NEW USPS SERVICE LETS YOU PREVIEW YOUR MAIL DELIVERY
Uncle Sam needs some help collecting unpaid taxes, so the Internal Revenue Service will now use private companies to tackle this growing backlog of debt. Consumer advocates worry this could lead to harassment and an increase in IRS imposter fraud.
 
COSIGNING A PRIVATE STUDENT LOAN CAN HAVE SERIOUS FINANCIAL CONSEQUENCES
Most private student loans require a cosigner – typically a parent – who must put their good credit on the line to get the loan approved. Many parents do not understand what it means to cosign and are surprised to see their credit scores drop and their retirement delayed by doing it.
 
THE BEST WAY TO PAY DOWN THOSE COSTLY CREDIT CARD BALANCES
With interest rates going up, it's more important than ever to pay off those credit card balances. If you have more than one card with an unpaid balance, you need a plan. A new study shows how to increase your chances of success.
 
WATCH OUT FOR DISHONEST TAX PREPARERS WHO CHARGE TOO MUCH & FILE FALSE RETURNS
The annual rush to file taxes creates a major opportunity for fraudulent tax preparers who charge inflated fees and file inaccurate returns to claim bogus refunds. They put you at greater risk of fines, fees or an IRS audit.
 
U.S. RETAILERS DO BETTER JOB OF SATISFYING CUSTOMERS, SURVEY FINDS
The nation's retailers are doing a better job of making their customers happy. After two years of declining satisfaction, they reversed course during the 2016 holiday shopping season, but many people still prefer to shop online.
 
CONNECTED HOMES AND CARS CAN BE DIFFICULT FOR NEW BUYERS TO UN-PLUG
It seems that smart products aren't quite smart enough to disconnect from the original owner when they're sold. That can lead to serious privacy and security problems if you sell a connected car or a home with locks, thermostats or security system that can be controlled via the Internet.
 
AN AFFORDABLE HOUSE MAY GROW HARDER TO FIND
Soaring home prices and rising interest rates have put the American dream out of reach for many. Simply put, they can't afford the price or save enough money for the down payment.
 
YES, IT'S LEGAL FOR DEALERS TO SELL USED CARS WITH UNREPAIRED RECALLS
Consumer advocates are outraged by the Federal Trade Commission's decisions in several recent cases that allow car dealers to advertise used vehicles with open recalls as safe. They say its dangerous, irresponsible and could put lives at stake.
 
WILL TRUMP ADMINISTRATION MEAN MORE ANNOYING ROBOCALLS?
Consumer groups have expressed their outrage that the Federal Communications Commission, with a new chair appointed by a president who wants to reduce regulations, could allow more computer-generated phone calls. Illegal robocalls are now the top complaint to the FCC.
 
IDENTITY FRAUD HITS RECORD NUMBER OF AMERICANS IN 2016
Identity thieves, who commit financial fraud with stolen account information, had a banner year in 2016. These fraudsters successfully hit a record 15.4 million Americans and stole $16 billion dollars, according to a new report.

 
MORE THAN 4 BILLION RECORDS WERE STOLEN IN DATA BREACHES LAST YEAR
Cybercriminals are stealing data at an alarming rate. Both the number of breaches and the number of files stolen globally in these hacks rose dramatically to set a new record in 2016. And most of these hack attacks were against American companies and organizations.
 
HOW YOU COULD GET $500 PER CALL FOR THOSE UNWANTED ROBOCALLS SIX
YEARS AGO

Did you get a telemarketing robocall five or six years ago offering a "free cruise" in return for taking a short survey? If you did, and you can prove it, you can get about $500 for each one of those illegal calls. In order to be included in the settlement you have to file a claim by Feb. 1.
 
RANSOMWARE: A $1-BILLION A YEAR CRIME AND GROWING
One of the most dangerous threats on the Internet is expected to get even worse this year – with more victims and more money lost. And yet, most computer users aren’t fully aware of the danger of ransomware and are not prepared to defend their data.
 
CONSUMERS SCORE SOME SIGNIFICANT VICTORIES IN 2016
American consumers had a pretty good year in 2016. The stock market was up, wages were up and inflation remained in check. Some new laws and regulations also gave us added protections and safeguards.
 
FAKE ADULT ENTERTAINMENT AGENCY SUED FOR DECEPTIVE BUSINESS PRACTICES
The Attorney General in Washington state files a consumer protection lawsuit against a Seattle man, charging him with setting up a fake talent agency for adult entertainers in order to trick women into posing nude and having sex with him.
 
STUDY: BANK OVERDRAFTS ARE TOO FREQUENT AND TOO EXPENSIVE
The reports from the Pew Charitable Trusts say expensive overdraft fees have become a "frequent and harmful" practice throughout the banking industry -- even at small banks.
 
