WHY AM I GETTING EMAIL MESSAGES IN MY TEXT FOLDER? - Cybercriminals are now sending their emails via text messaging to circumvent spam filters. They’re also hoping this different format will make catch your eye and get you to respond.
Consumerpedia, Episode 47: GUIDE TO BUYING NEW WINDOWS - Window companies generate numerous complaints about high-pressure sales tactics and substandard installation. In this episode, how to cut through the marketing hype, decide which type of windows to buy, and find a reliable contractor.
NEW LAW TARGETS ONLINE SALE OF STOLEN AND COUNTERFEIT MERCHANDISE - The bipartisan INFORM Consumers Act (Integrity, Notification and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces), which took effect in June, should make it harder for crooks to sell stolen or counterfeit items—and make it more difficult for online marketplaces to ignore the growing problem.
HEALTH TRACKING APPS AND OTHER TECH MIGHT BE INVADING YOUR PRIVACY - Wearable devices and medical websites collect highly personal information. In most cases, they can share and sell the info they collect to data brokers or other companies to use for targeted marketing or other purposes. Here’s how to protect yourself.
AMAZON RAISES MINIMUM PURCHASE FOR FREE SHIPPING IN SOME ZIP CODES - How much do you need to order from Amazon, if you’re not a Prime member, to get free shipping? It now depends on where you live.
BOYCOTT STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS? EXPERTS SAY THAT'S A BAD IDEA - The resumption of federal student loan payments, which begins in October, will be a financial stretch for many borrowers. Some are looking for a way to push back. Experts say a boycott is a bad idea.
FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN PAYMENT PAUSE ENDS AUG. 31 - After more than three years, the pause on federal student loan payments ends on August 31. Here’s how to prepare for the restart. Plus, the options available for those who can’t afford to make payments.
Consumerpedia, Episode 45: Why Good Companies Treat Customers Poorly - Even “reputable” businesses treat consumers unfairly, often by using new technologies. In this episode, we discuss how many companies prioritize profits ahead of their customers—and what you can do to fight back.
FAKE CHATGPT APPS COMMONPLACE IN APP STORES - App stores are flooded with bogus versions of ChatGPT, the popular new artificial intelligence tool. Here’s how to make sure you download the real one.
Consumerpedia, Episode 44: REPAIR OR REPLACE THAT BROKEN APPLIANCE? - Tips on how to decide whether to fix what you have or buy something new. Also, advice on how to avoid the misleading sales hype to get a real deal when you do go shopping.

FRAUD ALERT: IRS REFUND LETTER IS BOGUS - While the IRS does contact taxpayers by mail, it never sends letters about refunds. Criminals impersonating the IRS are trying to steal sensitive personal information.
STAY SAFE IN THE SUN: TOP-RATED SUNSCREENS - A good sunscreen, when used properly, can dramatically reduce your skin cancer risk, and lower your chances of getting melanoma by 50%. Here are CR’s top-rated products for 2023.
Consumerpedia, Episode 43: HOW THE CFPB PROTECTS YOU - Learn about the agency’s initiatives and proposed rules in the pipeline. Also, how the CFPB is working to eliminate junk fees, and how it might be able to help if you feel cheated or deceived by a company it regulates.
EV UPDATE: MORE CHOICES, BETTER BATTERIES, BUT STILL PRICEY - The U.S. finally has a robust market for electric vehicles, with more manufacturers offering models that are stylish, roomy, and fun to drive. Unfortunately, high sticker prices remain a deal-breaker for many drivers who want to make the switch.
Consumerpedia, Episode 42: ELECTRIC VEHICLE UPDATE - Auto experts discuss the latest EV options, reliability data, battery improvements, and federal tax credits. Also why leasing an EV or buying a used model might be a smart move.
PUBLISHERS CLEARING HOUSE SETTLES FTC LAWSUIT ABOUT ITS POPULAR SWEEPSTAKES - Publishers Clearing House will change its online business practices and refund $18.5 million dollars to customers who "spent money and wasted their time" entering the company’s sweepstakes.
FTC ACCUSES AMAZON OF TRICKING MILLIONS INTO JOINING PRIME - In its lawsuit against Amazon, the Federal Trade Commission claims the company enrolled customers into its Prime program without their consent—and then making it difficult for them to cancel.
FRAUD ALERT: TICKET SCAMS ARE SKYROCKETING - If you’re determined to get tickets to a sold-out concert or sporting event – no matter what – you might jump at any offer that comes along. Scammers are counting on that desperation to steal your money.
Consumerpedia, Episode 41: HOTEL INTEL: FINDING THE BEST RATES - Consumers’ Checkbook did nearly 2,000 searches looking for the best hotel rates. Find what our researchers discovered when shopping for hotel rooms. How do you get an honest-to-goodness lower price?
AMAZON AND MICROSOFT CHARGED WITH VIOLATING CHILDREN'S PRIVACY LAW - The Federal Trade Commission is putting tech companies on notice that it plans to go after them if they violate federal rules protecting children’s privacy, as it claims Amazon and Microsoft did.
Consumerpedia, Episode 40 - INSURING YOUR HOME - How much insurance coverage do you really need, how do insurance companies set their rates, and why it’s so important to shop around for new coverage every few years.
WHAT THE AIRLINES MUST DO IF YOUR FLIGHT IS CANCELED OR DELAYED - In the U.S., if your flight is delayed or canceled, the airlines aren’t required to do much for you. But it’s important to know your rights—however limited—if an airline strands you, delays you for hours, or loses your luggage.
AMERICANS ARE KEEPING THEIR CARS LONGER THAN EVER - Unable to get decent deals on new vehicles, or find used ones they can afford, millions of motorists are keeping their cars longer. Need help finding a good mechanic?
Consumerpedia, Episode 39: GOT A GRIPE? - Companies always say their top priority is customer service, but all too often they fall short of that goal. What bugs you as a consumer? Here are a few to consider.
FCC ORDERS PHONE COMPANIES TO BLOCK SOME ILLEGAL ROBOTEXTS - After years of focusing on illegal robocalls, the Federal Communications Commission is trying to stop the flood of spam robotexts with new rules that should take effect next year.
DON'T LET PASSPORT PROBLEMS WRECK YOUR FOREIGN TRIP - If you’re planning a trip outside the U.S. this summer and don’t already have a valid passport - or have one that will expire soon—you may have a problem. The current passport processing time is 10 to 13 weeks.
Consumerpedia, Episode 38: TRAVEL TIPS FROM A TRAVEL EXPERT - Syndicated travel writer Christopher Elliott loves to travel – and makes his living doing it. We caught up with him in New Zealand for an episode filled with great advice.
WHY CAR PRICES - BOTH NEW AND USED - KEEP GOING UP - With inventory abnormally low, prices historically high, and interest rates continuing to go up, it’s harder for many Americans to afford a new set of wheels. Are things going to get better?
Consumerpedia, Episode 37: WHY YOU SHOULDN'T BUY A HOME WARRANTY - Home warranty companies promise to save you thousands of dollars if you need an expensive repair. But Checkbook found these plans are terrible deals for most homeowners, filled with fine-print exclusions that can create major headaches.
COMPANY ACCUSED OF 'UNFAIRLY THWARTING' CONSUMERS' CREDIT CARD CHARGE DISPUTES - The Federal Trade Commission and Florida AG claim Chargebacks911, a chargeback mitigation company, helped scammers stay in business and defeat chargeback attempts by victims hit with fraudulent charges.
IRS MAKES SIGNIFICANT INFLATION ADJUSTMENTS FOR TAX YEAR 2023 - With this year’s tax filing season in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to look at the major changes that will impact your 2023 federal tax return: The standard deduction is larger, and the thresholds for tax brackets were adjusted.
FTC RULE WOULD MAKE IT EASIER TO CANCEL UNWANTED SUBSCRIPTIONS - Thousands of consumers complain to the FTC each year about problems cancelling subscriptions. The FTC has just proposed a rule that would require companies to provide a “click to cancel” option, making it easier to end unwanted subscriptions.
Consumerpedia, Episode 36: SALES TACTICS DESIGNED TO DECEIVE - Some companies try to boost business by doing things that are meant to mislead and manipulate customers. The FTC is cracking down on these illegal “dark patterns,” but you need to know what to look for to protect yourself.
SOME AIRLINES FINALLY OFFER FREE 'KID-FRIENDLY' SEATING - One of the biggest challenges when flying with children is trying to book adjacent seats. Some major U.S. airlines now guarantee family seating—if possible—at no additional cost. Consumer advocates say more needs to be done..
Consumerpedia, Episode 35: AGING IN PLACE - Most Americans want to stay in their house as they grow older. Learn what’s important when remodeling/retrofitting your house, as well as other options available in some communities.
CHECK WASHING MAKES A COMEBACK - HERE'S HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF - Check washing has been around for decades, but it’s made a comeback in the last few years. Victims report losses ranging from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars. As mail thefts increase, you need to do a few things to foil the thieves.
EXPERT ADVICE: 7 TIPS TO HELP YOU BE A BETTER CONSUMER - To celebrate National Consumer Protection Week Checkbook asked five experts to share some of their wisdom. Their advice will help you be a better consumer all year long.
FTC WARNS DOCTORS: PROVIDE FREE PRESCRIPTIONS, AS REQUIRED BY LAW - In late February, the FTC sent cease and desist letters to 24 eye care prescribers warning them that, based on customer complaints, they appear to have violated the Contact Lens Rule, and in some cases, the Eyeglass Rule. Prescribers found to be violating these rules steep financial penalties.
Consumerpedia, Episode 33: PROS & CONS OF USAGE-BASED AUTO INSURANCE - Thinking about giving up your privacy to save on auto insurance? Here are some things to think about before you decide to let the insurance company track where, when and how you drive in order to save some money.
SHOULD YOU GIVE UP YOUR PRIVACY TO SAVE ON AUTO INSURANCE? - Many auto insurance companies offer to reduce customers’ premiums by as much as 30 or 40 percent if they allow their insurer to monitor how, when, and where they drive, with little oversight on how they can use the data.
FTC CHARGES GOODRX WITH ILLEGALLY DISCLOSING USERS' HEALTH INFORMATION - Millions of Americans have saved money on their prescription drugs by using coupons from GoodRx. But at what cost? Federal regulators have accused the discount drug provider sharing users’ health information with other companies without permission.
Consumerpedia, Episode 32: PROS & CONS OF GROCERY DELIVERY SERVICES - Should you let someone else do your grocery shopping. How much do prices vary? Which services rate the best? Plus, how to get the best prices should you decide to shop this way.
PROPOSED RULE WOULD CURB EXCESSIVE CREDIT CARD LATE FEES - The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has proposed a rule that would cap ever-increasing credit card late fees at $8 each and require financial institutions to justify any future price hikes. The move would save American consumers $9 billion a year.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM IDENTITY THEFT AND CYBER FRAUD - Hackers across the globe are breaking into corporate databases and stealing record amounts of personal information that can be used to commit identity theft. Here’s how you can fight back.
MOST DATA BREACH NOTICES LACK DETAILS VICTIMS NEED TO PROTECT THEMSELVES - You probably received a data breach notice last year—possibly more than one. Unfortunately, only 34% of those breach notices included specific details about what was obtained from attacks, critical information victims needed to protect themselves.
FEDERAL REGULATORS CRACK DOWN ON UNLAWFUL HIDDEN 'JUNK' FEES - Many companies use hidden fees to make more money without having to increase their advertised prices. These junk fees cost consumers tens of billions of dollars each year, make comparison shopping difficult, and leave consumers feeling powerless and cheated.
Consumerpedia, Episode 31: BUYER BEWARE - WATCH OUT FOR THESE COMMON TRICKS & TRAPS - Anyone, even a savvy consumer, can get swindled by professional con artists. The best way to fight back is to understand the tricks the fraudsters use to manipulate you. In this episode of the Consumerpedia podcast, we’ll talk to Sam Levine from the Federal Trade Commission.
TAX SEASON IS UNDERWAY: HERE IS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW - Millions of Americans will be disappointed to learn that they’ll get less money back than last year—or even owe money—as they prepare their federal tax returns for 2022.
AVOID GETTING STUCK WITH A FLOOD-DAMAGED USED CAR - Buy a used vehicle that’s been inundated by flood waters, and you’re going to have problems down the road—no matter how nice it looks. Here’s how to protect yourself from getting stuck with a waterlogged lemon.
FRAUD ALERT: CUSTOMER SERVICE IMPOSTER SCAMS - To gain your confidence, con artists lie about who they are. They impersonate debt collectors, bankers, and IRS agents. These days, they’re also finding it lucrative to pose as customer service agents. Here’s how to protect yourself.
Consumerpedia, Episode 30: FINDING GOOD HVAC CONTRACTORS & EQUIPMENT - Keeping your house comfortable requires a properly installed and maintained HVAC system. When it breaks, you want a repair company you can trust to do quality work at a fair price. In this episode, things you should do before having your HVAC system serviced or new equipment installed. We’ll also answer the question: Is it time to consider getting a heat pump?
PASSENGERS HAVE LIMITED RIGHTS WHEN FLIGHTS ARE DELAYED OR CANCELLED - In the U.S., if your flight is delayed or canceled, or your baggage gets lost or damaged, airlines aren’t required to do much for you. But it’s important to know your rights—however limited—if an airline strands you, delays you for hours, or loses your stuff.
Consumerpedia, Episode 29: HOME SECURITY: INSTALLERS, EQUIPMENT & DIY - It seems like every big company now sells home security services and equipment. But does any of this tech do any good? In this episode, the pros and cons of professional systems vs. inexpensive DIY options.
ARE THOSE SMART TOYS SPYING ON YOUR KIDS? - Smart toys are cool. But toys equipped with microphones, cameras, or sensors create all sorts of privacy and security issues. Here's what parents need to know.
Consumerpedia, Episode 28: BEING A BETTER CONSUMER OF SOCIAL MEDIA - Social media was designed to bring us together, but it doesn’t always work that way. In this episode of Consumerpedia, I talk to Emmy-award winning sportscaster and journalist Bob Costas about how to become a better consumer of social media.
STUDY: SOME RECALLED TOYS ARE STILL BEING SOLD ONLINE - Recalled products are not allowed to be sold, but a recent study found that some new toys that had been recalled due to known safety hazards were still being sold online.
WATCH OUT: MORE ONLINE RETAILERS CHARGE RETURN FEES - Better check the return policy before buying online. A growing number of retailers are charging shipping fees that they deduct from the refund amount.
Consumerpedia, Episode 27: CHECKBOOK’S TOP HOLIDAY SHOPPING TIPS - The holiday shopping season is in full swing—and you need a plan. The super shoppers at Checkbook.org are here to help with various ways to find the deals and save the most money.
WHY STUDENT LOAN REPAYMENT PAUSE WAS EXTENDED YET AGAIN - After a federal appeals court stopped the Biden administration’s plan to forgive student loan debt for millions of Americans, the Dept. of Education extended the payment pause until the end of June 2023.
HOW BUY NOW, PAY LATER CAN QUICKLY BECOME A DEBT TRAP - These point-of-sale loans may seem like a responsible way to pay, but they can result in costly fees and damaged credit. Complaints about late fees, unexpected withdrawals from bank accounts, and problems returning merchandise are on the rise.
CONSUMER ADVOCATES URGE SUPERMARKETS TO STOP DIGITAL DISCOUNT DISCRIMINATION - A coalition of consumer advocates is urging supermarkets to create workarounds for “digital-only” discounts that they say “discriminate” against millions of seniors and lower-income shoppers who are not connected or tech savvy.
Consumerpedia, Episode 26: SALE PRICES ARE RARELY REAL DEALS - Consumers’ Checkbook’s researchers spent 33 weeks tracking sale prices at 25 major retailers and found that most stores’ discount claims aren’t really discounts at all.
DOT FINES 6 AIRLINES AND ORDERS THEM TO REFUND $600 MILLION TO STRANDED PASSENGERS - The U.S. Department of Transportation has ordered six airlines to pay $600 million in refunds to passengers who had their flights canceled or significantly delayed during the pandemic. Only one of the six, Frontier, is a U.S. airline.
CAN YOU TRUST ONLINE REVIEWS FOR WARRANTY COMPANIES? - ConsumerWorld.org found something curious when it looked into online reviews for one of the largest home warranty companies. Ratings were significantly higher on websites that were paid a commission for sales generated from their site.
DEALING WITH DEBT: THE SMART WAY TO GET YOUR FINANCES BACK IN ORDER - Credit card debt is on the rise, and many people are falling deeper in debt. Help is available! But watch out for the scammers who promise debt relief, and only make your situation worse.
Consumerpedia, Episode 25: DEALING WITH DEBT - Many Americans are making ends meet by piling up record amounts of credit card debt. A trained credit counselor can help you pay down that debt, even if it seems insurmountable, and learn how to have a successful financial future.
FTC MAY REQUIRE FUNERAL HOMES TO DISCLOSE PRICES ON THEIR WEBSITES - The FTC is updating its Funeral Rule, first enacted in 1984. One proposed change: Require funeral homes to display their price information online and by other electronic means, such as text and email.
Consumerpedia, Episode 24: HOW TO FIND A GOOD AUTO BODY SHOP - Learn about the collision repair process from the estimate to the guarantee, and the differences between the three types of parts that might be used. Also, how to deal with the insurance company—especially if the shop wants to do one thing and they want to do something else.
COURT RULING PUTS TEMPORARY HOLD ON STUDENT LOAN FORGIVENESS PROGRAM - A federal appeals court has temporarily stopped President Biden’s federal student loan debt relief program. The White House encourages borrowers to continue applying for relief.
STOP THIEF! PROTECT YOURSELF FROM IDENTITY THEFT - Here's a webinar I did for BECU. It provides specific steps you can take to fight back against ID Theft. There are things you can do.
UPDATE: BANKS OFTEN REFUSE TO HELP CUSTOMERS WHO GET SCAMMED USING ZELLE - Use a payment platform provided by your bank or credit union, and you probably assume your financial institution will be there to help if there's a problem. Don't count on it. Customers tricked into sending money to scammers via Zelle are learning that lesson the hard way.
Consumerpedia, Episode 23: FREQUENTLY FRUSTRATED FLYERS - Long-time consumer advocate Bill McGee talks about this country’s broken airline system and how the US Dept of Transportation has failed to create consumer-friendly rules to protect the flying public.
PROPOSED RULE WOULD REQUIRE AIRLINES TO DISCLOSE THE 'TRUE COST' OF TICKETS - The U.S. Department of Transportation is considering a rule that would make it easier for consumers to see the true cost of flying—airfare, plus any fees—when booking trips. The rule would help provide customers with the information they need to choose the best deals upfront, the first time airfares are displayed.
Consumerpedia, Episode 22: HOW TO FIND A TOP DOC - Learn how to find good doctors, how to take charge of your medical care, and what Checkbook has learned by analyzing data on tens of thousands of doctors across the country.
CONSUMER ADVOCATES WANT DOT TO FIX OUR BROKEN AIRLINE SYSTEM - Consumer advocates say U.S. airlines are failing their customers by putting profits ahead of realistic schedules – resulting is too many cancelations and long delays. They believe more could and should be done to protect passengers.
Consumerpedia, Episode 21: AUTO GLASS CLASS - No matter how big or small the job, you if you have a damaged cad windshield, you want the work done quickly and for a fair price. Here’s how to choose a good shop, and how to deal with the insurance company.
FRAUD ALERT: SCAMMERS USING HACKED FACEBOOK ACCOUNTS - Con artists are now using social media to breathe new life into the old government grant scam. Many victims, who think they’ve been contacted by a friend or family member, report losing thousands of dollars.
DEADLINE IS AUG. 31 FOR SCAM VICTIMS TO APPLY FOR REFUNDS FROM WESTERN UNION - Western Union has agreed to return $586 million to consumers who used its money transfer service to wire money to criminals from 2004 through 2017. To get your share of the money, you must file a claim by August 31. The FTC is now suing Walmart for similar alleged lack of oversight.
NEW LAW CHANGES EV TAX CREDITS: FEW MODELS WILL QUALIFY AT FIRST - The new Inflation Reduction Act provides billions of dollars in tax incentives for “clean-car” buyers, new and used. But the law includes restrictions that could make it difficult or impossible those who buy an EV to take advantage of the tax break anytime soon.
CHILD IDENTITY THEFT: ARE YOU PROTECTING YOUR KIDS? - Identity thieves don’t just victimize adults; they also target children. About 1.4 million children in the U.S. become ID fraud victims each year. Parents need to be aware of this very real threat, and take steps to protect their kids.
FTC PROPOSES NEW AD GUIDELINES TO STOP MISLEADING ENDORSEMENTS - Today’s consumers rely on endorsements. All too often, these endorsers don’t disclose that they are compensated for their praise. The FTC plans to strengthen its guidelines for traditional media, as well as social media influencers.
Consumerpedia, Episode 20: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO TRUTH IN ADVERTISING? - False or deceptive advertising costs American consumer billions of dollars a year. In this episode, we’ll explore some of the tricks advertisers use to fool us, explain why some big-name celebrities are on the group’s Wall of Shame, and provide tips on how to spot misleading ads.
GOOD NEWS: CREDIT BUREAUS CHANGE HOW THEY REPORT MEDICAL DEBT - Tens of millions of Americans have seen their creditworthiness plummet in recent years due to unpaid medical bills. That could change, now that the three major credit bureaus voluntarily decided to significantly change how they treat medical debt.
ROBOCALLS ON THE RISE: HOW YOU CAN FIGHT BACK - For years, we’ve been promised that new technology would solve the problem – but the phones keep ringing! Right now, almost one-third of all calls are robocalls.
Consumerpedia, Episode 19: ESTATE PLANNING TASKS AND TIPS - Most Americans don’t even have simple wills, and even fewer have living wills or designated healthcare surrogates. In this episode, some basic do’s and don’ts when it comes to planning what happens after you leave this world. We hope these tips will save you hassles and money – and enable you to avoid some common mistakes.
BUYING YOUR LEASED CAR COULD BE A SMART MOVE RIGHT NOW - At the end of their lease, many people turn in that old vehicle and lease another one. They like driving something new – and it doesn’t make economic sense to buy that old ride. A shortage of new and used cars has changed that economic equation, at least for now.
FORD NO LONGER ALLOWS CUSTOMERS TO BUY THEIR ELECTRIC VEHICLES AT END OF LEASE - Lease an all-electric vehicle from Ford and you no longer have the option to buy that car or truck when your agreement ends. As of June 15, Ford eliminated the purchase option for new leases on the F-150 Lightning, E-Transit Van, and Mustang Mach-E.
'INTEREST-FREE' CAR REPAIR LOANS CAN TURN OUT TO BE VERY COSTLY - Many auto repair shops work with third-party lenders to offer on-the-spot “free financing.” Unfortunately, these offers can turn out to be costly loans, with interest rates sometimes as high as nearly 200 percent.
FREE WAY TO OPT-OUT OF POPULAR PEOPLE-SEARCH WEBSITES - Discover’s “Online Privacy Protection” program makes it easy for its customers to remove their personal information from 10 popular data-collecting websites. My test drive found that it did a good job.
Consumerpedia, Episode 17: HOW TO FIND THE BEST DEALS ON AIRFARE - Rising demand for fewer seats has ticket prices soaring. Here’s how to find the best fares and avoid common problems when searching for deals. Also: When is the best time to book? Should I avoid basic economy tickets?
WHICH CREDIT CARDS OFFER THE BEST DEAL ON GAS? - One way to reduce pain at the pump is to use a rewards credit card. But which one? Does it make sense to get the card offered by a big oil company?
ZELLE SCAMS SPIKE, BANKS OFTEN REFUSE TO HELP - Use a payment platform provided by your bank or credit union, and you probably assume your financial institution will be there to help if there’s a problem. Don’t count on it. Customers tricked into sending money to scammers via Zelle are learning that lesson the hard way.
Consumerpedia, Episode 16: PLANNING AND PAYING FOR A FUNERAL - What is a funeral home required to do about price disclosure? What are the marketing tricks sometimes used to push unnecessary or high-end products? Plus, the importance of pre-planning your funeral.
Consumerpedia, Episode 15: WHY CAN'T THEY STOP THOSE #@%*! ROBOCALLS - For years, we’ve been promised that new technology would stop those annoying robocalls. But the phones keep ringing – and now, we’re being flooded with spam texts.
DRIVERS BEWARE: MOST STATES STILL ALLOW PREDATORY TOWING SCHEMES - “Predatory towing,” where towing companies pay kickbacks to private businesses or law enforcement, is banned in only 17 states, and is creating needless problems for drivers, according to a new report from the consumer advocates at the U.S. PIRG Education Fund.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR END OF STUDENT LOAN PAYMENT PAUSE - Payments are set to resume in September for the 37 million borrowers who’ve benefited from the pandemic-related pause. Here’s what to do now to get ready.
Consumerpedia, Episode 14: HOW TO BUY PLANTS & GET GOOD LAWN CARE - Even the greenest of thumbs sometimes needs help sometimes. In this episode: How to find a great lawn care service, and what to consider when hiring a landscaper. Plus, for DIYers, how big-name garden centers rate for price and quality.
IS IT TIME TO BUY AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE? - Electric vehicle sales are still a tiny part of the U.S. auto market. But surging gas prices are driving up demand, and automakers are racing to get new plug-in hybrids and all-electric models to market.
IRS HAS $1.5 BILLION IN REFUNDS FOR TAXPAYERS WHO DID NOT FILE A 2018 RETURN - Time is running out for about1.5 million people who did not file a 2018 federal income tax return. After April 18, these unclaimed refunds will become property of the U.S. Treasury Department.
Consumerpedia, Episode 13: THINKING ABOUT BUYING AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE? - Automakers are racing to provide customers with an array of new electric cars and trucks. So, what’s coming down the road, and what should you consider before buying an EV?
FRAUD ALERT: CRIMINALS PITCH BOGUS CRYPTOCURRENCY INVESTMENTS - A gold-rush mentality created by the cryptocurrency craze has people sending money to companies that promise huge returns in days or weeks without first checking them out. Often, they’re scams – cyber criminals are increasingly luring victims who hope to get rich quick.
DO I OWE THE IRS TAXES ON MY CRYPTOCURRENCY INVESTMENTS? - If you sold or exchanged any virtual currency last year – including using it to buy goods or services – and the value of that crypto was higher than when you acquired it, you likely made a taxable capital gain, subject to federal taxation.
Consumerpedia, Episode 12: HOW TO FIND THE BEST VET FOR YOUR PETS - While most vets get high marks for competency and caring, undercover shoppers at Checkbook.org found huge differences in prices for the same procedures. Also: The pros and cons of pet insurance.
ESCALATED THREAT OF CYBER ATTACK MAKES GOOD COMPUTER HYGIENE CRITICAL - Your digital devices are vulnerable to a malware attack anytime they’re connected to the internet, but the war in Ukraine has raised this risk. It is more important than ever to break bad computing habits.
WAYS TO SAVE MONEY AT THE PUMP, AND BOOST YOUR CAR'S GAS MILEAGE - Unless you can park your car and drive less, there are three ways to deal with soaring gasoline prices: Hunt for the lowest price; chose the best way to pay; and then squeeze the most miles out of every gallon you buy. Here’s how to do all three.
DATA BREACHES SKYROCKET IN 2021 - HERE'S HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF - Cyber criminals compromised 1,862 databases in the U.S. last year, so assume your personal information is “out there,” and take steps to protect yourself from identity fraud.
Consumerpedia, Episode 11: PROTECT YOURSELF FROM IDENTITY THEFT - Identity theft is a serious and growing crime – and we’re all at risk. Eva Velasquez, at the Identity Theft Resource Center, explains how criminals get your personal information, how they use it, and how to fight back.
SOCIAL MEDIA SCAMS SKYROCKET - HERE'S HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF - FRAUD ALERT: Cyber crooks are increasing their use of social media to troll for victims. About 1/4 of all fraud losses reported to the Federal Trade Commission last year resulted from scams that started with social media ads, posts, or messages.
DON'T GET LEFT BEHIND WHEN YOUR AIRLINE TRAVEL CREDITS EXPIRE - Millions of Americans who had flights canceled during the pandemic are sitting on billions of dollars in unused airline credits. The clock is ticking: Many vouchers expire soon. Unfortunately, airlines often make it complicated, if not impossible, to use them.
Consumerpedia, Episode 10: THIS MAY BE THE BEST TIME TO GO SOLAR - Solar-energy technology continues to advance. Thanks to lower prices and higher efficiencies, most families can install fairly small projects to cover all their electricity needs.
CREDIT SCORES - MYTH VS. REALITY: DISPELLING COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS - Good credit is important for so many reasons. And yet, many people don’t understand how the system works, and make decisions based on misinformation. Don’t let these common misconceptions hold you back.
Consumerpedia, Episode 9: UNDERSTANDING HOW CREDIT SCORES WORK - Good credit is important, but few people truly understand how the system works. In this episode Liz Weston with NerdWallet will demystify the process, separate credit facts from credit myths, and explain ways to boost your score.
3G WIRELESS SERVICE ENDS THIS YEAR DISABLING MILLIONS OF MOBILE DEVICES - U.S. wireless carriers will turn off their old 3G networks this year. As they do, older devices that rely on 3G – including some cellphones, home security systems, wearable medical alert devices, and vehicle SOS systems – will no longer work.
COURT APPROVES $425 MILLION EQUIFAX BREACH SETTLEMENT - Equifax will pay up to $425 million in restitution to those directly impacted by the massive data breach of the credit bureau in 2017. Settlement notices are now being sent to those who previously filed claims for monetary compensation or free credit monitoring.
AMAZON ENDS 'SOLD BY AMAZON' PROGRAM TO SETTLE PRICE-FIXING INVESTIGATION - Amazon settled a lawsuit brought by Washington state’s Attorney General by permanently shutting down its “Sold by Amazon” program. The lawsuit alleged Amazon used the program to unlawfully fix prices to boost profits.
WA CARES LONG-TERM CARE PROGRAM DELAYED UNTIL SUMMER OF 2023 - Washington state’s first-of-a-kind long-term care program has been put on hold until 2023 while lawmakers figure out a host of problems, including who must pay into the program and who is eligible to collect benefits.
Consumerpedia, Episode 8: SAVING ENERGY AT HOME - With energy prices soaring, making your home energy efficient can really save a bundle – and reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses you create. Here are some simple repairs and improvements that should yield big energy savings.
EXPERIAN, EQUIFAX & TRANSUNION RARELY RESPOND TO ERROR COMPLAINTS - A new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau calls out the big three credit bureaus for not acting on most consumer complaints about credit file errors.
HIGHER INTEREST RATES ON THE WAY - HERE'S HOW TO PREPARE - To combat inflation, the Federal Reserve is poised to hike interest rates two or three times in 2022. Here’s a look at how these increases are likely to affect consumer borrowing and saving.
THE PUSH TO END OVERDRAFT FEES - Of all the fees financial institutions charge their customers, the overdraft fee is among the most hated and expensive. Now, some banks are finally adopting fairer policies.
Consumerpedia, Episode 7: THINGS YOU (PROBABLY) SHOULDN'T PAY FOR - We all spend money on stuff we don’t really need, but there’s a big difference between splurging on luxuries and throwing away money on products and services that aren’t necessary.
IMPORTANT TAX LAW CHANGES THAT MAY AFFECT YOUR 2021 TAX RETURN - In 2021, as in most years, tax laws were revised and tweaked, possibly impacting your return. You may get a larger or smaller refund than you were expecting, or owe money you weren’t planning to pay.
AUTOMAKERS REV UP COSTLY SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES - When you buy or lease your next car, you might be required to pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee to activate some of its features, even if they are pre-installed in the vehicle.
UPDATE: PREMIUM COLLECTION FOR WA CARES FUND PUT ON HOLD - Washington state will not require employers to start deducting premiums for the new WA Cares long-term insurance program this week, as planned. The delay is designed to give state lawmakers time to decide whether modifications are needed.
Consumerpedia, Episode 6: FINDING A DENTIST WHO WILL MAKE YOU SMILE - Checkbook finds astounding price differences from practice to practice for the same procedure with no relationship between price and quality. In this episode, we’ll also discuss the pros and cons of dental insurance.
HOW TO HANDLE HOLIDAY GIFT RETURNS - Most major retailers still have very liberal return policies with extended holiday deadlines, so you don’t have to run back to the store the day after Christmas.
Episode 5: FORMER ID THIEF EXPLAINS HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF - Few people know more about cybercrime than Brett Johnson, a convicted identity thief who was once on the Secret Service’s Most Wanted list.
FRAUD ALERT: PHONE SCAMS INVOLVING AMAZON IMPERSONATORS SKYROCKET - Scammers impersonate all sorts of businesses, but Amazon is “a runaway favorite” of telephone fraudsters, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Here’s how to protect yourself.
NEW FEDERAL RULES: WHAT DEBT COLLECTORS CAN & CANNOT DO - The new rules focus on communications and disclosures from debt collectors, including what a collector can say, how often they can contact the consumer, what information must be provided, and what qualifies as harassment.
Episode 4: HOW TO BUY A CAR DURING THE PANDEMIC - The inventory shortage caused by the pandemic has turned the car market upside down. Jack Gillis, author of The Car Book, has advice on how to navigate your way to a good deal.
MARRIOTT WILL INCLUDE 'RESORT FEES' IN ADVERTISED ROOM RATES - In a major victory for travelers, Marriott International has settled a consumer protection lawsuit brought by the Pennsylvania Attorney General and agreed to begin disclosing upfront any mandatory fees, including resort fees.
ATTENTION HOLIDAY SHOPPERS: THE PROS AND CONS OF RETAIL CREDIT CARDS - Many retail credit cards offer rewards and perks, but deciding to get a new credit card should never be an impulse decision made at the checkout counter to get an instant discount.
Episode 3 - BUYER'S BEWARE: SNEAKY MARKETING TRICKS - Companies use an arsenal of marketing tricks to convince customers they’re scoring bargains, often duping them into spending more or paying right away without checking the competition.
ATTENTION HOLIDAY SHOPPERS: GET READY FOR A WEIRD BLACK FRIDAY - Inflation, supply chain disruptions, and the pandemic are shaping this year’s Black Friday promotions, limiting the number of products retailers can advertise and the size of discounts they can offer.
CLASS ACTION LAW SUIT FILED TO STOP WA CARES PROGRAM - The lawsuit, filed on behalf of three businesses and six individuals, asks the court to block the mandatory premium payroll deductions and declare the program illegal.
SHOULD YOU USE BUY NOW, PAY LATER FOR YOUR HOLIDAY SHOPPING THIS YEAR? - Buy Now, Pay Later can sometimes be a smart way to shop, but it can also encourage you to spend more. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of BNPL.
FRAUD ALERT: HOW SCAMMERS TARGET PEOPLE LOOKING FOR WORK - Job scams are on the rise. As con artists steal money, and personal information to commit ID theft.
ATTENDING COLLEGE NEXT YEAR? TIME TO FILE YOUR FAFSA FORM - FAFSA is the gateway to your share of the nearly $150 billion in federal aid available from the U.S. Department of Education, plus assistance from state governments and most colleges and universities.
SUPPLY SHORTAGES MAKE SHOPPING EARLY A SMART MOVE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON - If there’s a must-have on your shopping list, don’t delay. It may not be available in November or December.
LONG-TERM CARE PROGRAM FOR WASHINGTON WORKERS STARTS SOON - Washington is the first state in the country to create a fund to help its aging population pay for long-term care. Payroll deduction start in January, unless you opt out.
BUYING YOUR LEASED CAR COULD MAKE SENSE (RIGHT NOW) - The advice has changed about buying your car at the end of the lease. Right now, because used car prices are so high (driven up by the pandemic), it could be a smart move to buy that leased car.
NEW MORTGAGE UNDERWRITING PROGRAM COULD HELP RENTERS BECOME HOMEOWNERS - Fannie Mae will consider rental payment history as part of its automated risk assessment for loan approval. This could help renters who pay on time qualify for a loan.
MALICIOUS QR CODES USED BY ONLINE SCAMMERS - The rapid acceptance of QR codes during the pandemic has been good for restaurants and retailers, but it’s also provided cyber criminals with a powerful new tool.
PAUSE ON STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS END IN JANUARY; HOW TO PREPARE NOW - The government-mandated pause on federal student loan repayments, interest, and collections has been extended until Jan. 31, 2022. Here’s how to prepare for that.
ARE YOU SHARING YOUR WI-FI WITH AMAZON? IF SO, SHOULD YOU BE CONCERNED? - Amazon Sidewalk, the retail giant’s new shared wireless network, is now up and running across the United States. If you have an Echo smart speaker or Ring security device, you may be powering Amazon’s “mesh network” without realizing it.
