Do a credit check.

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Americans lost more than $5.8 billion to fraud in 2021, more than 70% over 2020, according to the Federal Trade Commission. That includes identity theft, which can hurt your credit score. Step 1 in protecting yourself: Check your credit report. You get 1 free report per year from each of the 3 credit agencies (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) at AnnualCreditReport.com. Consider checking 1 report every 4 months to keep regular tabs on your credit.

Saving tips

The smartest ways to stash more cash.

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Going private

Public companies allow regular investors to buy and sell the companies' stock on public exchanges (such as the New York Stock Exchange) and have regulatory and financial reporting requirements. "Going private" means that a buyer agrees to purchase all of a public company's shares, usually at a premium. If you're invested in a public company that’s going private, you’ll get paid for your stake in the business once the deal closes (premium included).

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