May 2020 Newsletter
With schools closed and children currently staying at home, it’s good to know there are easily accessible educational options available to them, including Bellco’s Coindexter Club. This award-winning program lets children (ages 5–12) explore Econopolis, an online virtual town that immerses them in real-life financial situations in a fun and safe environment.
With Professor Coindexter missing and his time machine sabotaged, the fate of Econopolis hangs in the balance and it's up to your child to set things right. Click below to view the Coindexter trailer!
When you sign up for Coindexter Club, your children will go on a thrilling quest to save Econopolis while learning how to earn, save, spend, manage, and invest their virtual money. Here are some recent updates to the program:
- New Coindexter App—Now you can take Coindexter with you wherever you go. To get started, visit Bellco.org/Coindexter and follow the link to create a new account or use your existing Coindexter login
- Ask Penny Parker—The app contains podcasts of Ask Penny Parker, which answers questions about money to help kids earn, save, spend, and more
- Explore special features—The Coindexter site includes Millionaire Countdown, Coinbot's Spending Quiz, and Whimsley's Chore Chart (now with lots of newly added chores)
- Grow your budgeting knowledge—play Coindexter games such as Coindexter Crops to learn about budgeting
- For younger kids (age 3 and up)—Check out Coindexter Junior, which features Candy and the Coinbot, the embedded-reader book that will read aloud to your child
Enrolling your child into Coindexter Club is simple and free. Just visit Bellco.org/Coindexter to get started.
Looking for more educational resources for your child? Check out our new FUNancial Smarts financial activity book created specifically for elementary school students.
Even though the world has changed over the past couple of months, scammers haven’t. They are still up to their old tricks—and using today’s crisis to try to get money or personal information from their victims. Be on the lookout for some of the following coronavirus scams, as well as for other suspicious activity.
Government checks. Although some people have received their stimulus payments, many others are still waiting, and fraudsters want to get hold of that money or people’s banking info. Be wary of calls, texts, or emails regarding government payments—the IRS will not reach out that way. Also, watch out for fake paper checks—any official check you receive will be in a whole dollar amount and will have no strings attached. For more information, access the official IRS website.
Snake oil. The FCC has received numerous complaints that scammers are using robocalls and fake texts to try to sell health insurance, at-home virus test kits, and even cures. Many of these frauds are committed impersonating government agencies, including something from the “FCC Financial Care Center” claiming to give thousands in relief funding and one from the “U.S. Department of Health and Human Services” claiming the recipient is required to sign up for a mandatory test using the included link. Never click such a link in text or email from a source you don’t know. If you have questions, navigate to the official agency website.
Credit cards. With so much online purchasing, credit card information can be vulnerable to thieves. If you think you’ve been the victim of a fraud, report it immediately. And remember, Bellco and any other bank will not contact you and ask for personal information; only give personal data if you originated the call to a verified number for a financial institution.
Fake charities. Beware of how a con artist can pull at your heartstrings to try to get you give them money. They’ll often impersonate a real charity to draw you in. However, you could be getting sucked into giving away your hard-earned money to someone who isn’t actually in need. If you want to help people in need during this pandemic, don’t respond to text or robocall pleas; instead find the organization yourself to help ensure that your money goes where it’s actually needed.
As always, anytime you feel you’ve been the victim of a scam or fraud, be sure to report it. For more information, go to FTC.gov.
These days, cleaning is on everyone’s minds. We’ve all gotten pretty good at disinfecting surfaces and high-touch areas like door handles. So “spring cleaning” might feel like it’s been going on for a good long time. Even still, most homes have a few areas that could use some annual (or even more frequent) attention. Keeping them clean can help keep the air in your home healthy, potentially save you money on electric bills, and even might save on some repair costs down the road.
To start, remember that, any time you work with an appliance, you should practice safety measures such as unplugging the unit. Also, be sure to consult your appliance’s specific user’s manual for advice and warnings from the manufacturer. Otherwise, read on for some spring maintenance tips that could help keep your home humming and healthy as possible.
Left uncleaned, a humidifier can grow mold or bacteria, which can impact the air quality in a room and cause illness. To clean your room humidifier, first check the filter and replace it if necessary. If the filter is still in working condition, remove it and rinse it under cold water; then set it out to air-dry. Next remove the tank and dump out any old water. Add three cups of vinegar, cap the tank, and swirl it around vigorously so the vinegar coats the walls and bottom of the tank. Let it sit for at least an hour and then rinse it thoroughly. Meanwhile, use a sponge or cloth dampened with water and vinegar to wipe down the rest of the unit.
Dust and food bits can build up behind and beneath the fridge, and sometimes mold can grow if that area is damp. Vacuum the flooring, and then use the brush attachment to vacuum the coils. Wash the drip tray in warm, soapy water, and fully dry it before you replace it. Wash the walls behind the fridge with a combination of vinegar and water (or soapy water). Be sure the floor and walls are dry before you put the fridge back in place.
Wash the oven drawer in warm water in the sink. Sweep or vacuum the floor under the stove, and dislodge any stuck-on foods or residue. Use a mixture of water and vinegar (or soapy water) to clean the wall behind the stove and sides of the cabinets that surround it. Don’t let the oven prongs get wet; use a dry rag to clean them. Clean the burners in soapy water in the sink, and degrease the stove hood.
As a not-for-profit, Colorado-based financial cooperative, Bellco is passionate about providing tools and resources to help our members and the community feel financially empowered. One way we've done this is by collaborating with Denver 7 to provide communities across Colorado with helpful financial tips.
In a recent Denver 7 newscast, reporter Eric Lupher offers ways to protect yourself and your finances during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can view the segment below: