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State Poll Finds 'Broad Gaps' In Financial Knowledge

A new survey from the Patrick administration concludes that many Massachusetts consumers lack basic personal finance knowledge.

The telephone poll of 500 residents, from the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation (OCABR), finds that "while almost all Massachusetts consumers believe they are hands-on in managing their finances, many do not take basic steps to do so."

Ninety-one percent of residents polled said they actively manage their finances, but just 52 percent, for example, look at their credit reports once a year.

The survey, according to OCABR, also finds that the "average Massachusetts consumer lacks necessary knowledge in debit card liability, identity theft, banking products, online shopping risks and consumer protection resources."

"We urge that consumers learn more about their own finances and how to protect themselves while conducting their personal business," Undersecretary Barbara Anthony said in a release. "The Internet age requires us to be more engaged in our economic footprint, or risk harm or even disaster."

Overall, seniors scored highest on the survey, while "younger and less affluent residents are the least aware of their financial options, rights and alternatives," OCABR reported.

This program aired on July 26, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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