DATA BREACHES ARE SKYROCKETING. HOW TO PROTECT YOUR ONLINE ACCOUNTS - More than 100 million people had their information breached during the first half of the year. Here’s what you need to do to stop the cyber crooks from using your compromised information.
FTC SAYS CUSTOMERS HAVE RIGHT TO REPAIR BROKEN PRODUCTS - When you buy a product and it breaks, your ability to repair it is often limited or prevented by the manufacturer or seller. The FTC says it is going to fix this broken system by cracking down on illegal repair restrictions.
MONEYGRAM REFUNDS $125 MILLION TO SCAM VICTIMS - The FTC is trying to return $125 million to victims who wired money to con artists between 2013 and 2017 using MoneyGram. Here’s how to file a claim.
NEW FEDERAL RULE TARGETS FRAUDULENT 'MADE IN USA' CLAIMS - Finally, the Federal Trade Commission is going to crack down on fraudulent ‘Made in USA’ claims.
2021 CHILD TAX CREDIT PAYMENTS START ARRIVING IN MID-JULY - Good news for families who will qualify for the Child Tax Credit on their 2021 federal tax return: The credit is bigger, and some of the money is being sent out now.
COMPLAINTS ABOUT P2P PAYMENT APPS SOAR DURING PANDEMIC - As the number of people using Venmo, CashApp, and Zelle have gone up, so have the complaints. People report having problems opening, closing, and managing their accounts.
THE PROS & CONS OF 'BUY NOW, PAY LATER' FINANCING FOR TRAVEL - These plans can help with cash flow, and they are easy work-arounds for those who don’t have credit cards. But as with all financing options, it’s important to read the fine print.
NEW SURVEY: CREDIT BUREAU MISTAKES ARE STILL A PROBLEM - A unique new survey by Consumer Reports finds that credit bureau mistakes happen all too often. Many of these errors could lower your credit scores.
A SNEAKY WAY TO RAISE PRICES WITHOUT UPSETTING THE CUSTOMERS - Most shoppers don’t notice when packaged goods are downsized ever so slightly. This inconspicuous shrinkage—has been going on for decades. And there’s no end in sight.
FRAUD ALERT: CRYPTOCURRENCY INVESTMENT SCAMS SKYROCKET - Cryptocurrency investment schemes have skyrocketed during the pandemic, as criminals leverage the current gold-rush mentality, promising huge returns in just days or weeks.
BEST CARS FOR TEENS: VEHICLES THAT ARE SAFE, RELIABLE, AND AFFORDABLE - Consumer Reports and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have combined their data to create an updated list of recommended used cars for teens.
HOW TO WIPE ALL YOUR DATA BEFORE DISPOSING OF DIGITAL DEVICES - Simply deleting unwanted files, and emptying the recycle bin, does not permanently destroy that data. Here’s how to do that.
FCC OFFERS SUBSIDIES TO HELP FAMILIES STAY CONNECTED DURING THE PANDEMIC - The FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will provide financial assistance to millions of families who need help paying for internet access or buying a computer.
THE PITFALLS OF GETTING A REALLY LONG CAR LOAN - When selecting vehicles and loan terms, most consumers focus on the monthly payments. It seems like a simple way to make sure the car and financing fits their budget. But it can be a pricey mistake.
SHORTAGE OF NEW CARS MEANS FEWER CHOICES & HIGHER PRICES - A shortage of many popular makes and models, could make it more difficult to find the new car or truck you want at a price you can afford.
FRAUD ALERT: BOGUS COVID-19 VACCINE SURVEY - These fake surveys, which offer a free gift for completing, are nothing more than a clever phishing attack designed to steal your personal information.
RENTAL CAR PRICES SKY-HIGH AT MANY VACATION DESTINATIONS - Due to unprecedented lack of inventory and significantly higher-than-expected demand, rental car prices are sky-high at many vacation destinations across the country. And the problem is expected to get worse.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WILL HELP PAY FOR COVID-RELATED FUNERAL EXPENSES - FEMA has $2 billion to help reimburse those who lost a loved one in the pandemic for funeral services, burial or cremation.
AIRLINE 'CHANGE FEE' RULES ARE ABOUT TO CHANGE AGAIN - Last year, the major U.S. airlines dropped their dreaded “change fees” for all classes of service, even the cheap seats. As of April 1, passengers with basic economy tickets cannot change their travel dates.
MOST UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS EXEMPT FROM FEDERAL INCOME TAX - The $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus package, which President Biden signed into law on March 11, provides a tax break for the millions of Americans who received unemployment compensation last year.
MILLIONS OF TAXPAYERS BENEFIT FROM COVID RELIEF REGISTRATION - The Biden Administration’s American Recuse Plan Act expanded two tax credits designed for working families: The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Care Credit. See if you qualify.
SOCIAL SECURITY IMPOSTERS USE FAKE BADGES TO FOOL VICTIMS - The fraudsters who steal money and personal information over the phone keep finding new ways to deceive us. Now, these scam artists have added fake government ID badges to their bag of tricks.
ID THIEVES WHO STOLE UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS MUCK-UP TAX SEASON FOR MILLIONS - Millions of people who did not apply for state unemployment compensation last year—and did not get any money—are now dealing with the consequences of being identity theft victims. Cybercriminals used stolen credentials to file fake unemployment claims, got the money, and left their victims stuck with the tax liability.
90 TOP-RATED VEHICLES FOR SAFETY-CONSCIOUS CAR BUYERS - Whether it’s an SUV for you, or a compact car for the teenage driver in the house, you want any new vehicle you buy to be as safe as possible. The latest IIHS safety awards can point you in the right direction.
'DO I OWE TAX ON MY STIMULUS CHECKS?' - ANSWERS TO COMMON 2020 TAX QUESTIONS - No significant tax law changes to worry about this year, but there are some issues related to the pandemic that could trip you up—or save you money.
HOW TO RESPONSIBLY DISPOSE OF UNWANTED ELECTRONICS - It’s now quite easy to recycle old electronic devices. Unfortunately, a lot of things can happen to that e-waste once it’s collected, and not all of them are good.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM ID THEFT & CYBER FRAUD - Cyberthieves work nonstop to hijack your identity and steal your money. They’re really good at what they do, so you need to take the threat seriously and act accordingly. Here are the things you can do to protect yourself and stop the cyberthieves from ruining your life.
BLACK DOLLAR INDEX RATES CORPORATE COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY - Corporate America raced to publicly embrace the social justice movement during this summer’s Black Lives Matter protests. But are they? Is anyone keeping score? The new Black Dollar Index (BDI) aims to hold these companies accountable for their promises.
EVERYONE NEEDS A RAINY-DAY FUND. HERE'S HOW TO START YOURS - Ready to file your tax return? The IRS isn’t ready for it and has delayed the start of the tax filing season. The agency says it needs more time to reprogram and test its computers based on the COVID Relief Act, which wasn’t signed into law until December 27.
IRS DELAYS START OF TAX FILING SEASON UNTIL FEB. 12 - Ready to file your tax return? The IRS isn’t ready for it and has delayed the start of the tax filing season. The agency says it needs more time to reprogram and test its computers based on the COVID Relief Act, which wasn’t signed into law until December 27.
HOW TO SPOT A CREDIT REPAIR SCAM & WAYS YOU CAN BOOST YOUR CREDIT SCORE - If you believe the ads – and you should not – “credit repair” companies can quickly and dramatically boost your credit scores by removing negative items. Many of these promises are bogus.
WHAT YOU CAN DO WHEN AN ONLINE PURCHASE DOESN'T ARRIVE - Millions of Americans are still waiting for their federal stimulus payments. Some will be surprised to learn they won’t get it unless they claim a rebate on their 2020 tax return! What’s going on here and how can you find out about your payment status?
WHERE IS MY STIMULUS MONEY? - Millions of Americans are still waiting for their federal stimulus payments. Some will be surprised to learn they won’t get it unless they claim a rebate on their 2020 tax return! What’s going on here and how can you find out about your payment status?
THESE 2021 VEHICLES HAVE HEADLIGHTS THAT PROVIDE BETTER SAFETY PROTECTION - Headlights are part of a car’s safety system, but they’re often designed for appearance rather than function. A few new models scored top ratings for lighting the roadway and limiting glare to oncoming drivers.
SOME RETAILERS RESPOND TO COVID WITH EXPANDED HOLIDAY RETURN POLICIES - Dealing with returns during a pandemic can be a challenge. Some major national retailers are trying to make the process easier. A few have even added curbside returns!
FRAUD ALERT: ONLINE PET SCAMS SOAR DURING THE PANDEMIC - Pet adoptions have skyrocketed during the pandemic, as people stuck at home decided it was a good time to add a furry family member. Scammers are trolling the internet looking for people who will pay hundreds of dollars to buy a pet that doesn’t exist.
AUTO INSURERS PROVIDE 'TINY' REFUNDS WHILE MAKING WINDFALL PANDEMIC PROFITS - The pandemic has been a financial boon for the auto insurance industry. Since the outbreak, Americans have been driving less – resulting in fewer wrecks, fewer claims, and bigger profits. Few companies are sharing their windfalls with loyal customers.
SHOULD YOU UPGRADE TO A 5G PHONE? LET'S CUT THROUGH THE MARKETING HYPE - 5G is breakthrough technology, but right now, in most parts of the country, it hasn’t yet arrived—and it won’t for several years. That hasn’t stopped wireless companies from spending heavily on ads urging their customers to buy new smartphones.