RETURNING A GIFT? SOME STORES HAVE TIGHTENED THE RULES
As millions of Americans head back to the stores to return gifts, a few major retailers have altered their previously generous open-ended return policies this year. Here’s a look at the major changes.
 
STUCK ON HOLD? THE WORST OFFENDERS INCLUDE APPLE, AMAZON & SEVERAL AIRLINES
A Canadian company, Fonolo ,tracked every Twitter complaint that included the phrase "on hold with." Based on an analysis of those 600,000 tweets, Fonolo created a list of the worst offenders and some well-known companies made the list.
 
YES, YOU CAN POST THAT NEGATIVE ONLINE REVIEW, CONGRESS SAYS
Congress has passed the Consumer Review Freedom Act. It reaffirms your right to post truthful negative reviews about a product or service provider — even if you signed an agreement that bans you from doing so.
 
HOW SPECIAL 0% FINANCING OFFERS CAN END UP COSTING YOU HUNDREDS
Those deferred interest payment plans sound really good – and they can be, if you know all the rules and follow them. Otherwise...they can be very costly.
 
STUDY: CYBER THREATS GROW BUT WE REMAIN COMPLACENT
Despite the constant threat of getting hacked, many people still aren't motivated to protect their personal information, according to a new study from Norton. It’s a really huge disconnect that’s helping the criminals.
 
WHY DO WE KEEP BUYING CLOTHES WE NEVER WEAR?
Be honest: Are there clothes in your closet that you've never worn? Maybe a blouse or skirt that you just had to have, that's sitting in your closet with the price tag still on it. If so, you're not alone. Find out why so many people do this and how to break the habit.
 
FTC CHARGES NETSPEND WITH USING DECEPTIVE MARKETING TO SELL ITS PREPAID CARDS
The ads for NetSpend, one of the country's largest providers of prepaid debit cards, promise "immediate access to your funds." But that's not always the case, the Federal Trade Commission charges in a lawsuit against the company.
 
FULL OF FLUFF? MY PILLOW TO PAY $1M FOR BOGUS ADS
It may be the "most comfortable pillow you'll ever own," but MyPillow can't help with snoring, fibromyalgia, migraines or any other medical conditions. The company has agreed to pay $1 million in civil penalties to settle false advertising charges.
 
THE BIG WINNER NOV. 8 COULD BE LEGAL MARIJUANA
Legalized use of marijuana – either recreational or medical – is on the ballot in nine states. Supporters believe the marijuana measures will pass in California and Florida, and possibly several other states, because America's attitude about pot has changed significantly in the last few years. Predictions are that by 2020 legal cannabis sales will surpass $22 billion.
 
CONSUMERS WILL SPEND ALMOST $800 BILLION ON HOLIDAY SHOPPING
New forecasts show Americans plan to spend significantly more this year on holiday gifts. It's a sign that despite all the talk of an economy in peril, most consumers feel more confident in their financial situation.
 
DO CHIPS PREVENT FRAUD OR ARE THEY JUST VERY ANNOYING?
The switch to chip-based credit and debit cards is moving forward, but at a slower pace than expected. Even so, chip cards are helping to reduce counterfeit card fraud at checkout. Now the goal is to make them easier to use.
 
FRAUD ALERT: FAKE NEWS SITES SHILLING DIET PILLS, FACE CREAMS
These bogus websites – with fake celebrity testimonials – are made to look like a familiar news sites. They’re designed to trick you into buying diet pills and skin creams. Take the bait and request the free sample and you could be in for a costly surprise.
 
AS STUDENT LOAN DEBT INCREASES, SO DO THE SCAMS
The dramatic rise in student loan defaults has created a space for scammers to flourish. They pretend to be affiliated with the government and charge hundreds of dollars to do what borrowers can do for themselves – for free. All too often, they take the money and run.
 
CREDIT CARD CONTRACTS LITERALLY TOO DIFFICULT FOR MOST PEOPLE TO READ
The analysis of more than 2,000 current credit card agreements by the website CreditCards.com found that they are typically written at the 11th-grade reading level. But half of Americans read at the 9th-grade level or below. This could explain why so many people don’t read them.
 
FEDS SEE SPIKE IN COMPLAINTS FROM U.S. BANK CUSTOMERS
American consumers continue to "experience problems" managing their accounts at banks and credit unions across the country, according to a new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
 
BBB CALLS 10 BIG CHARITIES 'TRANSPARENCY DODGERS'
The Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance says these well-known charities did not disclose any of the requested information needed to verify their trustworthiness. It calls this a “red flag” for donors. How do the charities respond?
 
BUYERS VERY HAPPY WITH THEIR NEW CARS, EVEN FOR NON-LUXURY BRANDS, STUDY SHOWS
A focus on improving quality and reducing defects seems helped customer satisfaction jump dramatically from last year. The new survey finds that U.S. automakers have nearly closed the satisfaction gap with their foreign competitors.
 
