If you’re a homeowner, you know there’s more to getting set for cold weather than digging out your coat, scarf, and favorite fuzzy boots; it’s time to make sure your home is winter-ready too. More than half the energy a typical home uses goes toward heating and cooling. The Federal Trade Commission has some energy saving tips to help you get the most from the energy you use and avoid a home-heating scam.
Many homeowners struggling to make mortgage payments look for practical payment alternatives: they might try to convince the lender to modify the loan terms, ask for a temporary reduction, or maybe try to refinance the loan. The Federal Trade Commission’s settlement with American Mortgage Consulting Group illustrates one alternative to stay away from: paying a company a fee to modify a mortgage before they deliver the results they promise.
Now that the holiday season is in full swing, you may be thinking about donating to your favorite charities. This time of year also brings more attention to our deployed personnel, their families living stateside and our veterans. Lots of folks wonder how they can support the troops. Many organizations tout themselves as a way to give back to those who serve. But not all charities are legitimate – some are out to make a buck for themselves. Some spend more money paying their fundraisers than supporting the military community. Here are a few things you can do to prevent shady groups from cashing in on the cachet of the military.
For many of us, the holiday season and shopping go hand-in-hand; it can be tough not to pounce on those big deals when you see them. But if you use a credit card to pay, remember you’re borrowing money you’ll have to pay back. What’s more, if you’re counting on making only your card’s minimum payment, you could end up paying much more in interest than you’d save on the deal.
Imagine this: You’re at home one evening when a sudden storm knocks out your power. You reach for that flashlight you keep in the kitchen drawer just for emergencies. You flip the switch, and the flashlight asks for your location. That would be weird, huh?
Well, that could be exactly what’s happening — on your phone.
You may be devoted to your phone, but not so thrilled about some of the calls you get. If you want fewer telemarketing calls, add your number to the National Do Not Call Registry. It’ll be in good company: the Registry has a total of 223 million active numbers whose owners chose to limit the telemarketing calls they get.
If you’re planning a funeral — either making arrangements with family or friends before you have to or when a loved one dies — you need information about all sorts of things. The FTC conducts undercover inspections of funeral homes to make sure they’re complying with the federal regulation that gives you the right to get an itemized price list before you commit to any arrangements.
The scenario: You want to sell your car without any hassles for a fair price. So you place an ad on a community website hoping for a quick sale. Shortly thereafter, you get a call from what sounds like an auto company. For a fee, the company promises to put you in touch with a buyer. If your car isn’t sold, they promise to refund your money. So you go ahead and pay the fee, and wait for the company to present a buyer for your car.
These days, it’s not always clear where news or entertainment ends and advertisements begin. That’s why the Federal Trade Commission is gearing up for its “Blurred Lines: Advertising or Content?” workshop on Wednesday, December 4, 2013. Panelists at the daylong workshop will look at advertising that resembles the content it’s embedded with.