Consumer News & Info

Think Again if You're Thinking About Getting an Advance on Your Income Tax Refund This Year
22Jan

Think Again if You're Thinking About Getting an Advance on Your Income Tax Refund This Year

If you're short on money and know that you will be getting a tax refund this year, you may be tempted to get an advance on that refund. A tax refund advance, also called a Refund Anticipation Loan or a Refund Anticipation Check, is a very short-term loan based on your estimated income tax refund. But the fees and interest rates on them, which are often 200% or higher, should make you think twice.

Most Online Pharmacies Are Really Fake Sites Selling Illegal, Tainted or Counterfeit Drugs
21Jan

Most Online Pharmacies Are Really Fake Sites Selling Illegal, Tainted or Counterfeit Drugs

Thanks to the Internet, you can buy practically anything online today from the ordinary to the truly exotic. Buying medications is no exception. You can find nearly any medication you want with a quick web search. Unfortunately, nearly all online web pharmacies are illegal, selling not only controlled substances that can't be purchased online but also dangerous counterfeit and tainted medications.

Selling Your Home: How to Stand Out With These Tips to Sell Quickly for the Biggest Profit
20Jan

Selling Your Home: How to Stand Out With These Tips to Sell Quickly for the Biggest Profit

Have you finally made the decision to sell your home? Have you been trying to sell your home but haven't had many offers? Maybe the offers that have come your way are much lower than you were expecting? You could be a victim of a bad housing market or you might simply need to make a few inexpensive tweaks to make your home stand out from the others and make potential buyers just have to have it.

North Carolina Tenant Rights: Relationships Between Landlords and Tenants Can Be Complex
19Jan

North Carolina Tenant Rights: Relationships Between Landlords and Tenants Can Be Complex

Laws governing relationships between a landlord and a tenant are complex. While most problems that arise are caused by simple misunderstandings, some are caused intentionally and may require a legal strategy. One of the simplest ways to protect yourself is to thoroughly read and understand your lease before you sign it. If problems do happen down the road, the lease becomes critically important.

The Arrival of Dry, Colder Weather Means That It's Time to Add Some Moisture to Your Home
18Jan

The Arrival of Dry, Colder Weather Means That It's Time to Add Some Moisture to Your Home

With the oppressive summer humidity behind us, North Carolinians are bracing for the cold and dry air of winter. This dry air, which can quickly drop from an ideal humidity range of 50 percent to around as low as 10 percent, often leads to sore throats, itchy skin, dry eyes and other ailments. A humidifier can help bring up these humidity levels and ease some of the problems low humidity can cause.

Watch Out for These Red Flags of Credit Repair Scams and Avoid Companies That Display Them
16Jan

Watch Out for These Red Flags of Credit Repair Scams and Avoid Companies That Display Them

A financial setback is devastating, especially to your credit rating. Repairing the damage to your credit afterwards can seem impossible. During these times of anxiety, it can be easy to fall victim to scammers wanting to take your money with promises of repairing your credit history. Before you fall victim to credit repair scams, look out for these red flags and avoid companies that display them.

If You Want a Larger Tax Refund, Don't Forget About These Common Tax Breaks and Deductions
15Jan

If You Want a Larger Tax Refund, Don't Forget About These Common Tax Breaks and Deductions

Are you looking for the biggest tax refund you can get this year? You're not alone. But far too many people miss out on some common tax deductions each year. But you don't have to be one of them. Review the following tax deductions to see if you might be missing out on a larger tax refund. And don't despair if you see something you may have missed last year. You can always amend last year's taxes.

Scam Alert: Don't Be Tempted to Return Calls or Text Messages From These Scammy Area Codes
14Jan

Scam Alert: Don't Be Tempted to Return Calls or Text Messages From These Scammy Area Codes

Scammers are always looking for new ways to steal money from their unsuspecting victims. One scam still bilking its victims involves calling or texting from some kind of premium phone number, or one that will put charges on your phone bill each time you call or text back. It works very similar to how a 900 number works. But in this case, you don't find out about the high costs until it's too late.

Here's How You Can Cash in on Those Unwanted Gift Cards You Got in Your Christmas Stocking
13Jan

Here's How You Can Cash in on Those Unwanted Gift Cards You Got in Your Christmas Stocking

People often receive gift cards from people they don't know too well. While the thought is nice, there's a good chance the gift card will be for a store you never visit or that sells things you would never want. But even if the card you get is for your favorite store, there's still a chance you'll forget about it. So if you have an unwanted gift card or two, there are a few options to put it to use.

A Sewer Backup Endorsement to Your Homeowners or Renters Insurance Can Save You Money Later
12Dec

A Sewer Backup Endorsement to Your Homeowners or Renters Insurance Can Save You Money Later

Most people don't know that insurance often doesn't cover you if something causes sewage to back up into your home. Damages from these types of incidents can add up to many tens of thousands of dollars quickly and make your home a HAZMAT site. But an optional sewer backup endorsement from your insurance company can save you a lot of money later. Without one, you can end up footing the whole bill.

