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AER Campaign - Ferguson cr wb.jpgAER materials wb.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right: Michael Ferguson, Fort Drum’s Army Emergency Relief officer, addresses Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division (LI) who gathered March 5 at the Commons to help kick off the annual AER campaign. Left: Soldiers participating in the Fort Drum Army Emergency Relief campaign kickoff received campaign materials and a piece of the AER campaign cake. Established in 1942, AER focuses on relieving the financial distress of service members and their families. (Photos by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)

 

10th Mountain Division Soldiers help to kick off Army Emergency Relief campaign at Fort Drum

 

Mike Strasser

Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs

 

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (March 5, 2020) – Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division (LI) gathered March 5 at the Commons to help kick off the annual Army Emergency Relief campaign as their units’ AER representatives.

AER was established in 1942 by the Army chief of staff and secretary of war as a nonprofit organization focused on relieving the financial distress of service members and their families.

Michael Ferguson, Fort Drum AER officer, said the organization is a vital part of Soldier readiness, which in turn supports Army readiness as a whole.

“We provide assistance to our active-duty Soldiers, retired Soldiers and surviving spouses by means of interest-free loans, grants and grant-loan combinations,” he said.

There are 24 categories of assistance that AER can provide for Soldiers, to include emergency travel, medical and hospital, fire and disasters, minor home repairs and relocation expenses.

Three new categories were added this year for immigration assistance, special needs assistance (for equipment not covered by TRICARE or other insurances) and spouse re-licensing and re-certification.

“The Army recognized the need to help spouses who have professional licenses and certifications, but when they relocate to a new post they incur re-licensing fees,” Ferguson said. “The Army has taken steps to help them with that issue, and AER is also going to support them as well.”

Ferguson also discussed a new program that provides funding for child care in the event that a family moves to an installation where the Child and Youth Services program has no vacancies at their child development centers.

“The Army is going to offset the cost of child care outside the gate, but depending on where you are and how many children you have, that may not be enough,” he said. “So, for the first three months AER will provide additional funds with the hope that CYS vacancies will open up in that time or other opportunities become available.”

Command Sgt. Maj. Roberto Munoz, Fort Drum garrison senior enlisted adviser, said that he was proud that, in the six months he has served on post, he has never had to deny an AER request.

“As an approval authority and, perhaps more importantly, someone who has witnessed the power of this program for those in real need, it is an honor for me to be here to talk about a few key points about AER,” he said.

Munoz said that Army Emergency Relief has improved the quality of life for Soldiers and family members, and he spoke about how much it had impacted the morale and well-being of one service member who needed emergency dental surgery.

“That was an enormous, unplanned expense that many among us would not be able to shoulder,” he said. “AER was able to help with a grant and a no-interest loan. Make no mistake, this is likely still quite a burden on this family, but through AER the impossible burden was made bearable.”

Munoz also said that AER is not an ATM and should not be seen as “free money” but as a way to alleviate financial distress.

“AER offers a good choice for Soldiers in financial crisis, but it is not a handout,” he said. “It is a safe option. It is a way we keep our promise to leave no Soldier behind.”

Ferguson said that AER does not just address issues through monetary means, but it also seeks to educate Soldiers through counseling and classes from Army Community Service’s Financial Readiness Program.

“We’re going to fix the problem, but the financial readiness team is also going to talk to you about budgeting, debt reduction, credit repair and more,” he said. “Because, again, financial readiness is Army readiness.”

Ferguson said that AER assistance is available 24/7, every day, worldwide. He said that after business hours, Soldiers can call the American Red Cross and connect to AER headquarters for assistance. If a Soldier is on leave and encounters an emergency, the Red Cross will coordinate support at the nearest available AER office.

“AER is always available to you,” Ferguson said. “So, think AER first when it comes to your financial need. Give us the opportunity to say yes. I want you to not use that credit card, stay away from those predatory lenders – they do not have your back. They are outside the wire, outside the gate. There’s a reason why AER is on this side of the gate. We are part of the Army, and we are effectively part of the mission of readiness.”

At Fort Drum, more than $1.6 million in funds were provided to roughly 1,275 Soldiers in 2019. AER processed 540 educational grants in the amount of $215,229 during the 2018-19 academic year, and assisted more than 4,000 students (children and spouses).

AER receives no federal funding, and 90 cents of every dollar donated through the campaign goes right back to Soldiers.

“Why should we donate to AER? It’s really simple,” Ferguson said. “It’s the morally correct thing to do. Soldiers taking care of Soldiers. No one knows when they will need AER. One thing is for sure: since 1942, AER is there, and ready and willing to assist and take care of our Soldiers, our families and our military communities.”

Ferguson said that, as a former Soldier, he had never sought AER assistance, but as the father of five daughters, the AER scholarship program supported their educational goals.

Scholarship applications can be completed online at www.aerhq.org with an annual deadline of April 1. The program is for dependent children of active and retired Soldiers, and it is based on financial need, academics and leadership / achievement.

During the kick-off campaign, Ferguson told the story about a World War II Soldier returning from Europe in 1945. Upon returning to Fort Benning, Georgia, the combat veteran was celebrating with his friends. The next morning he realized that he had lost his train ticket to return home.

“A senior noncommissioned officer had recognized the situation, took that veteran over to AER, and they got him a train ticket,” Ferguson said. “He got home. Sixty years later, this veteran never forgot that act of kindness, that generosity. In his passing, he left $80,000 of his estate to Army Emergency Relief. That is something that really struck me hard. That’s what AER is all about. You never know how you will affect the life of another Soldier.”

The AER campaign runs from March 1 through May 31, and Ferguson said that they already got a head start of roughly $50,000 from 1st Brigade Combat Team Soldiers before they deployed.

“We reached out to our AER coordinator from the brigade, who enthusiastically reached out to the brigade command sergeant major who wanted to do an early AER kickoff before their deployment,” Ferguson said. “We sat down with all of the battalions’ command sergeants major and their AER representatives, and they took it by the horns and got the donation campaign going.”

For more information, contact the Fort Drum AER office at (315) 772-6560 or 772-8873, or visit https://www.facebook.com/FortDrumArmyEmergencyRelief/ The AER office is located in the ACS Annex, Bldg. 435A on MWR Drive.

 

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Learn to Tell the Difference Between Good and Bad Companies – The Black Chronicle

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In case you’re uninterested in getting turned down for bank cards and/or loans, it is most likely time to work on repairing your credit score report. and also you Many individuals flip to skilled companies since it may be a troublesome course of to overview the experiences, have destructive objects eliminated, and to work on repairs. Nevertheless, not all of those companies are well worth the time and funding. Some are outright scams. What do one of the best credit score restore applications provide?

Among the good issues to search for embody a free session, adherence to native legal guidelines, longevity, and an affiliation with at the very least one lawyer. The best credit score restore group will NOT cost you outright. They are going to give you a free session and overview your report to be able to let you already know what can and can’t be carried out. Ask them if they’ve expertise with the kind of scenario you want resolved, resembling enormous bank card debt or having an IRS lien eliminated.

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What are a few of the “pink flags” you completely should search for? How are you aware when to show away from a “credit score restore program”?

Options Finest Credit score Restore Packages Do Not Have

What to AVOID:

• Any firm that tries to demand upfront fee.

• A promise of a “quick / simple repair”. There aren’t any “quick, simple fixes” with regards to credit score restore.

• Any type of assure or promise that an organization will “elevate your rating”

• Corporations which have unresolved complaints towards them.

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Source by George Botwin



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What Is Identity Theft? | Credit.com

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Identity theft is a major problem. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), there were more than 650,000 victims of identity theft in 2019, making ID theft the most-reported type of FTC complaint.  Chances are good that you will encounter identity theft in your lifetime. That was the case for at least 1 in 10 Americans ages 16 and older in 2016, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Protecting your identity and privacy should be a priority for you, and knowing what identity theft is can help you prepare. There are many different types of ID theft, which can make safeguarding your personal information even more important—and more difficult. Let’s look at some of the most common examples of identity theft and what you can do to manage the risks.

