Members Advantage E-Newsletter
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As of September 21, credit bureaus can no longer charge you to freeze your credit reports or to lift a freeze. Here’s what you need to know to get your free freeze.
By Kimberly Lankford
Q: I remember reading a while back that everyone starting this fall will be able to freeze their credit report for free. Is this change effective now, and what do I need to do to get my free freeze?
A: The law providing free credit freezes took effect on September 21. The three big credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—can no longer charge a fee to place or lift a credit freeze. In the past, the cost to freeze your credit report varied by state. Some states required free credit freezes for their residents, but others let the credit bureaus charge $5 to $10 every time someone wanted to freeze their credit record or lift the freeze (when applying for a loan, for instance).
A credit freeze prevents new creditors from reviewing your credit report, making it harder for identity thieves to take out credit in your name. For it to be effective, you’ll need to contact each of the credit bureaus separately to initiate a freeze. To see what steps you need to take, go to the Equifax freeze page, the Experian freeze page and the TransUnion freeze page.
Once you request a freeze either online or by phone, the new law requires the credit bureaus to implement it within one day. And if you ask for the freeze to be lifted, the credit bureaus have one hour to do it. “That is the law’s maximum time, but for most people setting the freeze online or by phone, it will be pretty close to instantaneous,” says Francis Creighton, the president of the Consumer Data Industry Association, a trade organization for credit bureaus and other consumer reporting agencies.
Some states have additional consumer protections. In Utah, for example, the credit bureaus must initiate or lift the freeze within 15 minutes of the request for a freeze on a mobile app, says Rep. Jim Dunnigan, who sponsored the credit freeze legislation in the Utah House of Representatives (Utah’s law took effect in May). You can find out about additional consumer protections in your state from its division of consumer protection or the state attorney general’s office.
The freeze remains in effect until you take steps to remove it—either temporarily or permanently. “Understanding the correct terminology is important,” says Eva Velasquez, CEO and president of the Identity Theft Resource Center. “A thaw (or unfreezing) of one’s credit allows them to temporarily remove the freeze for a specified period of time. For example, if a consumer knows they will be applying for credit, they can request a thaw for a day, or a week or another specified time period. And after that time period has elapsed, the credit will freeze again—no additional action is necessary on the part of the consumer.” Lifting a credit freeze, on the other hand, removes the freeze until the consumer actively requests the freeze from the credit bureau again. It’s free whether you lift or thaw a freeze.
The new law also lengthens the duration of a fraud alert that you can place on your credit file from 90 days to one year. A fraud alert signals to businesses that you may have been a victim of identity theft and that they should verify your identity before opening any new accounts. You need only place a fraud alert with one credit bureau, which will notify the others.
© 2018 The Kiplinger Washington Editors
Brought to you by NEA Member Benefits.
Content provided by:
California Casualty, provider of the NEA® Auto & Home Insurance Program and an IEA Member Benefits partner for 30 years; and NEA Member Benefits provide this story:
It happens every year: the summer heat fades, the leaves fall and what was easy, warm-weather driving suddenly changes. As temperatures drop, it’s time to remember how to avoid slide-offs and crashes on wet, icy roads. You and your family can take precautions now before encountering winter road conditions.
The first rule of thumb is to slow down and not be in a hurry. Public safety groups continually remind drivers that slick roads mean slower stopping times and the need for increased distances between vehicles. They also add that four-wheel drive does not mean four-wheel stopping.
