How to Avoid Telemarketing Scams
Telemarketing scams represent an interesting species of fraud. The technology isn't exactly new (telephony's been in wide use for a century now), and yet people keep falling for these schemes. Why?
Telemarketing scams represent an interesting species of fraud. The technology isn't exactly new (telephony's been in wide use for a century now), and yet people keep falling for these schemes. Why?
Next time tax season rolls around, don't forget about the Earned Income Tax Credit, or you may deprive yourself of substantial taxes savings -- to the tune of as much as $6,000. That may very well mean the difference between writing a check to the IRS, or receiving a big refund.
Medicare fraud is one of those activities that make you shake your head in disgust, wondering how some people can sink so low just to make an illicit buck. What's next, stealing from orphans?
Before you order that next box of bank checks (whether from your financial institution or from an independent printer), stop and ask yourself: "Do I really need checks anymore?"
A while back, we took a look at the process of setting up a power of attorney -- a durable legal instrument to allow someone else to handle your personal affairs and finances when you're incapacitated or away from home. Well, it's just as important to know how to revoke a POA when necessary.
One thing we savvy consumers all have in common is the fact that we like to save money whenever we can. The problem is defining what "saving" really means. As I've noted in previous articles, sometimes you're better off in the long run if you occasionally spend a little more cash than you'd like.
If you're a savvy consumer (or any consumer at all, really), I doubt there's a more rhetorical question than, "Do you want to retire as a millionaire?" Of course you do! Imagine never having to worry about money during your golden years!
Most of us have heard the term "power of attorney," but few of us have a clear idea of what it means. As a savvy consumer, however, you should make sure you understand the concept, just in case you need to assign someone the right to handle your personal affairs someday.
In this article, we'll take a look at the basics.
The very thought of receiving a pay cut sends shivers down the average worker's spine, which is perfectly understandable. Most of us have worked very hard to get where we are today -- so getting your salary slashed hurts more than just your personal bottom line. It hurts your pride and self-esteem, too.
Nobody wants to have to accept a pay cut, but it's a lot better to have your salary slashed than to get a pink slip. And in these uncertain times, you may someday have to face such a depressing reality... assuming you haven't already.
Given the rapid evolution of the electronic economy, it's not surprising that Internet banks have been popping up recently. In some cases, these are logical extensions of services already offered by financial institutions with a strong online presence; but a few are Internet-only banks.
In Part I of this article, we looked at the scary concept of debt settlement. You may never need to worry about such a thing; but if your financial matters do happen to go awry, you ought to know how to handle yourself, especially if you hire a company to handle your settlement negotiations.
"Debt settlement," like "bankruptcy," is one of those terms no one likes to hear in reference to their finances. Now, if you're a truly savvy consumer, you might think you'll never have to worry about either... but nowadays, things are less certain on the economic front that they've been in decades.
Automatic teller machines can be incredibly convenient devices, especially when you're stuck without much-needed cash -- but paying up to $5 in ATM fees to access your own money can be a real pain in the rear. It behooves you, then, to find ways to avoid sticking yourself with such fees.
Debt collection is a fact of life in any credit-based consumer economy, and there's no doubt that it's absolutely necessary. It's so necessary, in fact, that some companies make it their primary business. However, some debt collectors can be too vigorous in their dunning.
Since 1978, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) has regulated what bill collectors can and can't do in attempts to elicit payment. In Part I of this article, we introduced the FDCPA, and listed prohibited actions. This time, let's look at the required actions...and the penalties for breaking the law.
Even if you never expect to default on a bill, it's still a good idea for you to know your debt collection rights, just in case. Admittedly, it's not a pleasant subject to contemplate, but just about all of us have had to deal with dunning from bill collectors at one time or another.
You may have had a bad time of it, too; some bill collectors can be quite nasty. But the thing is, they're not supposed to be -- and that's been the law of the land for decades. So in this two-part article, we'll take a look at your debt collection rights under Federal law.
If you've ever driven across town to save a nickel on a gallon of gas, then you've been a victim of false economy -- that is, an action intended to save money that ends up costing even more money in the long run.
We savvy consumers occasionally run afoul of this type of behavior in our quest to save money. But don't feel bad: governments tend to be even worse about it, and our bad decisions cost maybe a few bucks, not billions.
With all these clever new banking fees that keep popping up nowadays, it almost seems more profitable to hide your money in your mattress. This is a sad state of affairs, not least because it completely goes against the entire concept of banking your money with a financial institution.
American households spend an average of $2,000 a year on heating and cooling, and a substantial portion of that's taken up by the winter heating bill. Fortunately, there are some fairly simple ways to save money on your winter heating, whether you use electricity or gas, and I'll outline them here.
If you're like most Americans, having a checking account isn't quite the necessity it used to be. Some of us are exceptions, of course, but think about it: how often do you write checks these days? Most of the time you just run a card through a machine when it comes time to pay for something, don't you?
Just a little food for thought...
Part of your job as parent is to teach your children to save money and be responsible. Many times, this is easier said than done. Kids love to spend money. It's a fact. So what's a parent to do? Here are some tips to help you teach your child important lessons about how to save money.