Defining Identity Theft

The term “identity theft” is used a lot, often interchangeably with “fraud.” Though many instances of identity theft are committed for fraudulent reasons, the two are slightly different. If you are a victim of identity theft, you want to catch it before it becomes fraud.

According to the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC), identity theft is “the knowing transfer or use, without lawful authority, of another person’s identity with the intent to commit, aid, or abet unlawful activity.” In simpler terms, ID theft is the act of stealing another person’s information, like through mail theft, phishing, card skimming, unsecure Wi-Fi or a data breach. Fraud is when a criminal illegally uses that information for their own gain.

The NCVC calls the latter “identity fraud,” which encompasses crimes like credit card fraud, medical fraud, and Social Security number theft. Identity fraud can be financially driven, but is also committed out of other motivations. Someone might try to steal your passport or driver’s license information to travel unnoticed by law enforcement, for example.

Whether an ID thief uses your credit card or medical insurance, the cost to you can be big. Javelin Research found that the 2018 out-of-pocket costs for victims of identity theft were $1.7 billion.

Different Types of Identity Fraud

As a popular saying goes, “Know your enemy.” Let’s take a closer look at identity fraud types and preventative measures you can take to prepare yourself and protect your finances.

1. Credit Cards

Credit card fraud is by far the most prevalent type of identity theft, according to FTC numbers.

You probably store your credit card information with different vendors or subscription services. If you used your card once at a retail store, they’ll still have your information on file. If a data breach occurs at one of those businesses, someone may gain access to your credit card number and begin to make fraudulent purchases.

While it may be easier to catch a fraudulent charge on a card you have, it could be harder to spot a new account in your name. In the meantime, hard inquiries and high credit utilization due to fraud could wreck your credit score.

ExtraCredit, Reward Smart Financial Decisions. Learn More

What you can do: Requesting a chargeback might help you avoid paying for specific fraudulent transactions, but checking your credit report will show you if the problem is deeper. Sign up for ExtraCredit to keep an eye on your credit report and scores at the same time to make sure that fraudulent accounts aren’t being opened or used. You can also request your free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies once a year to keep close control over your identity and credit profile. If you notice anything fishy, request a freeze immediately and file a report with the FTC.

Note: Due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, you can currently review your credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus for free each week, through April 2021.

2. Loans and Leases

Somebody with your personal information might try to apply for a loan online. Fraudsters may then be able to get financing to buy a car or real estate. The FTC has also reported fraud instances related to student loans and payday loans.

Loan application fraud is a challenge to track, but the impact is someone racking up debt in your name. When creditors come calling, it won’t be the thief who has to answer the phone.

What you can do: As with credit card fraud, regularly check your credit reports to watch for red flags. If you spot something, immediately contact the responsible financial institution. You may also want to file a police report or contact the office of the attorney general for your state. If you are the victim of loan/lease fraud, consider using credit repair services to help you recover.

3. Phones and Utilities

Mobile takeover fraud is a complicated scheme, but it’s a growing problem. Basically, it involves a fraudster using your information to access your smartphone and then lock you out. In the meantime, they can use your apps, read saved documents, or scam others by impersonating you. They might also harvest your personal and financial information that you have saved. The same might happen for an electricity or water account: A criminal finds a way in and consumes services that are ultimately billed to you.

The common theme with identity theft here is that if someone has your info, they can do just about anything with it. This includes opening up utility accounts in your name, getting free electricity, gas, water, internet or cable.

What you can do: Maintain strong passwords for all the accounts you have. If you need to, use a password manager to help you keep track of all the complex log-in credentials. Never, ever make your passwords using personally identifiable information, like a pet, birthdate, or home street. Should something happen, immediately contact your service provider.

4. Tax Fraud

Come tax time, a refund is a happy surprise for some Americans. Others may get a nasty shock when they’ve learned someone has claimed their return before they even file their taxes. Tax fraud typically occurs when someone has stolen your Social Security number, which they can then manipulate to falsely file a return and claim your refund.

What you can do: Under no circumstances should you give your SSN to anybody but trusted entities like the government, your bank, or your credit card company. Be wary of scammers posing as the IRS who will call or email you demanding your SSN information. This is a surefire sign of fraud. You can also opt to file your taxes early, thereby eliminating the opportunity for thieves to file for you and claim your return.