But there’s a lot more to remember about changing road conditions than just speed. The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) offers this pre-winter advice:
- Make sure your vehicle has good tire tread, a strong battery and fresh windshield wipers and fluid
- Have emergency items like a flashlight, jumper cables, material for traction (kitty litter or sand), a shovel, ice scraper and spare water, blankets and food
- Plan and know your route
- Practice cold weather driving so you’ll know how your vehicle responds
- Keeping a full tank of fuel
- Always use seat belts and child safety seats
When inclement weather hits:
- Never drive impaired
- Slow down and increase distances between cars
- Avoid fatigue and drowsy driving
- Watch for pedestrians
If you should become stranded in a storm, these actions can save your life:
- Call for help immediately
- Stay in your vehicle to protect against the elements and other vehicles that might slide and hit you or your car
- Crack the windows slightly and clear snow from the exhaust pipe to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning
- Run the engine for short periods of time for warmth and to recharge the battery
It’s also important that your vehicle’s exhaust system is inspected before winter’s chill. Each year, dozens of people suffer carbon monoxide poisoning in their vehicles due to exhaust system leaks, especially when windows are rolled up and heaters are turned on.
Despite the best-made plans, accidents do happen. Before you head out on the roads, make sure you know what to do if you’re involved in a crash. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has a downloadable auto accident checklist at: http://www.insureuonline.org/auto_accident_checklist.pdf.
California Casualty also reminds you that good auto insurance protection is no accident. Find out what discounts you qualify for as an NEA member by calling a California Casualty advisor today for a policy comparison or review at 1.800.800.9410 or visit www.neamb.com/autohome.
Thanksgiving flowers: Why not get a lovely centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table or a thoughtful gift for your host? Save 20% on flower arrangements, plants, gourmet gift baskets, and more! For more information and to place your order, go to www.neamb.com and look for 1800Flowers.com under the Discounts tab.
Major appliance purchases for Christmas? With the NEA Member Benefits GE Appliance Store save an additional 15% on orders over $699, and 20% on orders over $999. Plus, NEA Members receive Free Delivery on orders over $399 every day. Black Friday offer valid November 1-28, 2018.
Already registered? Visit the GE Appliances Store at www.Shop4GE.com for offer details.
Need to register? Visit the Home and Auto Discounts category at www.neamb.com and click the Start Shopping button to register for access to the GE Appliances Store. Once registered, you can login to shop anytime at www.shop4ge.com.
*** Hey, read the bottom of this story first!!
The holidays are just around the corner— a time to rejuvenate and spend quality time with friends and family. Let NEA Member Benefits help you save time and money this holiday season with helpful ideas to:
(read more and win $1000)
- Stretch Your Holiday Budget
- Plan a Hassle-free Holiday Vacation
- Get Rewarded for Holiday Shopping
- …And much more!
Visit neamb.com/holiday starting November 1 to make holiday planning easier!
ENTER DAILY AT NEAMB.COM/HOLIDAY FROM NOVEMBER 1, 2018 TO DECEMBER 31, 2018 FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN!
Exclusive to NEA members and their guests, NEA Adventures is an exciting new program that features group travel to some of the world’s most iconic destinations, including Italy, Costa Rica and Peru. Each itinerary is designed with educators in mind and offers an unsurpassed combination of regional highlights, unique experiences, cultural immersion, and multiple activity levels—all at exclusive NEA member prices.
Each trip is customized to provide maximum opportunity to explore, learn, be inspired and have fun. Local experts with “insider” access guide and enrich the group experience through activities not commonly available to travelers who are on their own. The experts also look out for the group’s comfort and safety throughout the tour and are happy to make recommendations for taking advantage of free time.
Travel is an important tool to build communities, locally and globally. Joining an NEA Adventures trip supports education, development and conservation programs that empower educators, preservation of the environment and provides learning opportunities for thousands of individuals around the globe.
Visit neamb.com/neaadventures and click on the location-specific pages for more information about each guided tour currently offered. From there, click on the “View Full Itinerary” button to download a PDF containing specific details of the trip.
Call 855-667-9509 for further questions or to book your trip.
NEA Adventures tour agents are ready to answer any questions you may have and book your trip. They are available every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT.
NEA Member Benefits is pleased to make available an expanded array of NEA Student Loan Program options that provides NEA members and their families more choices to better meet their education financing needs.
In addition to the NEA® Smart Option (Undergraduate) Student Loan® by Sallie Mae®, a new NEA Parent Loan is now being offered with features as follows:
NEA Parent Loan:
- For those who wish to give the gift of education—the borrower does not have to be the student’s parent
- The borrower (e.g., parent, grandparent, aunt/uncle, spouse or other adult) is the primary borrower—the student is not a party to the loan
- Eligible to receive the 0.25% NEA exclusive rate discount after 12 consecutive on-time payments
- Choice of fixed or variable loan rates
- Choose interest-only or principal and interest repayment while the student is attending school
The current NEA Graduate Student Loan has been enhanced with new options:
- Repayment terms and deferral periods that are customizable based on the student’s area and length of study (includes options for MBA, Medical School, Dental School, Health Professions, Law School and more)
- Extended terms and/or grace periods may be available for students whose programs require a much longer time commitment and often higher loan amounts
NEA Graduate Student Loan borrowers are still eligible to receive the 0.25% NEA exclusive rate discount after 12 consecutive on-time payments and have a choice of fixed or variable loan rates.
Members may access information on the new NEA Parent Loan program and additional Graduate Student Loan options online at www.neamb.com/sl.
Looking for a fun way to learn students’ names? Check out how these veteran educators do it.
As a math teacher with five or six classes each year, I play a version of the name game where I introduce myself, the first student introduces himself and then me, the second student introduces himself, the first student, and then me in that order. We continue until everyone has a turn. Then I say everyone’s name in that exact order. I usually don’t miss any name.
At the start I explain that this is a listening skill, and if each student listens carefully and practices silently as we take turns, everyone will know the names of everyone in the room. Several students will usually volunteer to show that they also know every name. I point out that they are practicing a technique that helps learn math—silently answering questions being asked of anyone in the room. Silently comparing their answer to another person’s answer.
I started this game half way through the year when I realized one ninth-grade boy did not know the names of the other students. When some one joins the class later in the year we will play again with the new student going last.
I play the name game with my six classes. I start off with my name and how I’m taking the class on a trip to Aruba. “Ms. Belcher is taking a bag of books.” The first student introduces him/herself, chooses an item to take that begins with the initial of his or her first name, and then reintroduces me. This pattern continues on until the last student has repeated all names and travel items. Works each year.
I use a small rubber football that I toss to students. Here’s how it works. I point to a child and say what I think is his or her name. If I get it wrong, the child tells me his or her name, catches the ball, and tosses it back to me. We go around the room this way until every child has a chance to catch the ball. The kids are impressed that their old lady teacher can catch and throw. It takes just a few minutes, for a few days, for me to learn the names of 150 sixth graders, and I often hear “English is fun,” as the kids leave at the end of the period.
To help the students learn each other’s names, I play a version of hide and seek. One student hides out of sight in the room and the others must guess who is missing. Students learn each other’s names very quickly.
I teach six sections of physics, 25+ kids each. I start off with an “introduce your partner” whiteboard activity. I then make students’ first assignment an activity where I must know their names in two weeks. I follow that up by meeting them at the door and trying to get their names as they walk in. This not only speeds attendance (taken before the bell rings), it also gives me more practice learning their names. After two weeks, I’ve got them.
Be sure to read to the end of this story to see how you can WIN a 2018 Dodge Journey!
You’ve been busy preparing for the new school year. The dollars you spend purchasing materials for the classroom add up quickly, but you do it so students will start the semester on a positive note.
You’re so focused on their needs that you may forget about your own needs: getting enough sleep, eating right and protecting your important possessions.
If you’re a renter, the NEA® Auto & Home Insurance Program provided by California Casualty can help take some of the stress away. For about $12 a month (well under what than average person spends each month for coffee, cell phone service or internet) you can get coverage from fire, water damage or theft.
