The AICPA and its members continue to be at the forefront of the financial literacy movement with free programs, resources and thousands of CPAs across all 50 states volunteering to help Americans with their financial understanding.
When I first saw the word smishing, I assumed it was some new lingo the kids came up with to further stump us adults. But then again, this is coming from someone who didn’t know what ‘on fleek’ was until it was no longer cool to use. (It’s okay if you still don’t know what that means.)
Jokes aside, smishing is a very serious matter – and since October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, it’s the perfect time to discuss it.
What is smishing?
According to Experian, a credit reporting bureau in the U.S., smishing is yet another tool used by cybercriminals to obtain personal information and steal identities. You’ve probably heard of ‘phishing,’ which is an attempt to get people to provide sensitive information via email, like credit card numbers or passwords. Smishing is a mashup of SMS (short message service) and phishing.
Continue reading "Smishing – what you need to know" »
It’s a familiar cycle. Disasters like Hurricanes Florence and Michael strike, and the airwaves are inundated with news of people displaced and homes destroyed. And shortly afterwards, you’ll see friends and colleagues ‘sharing’ on social media that they’ve contributed money towards relief efforts on crowdfunding platforms such as GoFundMe and encouraging others to give what they can.
For many people, their sense of compassion kicks in and they are compelled to do what they can to help – which often means making a financial donation. In fact, charitable giving in the United States soared to a record $410.02 billion in 2017 according to Charity Navigator.
But CPAs who specialize in financial fraud detection and prevention warn that you should think twice before clicking that DONATE NOW button. Fraudsters often take advantage of people’s good will and look to rip them off as they try to help those in need.
Continue reading "Help disaster survivors -- not scam artists" »
There are many ways to invest your hard-earned money, but the goal is always the same: to grow your wealth. But a recent survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the AICPA found that many Americans are embracing high-risk strategies that put their savings in jeopardy while doing minimal, if any, financial research upfront.
David Almonte, CPA, member of the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission, spoke to AICPA Insights about the survey results and what Americans should know about investing strategy.
Continue reading "Don’t risk it: Get familiar with investment strategy" »
School's out for summer! And, for some, school is out for good. In honor of America declaring its independence, here are 8 tips from the American Institute of CPAs' National CPA Financial Literacy Commission to help recent college grads declare their own FINANCIAL independence now and for the future:
1. Have a plan to repay student loan debt. While paying off significant debt takes time, establishing and sticking to a plan will put you on a good path toward your financial independence. The AICPA’s 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy website has free resources to help create a plan to reach your financial goals.
Continue reading "8 tips to help recent grads establish financial independence" »
Have you ever been to the gym the first week in January? It’s usually packed with folks looking to improve their health. Many of these newcomers are there as part of their New Year’s resolution, while others may be trying to rebound after a particularly indulgent holiday season. And that’s a noble pursuit. However, very few of them are likely to still be going to the gym a few months later. I’m not a psychologist, but it seems to me that human nature responds to a setback or feeling of being stuck in a rut with a flurry of positive changes. Unfortunately, once our memory of what caused us to want to make those changes fades, we tend to slip back into our old ways.
I sat down with Neal Stern of the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission to talk about how Americans can make some positive changes to their financial plans – and stick with them for the long term.
Continue reading "Goooooooooal: Planning your way to financial victory" »