AVOID SKY-HIGH OVERDRAFT FEES ON YOUR CHECKING ACCOUNT - We all make mistakes, but overdrawing your checking account is going to cost you more than ever before. The average overdraft fee hit a record high this year, increasing to $33.47. OUCH!
WHY CREDIT CARDS ARE SAFER THAN DEBIT CARDS - Some people find using debit cards, rather than credit cards, help them stick to their budgets and avoid going into debt. But credit cards offer stronger consumer protections, especially important when you shop online.
WHY YOU SHOULD DELETE ONLINE ACCOUNTS YOU DON'T USE - Chances are you have online accounts that you haven’t used for a long time. These old and abandoned accounts can be a major security risk.
HOW TO SHOP SAFELY ONLINE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON - Because of the pandemic more people will do their holiday shopping shop online this year. This increases the chances of falling victim to cybercriminals. Here’s how to protect yourself whenever you shop online.
NEW FTC WEBSITE MAKES IT EASIER TO REPORT SCAMS & FRAUD - The Federal Trade Commission’s new site streamlines the process for reporting scams, fraud and bad business practices. It also provides the next steps to take if you’ve been victimized.
THE PROS & CONS OF TRADITIONAL LAYAWAY AND THE NEW 'BUY NOW, PAY LATER' SERVICES - The holiday shopping season is underway. For people without savings or credit, or who have credit cards maxed out because of the pandemic, layaway or new buy now, pay later plans may be the only way to buy everything on their gift-giving lists.
SAVE ON PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: PAY LESS BY NOT USING INSURANCE - A variety of websites and apps offer discounts so steep that you might pay less for some prescription drugs if you pay in cash rather than use your insurance.
DATA BREACH IMPACTS MILLIONS OF DONORS AT HUNDREDS OF NONPROFITS - Donors and members of more than 240 organizations recently had their personal information compromised during a breach at Blackbaud, a company hired by many nonprofits to manage their data. Unfortunately, Blackbaud hasn’t shared much info about who was affected.
THINKING OF REFINANCING? IT MAY BE TIME TO GET OFF THE FENCE - Starting December 1, a new 0.5 percent “adverse market fee” will be added to many mortgage refinance loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
GROCERY PRICES ARE UP: HOW TO SAVE $$$$ AT THE SUPERMARKET - If you do the grocery shopping in your family, you’ve probably noticed that the grocery bills keep going up. Blame the pandemic for pushing up the prices of many staples. Here are some simple tips to help lower your food bills.
WHY DID I GET A SMALL, UNEXPECTED PAYMENT FROM THE IRS? - About 14 million taxpayers who filed their 2019 federal income tax returns by the pandemic-delayed July 15th deadline, are owed a refund that may be in an odd amount, like $7.89.
IS THAT EMAIL REALLY FROM THE CENSUS BUREAU OR A CYBER-THIEF - The Census Bureau is emailing more than 20 million households to encourage participation. Top digital security experts interviewed by Checkbook agreed that this is a bad idea that creates an opportunity for cyber-criminals.
DEALING WITH DEBT COLLECTORS: KNOW THE RULES AND YOUR RIGHTS - If you get a call from someone claiming to be a debt collector, it’s not always easy to tell if the caller is a real debt collector or a scammer. That’s why it’s important to go slowly and know your rights.
DROWNING IN DEBT? YOUR OPTIONS: GOOD & BAD - The number of people saddled with excessive debt is growing. Help is available in the form of debt management, debt settlement, consolidation loans, and bankruptcy attorneys. Some are good choices; others could make your financial situation worse.
FRAUD ALERT: SCAMMERS POSE AS COVID-19 CONTACT TRACERS - Contract tracing is one of the critical tools state and local health departments are using to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Unfortunately, it’s also given criminals a new way to scam people.
FINANCIAL TOOLKIT: HOW TO SURVIVE THE COVID-19 RECESSION - Stimulus payments, expanded unemployment benefits, government loans, and payment accommodations from lenders have helped keep many families and businesses afloat so far. But as these programs end, millions will find their budgets stretched to the breaking point.
IS THAT REALLY CUSTOMER SERVICE...OR DID YOU JUST DIAL AN IMPOSTER? - Fraudsters have created fake customer service numbers for many well-known companies and wait for you to slip up and call them, so they can steal your money or personal information. This scam is often difficult to spot.
HOW TO AVOID A MOVING HORROR STORY - Hire a mover and you’re trusting them to get your possessions from here to there on time, without damage, and at the agreed upon price. All too often that doesn’t happen, especially for long-distance interstate movers.
CONSUMER ADVOCATES BLAST FEDS FOR 'GUTTING' PAYDAY LENDING RULES - At a time when American consumers need more protection than ever from predatory loans, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued a final rule on payday loans that rolls back important protections.
BE SAFE IN THE SUN: TOP-RATED SUNSCREENS - A good sunscreen, used properly, can dramatically lower your risk of skin cancer. Here are the latest sunscreen ratings from Consumer Reports.
COMPLAINTS SOAR ABOUT COVID-19 PAYMENT ACCOMODATIONS - Many lenders let their customers make reduced payments or skip payments altogether, without damaging their credit histories. But, in many cases, companies haven’t held up their end of the deal.
THE TOP 10 CONSUMER BRANDS CRIMINALS SPOOF IN PHISHING ATTACKS - Phishing is one of the most popular techniques used by cyber criminals because it’s simple and effective. The typical phishing attack involves creating an email that appears to be from a reputable company or organization and encourages potential victims to click on a link.
GETTING HOME REPAIRS DONE DURING THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK - For months now, you’ve been limiting the number of people coming into your house. But life happens, and at some point, you’ll need a pro to come to the house to fix something. Having someone breach your safe space is not without risk, so it needs to be done carefully.
IS THIS A GOOD TIME TO BUY A NEW OR USED CAR? - Car manufacturers and dealers are promoting some steep discounts and special financing right now. Here’s how to get the best deal on that new set of wheels.
A RETAILERS RESPOND TO COVID-19 BY EXPANDING RETURN WINDOWS - As stores across the country reopen, customers will soon be able to return some unwanted merchandise they’ve been stuck with during the coronavirus shutdown. Some retailers have already made changes to accommodate the inconvenience.
A NEW RELIGIOUS TWIST TO THE OLD GIFT CARD SCAM - Warning: Con artists are sending out email and text messages that look as if they originated from someone at your church, synagogue, or mosque asking you to buy some gift cards to give to needy congregants or others in the community.
YES, THE GOVERNMENT IS MAILING OUT DEBIT CARDS LOADED WITH STIMULUS MONEY - Nearly 4 million people are being sent their Economic Impact Payment by prepaid debit card, instead of a check, in a plain envelope. Why is this being done?
THE BEST (AND WORST) CELL PHONE COMPANIES - Every wireless company claims to be the best, but consumer surveys tell a different story – some carriers are clearly doing a better job of delivering network quality, customer service, and value.
MY GYM IS CLOSED & STILL BILLING ME. CAN IT DO THAT? - What happens when your gym is forced to close because of a pandemic? Should you get a refund for the time you were locked out? And what can you do if the company wants to keep your money and credit your membership account, instead of processing a refund?
LOOKING TO SAVE MONEY? AUDIT YOUR DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS - Subscription-based digital services are the ultimate in convenience, but their fees can add up to hundreds of dollars in wasted money if you don’t cancel unused or unwanted ones.
CREDIT CARD COMPANIES CUT CREDIT LIMITS AND CANCEL CARDS - To deal with the ongoing economic crisis, the banks that issue credit cards are taking defensive action by closing accounts and reducing credit limits. This could have a negative impact on your credit scores.
SCAMMERS CASH-IN ON COVID-19: HERE'S HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF - The coronavirus pandemic is a dream come true for con artists across the globe: Millions of people are afraid of getting sick and struggling to make ends meet, just as trillions of dollars in stimulus funds make their way into the economy.
NOW YOU CAN CHECK YOUR CREDIT FILES WEEKLY FOR FREE - During the coronavirus crisis, the three major credit-reporting agencies are making it easy for you to track what’s happening to your credit history in real time. Here’s what to look for when you check your credit reports.
HOW TO CREATE & EASILY STORE SECURE PASSWORDS - Password management software helps you create strong and unique passwords for all your online accounts. Consumer Reports tests some of the most popular password managers and recommends a few of them.
STIMULUS PAYMENT GLITCH: MONEY DELAYED FOR MILLIONS OF TAXPAYERS - Millions of Americans who filed their tax returns via tax preparation services haven’t received their stimulus payments yet. How the IRS plans to deal with the problem.
YOUR CAR NEEDS SOME TLC DURING THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK - Driving patterns have changed dramatically because of the coronavirus outbreak. While you’re staying safe at home, your car sits for long stretches of time, and that can cause some mechanical problems.
AIRLINE PASSENGER RIGHTS DURING CORONAVIRUS CRISIS - What are the airlines required to do for you if they cancel your flight? Plus a complete list of airline COVID policies.
IS YOUR AUTO INSURER OFFERING HELP DURING THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK? - Before you do anything rash – like cancel your policy or let it lapse, call your insurance company and see if you qualify for any of their COVID-19 relief programs. Also, see if your company is offering automatic refund or credits.
AIRLINES ORDERED TO PROVIDE REFUNDS FOR CANCELLED FLIGHTS - The federal government told the airlines they must provide refunds for all flights that are canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak, or when a “significant schedule change” is made and the passenger chooses not to accept the alternative.