NEA Member Benefits partnered with California Casualty to provide you this important benefit because it’s a good investment that gives you peace of mind, allowing you to concentrate on helping students succeed. Here’s why:
- It includes liability protection, which pays legal or medical bills if you are sued by someone who tripped and got hurt at your home, if your dog bit someone, or for damage to others from a fire that started in your unit
- It provides living expenses if you’re evacuated or while your place is repaired or rebuilt after a fire or flooding from a broken water pipe
- It covers personal items damaged or stolen from your vehicle (after the deductible)
- It pays for items stolen while traveling or on vacation
The liability limits of your policy also extend into the classroom.
Renters insurance does so much to protect you and your possessions that it’s hard to imagine not having it. However, 60 percent of renters are taking a risk and doing without this important protection.
They either think their landlord’s insurance will cover their possessions (it doesn’t), they don’t think they have enough items to protect, or that it costs too much.
Imagine the cost if you had to replace everything you owned because of a fire or break-in. Renters insurance will pay for living expenses and will help replace teaching materials, your mattress and bedding, stereo equipment, computers, other electronics, and all the pots, pans, silverware and other things in the kitchen.
If you’re on a tight budget, it’s possible to reduce premiums by choosing a slightly higher deductible, being a nonsmoker, and having security devices, sprinkler systems and fire extinguishers. In many cases, the savings from simply bundling with your auto insurance will pay for your renters insurance.
Another way to save is to make a comprehensive inventory of all the things you own, so you will only pay for what you need. Having that inventory will also help speed up a claim if something bad happens. California Casualty has an easy to read inventory guide for you to use.
When you weigh the value, having renters insurance just makes sense. Find out how little renters insurance costs, and how much it covers; call a California Casualty advisor today at 1.800.800.9410 or visit www.calcas.com/NEA.
While you’re looking into renters insurance, don’t forget to enter California Casualty’s “Wherever Your Journey Takes You…We’ll Be There” Sweepstakes at www.winajourney.com. A lucky educator will win a 2018 Dodge Journey.
This article furnished by California Casualty, founded in 1914 and serving the needs of educators since 1951. (California Casualty has been servicing IEA members since 1988!) California Casualty is the only auto and home insurance company to earn the trust and endorsement of the NEA. As a result, NEA members qualify for exceptional rates, deductibles waived for vandalism or collisions to your vehicle parked at school, holiday or summer skip payment plans and free Identity Defense protection – exclusive benefits not available to the general public. Learn how to save by getting a quote at www.neamb.com/autohome, or by calling 1.800.800.9410.
Getting ready for the new school year involves more than just stocking the supply closet! Check out deals on apparel, backpacks, footwear, electronic devices, and more! NEA Click & Save, the online discount buying service for NEA members, highlights select retailers and merchants each month. Check out these featured “Buy-lights” for September!
- Old Navy: Find stylish clothing at reasonable prices for adults and kids alike! Save up to 20% off sale merchandise. Get free shipping on orders of $100 or more, and earn 1X WOWPoints.
- eBags: Shop the world’s largest online retailer of backpacks, luggage, and travel accessories. Get up to 40% off and earn 4X WOWPoints on your purchase. Plus, get free shipping on orders of $49 or more.
- Reebok: Outfit yourself for work or play with high-quality and durable clothing and footwear from Reebok. Save up to 50% on sale items, earn 4X WOWPoints, and get free shipping on orders of $49 or more.
- Samsung: Think beyond cell phones, TVs and appliances and consider Samsung’s other high-tech electronics and digital media including tablets, laptops and watches. Get up to 50% off on current deals and earn 2X WOWPoints on your purchase.
- Calendars.com: Get organized for the new school year! Peruse the world’s largest inventory of wall calendars, desk pads, and planners. Save up to 75% off select calendars and earn 5X WOWPoints on your order.
- Office Depot: Need school supplies? Check out daily deals and save up to 50%. Earn 2X WOWPoints on your order.