FEDS CLAIM 1-800 CONTACTS RESTRICTS COMPETITION FOR ONLINE ADS
The Federal Trade Commission has accused the country's largest online contact lens retailer of manipulating the market and hurting consumers by illegally restricting Internet advertising. The lawsuit claims this results in some people paying higher prices.
 
COLLEGE STUDENTS CAN NOW ACCESS FEDERAL AID WITHOUT HIGH CARD FEES
New federal rules protect students from aggressive and unfair marketing of banking products linked to their financial aid. The new regulations specifically prohibit colleges and universities from steering students to specific bank accounts.
 
FRONT-LOADER ODOR: STINKY WASHER CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT FINALLY SETTLED
After seven years of litigation, the case of the smelly washing machines – some Whirlpool, Maytag and Kenmore models made between 2001 and 2010 – is nearing an end with millions of people getting a little compensation for their aggravation.
 
OLYMPICS MAY CAUSE MASSIVE SECURITY & BANDWIDTH HEADACHES IN U.S.
Millions of Americans will watch the Summer Olympics at work. That will create a major opportunity for cyber criminals to attack corporate computer systems – and serious headaches for IT departments not ready to deal with the increased security challenges.
 
PHONE COMPANIES FINALLY PROMISE TO TACKLE ROBOCALL PROBLEM
The nation’s phone companies know their customers are being bombarded with annoying robocalls. Finally, after years of refusing to do anything about it, they’ve formed a “Strike Force to find solutions.
 
WE LOVE SOCIAL MEDIA, BUT LIKE FACEBOOK & TWITTER LESS
Americans are spending more time on social media, but are increasingly dissatisfied with the experience, a new survey shows. Although people are generally pleased with their overall online experience, Facebook and Twitter saw a marked decrease in satisfaction.
 
SOME MAKE BIG LIFESTYLE CHANGES TO DEAL WITH STUDENT LOAN DEBT
A new survey by Consumer Reports finds that some former students who are drowning in debt don’t think college was worth the price. They can’t buy a car or a house and are even putting off getting married.
 
HACK ALERT: HOW TO KEEP DIGITAL INFO SAFE AT THE OLYMPICS
Cyber criminals hope to score big at the Olympics by hacking visitor’s digital devices to steal account numbers, passwords and other sensitive information. People who follow the competition from home are also vulnerable.
 
ID THIEVES HIJACK MOBILE PHONE ACCOUNTS
Identity thieves have come up with another devious way to make money by pretending to be someone else. While a common criminal might try to snatch your smartphone for some quick cash, these clever crooks take over your wireless account.
 
AMERICA'S FAVORITES: TOP-RATED RESTAURANT CHAINS
A new survey shows that restaurants are doing a better job of providing higher-quality food and better service than they have in many years. As always, some are doing a better job than the rest. Which chains topped this year’s ratings?
 
FAKE GOLD & SILVER COINS FLOODING THE US MARKET
Counterfeit coins are getting so good that it’s often difficult to spot them. Get burned and you could lose a bundle and there’s probably no recourse. Here’s how to protect yourself.
 
PAY DAY LOANS: FEDS PROPOSE NEW RULES TO END 'DEBT TRAP'
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has proposed new rules that would require these lenders to make sure a borrower can repay that loan before approving it. Industry is opposed. Consumer groups say it’s a good start but does not go far enough.
 
SCAMMERS GET VICTIMS TO PAY WITH ITUNES GIFT CARDS
Fraud Alert: The popular iTunes gift card has become the payment method of choice for many swindlers. It’s a quick, convenient and untraceable way for them to steal money from their victims. Here’s how to protect yourself.
 
BUSINESSES WANT CONGRESS TO WEAKEN ROBOCALL LAWS
We hate robocalls. Companies realize this – and yet, they're asking Congress to reduce the possible penalties for making illegal robocalls. Consumer groups vow that isn't going to happen without a fight.
 
CYBER ATTACKS AND NEGLIGENCE LEAD TO RISE IN MEDICAL DATA BREACHES
America's healthcare organizations are not doing enough to deal with the growing threat, according to a new report. These breaches are increasingly costly and frequent, and continue to put patient data at risk for use by identity thieves.
 
NOW MIGHT BE THE RIGHT TIME TO BUY OR LEASE A USED CAR
Right now, you'll find a larger selection of late-model vehicles on the lot - and in some cases, pay less than expected. You might even be able to lease a fairly low-mileage pre-owned vehicle.
 
AMERICANS ARE SAVING MORE, BUT CREDIT CARD DEBT IS GROWING
We’re doing a better job of saving, but more Americans are running up credit card debt that they can't pay off at the end of the month. Carrying a balance is costly and a warning sign that the family budget needs adjusting.
 
ONLINE PAYDAY LOANS HAVE 'HIDDEN COSTS' REPORT SAYS
Payday lenders have opened shop online – and that's created a new set of problems for borrowers, according to a new federal report. The study found that bank penalty fees and account closures are a significant and hidden cost to payday loans.
 
