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.
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.
Chances are you have online accounts that you haven’t used for years. These old and abandoned accounts can be a major security risk.
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.
The holiday shopping season is underway and for people without savings or credit, or who have credit cards maxed out because of the pandemic, layaway or buy now, pay later plans may be the only way to buy everything on their gift-giving lists.
Scammers are capitalizing on record e-commerce orders with a fresh wave of email and text message phishing attacks that look like they're from legitimate retailers and package delivery services.
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.
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.
By law, the IRS owes interest on refunds that accrued between the original April 15th filing deadline and whenever the refund was actually paid.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fraudsters have created fake customer service numbers for many well-known companies and wait for you to slip up and call them. This scam is deviously simple, which is why it’s often difficult to spot.
During a move, you’re trusting a company 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 relocations.
At a time when American consumers need more protection than ever from predatory loans, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has issued a final rule on payday loans that rolls back important protections.
The Skin Cancer Foundation says a good sunscreen, used properly, can dramatically lower your risk of skin cancer––reducing the risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent.
Many Consumers Enrolled in COVID-19 Payment Modification Programs Find Their Credit Files Erroneously Tarnished
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.
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.
People are buying cars again. To regain lost business, car manufacturers and dealers are promoting steep discounts and special financing.
Ready to pounce on a deal on new wheels? Don’t let hype about current deals bait you into spending too much. Our strategy of collecting competitive bids will save you $1,000 or more compared to other buying approaches.
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.
Con artists are putting a new twist on the old gift-card scam by 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.
Nearly 4 million people are being sent their Economic Impact Payment by prepaid debit card, instead of a check, in a plain envelope. Many recipients are throwing theirs away (assuming It's junk mail) or destroying them (afraid it's a scam).
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.
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?...
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.
As the unemployment rate continues to climb due to the coronavirus outbreak, the banks that issue credit cards are taking defensive action by closing accounts and reducing credit limits.
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.
There’s a growing list of grocery-buying options that don’t involve you braving a mainstream grocery store or banging your head against the booked-up delivery service dilemma.
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.
During the coronavirus pandemic, patient advocates can offer vital assistance to the families of those who are hospitalized or locked down in senior communities.
Password management software helps you create strong and unique passwords for all your online accounts.
Millions of Americans who filed their tax returns via tax preparation services haven’t received their stimulus payments yet.
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.
An airline must give you a refund if it cancels your flight. Many carriers finally are granting more flexibility for flyers who wish to change their travel plans due to the coronavirus crisis.
You’ve looked in your checking account and your government stimulus payment hasn’t arrived yet. Don’t panic. Here’s when you can expect to receive it.
Most of the largest U.S. insurance companies have announced plans to give their auto policyholders some form of relief. Some insurers are offering a lot more help than others.