The IRS recommends watching out for various scams. If you believe you’ve been a victim, file a report on IdentityTheft.gov, call the IRS at 1-800-908-4490, and complete and submit the identity theft Affidavit.

Taking the Next Steps to Protect Your Identity

Identity theft is a constant threat, so you’ll always need to be on your toes.

Guard It from ExtraCredit provides you with proactive alerts, dark web monitoring, account monitoring, and $1 million in ID theft insurance.  Sign up today or read more articles about identity theft and fraud.

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China to take steps to improve bad faith deterrent mechanism_英语频道_央视网(cctv.com)

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BEIJING, Nov. 26 — China will adopt policy steps to optimize the mechanism for deterring acts of bad faith and refine the social credit system to underpin the development of the socialist market economy, the State Council’s executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided on Wednesday.

“In recent years, China’s social credit system has continued to develop. A market economy relies on credit, and a credit-based economy must follow the rule of law. Work in this regard shall be effectively carried out pursuant to laws and regulations,” Li said.

Those at the Wednesday meeting decided on measures to refine the bad-faith deterrent mechanism to promote the orderly and healthy development of the social credit system. The principles include adhering to laws and regulations, protecting rights and interests, taking a prudent and appropriate approach and implementing list-based management.

The scope and procedures of credit information shall be formulated in a science-based way. Including certain behaviors in public credit information will require strictly following laws and regulations and a catalog management approach. Such information will be made accessible to the public.

Administrative departments must determine acts of bad faith on the basis of legally binding documents. The scope and procedures for sharing credit information shall be standardized. The principle of legality and necessity shall be observed when deciding whether and to what extent credit information is shared and disclosed. Such decisions shall be made clear when compiling the credit information catalog.

The meeting underlined the need to strengthen information security and privacy protection. Access to and procedures for credit information inquiries shall be strictly enforced. Leaking, tampering, damaging or stealing credit information or utilizing credit information for personal gains will be seriously investigated and dealt with. Illegal collection and transaction of credit information will be strictly cracked down on.

“In the development of the social credit system, it is important to pay attention to protecting personal privacy and trade secrets. Credit reference shall be conducted in accordance with law, with science-based scope and definition and appropriate penalties. Information must be used in a safe and secure manner,” Li said.

Identification of list of entities with serious acts of bad faith will be better regulated. The list shall be limited to those who put public health and safety in grave jeopardy, seriously sabotage the fair market competition order or disrupt normal social order. The list shall not be willfully expanded without authorization.

Punishment against bad-faith acts shall be enforced in accordance with laws and regulations, to make sure that penalties are meted out commensurate with dishonest behaviors. Disciplinary measures taken against entities with serious dishonest behaviors that reduce their rights or increase their duties shall be based on facts of bad faith and on laws and regulations. Punishments should be appropriate and not be added or increased at will. Financial institutions, credit service agencies, industry associations, chambers of commerce and news media should not be forced to punish entities with serious acts of bad faith.

A credit repair mechanism, which is conducive to self-correction, will be established. Entities will be allowed to fix negative credit records, unless otherwise stipulated by laws and regulations, should they correct dishonest behaviors and eliminate adverse impact. Relevant departments shall remove entities, who meet credit repair eligibility, from the list in a timely manner.

All localities and relevant departments shall promptly overhaul measures that have been rolled out for the determination, recording, disclosure and punishment of bad-faith acts, and those that do not meet the requirements shall be regulated in a timely manner.

The meeting also decided on measures to advance high-quality development of the credit reference sector. Cross-sectoral and cross-regional connectivity of credit information involving finance, government affairs, and public services will be promoted as provided by law. Disclosure and orderly utilization of data in government departments will be promoted in faster pace.

Market access of individual credit reference agencies will be promoted in an active yet prudent manner, and openness of the credit reference sector will be scaled up. Matching regulations and supporting institutions for the credit reference sector shall be improved and accountability mechanism strengthened. Fraudulent credit rating shall be strictly punished according to law. 

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