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Hints From Heloise: The dangers of co-signing a loan

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Dear Readers: What happens if someone you know, a friend or family member, asks you to co-sign a loan? Most financial advisers will discourage you from saying yes. Why? Let’s take a look.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (, when you co-sign a loan, you are saying that regardless of any situation, this loan will be paid. But what if the borrower cannot pay and you don’t have the money to do so either? If the payment is late, fees and penalties can accrue, which will add to the amount owed.

Be aware that the creditor can collect from you first, before collecting from the borrower. The creditor may take action against you, including filing a lawsuit against you and even garnishing your paycheck or bank account. What a mess!

Never pledge items to secure this loan, such as your car, jewelry or furniture. If the loan doesn’t get paid, you could lose this property.

It’s okay to say no. “No” is a complete sentence! Instead, you might offer the person some hints on saving up cash, or you could gift the person a portion of the money, but the risks for co-signing are numerous.

Dear Heloise: I want to learn how to use my computer that my grandkids gave me for my birthday. They tell me there's so much I can do on it: compose a letter, do my banking and bill-paying, chat with my friends and family on social media sites, research new and delicious recipes and even play games.

But learning about it seems overwhelming, and I don't know where to go for help.

— Ginny in Texas

Ginny in Texas: I bet your grandchildren would love to teach you Computer 101, or they can find a tech person in your area who can give you some pointers. Or, when you have an Internet provider, use a search engine to pose a question about computer learning. The keyboard on your computer is more or less the same as a typewriter.

Don’t be afraid; give it a whirl, and I’ll expect an email from you telling me how vast your computer knowledge is!

Dear Readers: As the summer carries on, and covid-19 is still in full swing, it’s important not to get complacent and careless about prevention. Here are some reminders:

● Throughout the day, wash your hands often for 20 seconds with soap and water.

● Keep your distance from others; six feet is recommended.

● Wearing face masks is vital to protect you and others.

● Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in your home and car.

These hints are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (, a trusted source during this pandemic. Let’s all do our part to help control the spread of this virus. We’re in this together, and we will get through it.

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or email it to

2020, King Features Syndicate