BEST PREPAID DEBIT CARDS AS RATED BY CONSUMER REPORTS
Prepaid cards have gotten much better in the last few years, but Consumer Reports says some still have high and unexpected fees. The editors looked at 20 cards to find the best.
 
CYBER THREATS GETTING WORSE AS CROOKS KEEP GETTING SMARTER
Digital attacks are growing in number and sophistication, according to the Internet Security Threat Report from Symantec on Tuesday. The data lost, the money stolen and the disruption caused by cybercriminals is worse than ever.
 
WHY ARE SO MANY FAMILY BUDGETS STRETCHED TO THE LIMIT?
Feeling a little squeezed at the end of each month? Most of us are spending more since the Great Recession, but our incomes have not nearly kept pace. A new report looks at the strain that’s putting on many family budgets.
 
WHY SO MANY MILITARY FAMILIES ARE DEALING WITH DEBT COLLECTORS
Going green is an enviable goal, but for some people paper is still the better way to receive their monthly bank and credit card statements. And under federal law, you cannot be forced to switch to digital.
 
THE BENEFITS OF PAPER FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
Going green is an enviable goal, but for some people paper is still the better way to receive their monthly bank and credit card statements. And under federal law, you cannot be forced to switch to digital.
 
YOU DON'T NEED A CREDIT CARD TO EARN AWARDS
Debit card reward programs are still going strong at many of the nation's largest financial institutions, but many banks and credit unions are changing the way these loyalty programs work.
 
WHAT'S CAUSING SOME E-CIGARETTES TO EXPLODE?
It doesn’t happen very often, but when an e-cigarette battery malfunctions, the injuries can be horrendous — burns on the face and hands, fractured bones and loss of eyesight. Why is this happening and why aren’t these devices regulated?
 
KEEPING CUSTOMERS HAPPY IS GETTING HARDER FOR RETAILERS
Whether it’s the supermarket or the department store, a new survey finds that customers are less satisfied when they go shopping these days. Even the most popular stores are seeing this downturn in satisfaction. Why?
 
SHOULD YOU 'FREEZE' YOUR CREDIT FILES TO LOCK OUT ID THIEVES?
It’s not a silver bullet and it won’t give complete protection, but it is something you can do to fight back. Even so, before you decide to lock your credit files, it’s important to understand how a freeze works and what it will/will not do.
 
STUDENTS STILL SADDLED WITH SOARING TEXTBOOK COSTS
Rising tuition costs aren't the only thing driving up the cost of higher education. Textbook prices have skyrocketed in recent years. A single book can easily cost $200. To deal with this expense, some students are now taking classes without buying the required books.
 
IDENTITY THIEVES CHANGE TACTICS TO STEAL YOUR MONEY
ID fraud remains a very lucrative crime as the crooks find ways to foil stronger security measures. About 13 million Americans became identity fraud victims last year, according to a new report.
 
NEW TAX FRAUD SAFEGUARDS MAY MEAN DELAYS IN GETTING REFUNDS
The IRS, state authorities and the tax preparation industry have joined together to combat identity thieves rushing to file their bogus state and federal returns in your name while you're still gathering your paperwork. This could result in some refunds being delayed a bit.
 
SMART TVS 'INEVITABLE' PATH FOR HACKERS TO ATTACK HOME PCS
Digital security experts warn that smart TVs provide cybercriminals a new way to sneak into your home computer and steal sensitive personal information. Manufacturers are well aware of the problem and say they are doing things to improve security.
 
IRS TO USE PRIVATE DEBT COLLECTORS - CRITICS SAY THAT'S A REALLY BAD IDEA
Congress decided the IRS should outsource the work, even though the agency expressed serious concerns about using private bill collectors. The tax collection provision was included in the new highway funding bill that took effect in December. Critics are not persuaded, noting among other things that the IRS has tried using private debt collectors twice before with limited success.
 
CRITICS SAY KEYLESS IGNITION SYSTEMS ARE FATALLY FLAWED
With push-button ignition systems, you can leave the vehicle, key fob in hand, and forget to turn off the engine. If the car is parked in an attached garage, carbon monoxide can seep into the home. Safety advocates blame push-button ignition systems for at least 18 deaths and many more injuries, and they want automakers to add an auto shut-off feature to these vehicles.
 
NEED TO RETURN AN UGLY SWEATER? HERE'S WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU DO
We all get holiday gifts that don't quite hit the mark. Most stores have fairly lenient return policies this time of year, but they can also be complicated. Returning these unwanted items will be a lot easier if you follow a few simple rules.
 
NEW WEB TOOL PROMISES 'AMAZON PRICES' AT LOCAL STORES
PriceLocal is designed for people who shop online, but want or need that item now - and those who simply prefer to buy locally to support businesses in their community. It’s also offers brick-and-mortar stores to compete against the online giant.
 
