Jump into spring with a healthy clean

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Spring has sprung, so show your home some love and give it a thorough cleaning! A good deep cleaning can improve your home’s air quality and your health by eliminating dust and other allergens that gathered over winter.
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FTC offers advice when a caller asks “Can you hear me?”

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Have you recently gotten a robocall from an unknown caller who asked “can you hear me now”? If you have, the Federal Trade Commission is advising people on what you should do. Continue reading

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Recall issued for Xbox One battery chargers

Close to 121,000 Xbox One video game controller battery chargers are being recalled due to a burn hazard. Continue reading

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Looking for a home? Beware of deceptive mortgage ads

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Are you looking to purchase your dream home? Chances are you’ve seen a couple of mortgage ads promising low rates or payments. But just because an offer seems perfect, it doesn’t mean it can’t have some flaws  Continue reading

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Spring into a new job without getting scammed

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As the warm spring weather moves in, the job market begins to heat up, too. However, BBB is warning people of scammers trying to trick job seekers looking for honest work. Continue reading

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Staying above water when drowning in debt

 

infographic, elements, icons, cartoon, banner, businessPaying off debt can seem like a simple thing to do. Just pay off what you can, when you can. But when you in factor daily expenses, bills, and other necessities, the task can become a lot harder.

However, it isn’t impossible. In recognition of Military Saves Week, here are a couple tips to keep in mind when looking to lower or pay off your debt:

  • Make a budget. Figure out the most you can afford to pay each month to reduce your debts, then make those payments without fail. If you have debts on more than one credit card, either pay off the card with the highest interest rate first and work your way down to the card with the lowest rate, or pay off the smallest loan first and work your way up to the largest. Once you’ve paid off your debts, don’t give in to the temptation to start over-spending again.
  • Get professional help. If you live on a military installation you contact the Family Readiness Center for free.  Personal Financial Managers and counselors can assist you in developing a debt repayment plan. Additionally, MilitaryOneSource offers free financial counseling.  Visit their website or call 1-800-342-9647 for more information.
  • Contact your creditors. Contact your creditors immediately if you’re having trouble making ends meet. Tell them why it’s difficult for you, and try to work out a modified payment plan that reduces your payments to a more manageable level. Don’t wait until your accounts have been turned over to a debt collector.
  • Send extra payments.  Beyond making the minimum payment, send extra amount to help make a bigger dent.
  • Stick to your plan. Once your balances are lowered, it can be tempting to start using available credit cards, however, it could prolong the process of reducing your debt. Resist the urge and stay focused on your goal.

 

 

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Start Small, Think Big: Five Strategies for Saving

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When it comes to saving, the sooner you start, the better. Military Saves, a campaign managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA), is dedicated to helping service members and their families improve their financial lives by promoting practical saving behaviors that help build wealth and reduce debt. Start reaching your savings goals with their top five recommended saving strategies: Continue reading

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Beware of scammers phishing for your W-2 Form

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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued an urgent alert earlier this month to employers about the “W-2 scam.”  Continue reading

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FTC reaches settlement with Florida man who assisted IRS scammers

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The Federal Trade Commission has banned a Florida man from aiding telemarketers after being charged with helping telemarketers in India con American consumers in an IRS scam. Continue reading

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Texas AG: 39,000 Texans eligible for restitution in Western Union settlement

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced on Tuesday that 39,000 Texans would be eligible for refunds after a $5 million settlement was reached with Western Union.

The settlement stemmed from an investigation into complaints filed by customers who used the company’s service to wire transfer money to third parties who were involved in scams.

Western Union agreed to pay $586 million to a fund that the U.S. Department of Justice will administer to provide refunds to those affected, which include the 39,000 Texans.

“This settlement serves as a cautionary tale that scam artists are always looking for new ways to fool people into wiring them money, including schemes purportedly involving family members, romantic interests, lotteries and contests,” Attorney General Paxton said.

The company also agreed to anti-fraud measures which include:

  • Anti-fraud warnings on forms that consumers use to wire money;
  • Mandatory and appropriate training and education for Western Union’s agents about fraud-induced wire transfers;
  • Heightened anti-fraud procedures when warranted by circumstances such as increased fraud complaints;
  • Due diligence checks on Western Union agents who process money transfers;
  • Monitoring of Western Union agent activity related to prevention of fraud-induced money transfers; and
  • Prompt and appropriate disciplinary action against Western Union agents who fail to follow required protocols concerning anti-fraud measures.
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