smart spending

How to prepare for natural disasters

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If the privacy of your financial information has been compromised, ward off identity theft by setting up a fraud alert through a credit bureau, says Carlson.

You can ask for an initial fraud alert, which stays on your credit report for a minimum of 90 days and entitles you to a free credit report from the three credit bureaus, according to the Federal Trade Commission. A fraud alert requires lenders to take extra measures to verify your identity before they open a credit line in your name.

Finally, remember that although you may feel alone when disaster strikes, you aren't. Organizations such as Equal Justice Works, a 501(c)(3) organization providing free legal services countrywide, are ready to aid those devastated by natural disasters. "Local media (are) good at communicating resources available in your area," says Carlson.

"Just try to stay aware."


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