Be sure to check C&S often for unadvertised, limited time offers, including discount dining certificates from Restaurant.com. Join the thousands of NEA members already registered for NEA Click & Save. Go to www.neamb.com/clickandsave or http://www.neamb.com/shopping-discounts/nea-click-and-save-retail-discounts.htm and start saving today!
From National Education Association and Idaho Education Association Member Benefits, welcome to the beginning of another school year. Your dedication to educating America’s next generation is greatly appreciated by your professional organization, from the national to the local levels.
NEA Member Benefits is proud to offer all kinds of “starting the school year” resources that will be valuable to you personally and professionally. Looking for classroom resources? We have some for you. Wellness resources, shopping resources, financial resources? Likewise. Visit the NEA Member Benefits website (neamb.com) to learn more. There is also information about limited time offers you might want to check out.
Monthly, during the school year, you will be receiving another edition of this electronic newsletter from IEA Member Benefits (ieamemberbenefits.org) that will bring to you information about the benefits available to you because you are an IEA/NEA member. Plus, you will receive some valuable tips. Be sure to think about taking advantage.
Once again, WELCOME BACK!!
If your plans for the summer include some well-deserved travel to give you rest and recuperation for the past nine months with your students, here is some help from member benefits to stretch your summer budget. Whether you wish to work in a cruise, take in some major league sporting events, fly east (or west or north or south) to visit relatives, spend some time at a resort (a week or just a few days,) or just save some money while resting up at home on a “staycation”, follow these tips to save some money:
With the Educator Access Discount Program, you can save on hotels, condos and resorts, golf, dining, movies, recreation, and other every-day pleasantries. Go to the IEA Member Benefits website, ieamemberbenefits.org scroll down and click on the picture of the IEA membership card to take you to the Access website. Register with the last 7 digits of your association membership number, your personal e-mail address, and create a password. You only need to register once. Each time thereafter you sign in with your e-mail and password. Spend some time there and explore the hundreds and thousands of discounts available. The site will also show you how to download an app that is GPS friendly and will help you save money wherever you are.
Or…visit NEA Vacations to save on hotels and resorts, airfare, cruises, guided vacations, vacation packages and more. You will also receive “NEA travel dollars” to spend in the future on travel deals from the site.
Or…use TicketsatWork.com to save on tickets to theme parks, Las Vegas and Broadway shows, major city tours, big league sporting events, etc. Contact IEA Member Benefits (1-800-223-6583) for the company code to register on the site and start saving.
Or…visit the NEA Click and Save Program where, after you have registered on the NEA Member Benefits site, you can save on all the above “fun” things you want to do this summer.
To continue to get great advice on all your travel plans, sign up today for the free NEA Travel Newsletter and get the inside scoop on:
- the hottest member-exclusive deals
- the best places to take your next vacation
- tips to make the most of your travel experience
HAVE FUN!!! And remember that your member benefits, because you are an IEA/NEA member, created discounts to make your summer even more enjoyable.
Nearly five dozen association member benefits are available to IEA/NEA members. Ranging from financial benefits to insurance benefits to discounts to travel benefits to professional benefits, IEA members participate at a greater rate than NEA members nationwide.
Statistics for the 2016-17 membership year (the latest figures available) show that the market share of IEA member participation in most benefits is consistently better than the market share from all NEA members combined. Market share is simply a percentage of members who participate as compared to total membership.
Eighteen percent or IEA members hold an NEA life insurance policy, better than the national market penetration of 12%. Eleven percent of IEA members own an accidental death and dismemberment policy. A whopping 2800 members hold an auto/home insurance policy with California Casualty, a market share of 27%, far outpacing the national penetration of four percent. This is the most used benefit product used by IEA members. The second most used NEA member benefit is the credit card option; 1/5 (20%) of IEA members use an NEA credit card, greater than the national market penetration of 14%.
Since 2000 IEA member participation in IEA/NEA member benefits has ranked in the top 10% of market share of all the 51 NEA affiliates!! Congratulations!