WHAT WEARING A HOMEMADE FACE MASK CAN AND CANNOT DO - That homemade mask protects other people from getting infected by you, if you’re infected and don’t have symptoms. It does not replace social distancing.
ANSWERS TO 5 MONEY QUESTIONS YOU'RE PROBABLY ASKING RIGHT NOW - Worried about your bank account, 401(k) and credit card bills? Should you file your taxes now or wait? Here are the answers to common coronavirus-related financial questions.
CAN'T PAY YOUR BILLS? HELP IS AVAILABLE, IF YOU ASK. - Millions of Americans now out of work because of the coronavirus will soon run out of money. Here’s how to deal with bills you can’t pay.
CLEANING PRODUCTS THAT CAN KILL THE CORONAVIRUS - Many common household disinfectants will kill the coronavirus, if you use them properly. Here’s what to clean, what to use and how to do it correctly.
NEW TO TELECOMMUTING? HERE ARE 8 RULES YOU SHOULD FOLLOW. - We asked some of the country’s top digital security experts what precautions they suggest first-time telecommuters should follow.
IMPOSTER SCAMS ARE ON THE RISE. HERE'S HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF. - Con artists ripped off Americans to the tune of $667 million last year, according to the FTC. Security experts warn to be on the lookout for census imposter scams.
HERE ARE AMERICA'S FAVORITE ONLINE AND BRICK-AND-MORTAR STORES - American consumers continue to do more of their shopping online – and those who do are increasingly happy with the experience. Still, most people still prefer going to a traditional supermarket for their food.
THE BEST TAX PREPARATION SOFTWARE OF 2020 - Filing your 2019 taxes yourself? NerdWallet evaluated the most popular tax preparation software packages so you don’t have to. You might even be able to do it for free!
HOW TO AVOID FALLING VICTIM TO A CORONAVIRUS PHISHING EMAIL ATTACK - A global health disaster like coronavirus is a golden opportunity for criminals looking to steal your personal information or money through email attacks. The first wave of this malicious email is already being sent.
LOOKING FOR ROMANCE ONLINE? ROMANCE SCAMS ON THE RISE - Romance scammers steal your heart to steal your money. These fraudsters stole more than $200 million last year. Before you fall head over heels, beware of these red flags.
STUDY: STRESS CAN HAVE A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON YOUR FINANCIAL DECISIONS - Researchers find that that 77% of Americans say they feel anxious about their financial situation. This stress hurts our ability to save money, budget and pay off debt. There are ways to deal with this.
HOW TO SELL GIFT CARDS FOR CASH SAFELY ONLINE - You won’t get full value, but for some popular cards like iTunes, Target and Walmart, you can get up to 92 percent of what it’s worth.
MOST AMERICANS CAN FILE THEIR TAX RETURNS FOR FREE. DO YOU QUALIFY? - Anyone with an adjusted gross income of $69,000 or less will qualify for at least one of the IRS Free File software packages available this year. You may also be able to have your state income tax return prepared and filed for free.
LOOKING TO RENT A PLACE TO LIVE? THAT ONLINE LISTING COULD BE A SCAM - A Better Business Bureau investigation finds a ‘massive’ fraud problem – millions have been burned. Here are some tips on how to avoid the scammers when renting an apartment, house or vacation property.
CONSUMER REPORTS' FIRST-EVER PILLOW RATINGS - Consumer Reports did the testing so you don’t have to — and when it comes to pillows, you get what you pay for. MyPillow did not make CR’s recommended list.
HOW TO GET OUT OF DEBT AND SAVE MORE MONEY IN 2020 - Wishing won’t do it; you need a plan. Personal financial experts share tips on how to make your financial resolutions a reality this year.
THE WORST PASSWORDS OF 2019: ARE ANY OF YOURS ON THE LIST? - Cybercriminals have upped their game in recent years, and it’s time you did, too. Experts recommend setting up multi-factor authentication on your most sensitive accounts.
HOLIDAY GIFT PERIODS AT SOME MAJOR RETAILERS ARE SHORTER THIS YEAR - A new survey shows that several major retailers have "significantly shortened" their return periods. In some cases, stores that had no return deadline just a few years ago are now down to 90 days or less.
ARE THE SMART DEVICES IN YOUR HOME SPYING ON YOU? - Smart devices are cool and convenient, but they also erode your privacy. These devices collect a lot of data for the manufacturer. And they’re an inviting target for hackers. Here’s how to reduce the spying and limit the data sharing.
WANT TO SPEND LESS WHEN SHOPPING? DITCH THE CELLPHONE, STUDY SUGGESTS - New research shows that talking, texting, checking social media or listening to music while at the store is distracting. And distracted shoppers tend to buy more impulse items and forget things they wanted to buy.
HOW TO FIND THE BEST DEALS ON BLACK FRIDAY AND CYBER MONDAY - Here are 8 tips from the pros on how to cut through the hype, save money and find the best deals..
THESE SITES LET YOU GET PAID TO SHOP - Cash back portals let you make money on the things you buy. Rebates average 7 percent, but many online retailers are boosting their cash back offers for holiday shoppers.
THE PITFALLS OF LENDING MONEY TO A FAMILY MEMBER OR FRIEND - A recent study found that doing this ends badly almost half the time. If the borrower doesn’t repay, you can lose your money and damage an important personal relationship.
HOW TO KEEP YOUR PET SAFE AND STRESS-FREE THIS HALLOWEEN - Candy, costumes and trick-or-treating is fun for humans, but it can be rough for your pet. Veterinarians share 6 tips on how to keep dogs and cats safe this Halloween.
WHEN A HOTEL BOOKING SITE SAYS 'ONLY 1 ROOM LEFT' - IS THAT TRUE? - Despite warnings about low availability on hotel booking sites, researchers found there were plenty of rooms left. Consumer advocates accuse websites of using “dishonest’ advertising to rush people into booking a room with them.
TEEN DEBIT CARDS: A REAL-WORLD WAY TO TEACH YOUR KIDS ABOUT MONEY - How do you teach your kids about money in an increasingly cashless society? These app-based cards put parents in control, but let kids make mistakes without getting into serious trouble.
FAKE NEWS ABOUT CELEBRITIES USED TO SELL DIET PILLS & WRINKLE CREAMS - Scammers hijack the look of the TODAY, CNBC, CNN, ESPN and other legitimate news websites to trick you into buying bogus diet pills and beauty products. If you know what to look for, there are various ways to tell these fabricated news stories are really ads in disguise.
BUYING A USED CAR? BETTER MAKE SURE IT'S SAFE - Car dealers say it’s OK to sell a used car subject to a recall, as long as the customer is told. Consumer groups call that a ‘dangerous’ and ‘unethical’ practice.
'CAN YOU DO ME A FAVOR?' SPOTTING BUSINESS EMAIL SCAMS - Crooks send an email designed to look like it’s from the CEO, who is out of the office, telling an employee to handle an “urgent matter” by making an immediate wire payment or buying gift cards needed for presents. These spoofed email scams result in more losses than any other type of fraud, the BBB says.
FORMER CONMAN SHARES TIPS FOR PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM FRAUDSTERS - Scammers have upped their game. We need to be smarter and do more to protect our money and our personal information. Here’s how to spot the red warning signs of a fraud.
7 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT AUTO INSURANCE POLICIES - Many car owners are confused by common misconceptions and unfamiliar terms. Here’s how to find the best coverage (and the best price) for your vehicle.
DOES THE NEW APPLE CARD LIVE UP TO ALL THE MARKETING HYPE? - Credit card experts surveyed by NBC News BETTER aren’t wowed by the new Apple credit card, but it does boast some innovative features.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR ROUTER AND HOME SECURITY CAMERAS FROM HACKERS - Your router is a singular point of vulnerability, the one pathway for all your home’s wireless devices that connect to the internet via your home Wi-Fi. A hacker who breaks in can access your entire internet life.
HOW YOUNG IS TOO YOUNG FOR A KID TO HAVE A CREDIT CARD? - Some parents now give their elementary school-age children one. Experts say it can be a powerful tool to teach financial responsibility, if they’re ready for it.
IN CREDIT CARD DEBT? SIMPLY SKIPPING LATTES ISN'T ENOUGH - A new survey finds that people with credit card debt spend more on nonessential purchases than those who are debt free. Here’s how to cut back on the stuff that matters.
CONSUMER REPORTS: POTENTIALLY UNSAFE BIKE HELMETS ARE 'WIDELY AVAILABLE ONLINE' - They look nice and are bargain-priced, but don’t count on a counterfeit or knockoff helmet to protect your head in a serious crash. Here’s how to avoid buying one of these dangerous helmets.
WHAT'S A ROTH 401(K) AND SHOULD YOU HAVE ONE? - A Roth 401(k) is the other employer-based retirement plan that lets your savings grow tax free. Most companies now offer it, but few employees have one. Maybe you should have one of each?
NEW FROM SALLIE MAE: CREDIT CARDS FOR MILLENNIALS & GEN Z - Sallie Mae launches three new credit cards aimed at college students, recent graduates and young adults already in the workplace. These are rewards cards that have no annual fee. And you don’t have to be a Sallie Mae customer to apply.
PROTECT YOUR DIGITAL LIFE FROM HACKERS & CRIMINALS WHEN YOU TRAVEL - Most travelers don’t realize the risk of cybercrime increases when they’re on the road. You can significantly reduce your chances of having a problem by doing a few simple things.