NEW FEDERAL RULES TARGET TELEMARKETING FRAUDSTERS
It just got a lot easier to spot telephone fraud and hang up on the crooks before they steal your money. The Federal Trade Commission has banned three most popular payment methods used by telephone scammers.
2015 'NAUGHTY & NICE' LIST FROM CONSUMER REPORTS
Every year at this time, the editors at Consumer Reports give a shout out to companies whose policies, practices or behaviors help consumers and a thumbs down to those that don’t. Who made the 2015 list?
DERIVATIVE TVS: BLACK FRIDAY DEAL OR A MARKETING SCAM?
Shoppers expect to find big savings on electronics – especially TV sets – on Black Friday, but price doesn’t tell the whole story. Are you getting a great deal on a high-quality model or a good price on a low-end set made just for that doorbuster deal?
'HELL NO BARBIE' SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN TARGETS TALKING DOLL
Consumer advocates are urging parents not to buy Mattel's new talking Hello Barbie doll – the first Internet-connected doll that can carry on a seemingly real conversation by recording what the child says and sending it via Wi-Fi to the cloud. They contend its artificial intelligence capabilities pose a threat to children's privacy.
ID THIEVES USE SWITCH TO 'CHIP' CREDIT CARDS AS FRESH SCAM BAIT
Confusion over the switchover to new chip-enabled credit and debit cards – and delays in getting those cards into the hands of consumers create a golden opportunity for identity thieves to steal your personal information.
NEW RULES FOR CAMPUS BANKING CRACK DOWN ON HIGH-FEE CARDS
It's easy to make a mistake when you make a hotel reservation online. In fact, scammers and dishonest businesses are counting on it. Book your room with one of these rogue sites and it could be a very costly mistake.
HOTEL BOOKING SCAMS HIT MILLIONS OF TRAVELERS
It's easy to make a mistake when you make a hotel reservation online. In fact, scammers and dishonest businesses are counting on it. Book your room with one of these rogue sites and it could be a very costly mistake.
FTC SUES COMPANY FOR TRYING TO SILENCE UNHAPPY CUSTOMERS
The feds say the non-disparagement clause used by a Florida company to prevent the posting of negative comments or complaints to the Better Business Bureau about its weight loss products is an illegal and unfair practice.
MOST PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN WEBSITES FAIL PRIVACY TESTS
A study by the Online Trust Alliance finds that most of these websites get a failing grade for their privacy policies. Some don’t even have one and a few campaigns retain the right to sell any personal information provided by supporters.
SATISFACTION WITH ALL TYPES OF PCS DECLINES FOR THIRD YEAR IN A ROW
Most of us couldn't imagine living without our personal computing devices, but we're no longer wowed by this powerful technology. And the honeymoon with tablets is definitely over.
COLLEGE-BRANDED CHECKING ACCOUNTS MAY NOT BE THE BEST FOR SOME STUDENTS
Every college student needs a checking account and debit card, but the one promoted by your school may not be the best choice. The only way to know is to comparison shop – paying special attention to fees.
HOW TO STOP YOUR KID'S SCHOOL FROM SHARING THEIR PERSONAL INFO?
Surprise! Schools can give out a lot of highly-sensitive information about your kids, such as age, address, email and photo, to anyone – including data brokers and marketers – without your permission. There is a way to limit what’s shared.
STUDENTS TURN TO CROWDFUNDING TO HELP PAY FOR COLLEGE TUITION
When the desire to go to college exceeds your ability to pay for it, you need to get creative. For a growing number of students, that means asking others for help through sites like GoFundMe.
DISSATISFACTION WITH NEW AUTO PURCHASES CONTINUES TO GROW
High prices and constant recalls are taking a toll on buyer satisfaction, according to the new American Customer Satisfaction Index report. Overall owner satisfaction is now at its lowest level since 2004. Only two of 27 brands went up
 
WHY YOU PAY SO MUCH TO RENT THAT CABLE TV BOX
The nation’s cable, satellite and fiber TV services can charge hefty fees for their set-top boxes because there is virtually no competition in the marketplace. The average pay-TV customer now spends an average of more than $231 a year to rent their box.
SURVEY: MANY INTERNET USERS UNAWARE OF WI-FI SECURITY RISKS
Free Wi-Fi hotspots are a convenient way to stay connected, but many people are willing to trade convenience for security and are opening themselves up to identity theft, according g to a new survey by AARP.
STUDY: SATISFACTION WITH SOCIAL MEDIA SITES GROWS
Social media sites are wildly popular - even though using them often isn't satisfying. The big names in social media have been working to improve the experience and it appears to be working.
 
WATCH OUT FOR FAKE HOTEL BOOKING SITES
It's easy to make a mistake when you make a hotel reservation online. In fact, scammers and dishonest businesses are counting on it. Book your room with one of these rogue sites and it could be a costly mistake.
MILITARY FAMILIES OFTEN PAY A FINANCIAL PRICE FOR THEIR SERVICE
A new survey finds that military families tend to carry more debt and have significantly fewer tangible assets than civilians. Help is available for those struggling with their finances.
INTEREST RATE REDUCTION SCAM TYPICALLY STARTS WITH ROBOCALL
This scam, which has been around for years, typically starts with a robocall – often from “Rachel” or someone else at Card Member Services. Don’t believe their lies. They cannot dramatically lower the rates on your credit cards. Hang up!
NEW RESTAURANT SURVEY: SATISFACTION WITH FAST FOOD DROPS
Americans are growing increasingly tired of fast food. As the economy improves, more people are choosing quality over price when they dine out. And the top-rated restaurants are…
GOT A NEW PLENTI REWARDS CARD? BETTER CHECK THE FINE PRINT
This new card from American Express lets you earn loyalty points from hundreds of stores and bank them in one place. But there's a big catch: Right now you can only use Plenti points at four of those retailers.
FEDS ASK FACEBOOK, GOOGLE & OTHERS TO HELP STOP STUDENT LOAN SCAMS
Scammers who target Americans struggling to pay back student loans often find victims online. Now the federal government is asking Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo for help.
 
WHY YOU CAN'T GET OFF THE HOOK FOR YOUR KID'S STUDENT LOAN
It's relatively easy to cosign a private student loan for a child or other family member, but getting off the hook is another matter. Most requests to get a co-signer release are rejected.
FED GIVES PHONE COMPANIES OKAY TO BLOCK ROBOCALLS, BUT WILL THEY?
The FCC says it is legal for phone carriers to block those annoying and illegal robocalls - as well as unwanted spam text messages. Now that they have the green light, will the phone companies provide the screening services their customers want?
 
PHONE SCAMMERS TRICK SALES REPS INTO GIVING OUT YOUR PERSONAL INFO
Criminals are targeting corporate call centers across the U.S. They’re trying to steal money, merchandise or personally identifiable information that gives them access to your accounts.
FTC CRACKS DOWN ON DECEPTIVE DEBT COLLECTION TEXTS
Debt collectors are allowed to contact your via text, as long as they follow all the rules. And according to the Federal Trade Commission, some collection agencies do not.
EMERGENCY DISPATCH CENTERS SLOW TO ADOPT TEXT-TO-911 TECHNOLOGY
Calling 911 may not always be the best way to report an emergency. The technology is available to text 911, but local dispatch centers must upgrade their systems to make this possible.
HOW MUCH DOES A CASH ADVANCE ON YOUR CREDIT CARD REALLY COST?
These small loans are convenient, but they come loaded with fees and a much higher interest rate than average, according to a new survey by CreditCards.com.
'FAKE' SALES TRICK CUSTOMERS AT MAJOR STORES, STUDY SAYS
Is that sale really a sale? Checkbook.org comparison shopped for 44 weeks to find out. Their survey shows that at some stores the discounted price may really be the everyday price.
SURVEY: ISPs & CABLE COMPANIES DISAPPOINT CONSUMERS
We pay a lot of money each month for the digital utilities that power our lives, but we're not too happy with the service we get, according to the new American Customer Satisfaction Index survey.
 
INSURERS BLASTED FOR NOT GIVING LOW-MILEAGE DISCOUNTS
A national consumer group says people who drive less aren't getting the price breaks they deserve from most of the big auto insurance companies. And this, they claim hurts seniors and low-income drivers.
FEDS ACCUSE PAYPAL OF DECEPTIVE ADVERTISING
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau alleges PayPal illegally signed up customers for its online credit service PayPal Credit (formerly known as Bill Me Later). The company agreed to pay $25 million in fines and refunds.
FEDS TARGET 'TROUBLING PRACTICES' IN COLLEGE DEBIT CARD MARKET
The U.S. Department of Education plans to regulate the growing use of debit cards by the nation's colleges and universities. Critics say these campus cards often have with a variety of steep fees.
FEDS LAUNCH INQUIRY INTO STUDENT LOAN DEBT
More than 40 million Americans are paying off their student loans. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has started an inquiry into student debt stress to find out if loan servicing companies make the situation worse.
BANKS HAVE ROOM TO IMPROVE CHECKING ACCOUNT FEE DISCLOSURES
While many banks are doing a better job of disclosing account fees, terms and conditions, a new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts finds that these documents are often extremely long and unintelligible.
NEW REPORT: THE RISK OF MEDICAL IDENTITY THEFT GROWS
A surge in data breaches and criminal attacks is exposing millions of patients' medical records, according to a new study. The problem is getting worse, but the healthcare industry is not prepared to deal with it.
WE'LL SPEND MORE ON MOM THIS MOTHER'S DAY
Mothers across the country can expect to get a greeting card, a nice brunch and some special gifts on Sunday.
WHY HAS MOBILE BANKING GROWTH STALLED?
Those who don’t bank this way often cite security concerns, such as data interception, phone hacking or what might happen if the phone is lost or stolen.
MILLIONS OF CELL PHONES TRACKED WITH NO WAY TO OPT-OUT
The FTC alleges a retail tracking company violated their privacy policy. The company promised that it would always allow consumers to opt-out of being tracked at any retailer using its technology, but the FTC complaint says that wasn’t done.
THE NEWEST SCAM? IMPERSONATING THE FTC
These fake letters, often made to look legit, tell people the FTC can help them claim millions of dollars in lost prize money, if they pay the upfront fee.
GAS GRILL FAILS CONSUMER REPORTS SAFETY TEST
Consumer Reports generally likes Brinkmann gas grills, but the magazine's recent tests found a potential safety problem with a small Brinkmann model sold at The Home Depot, Albertson's and Hy-Vee stores.
 
AIRLINE & HOTEL SATISFACTION RATINGS
The airline industry is doing a slightly better job of making customers happy, although it’s nothing to get overly-excited about.

DISCOVER CARD GETS ON/OFF SWITCH
Discover’s New “Freeze It” security feature allows cardholders to temporarily turn off their card if they misplace it via mobile app, the web or by phone.

TAX IMPOSTER SCAM WORSE THAN EVER
These telephone scammers pose as IRS agents. They say you owe back taxes and they demand immediate payment or face arrest. Millions have received the calls; thousands have already become victims.

CYBERCRIMINALS HAD BANNER YEAR IN 2014

A new report from Symantec finds that cybercrime is on the rise – data breaches were up 23 percent – and hackers are finding new ways to attack us.

CRITICS SAY STUDENT CHECKING ACCOUNTS OFFER FEW BENEFITS
Consumer advocates want colleges and universities to do a better job of protecting their students when it comes to partnering with banks to provide on-campus checking.

MANY AMERICANS ARE CLUELESS ABOUT THEIR PERSONAL FINANCES
A new survey finds that what people claim to know about financial literacy is not in alignment with their actions. Many adults are overly-confident in their ability to make smart financial decisions.

THE BEST SUPERMARKETS IN AMERICA
Consumer Reports annual survey finds that many well-known chains don’t give shoppers what they want: high-quality fruits and vegetables, as well as fresh meat/poultry and store-made meals.

WARNING: IMPOSTER SCAMS ARE ON THE RISE
For some crooks, every day is April Fools’ Day. Pretending to be someone else – an IRS agent, cop or legitimate debt collector – are all part of the con. Here’s how to fight back.

FEDS PLAN PAYDAY LOAN 'DEBT TRAP' CRACKDOWN
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants to see more protections for low-income borrowers who rely on payday and other small-dollar loans. All too often these loans are made to people who cannot repay them.


AUTO TITLE LOANS WORSE THAN PAYDAY LOANS
A new report finds that title loans tend to be a more costly way and more risky. If you fall behind in your payments, you could have your vehicle repossessed.
 

INMATES CHARGED A FEE AFTER THEY LEAVE JAIL
Prisoners are often owed money when they're released from custody. In many cases, they're now handed a prepaid debit card that has steep fees attached.
 

A CONTEST YOU CAN BANK ON WINNING
It’s a relatively new concept called prized-linked savings. Your ticket to play is a small deposit. These contests are also available for people who save some of their tax refund.
 

LAWMAKERS TAKE AIM AT BRIGHTLY COLORED LAUNDRY PACKETS
An alarming number of kids are getting their hands on these brightly colored, but toxic little detergent packets and the consequences are often very serious. A bill in Congress would require safer packaging.
 


FED CLAIMS CRUISE LINE MADE 'BILLIONS' OF ILLEGAL ROBOCALLS

These robocalls calls generated millions of dollars for the cruise line. They were disguised as political surveys in violation of the federal Telemarketing Sales Rule, according to the lawsuit.
 

NEARLY 13 MILLION AMERICANS WERE ID THEFT VICTIMS IN 2014
A new survey shows that identity theft remains a serious problem in this country. Some slight progress is being made, but the criminals are still winning all too often.
 

10 SIMPLE TIPS TO AVOID GETTING SCAMMED

Fraudsters are clever and sneaky. They work around the clock to steal your money and personal info. Here are some simple ways to fight back.
 

CUSTOMERS COMPLAIN ABOUT GRAHAM CRACKERS WITH STINKY SMELL
Why do some Honey Maid Graham Crackers smell and taste funny? Dozens of people across the country have posted complaints online.
 

FTC TARGETS APPS THAT CLAIM TO DETECT MELANOMA
There’s an app for everything these days, but don’t bet your life on one that claims it can detect cancer.
 

IT'S A GOOD TIME TO BUY A NEW CAR

Inte
rest rates for both new and used car loans are the lowest they've been for several years. A new survey finds that where you shop for that loan can make a big difference in what you'll pay.
 

MILLIONS OF CHILDREN EXPOSED TO ID THEFT THROUGH ANTHEM BREACH

There are things that parents should do to protect their children from this serious and growing crime. Learn how to spot the red flags that your child's identity is at risk.
 

AMERICANS FEELING LESS SATISFIED WITH SHOPPING EXPERIENCE
Higher prices for non-discretionary purchase are making some shoppers grumpy. A new survey finds America’s favorite retailers.
 

A WAVE OF FAKE FEDERAL AND STATE TAX RETURNS ARE BEING FILED
The crooks use stolen user names and passwords to gain access to the accounts of people who've done their taxes with online preparation software in the past.
 

VALENTINE'S DAY GIFTS: MEN VS. WOMEN
The most romantic day of the year means different things to men and women.
 

WHEN WILL AIRLINE TICKET PRICES FALL?
Consumer advocates blast the nation's airlines for not reducing fares to reflect the dramatically lower price of fuel.
 

HAPPY DATA PRIVACY DAY! NOW LOCK YOUR CELL PHONES
That smartphone is loaded with data that a crook would love to access if they steal your it.
A simple password and some free software can keep them out.
 

FEDERAL AGENCIES RATED LOW ON CUSTOMER SERVICE
Budget cuts and downsized workforces have resulted in longer wait times and a general lack of helpfulness and courtesy – and taxpayers aren’t happy with that.
 

SPORTS FANS DAMAGE A LOT OF CELL PHONES
The excitement of the game, plus beer, dip and toilets can results in tens of millions of dollars in repair bills every year.

AMERICA'S FAVORITE FASHION RETAILER?
Nordstrom comes out on top again this year. The Seattle-based retailer gets high markets for merchandise and service.

INTUIT APOLOGIZES ABOUT DOWNSIZED TURBOTAX DELUXE
The company is also offering a $25 rebate to customers who had to spend more to upgrade to a different version.

PHONE COMPANIES BEING PUSHED TO BLOCK ROBOCALLS

Everyone hates these calls. So why aren’t the phone companies doing more to help block them?

WANT ROBOCALLS FROM YOUR BANK ON YOUR MOBILE DEVICE?
The nation’s bankers want the FCC to change the rules, so they can make robocalls to your cellphone. Consumer groups are up in arms.

MILITARY LENDING ACT 'LOOPHOLES' ARE COSTING TROOPS MONEY
The Department of Defense has proposed regulations that it believes will protect military families from predatory lenders.

SELLING YOUR OLD PHONE OR COMPUTER ONLINE?
Watch out for potential pitfalls of selling old electronic devices this way. Some customers who’ve tried this are greatly dissatisfied.

INTUIT GETS SLAMMED FOR CHANGES IN TURBOTAX DELUXE

Intuit changed the desktop version of its best-selling TurboTax Deluxe and hundreds of past customers are responding with negative reviews.

IS THIS THE RIGHT TIME TO BUY A NEW CAR?
Do you say “yes” you’re offered a big discount on that purchase if you apply for the store’s credit card on the spot? Sometimes it makes sense - but not always.


HOLIDAY RETURN FRAUD WILL COST RETAILERS BILLIONS
Some of this fraud is committed by criminal gangs, but it’s also done by a lot of other people who try to get unwarranted cash or store credit.


MANY HAPPY RETURNS
Some major retailers are being a bit more generous with their holiday return policies this year, but you still need to know the rules.

DEBT COLLECTORS HOUND GRANDMA AND GRANDPA

Faced with a fixed income and constantly rising cost of living, many seniors now spend their "golden years" juggling bills and fending off debt collectors.

AMERICANS DROWNING IN UNCOLLECTED MEDICAL DEBT
Medical debt is hurting the creditworthiness of 43 million Americans and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says more needs to be done to protect people them.

'BUY NOW, PAY LATER' INTEREST DEALS CAN BE COSTLY
There are many ways these deferred interest plans can come back to bite you, especially if you don’t understand how they work.

PROS AND CONS OF STORE CREDIT CARDS
Do you say “yes” you’re offered a big discount on that purchase if you apply for the store’s credit card on the spot? Sometimes it makes sense - but not always.


SHOULD WE EXPECT ANOTHER HOLIDAY DATA BREACH?
What have retailers done since the Target breach a year ago to protect your credit and debit card information? Experts say it's not as much as you might assume.

 


HOLIDAY PRICE-MATCHING OFFERS
Retailers are boasting about their improved price-matching offers this holiday season, but are they mostly a marketing gimmick?

 


GUESS WHO SPENDS MORE ON IMPULSE PURCHASES?
We all do it, but a new survey finds a definite divide between male and female. Age and education also plays a role.

 


2014 'NAUGHTY & NICE' LIST FROM CONSUMER REPORTS
The editors have released their annual list of companies that deserve cheers and jeers for the way they treat their customers. Which companies made it this year?

 



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