It's everybody's dream, isn't it? Unclaimed money. Who hasn't dreamed about discovering they have money they didn't know about? This is the dream of many and believe it or not, it can be true.
Deciding when to retire and cash in on your social security benefits is complicated and can make a big difference in the benefits your receive. As you think about retirement, here are some important questions for you to consider to make your retirement go as smoothly and as enjoyably as possible.
You know why you need life insurance -- to keep a roof over your family's head, to pay off debts and the future education of your children -- but when it comes to making a decision, it isn't always easy.
Life insurance is confusing. Here's some help to sort out the different policies so you can buy the best possible policy to protect your family.
Budget. For most people this six-letter word is the same as a four-letter word. Why? Because, most Americans were never taught budgeting or money management. These same people now find themselves in financial crisis -- credit card debt, no money set aside for emergencies, college educations, or retirement.
Budgeting and money management are skills. If you find yourself in financial crisis, regain control by learning how to budget, save, and manage your money for financial security and a bright future.
You can find tips for saving money just about everywhere you look these days. That's good! The trouble is even when you take steps to save money, at the end of the month you can't figure out where that extra money went. If you need to save money for a particular goal but are having trouble, follow these tips.
While the practice has gotten a lot of press in recent years, investing in coins isn't a new idea. Back when money was actually made of metals that were worth something, it wasn't uncommon for folks to put aside a silver dollar here or there as a hedge against inflation, or toward retirement.
That's still not a bad idea, assuming you can get ahold of real silver coins (that is, dimes, quarters, halves, and dollars minted before 1964.) As of this writing, silver is fluctuating around $18.50 an ounce, and all those coins were 90% silver. That makes a one-ounce dollar coin worth around $14.50.
Taxes...income tax, state tax, federal tax, sales tax, property tax...makes you dizzy just thinking about it -- doesn't it? If you're like me, it does. That's why I always have a professional prepare my taxes each year. Hiring a professional tax preparer makes me feel safe -- like I dotted all my i's and crossed all my t's.
Many people go this route for the same reasons I do, but if you're not careful, you can end up with just as big a mess as if you did your taxes yourself. Here's how to prevent this from happening and having a tax nightmare.
In today's hectic world, it pays to do everything you can to save time and money. You can do just that by automating your finances. Many people aren't aware of how much time and money they can save by switching to automation. Follow these tips for automating your finances and begin saving big today.
Wouldn't you just love to get rid of all your bills? I think everyone would answer "yes" to that question. It often seems as if our lives revolve around paying bills. While we can't get rid of all our bills, one bill we can greatly reduce is our electric bill. How?
Install solar panels and start seeing the savings in your bank account right away.
Have you considered investing, but figured that it is for people who have money to burn? Do you see the current condition of the stock market and cringe. Are you relieved that you didn't sink money into that stock you've been watching, that is dropping in value every day? If so, consider this: investing is an excellent tool for building personal wealth for anyone -- if done correctly.
As fuel prices increase seemingly exponentially, and the United States' economy weakens, economists are beginning to throw around a daunting term: recession. While some may have seen this coming as early as September 11, 2001, when the national stress level reached an all-time high, most of us can truly say that we noticed a difference following the devastation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina. As gas prices skyrocketed in response to the damage to the oil pipelines and refineries, consumer confidence started to crumble; little did we know how serious the situation would later become.
Savvy consumers save money whenever they can, which is why so many of us sign up for online banking services. From reduced mortgage rates to elimination of late fees or "mail missing" checks, there are dozens of reasons why online banking pays off. Still not convinced, consider these facts...
If you haven't yet completed your taxes, you don't have much time. The deadline is right around the corner and procrastinators are going to find themselves scrambling through a complicated tax season with a tight deadline. If you still haven't done your taxes, here are some things you need to consider...
No matter what day it is, any time you turn on the television you’ll undoubtedly find a few channels with so-called “experts” telling you everything from how to pick a private school to how to travel. While his or her advice is often well-intended, it’s not always applicable to every consumer. Before you listen to the financial experts, heed our expert advice.
In today's world, consumers are living beyond their means and debt is piling up fast. It's not uncommon for a family to live from paycheck to paycheck, spending all they make on all they owe. But what happens during retirement? What happens when your income is no longer in the form of a weekly paycheck? If you haven't been preparing for retirement (and even if you think you're already prepared), there's a website you need to visit.
Almost every consumer understands the basics of credit. At the very least, we understand we must have good credit if we want to buy a car or a home. However, the waters start getting a bit murky once you begin digging much deeper than that. Fortunately, there's a website with the sole purpose of clearing those waters and shedding light on the world of credit.
In the past, we've reviewed financial websites and credit card resources that have been very valuable for many of our visitors. Unfortunately, many of those sites haven't had anything to offer our UK readers. Well, my friends, your turn has come. We've been asked to review a UK-based finance website that has quite a bit to offer.
Part of being consumer savvy involves coming to terms with our past financial mistakes. It’s important to realize that financial mistakes do present an opportunity for growth and improvement. Don’t dread financial mistakes. That can only lead you to make more of them inadvertently due to the stress you put upon yourself. Embrace financial mistakes as a chance for you to learn and make better financial decisions in the future.
