This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS - See his portfolio and get alerts BEFORE every trade. Learn more NOW!

10 Commandments for Consumers

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Consumers should follow a few basic rules to protect their money. In honor of National Consumer Protection Week, let's review them:

10. Thou shall read the fine print

When it comes to contracts, it isn't the large print you need to worry about. Potential surprises are usually obscured in the fine print. That's why you should always read every word before signing. If you're caught off guard by an unexpected charge, "I didn't know" won't get you off the hook if the charge is noted in the fine print.

9. Thou shall not give financial information to strangers

It doesn't matter if a request for personal information comes by phone, e-mail or another method: If you didn't initiate the contact and you aren't confident in the legitimacy of the company or person, don't share information such as Social Security or bank account numbers.

8. Thou shall not sign anything you don't understand

If you don't understand a contract's terms, study up before you sign. If the contract's language is over your head, hire a lawyer who's knowledgeable about the subject and make sure you're getting exactly what you want.

7. Thou shall always get promises in writing

A salesman trying to sell a product might make offers that aren't spelled out in the contract. Instead of taking his word, ask him to put the pledge in writing. A verbal agreement is useless if it's not backed up in writing.

6. Thou shall remember "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is"

Approach every unusually good offer with skepticism. Research the merchant and find out if other customers had positive experiences before you buy. It will save you a lot of money, stress and regret later.

5. Thou shall not use easy passwords

As consumers make more electronic transactions, they must work harder to protect their accounts. While you might want your passwords and pin numbers to be easy to remember, don't make them simple for thieves to figure out. Stay away from birthdays or common words, and change them regularly.

4. Thou shall shred all documents

There are lots of ways for people to access your financial information, especially when you leave it on the street in your trash. Not shredding your bills and statements makes it easy for thieves to get the information they want. If you don't have a shredder, buy one.

3. Thou shall protect your computer

If you keep financial information on your computer or use it to make transactions, protect yourself with firewall and antivirus software. Consider adding spyware and adware, which prevents outsiders from accessing your computer without your knowledge.

2. Thou shall question advertising

When you see "sale" signs in a store, remind yourself that these words are used liberally and the offers might not be bargains. To find out if you're getting a deal, look at the product's regular price and find out what similar items cost elsewhere. Advertising almost always makes prices seem better than they are.

1. Thou shall request a copy of the Consumer Action Handbook

The Federal Trade Commission provides this book for free. It offers information about managing your credit and filing complaints, and tips to help you prevent identity theft.

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Try it NOW
Only $9.95
Try it NOW
14-Days Free
Try it NOW

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
AAPL $128.46 0.00%
FB $78.97 0.00%
GOOG $558.40 0.00%
TSLA $203.34 0.00%
YHOO $44.28 0.00%

Markets

DOW 18,132.70 -81.72 -0.45%
S&P 500 2,104.50 -6.24 -0.30%
NASDAQ 4,963.5270 -24.3630 -0.49%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs