Welcome to Consumers’ Notebook, where we feature news-you-can-use and other timely information to help you become a more informed consumer. Check back often to read the latest pieces in our Notebook.
“Made in USA” claims are often meaningless and sometimes outright deceptive. This month the Federal Trade Commission finalized a new rule to crack down on marketers using false labeling about where their products were made.
It’s easy to make mistakes when paying on your phone and difficult to get help if something goes wrong.
The travel industry has a solution for those who want to book a vacation but have limited budgets: Buy now, pay later (BNPL) financing. 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.
A unique study by Consumer Reports, released this week, found that errors in credit reports are all too common.
Most shoppers don’t notice when packaged goods are downsized ever so slightly. This inconspicuous shrinkage—fewer sheets on a roll of toilet paper, skinnier paper towels, and less coffee in the can—has been going on for decades. And there’s no end in sight.
Cryptocurrency investment schemes have skyrocketed during the pandemic, as criminals leverage this gold-rush mentality, promising huge returns in just days or weeks.
Starting today, the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will provide financial assistance to families who need help paying for internet access or buying a computer.
Fraudsters have figured out another way to exploit the pandemic. They’re sending out emails and text messages asking people to complete a bogus COVID-19 survey about the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. There’s even a fake survey for AstraZeneca, which hasn’t even been approved for use in the U.S.
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 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.
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. You now have more choices than ever.
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.
More than two-thirds of all the Economic Impact Payments have now been sent out electronically, according to the U.S. Treasury Department. That’s significantly faster than delivery of the first stimulus checks last April. Even so, that leaves millions of Americans still waiting for federal relief.
Like everything else during this pandemic, holiday shopping is different this year. Stores are open and malls are decorated, but even diehard brick-and-mortar shoppers are more likely to buy online. That reduces the risk of getting infected, but increases the chances of falling victim to cybercriminals.
The Federal Trade Commission, the government’s fraud fighting agency, received 3.2 million consumer complaints last year, dealing with everything from identity theft to online shopping problems.
Websites and apps like GoodRX, America’s Pharmacy, Blink Health, Optum Perks, RXSaver, SingleCare, and WellRX can offer discounts so steep that you might pay less for your prescription medicines than the copays you'd pay under your health insurance plan.
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, so far Blackbaud hasn't shared much info about who was affected.
Starting on 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.
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.
Contact 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.