You’ve probably already heard by now that you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies. Locating a genuinely free credit report can take a bit of effort, as you’ll see below.
The Prime Rate... You may not think much about it unless you're in the market for a mortgage or a loan. The fact of the matter is that the Prime Rate affects us in everyday aspects of our lives -- more than many of us may realize. Fortunately, the Prime Rate doesn't have to be a confusing mess. There's a website that sheds quite a bit of light on the topic.
ATM fees can add up quickly. Many consumers don’t bother to take a look at how much money they are losing to ATM fees. If you have an ATM card and use it often, you might be surprised to learn just how much money you are losing to ATM fees. Below you’ll find some helpful suggestions for avoiding or at least reducing the number of ATM fees you pay.
If you are interested in donating to charity you might find the following tips helpful. Donating to charity can be a great opportunity for you to share some of what you have with worthy causes and others who are less fortunate, but you should still be selective when you are determining what charities to send your hard earned money to. Be realistic too. You are probably not going to be able to donate to every charity that interests you, and you shouldn't feel bad about declining to give to a particular charitable organization.
There are savvy consumers who still have credit card debt. Perhaps, they are now committed to a frugal lifestyle but previously made some very bad spending decisions and ended up in debt. Having credit card debt is not necessarily a problem, it’s what type of credit card debt you have that makes all the difference. Below you’ll find suggestions for making the most of your situation and reducing the burden of having credit card debt.
Sometimes saving money is simply a matter of knowing where to look for money-saving tips. We’ve provided you with many tips to stretch your dollars further, and when we find a valuable resource out there we let you know that too. That’s what we’re going to do today, fill you in on an unbelievable resource. Saving money has never been easier with The CompleteTightwad Gazette.
Part of maintaining a budget and being consumer savvy isn’t about simply adjusting your spending habits, it’s about adjusting your attitudes about money. How you feel about money is in part the result of what you learned about money growing up. If you experienced your parents arguing over money, that experience is certainly going to affect how you feel about money. If you heard the words, “We can’t afford that” very frequently then you might now have a feeling of deprivation when you don’t purchase something you really want. If you want to be consumer savvy, you need to view money differently.
Getting info on UK mortgages can be quite the undertaking, especially if you live stateside. Getting the wrong mortgage can mean significant financial loss and even repossession (foreclosure). If you're considering the purchase of UK real estate and you want information on the different UK mortgages available, you're going to want to read our review about a very helpful UK mortgage information website.
Being consumer savvy in the New Year is easy if you follow the advice below. As the year 2007 progresses, keep in mind the following advice when you are cleaning your house. We live in a society where things are highly disposable. If something doesn’t work, we can just throw it out and buy a new item rather than fix it. This mentality leads many consumers to throw away items that actually can be useful. Just because you don’t need something anymore doesn’t mean someone else can’t use it. Are you throwing away treasure?
One way to trim money from your monthly budget is to take a look to see what expenses you can eliminate. One easy way to trim your expenses and not exceed your monthly budget is to purchase store brand names of popular products. It’s great if you can purchase a brand name product with a coupon, but when there aren’t any coupons available, buying store brand products can allow you to enjoy extra savings. By purchasing store brand products, you’ll definitely find that you can stretch your monthly budget further.
Many savvy consumers swear by budget envelopes. If you are concerned about the amount of money you spend and want to keep better track of your spending habits, budget envelopes might be the solution for you. It can be hard to really keep track of your money, but with budget envelopes you will have a very tangible way to visualize just how much money you have left over at the end of the month, if any.
If you are looking for ways to trim you budget, you’ve come to the right place at the right time. Once the holidays are over, consumers try to reevaluate their budget particularly because many consumers overindulged with the holidays and spent way more than they would have liked. I have some good tips for you to keep in mind that can help you trim your budget especially if you’re making it a New Year’s resolution to improve your spending.
If you have a savings account with a good amount of money in it and you also have credit card debt, you might want to reconsider what you should do with the money in your savings account. Reducing credit card debt is desirable if you have the money available to do so.
If you are a parent and you haven’t already opened up a children’s bank account, you should really consider doing so. A children’s bank account can teach your child about saving, responsible spending and the rewards of being frugal and opening a children’s bank account now can ensure a bright future for your child tomorrow.
Online banking has been around for a while and it’s really nothing new. That’s why it’s so surprising that more consumers aren’t taking advantage of what online banking has to offer. If your bank offers online banking and you’re not taking advantage of it, you may be throwing time and money right out the window.
If you’re not already a credit union member, you may be wondering what the difference is between your local credit union and your local bank -- or perhaps you’re not really wondering at all and you assume they’re pretty much the same. You may be surprised to find out that there are indeed some very substantial differences between credit unions and banks including the way they operate and who they work for.
So you have a structured settlement and you’re wondering if you should sell it for a one-time, lump-sum payment. Before you make such an important decision, you need to understand the benefits and the pitfalls of selling a structured settlement.