Many users don’t know that P2P payment services have limited, if any, fraud protection. Once the money is sent, it’s gone. Here’s how to protect yourself from the scammers.
T-Mobile leads the pack of big providers, but Consumer Cellular is the clear winner. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is now America’s favorite smartphone, survey finds.
Robocall scammers have a devious way to take their calls. They "spoof" the number that appears on caller ID to make it look like their call is coming from your area code or local prefix – or both. Various apps, may of them free, call help you fight back.
Some stores charge five times more than lowest-priced stores, new survey finds. But those that offer really high-quality plants and great advice tend to charge higher prices.
The Petal card is designed for those who don’t have a credit score, but pay their bills on time. Applicants give the company access to their bank account transactions. Credit limits go as high as $10,000. Cash-back goes up for on-time monthly bill payments.
Just like you, counterfeiters are online, trying to sell you their inferior copycat products: electronics, cosmetics, clothing and more. A new Better Business Bureau report calls it an ‘epidemic’ problem.
Customer satisfaction with airlines rises from last year, while hotels decline. Alaska Airlines takes the top spot in the new American Customer Satisfaction Index survey. American and United rate below-average.
Are you paying too much for pet food? A new survey finds that comparison shopping can save you up to 40 percent on dog and cat food. Here's how to find the product you want for the lowest price.
Throwing old cellphones in the trash can lead to harmful chemicals and toxins ending up in landfills. Refurbished electronics are good for the earth and your wallet. You can save hundreds of dollars on a smartphone or laptop.
Many people greatly overestimate the value of the points or miles they accumulate. These cards are not for everyone and unless you choose wisely, they could cost you money.
Many consumers are confused about what 'dark web monitoring' can really do. It cannot remove stolen information from this criminal marketplace or stop fraudsters from using it. So why pay for this service?
You have insurance, so you assume you're getting the best price for your prescription drugs. Not necessarily. Sometimes, because of high deductibles or high co-pays, it's cheaper to skip the insurance and pay the 'retail' price. Coupons and other discounts can also help you save more.
Editors found at least one glitch in each of the services. These problems included outdated information, incomplete advice, and program designs that, in a couple of instances, could affect a taxpayer's bottom line due to a missed tax break.
High-tech check-ins are fast and efficient, but who can access your information? Researchers with IBM X-Force Red tested five popular visitor management systems and found 19 previously undisclosed vulnerabilities.
One in five U.S. taxpayers could owe the IRS money this year. If you can’t pay in full on time, take a deep breath – there are things you can do to avoid getting into a big penalty situation.
Trip cancellation and interruption policies sold by airlines and travel websites typically provide ‘pretty thin coverage,’ a recent analysis concludes. It may also duplicate coverage you already have from your credit card.
When it comes to satisfying their customers, most U.S. retailers — both brick-and-mortar and online — are losing ground, according to an annual consumer satisfaction survey. Shoppers say they are not happy with the “lackluster” and “underwhelming” customer service they so often experience.
Good oral health is just as important for your dogs and cats as it is for the other members of your family. Typically, they should have a yearly oral checkup and cleaning. And you should be brushing at home, too.
Some of the big-name storefront tax preparers – H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt and Liberty Tax – offer zero interest and no fee programs that can get you some of your refund in a day or two – but watch out for fees on the back end.
If you were a victim of the massive Equifax breach in 2017 and signed up for their free TrustedID Premier credit lock, your subscription expired on Jan. 31. Here’s what happened and how to make sure your file is secure.
The new credit assessment program could help millions of Americans instantly improve their credit scores by adding data from their checking account. For people with limited credit history, Experian Boost will provide a second chance to prove themselves trustworthy borrowers.
Hackers stole nearly 447 million consumer records containing sensitive personal information last year, according to a year-end report from the Identity Theft Resource Center. That’s a jump of 126 percent from 2017. “Data breaches are now a normal, everyday occurrence," the report concluded.
We can all learning something from the government shutdown – the importance of a rainy-day savings fund. This story also has tips on how to get started, plus important information for any federal workers or government contractors struggling because of the shutdown.
The government shutdown has created a golden opportunity for scammers, who are targeting desperate federal workers struggling to pay their bills — and the people who want to help. Watch out for fake job listings, bogus loan offers and charity scams.
A new Consumer Action survey shows that the way you receive a billing statement can significantly impact your behavior — such as how likely you are to review that bill.
Here are the worst passwords of the year. Are yours on the list? While cyber criminals are good at what they do, poor password hygiene –having a few simple passwords that open all your online accounts – makes their job even easier.
The new year is a good time to assess your finances and resolve to do better. Here are seven financial resolutions that can make a big difference for you and your family in 2019 and beyond.
2018 Holiday return policies: Some naughty, most nice. But these three big retailers — Amazon, Walmart and Target — make holiday gift returns easier.
2018 Holiday return policies: Some naughty, most nice. But these three big retailers — Amazon, Walmart and Target — make holiday gift returns easier.
Don't shop 'til you drop for the kids. They can't have everything they want, financial planning and parenting experts caution. So what do you do?
We like to assume every charity that asks for money is legitimate - and that's just not true. Here's how to deal with the barrage of year-end charitable solicitations.
In one recent survey, 14 percent of Black Friday sale items had the same price or were more expensive when compared with their pre-Black Friday prices. There are plenty of bargains out there, but you’ve got to do your homework.
A consumer watchdog group claims the ads for some of the country’s biggest and most prestigious cancer treatment centers are misleading because they don't disclose that the results are atypical for someone with this form of cancer.
Expect to get pitched to open a store credit card every time you’re at the checkout counter this holiday shopping season. You’ll get rewarded for the loyalty, but watch out for the sky-high interest rates.
You want to help your kids – especially with the staggering cost of college – but if you delay contributing to your retirement savings in order to fund their higher education, you could run out of money in your golden years. What then?
You work hard for your money. Don’t waste it on needless bank fees. Three of the most common ones — monthly checking account maintenance fees, overdraft charges and out-of-network ATM fees — can all be avoided.
The first vaping products designed to prevent fires and explosions — and safety certified by UL — are scheduled to hit the market in a few weeks. While these redesigned electronic cigarettes will be available in Canada, they won’t be sold in the United States. Why?
Shelling out $1,000 or more for a smartphone isn’t something everyone can afford, but you don’t have to pay full price. The major wireless carriers are aggressively promoting these new iPhones. Here’s are some of the deals currently available.
Freezing your files at the big three credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — is one of the best ways to protect yourself from financial identity theft. It stops criminals from opening new accounts in your name. And now, you can do this for free.
More people are buying pet insurance. Be advised: Policies and premium vary greatly from company to company. Checkbook.org analyzed the the offerings from 9 major insurance companies and found two that were the picks of the litter. (Picture is my dog, Sam)
Check fraud is a huge problem: As many as 500,000 Americans were burned by fake check scams last year, with the average victim losing about $1,200, according to a new report from the Better Business Bureau. Here's how they do it and how to protect yourself.
Some people don’t have the money to pay their credit cards bills on time, but more than a third simply forget to pay, according to a new survey. Besides getting hit with a sizable late payment fee and interest, your credit score could take a big hit.
A growing number of financial institutions are empowering their customers to fight fraud by giving them an on/off switch for their debit and credit cards. By using an app or going online, customers can temporarily turn off their cards, so they can't be used for new purchases.
Fear sells, so scammers and unscrupulous alarm companies often use alarming (and sometimes false) crime statistics and other scare tactics in their high-pressure sales pitch. Sign the contract and you could be out thousands of dollars.
About 90 million Americans use mobile pay apps. Consumer Reports just tested the major P2P services and the top three (whether iOS or Android versions) only received “fair” scores for data privacy.
About 90 million Americans use mobile pay apps. Consumer Reports just tested the major P2P services and the top three (whether iOS or Android versions) only received “fair” scores for data privacy.
Intrusive ads and privacy concerns are driving down satisfaction with social media. Facebook slips, Instagram drops and Twitter tumbles in a recent nationwide customer satisfaction survey. Pinterest bucked the downward trend.
Maybe you've noticed: Interest rates at some banks and credit unions are going up. The last time we saw some of these rates on CD and Savings accounts was back in 2009. So should you put a little more of your money into cash investments?
The financial damage caused by a data breach has spiked by more than 6 percent since last year and now costs a company an average of $3.86 million, according to a new study. The cost of a mega breach was estimated to be $350 million.
Travel websites promise deals and discounts for hotel rooms, but a new survey by Checkbook.org, an independent non-profit consumer group, shows those deals are hard to find. For significant discounts you need to book “mystery” rooms.
Americans are spending more dining out and apparently enjoying the experience more. Why? Better food quality, improved menu selections and new technologies that speed up the ordering process are boosting customer satisfaction.
We think of identity theft as an “adult” problem, but no one is immune from this crime. According to a report by Javelin Strategy & Research, two-thirds of the 1 million ID theft victims in the U.S. last year were under the age of eight. How do parents protect their kids?
After years of offering an ever-expanding menu of perks to their cardholders, several major credit card companies are going in the opposite direction. They're eliminating or reducing the value of some of these extras. Is your card one of them?
Starting this fall, the big three credit reporting agencies will be required to let you freeze your credit file for free. A freeze can help prevent identity thieves from applying for credit cards, opening bank accounts or taking out loans in your name.