which time it has provided both federal and private student loans.

However, as of 2014, all of Sallie Mae’s student loans are private, and its federal loans have been sold to another servicer. Here’s what to know if you have a Sallie Mae loan or are considering taking one out.

What is Sallie Mae?

Sallie Mae is a company that currently offers private student loans. But it has taken a few forms over the years.

In 1972, Congress first created the Student Loan Marketing Association (SLMA) as a private, for-profit corporation. Congress gave SLMA, commonly called “Sallie Mae,” the status of a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) to support the company in its mission to provide stability and liquidity to the student loan market as a warehouse for student loans.

However, in 2004, the structure and purpose of the company began to change. SLMA dissolved in late December of that year, and the SLM Corporation, or “Sallie Mae,” was formed in its place as a fully private-sector company without GSE status.

In 2014, the company underwent another big adjustment when Sallie Mae split to form Navient and Sallie Mae. Navient is a federal student loan servicer that manages existing student loan accounts. Meanwhile, Sallie Mae continues to offer private student loans and other financial products to consumers. If you took out a student loan with Sallie Mae prior to 2014, there’s a chance that it was a federal student loan under the now-defunct Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP).

At present, Sallie Mae owns 1.4 percent of student loans in the United States. In addition to private student loans, the bank also offers credit cards, personal loans and savings accounts to its customers, many of whom are college students.

What is the difference between private and federal student loans?

When you’re seeking financing to pay for college, you’ll have a big choice to make: federal versus private student loans. Both types of loans offer some benefits and drawbacks.

Federal student loans are educational loans that come from the U.S. government. Under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, there are four types of federal student loans available to qualified borrowers.

With federal student loans, you typically do not need a co-signer or even a credit check. The loans also come with numerous benefits, such as the ability to adjust your repayment plan based on your income. You may also be able to pause payments with a forbearance or deferment and perhaps even qualify for some level of student loan forgiveness.

On the negative side, most federal student loans feature borrowing limits, so you might need to find supplemental funding or scholarships if your educational costs exceed federal loan maximums.

Private student loans are educational loans you can access from private lenders, such as banks, credit unions and online lenders. On the plus side, private student loans often feature higher loan amounts than you can access through federal funding. And if you or your co-signer has excellent credit, you may be able to secure a competitive interest rate as well.

As for drawbacks, private student loans don’t offer the valuable benefits that federal student borrowers can enjoy. You may also face higher interest rates or have a harder time qualifying for financing if you have bad credit.

Are Sallie Mae loans better than federal student loans?

In general, federal loans are the best first choice for student borrowers. Federal student loans offer numerous benefits that private loans do not. You’ll generally want to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and review federal funding options before applying for any type of private student loan — Sallie Mae loans included.

However, private student loans, like those offered by Sallie Mae, do have their place. In some cases, federal student aid, grants, scholarships, work-study programs and savings might not be enough to cover educational expenses. In these situations, private student loans may provide you with another way to pay for college.

If you do need to take out private student loans, Sallie Mae is a lender worth considering. It offers loans for a variety of needs, including undergrad, MBA school, medical school, dental school and law school. Its loans also feature 100 percent coverage, so you can find funding for all of your certified school expenses.

With that said, it’s always best to compare a few lenders before committing. All lenders evaluate income and credit score differently, so it’s possible that another lender could give you lower interest rates or more favorable terms.

The bottom line

Sallie Mae may be a good choice if you’re in the market for private student loans and other financial products. Just be sure to do your research upfront, as you should before you take out any form of financing. Comparing multiple offers always gives you the best chance of saving money.

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Tips to do some fall cleaning on your finances

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Wealth manager, Harry Abrahamsen, has five simple ways to stay on top of the big financial picture.

PORTLAND, Maine — Keeping track of our financial stability is something we can all do, whether we have IRAs or 401ks or just a checking account. Harry J. Abrahamsen is the Founder of Abrahamsen Financial Group. He works with clients to create and grow their own wealth. Abrahamsen shares five financial tips, starting with knowing what you have. 

1. Analyze Your Finances Quarterly or Biannually

You want to make sure that your long-term strategy is congruent with your short-term strategy. If the short-term is not working out, you may need to adjust what you are doing to make sure your outcome produces the desired results you are looking to accomplish. It is just like setting sail on a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. You know where you want to go and plot your course, but there are many factors that need to be considered to actually get you across and across safely. Your finances behave the exact same way. Check your current situation and make sure you are taking into consideration all of the various wealth-eroding factors that can take you completely off course.

With interest rates very low, now might be a good time to consider refinancing student loans or mortgages, or consolidating credit card debt. However, do so only if you need to or if you can create a positive cash flow. To ensure that you are saving the most by doing so, you must look at current payments, excluding taxes and insurance costs. This way you can do an apples-to-apples comparison.

The most important things to look for when reviewing your credit report is accuracy. Make sure the reporting agencies are reporting things actuary. If it doesn’t appear to be reporting correct and accurate information, you should consult with a reputable credit repair company to help you fix the incorrect information.

4. Savings and Retirement Accounts

The most important thing to consider when reviewing your savings and retirement accounts is to make sure the strategies match your short-term and long-term investment objectives. All too often people end up making decisions one at a time, at different times in their lives, with different people, under different circumstances. Having a sound strategy in place will allow you to view your finances with a macro-economic lens vs a micro-economic view. Stay the course and adjust accordingly from a risk and tax standpoint.

RELATED: Financial lessons learned through the pandemic

A great tip for lowering utility bills or car insurance premiums: Simply ask! There may be things you are not aware of that could save you hundreds of dollars every month. You just need to call all of the companies that you do business with to find out about cost-cutting strategies. 

RELATED: Overcome your fear of finances

To learn more about Abrahamsen Financial, click here

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How to Get a Loan Even with Bad Credit

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Sana pwedeng mabura ang bad credit history as quickly and easily as paying off your utility bills, ‘no? Unfortunately, it takes time. And bago mo pa maayos ang bad credit mo, more often than not, kailangan mo na namang mag-avail ng panibagong loan. 

Good thing you can still get a loan even with bad credit, kahit na medyo limited ang options. How do you get a loan if you have bad credit? Alamin sa short guide na ito. 

For more finance tips, visit Moneymax.

 

 

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