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Author Archives: Research Department

Why I Keep a Burner Email Account


When the news hit that Hillary Clinton had a private email account that she used in her duties as Secretary of State, I thought, “Doesn’t everyone?” Maybe that’s my default reaction as a millennial who has picked up and dropped about 10 email addresses over the past decade or so. But it’s also because the value of navigating the online ... Read More »

    5 Ways to Help Your Parents Retire


    When we were young, most of us depended on our parents. They provided the emotional — and financial — support needed to grow. And though it seemed the day would never come, eventually it’s often time for a bit of role reversal. Just as your parents provided what they could to help you achieve the life you want, you find yourself handling some (or all) ... Read More »

      6 Ways to Deduct Your Job Search Expenses


      All the jobs lost in the Great Recession might be back, however, there are always some people in the job market. It’s healthy to have an unemployment rate of roughly 5 percent to 6 percent, as it represents a normal number of people seeking new employment opportunities. Many people who currently have jobs spent time last year looking for one. If you ... Read More »

        Can Living Near a Starbucks Boost Your Home’s Value?


        The next time you’re looking for a home, consider scanning the neighborhood for a Starbucks location. While you’re at it, look around at the local business scene and look into public transportation options nearby — these things may have a significant impact on your future property value. Real estate site Zillow analyzed the relationship between property values and proximity to ... Read More »

          FTC Returns More Than $2.9 Million to Inc21 Cramming Victims In Second Round of Refunds to Consumers


          The Federal Trade Commission is mailing a second round of 58,239 checks totaling more than $2.9 million to consumers and businesses who were victimized by a massive fraudulent operation that placed unwanted charges on their telephone bills. In 2010, the FTC stopped the scam, which was led by Inc21, an internet services company. Inc21 had third-party billing aggregators place charges ... Read More »

            The Only 3 Travel Credit Cards Worth Carrying


            Spring Break is fast approaching. If you’re planning a spring break trip, you won’t be alone in hitting the open road, or open skies, en route to vacation. American Express reports in a “Spending & Saving Tracker” summer travel survey that 75 percent of respondents plan to take a vacation, and the average expected costs for those trips are at $ 1,145 ... Read More »

              Should You Freeze Your Credit After a Data Breach?

              Ball Freezer jars

              With the news of different data breaches coming out on practically a weekly basis, consumers have become increasingly sensitive to the threat of identity theft, often asking how they can avoid it. There is no foolproof defense against identity theft, so one of the best things consumers can do is know how to quickly discover and stop the crime. You ... Read More »

                FTC Sends More Than $2.4 Million in Refunds to Consumers Harmed by Premier Precious Metals Scam


                The Federal Trade Commission has sent more than $2.4 million in refund checks to just over a hundred consumers harmed by the Premier Precious Metals scheme, which bilked millions of dollars from investors, including many senior citizens. In February 2014, the defendants were permanently banned from selling any investment opportunities under a settlement with the FTC. They conned consumers into ... Read More »

                  Poverty Is Quicksand

                  Sagging Economy

                  It’s hard to believe that anyone thinks the poor, in this country, have an easy, work-free life. There’s an assumption among a certain segment of the population that government benefits are enough to enable someone to ease back and voluntarily give up looking for a job. The reality is that poverty, especially now, is more like quicksand. Once you fall ... Read More »

                    Justice Department Announces Settlement with Plaza Bank of Irvine for Knowingly Facilitating Consumer Fraud


                    The United States filed a civil complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California today against Plaza Bank of Irvine, California, for knowingly facilitating consumer fraud by permitting a third-party payment processor to make millions of dollars of unauthorized withdrawals from consumer bank accounts on behalf of fraudulent merchants.  To resolve the case, Plaza Bank has ... Read More »

                      FTC Charges DIRECTV with Deceptively Advertising the Cost of Its Satellite Television Service


                      Company Advertises Discounted Monthly Prices, Fails to Tell Consumers about Two-Year Contract Obligation, Significant Price Increase in the Second Year, and Need to Cancel “Free” Premium Movie Channels The Federal Trade Commission has charged DIRECTV, the country’s largest provider of satellite television services, with deceptively advertising a discounted 12-month programming package because it fails to clearly disclose that the package ... Read More »

                        Do I Qualify for College Tax Breaks?

                        casual woman saving money

                        Q. My son is a high school junior, and he’s going to a summer college program. I have college money saved in a 529 plan and an UTMA. Can I use those funds for tuition? Also, can I take any of the college tax breaks on my return? A. You can use UTMA funds for your son’s college class, but ... Read More »

                          6 Ways Chasing Credit Card Rewards Can Backfire


                          There is a lot to like about credit card rewards. Cardholders can earn valuable points, miles and cash back just for spending money on things that they would normally buy. But at the same time, the temptation of rewards can lead cardholders to make unwise decisions that will ultimately cost them more money than any rewards earned were worth. Here are ... Read More »

                            You Can Refinance Your Car Loan to Save Money Each Month


                            If investing 15 minutes would save you $50 a month for the next three years, would you do it? That seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people are passing up a similar deal. That would be a total savings of $1,800 or, put another way, that 15 minutes would be an opportunity to make $7,200 an hour. ... Read More »

                              5 Ways to Save More Money This Spring


                              As the weather (finally) warms up, most of us are ready to leave hibernation and enjoy some activities the winter weather may have discouraged us from doing. You may think it is time to get out and spend, but really, the better weather and your renewal of positive energy can help you save. As you shed the winter coat, consider ... Read More »

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