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Now’s the time to start a savings plan

April is financial literacy month, and what a better way to celebrate than starting a savings plan.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Background check, mate?

If you’re applying for a job or trying to rent an apartment, the employer or landlord might conduct a background check. They may hire a company to provide information like your employment history, your driving record, any criminal records, and your credit report. The information in the background report could make the difference in whether you get the job or apartment, so it’s important it be accurate.

Two companies that each made millions of dollars selling background reports, but didn’t take reasonable steps to make the reports completely accurate, recently settled Federal Trade Commission charges that they violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act and FTC Act.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Getting jerked around

Do people think you’re a jerk? What if a search of your name turned up a site that seemingly answered that question for anyone to see? Meet Jerk.com.

Today the FTC charged Jerk — a supposed social networking site and reputation service — with allegedly tricking people into paying for site memberships to dispute profiles.

graphic of a person with jerk and not a jerk buttons below it

Financing a car? Ask about pre-payment penalties.

If you’re in the market for a new or used car, you may be considering financing options. For example, you might get a loan from a bank or use dealership financing. In either case, you’ll have to sign a contract that specifies the terms, including how much money you owe and what your payments are.

row of cars

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

How secure is that mobile app?

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, people used phones primarily to call each other. Strange, huh?

Today, in this galaxy, many of us depend on our phones to take care of everyday tasks like waking up on time, keeping track of our calories, and sharing photos and updates. Need movie tickets? Tap, tap, and done. Want to track your credit history and get free credit scores? Yep, you can do that, too.

Unfortunately, according to the FTC, apps don’t always secure the information they send and receive, and that could lead to serious problems for users. Two companies the FTC is focusing on today: Fandango and Credit Karma. The FTC says these popular services didn’t properly secure information sent through their apps — including credit card numbers (Fandango) and Social Security numbers (Credit Karma).

diagram of a man in the middle attack

An app that does not validate its security certificate leaves users vulnerable to “man in the middle” attacks.

 

Planning a funeral? Know your rights

Planning a funeral can be challenging, whether you’re making arrangements ahead of time, or helping others at a time of need. The Funeral Rule, enforced by the FTC, gives you rights that can make planning a funeral more satisfactory. We recently updated our information for consumers about funeral planning.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Gone to Carolina

Do you ever wonder how fraud varies from place to place? Why what’s big in one community might not have reached another? The FTC wonders these things. Then we go find out what’s going on – like we did last week in North Carolina, where the question was: what are the consumer protection issues facing immigrant communities there?

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

FTC drives settlement with Massachusetts auto dealer

As part of the FTC’s crackdown on deceptive practices related to the sale, financing, and leasing of motor vehicles, Courtesy Auto Group of Attleboro, Massachusetts has agreed to settle charges that it deceptively advertised that consumers could lease a vehicle for $0 down and specific monthly payments. In fact, the advertised amounts did not mention substantial fees that the dealer charged.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

New report highlights alcohol industry efforts to reduce advertising and marketing to teens

Did you know that alcohol companies have voluntary guidelines for where they place ads? 

For example, alcohol companies agree that they will advertise on television programs and websites where at least 70% of the audience is comprised of people 21 and older, based on reliable data.

But do they really keep their promises?

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Outlet shopping: Getting your money’s worth

Who doesn’t like a bargain? I know I do. And anytime I go to the beach on vacation, I head for the outlet malls. One-stop shopping for everything from clothes, shoes and handbags to housewares and home furnishings to luggage and more, with labels I know and trust. And at prices that can’t be beat.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

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