Consumer Information Blog

Why your credit score matters

When you apply for credit, insurance, phone service, or even to rent a place to live, providers want to know if you’re a good risk. They use credit scores to help them decide.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Voicemail from an IRS imposter?

You get a call or voicemail from someone claiming to be from the IRS. You’re being sued and this your final notice, the caller says...

When your computer life is held for ransom

Imagine if everything on your computer was “kidnapped” — including all of your precious family photos and important personal documents. And the only way you could access any of it again was if you paid a lot of money — or bitcoins — to a hacker. Even if you pay, there’s no guarantee you’ll get your stuff back.

Sounds like something out of a movie, right? Unfortunately, it’s happening in real life. It’s called ransomware.

What is your phone telling your rental car?

When I rent a car, it’s fun to get all the bells and whistles – like navigation, hands-free calls and texts, streaming music and even web browsing. But did you know that cars with these features might keep your personal information, long after you’ve returned your rental car? Here are some things to keep in mind when renting a connected car.

“Free trial” scammers settle, surrender millions

In 2010, the FTC sued Jeremy Johnson, his company IWorks, and nine others for allegedly taking more than $280 million from people with a deceptive “free trial” scheme. Now Johnson, his family members, and more than two dozen corporate defendants have settled FTC charges and will give up millions of dollars in cash, stock, jewelry, aircraft, real estate and other assets.

Image of Free Trial Offers video

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Academics and scientists: Beware of predatory journal publishers

If you’re a scholar or scientist, you know the value of being published in an academic journal.  Unfortunately, some dishonest publishers also understand this — and have used it to profit from rather than promote legitimate advancements in research and academia.

In its lawsuit against OMICS Group — which operates hundreds of online journals in a variety of fields — the FTC says the company bombards people with emails soliciting articles, misrepresents the reputation of its publications, and doesn’t disclose that authors have to pay substantial fees — ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars — to be published.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

The top three ways to avoid fraud

In pretty much every article and blog post we put out, you’ll find tips to help you avoid scams. The idea is that, if you can spot a scam, and know how to avoid it, you and your money are more likely to stay together.

Today, we’re releasing a brochure that distills those tips down to the top 10 ways to avoid fraud. This brochure – available online and in print – is your one-stop resource to help you spot imposters, know what to do about robocalls, and how to check out a scammer’s claims.

Early VW buyback offers could cost you

Lately, we’ve been hearing from people who have gotten offers for their VW or Audi 2.0 liter diesel cars. Recent offers. Sometimes even using the term “buyback” – which isn’t exactly normal car trade-in language.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Shopping for a car? Be alert for flood damage.

It seems to happen after every major flood… damaged cars are cleaned up and taken out of state for sale. In fact, some experts estimate that, typically, half of all vehicles damaged by flooding eventually return to market.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Surviving a flood — Dealing with the aftermath

Once the floodwaters have receded, it’s time to take stock and develop a recovery plan. It can seem overwhelming. Here are a few tips and links to resources to help make the task less burdensome.

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages