April is Financial Literacy Month in the United States, a time when we think more about all things that are money-related, including investments and paying taxes.  

Public libraries are a trusted source for reliable and unbiased information about many financial topics, with free access to publications like the Wall Street Journal, Morningstar and other valuable resources relating to taxes, business and investing.  

Whether you need links to the latest tax forms or books on creating a trust, your library can connect you. 

The Santa Clara County Library District (SCCLD) is sponsoring important in-person presentations titled “Protect Yourself from Scammers” detailing phishing, a growing problem that can have devastating effects, especially with older adults.  

Phishing is a tactic criminals use to fraudulently convince individuals into revealing critical personal information, such as passwords or credit card numbers, that is then used to steal the person’s identity.  

This tactic is done in various ways: over the phone, by email or through social media sites. These insightful programs feature experts educating attendees about the risks and, most importantly, how to avoid being a victim.  

Sessions in “Protecting Yourself from Scammers” are designed to alert consumers about fraud including fake tech support schemes. (Leslie Katz/Bay City News)

On Wednesday, April 19, at 11 a.m. at Saratoga Library (13650 Saratoga Ave., Saratoga) Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Erin West will share her perspective as someone on the front lines against phishing and other scams. She’ll share what to look out for and which steps to take if you are targeted. West serves as prosecutor for REACT, the county’s elite high tech investigative force, which also tracks various cryptocurrency schemes. She was recently featured in Forbes magazine for her work protecting local residents from fraud. 

On Saturday, April 29 at 3 p.m. at Cupertino Library (10800 Torre Ave., Cupertino), research scholar Riana Pfefferkorn of the Stanford Internet Observatory will discuss common cyber scams and how to avoid them. Her work focuses on legalities and regulation of online platforms by the U.S. and other governments.  

Pfefferkorn will discuss phishing, business email compromise, fake computer support and romance scams, and other confidence schemes. She will help attendees learn computer security tips for keeping personal information safe online. 

Both talks are followed by a Q&A session moderated by Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian. 

The library district will offer other finance-related events, including virtual events around Money Smart Week, from April 17 to 21. 

On April 4, April 11 and April 18 at 4 p.m., the library hosts Finance for Teens with KeyPoint Credit Union. There are three units: The Basics of Money Management, Understanding Credit, and Making Good Money Decisions. Programs will also be recorded and posted on our YouTube channel. 

On Tuesday, April 18 at 8 a.m. (online) the library hosts an introduction to Morningstar Investment Research Center. People can learn about this personal investor resource that provides analysis of stocks, mutual funds and other financial products. 

On Saturday, April 18 at 7 p.m. (online) the library hosts a Social Security and Personal Finances workshop, at which people can gain insights into better understand the nuances of Social Security benefits and how they might impact their personal finances. 

On Saturday, April 22 at 3 p.m. (online) the library hosts an Intergenerational Wealth Transfer workshop. This talk will help families plan a financial legacy unique to their personal circumstances with an overview of the decisions and obstacles to reach one’s goals. 

To register for these programs, visit sccld.org.

And to find more information about finance-related topics such as basic banking, buying a car or protecting against identity theft on our website’s Smart Investing Guide, developed for all ages and incomes. Go to https://sccld.org/smart-investing

We know this time of year can be very taxing. Let the library district help make it less so! 

Santa Clara County Librarian Jennifer Weeks has been working in the South Bay library system since 2003. (Courtesy Jennifer Weeks)

Jennifer Weeks was appointed county librarian of the Santa Clara County Library District in 2020. SCCLD is a public library district in the Silicon Valley which includes seven community libraries and one branch library, two bookmobiles and an online library serving nine cities and unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County. SCCLD has been recognized as one of America’s Star Libraries by Library Journal and is ranked No. 2 of the top 10 libraries in the U.S. with expenditures over $30 million in the Index of Public Library Service. 

Weeks began her career in advertising and development in the private sector, then joined SCCLD in 2003. Her library career includes front-line customer service, patron-centered service implementation, and executive managerial practice developing public programs and setting priorities and strategies to make the library successful and relevant. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of San Diego and a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University.