Are You Ever Allowed to Spend Money That Was Mistakenly Deposited Into Your Bank Account?
11Jan

Are You Ever Allowed to Spend Money That Was Mistakenly Deposited Into Your Bank Account?

Have you ever found extra money in your bank account? It happens more often than you might think! It only takes a moment for a bank teller to key the wrong digit when entering an account number. And most of us don't double check the account numbers after we complete a transaction to make sure nothing went wrong. So are you allowed to keep any money that is mistakenly deposited into your account?

Watch Out for Strange Text Messages Trying to Steal Your Personal and Financial Information
7Jan

Watch Out for Strange Text Messages Trying to Steal Your Personal and Financial Information

If you get a text message from an email address or number you don't recognize, it's probably best to ignore it. Responding or clicking links can cause problems, even if you think you're unsubscribing. You may get unwanted charges on your phone bill or become the victim of identity theft. In any case, you're confirming that your number is good, opening the door to even more text messages or calls.

Here Are Some Things You Should Know if a Gym Membership is Part of Your New Fitness Goals
6Jan

Here Are Some Things You Should Know if a Gym Membership is Part of Your New Fitness Goals

Becoming healthier and getting in shape are probably on your mind right now. To reach those goals, a gym membership is probably part of your plan. Did you decide to join a gym to lose weight, get buffed, or to feel better? Unfortunately, many people end up unhappy with both the physical and financial results of that decision. Here are some things you should know before getting that gym membership.

Five Tips for Returning Those Unwanted Holiday Gifts Without Hassle or Unexpected Surprises
30Dec

Five Tips for Returning Those Unwanted Holiday Gifts Without Hassle or Unexpected Surprises

We've all been there. It was a great holiday with friends and family, yet you have a gift or two that you simply don't want or can't use. Do you return your unwanted gifts, re-gift them to someone else, or hide them away in the back of a closet? The decision is yours. But if you choose to return gifts, keep these five simple tips in mind before heading out to make it as quick and easy as possible!

Here's How to Save Money on Your Home Heating Costs This Winter When the Temperatures Drop
18Dec

Here's How to Save Money on Your Home Heating Costs This Winter When the Temperatures Drop

It's a simple fact. Your home heating bill will increase as the outside temperature decreases. But you don't have to let the cost of heating your home drain your wallet each time the temps start to fall. If you put in a little bit of effort and a small amount of money, you can save some serious cash each winter on your home's heating costs. If you're ready to save some money, consider these tips.

Live Versus Artificial Christmas Trees: Here's What You Should Know to Lower Your Fire Risk
16Dec

Live Versus Artificial Christmas Trees: Here's What You Should Know to Lower Your Fire Risk

When choosing a Christmas tree, the biggest decision most people have to make is whether to purchase a live tree or to pull the artificial tree from the attic. While artificial trees pose fewer safety concerns than live trees, they don't really have the same look, feel, and smell as live trees. Whether you choose live or artificial, each type of tree comes with its own set of fire safety concerns.

Beware of Newspaper and Magazine Subscription Renewal Offers That Come From Third Parties
11Dec

Beware of Newspaper and Magazine Subscription Renewal Offers That Come From Third Parties

When you get a subscription renewal notice, do you pay it without question or do you do some checking to make sure it's right? If you're like most people, you pay it and forget about it quickly. Everything turns out just fine most of the time. But sometimes the renewal notice you get isn't from the publisher at all. It could be from a third party trying to turn a profit or even steal your money.

Safe Decorating and Preventing Home Fires this Holiday Season
10Dec

Safe Decorating and Preventing Home Fires this Holiday Season

The holiday season is supposed to be a time of joy and good cheer, but it is also a time when the number of home fires increases. In fact, nearly 47,000 fires occur just during the winter holidays alone. Many of those fires could be prevented quite easily with careful planning and responsible decorating. Take steps now to lessen the chances that your home will become a statistic this holiday season.

Scammers Will Call Posing as Government Officials, Wanting You to Pay Them With Gift Cards
9Dec

Scammers Will Call Posing as Government Officials, Wanting You to Pay Them With Gift Cards

Imagine getting a phone call from a government official saying that a loved one was arrested or that you owe back taxes. Then imagine that the caller says some kind of enforcement action will happen unless you pay a fine or other amount owed immediately via some ind of gift card. Would you pay up? Hopefully you'd realize that scammers are the only ones who call and want you to pay with gift cards.

Protecting Your Pets From Poisonous Plants That Are Often Used in Indoor Holiday Decorating
8Dec

Protecting Your Pets From Poisonous Plants That Are Often Used in Indoor Holiday Decorating

We don't often think too much about indoor plants when we decorate our homes during the holidays, but it's something you should be thinking about if you have pets. Many plants used in holiday decor, such as holly and mistletoe, are toxic to dogs, cats and other small animals. It can take only seconds for a curious pet to ingest a small amount of a toxic plant, becoming seriously ill or even dying.

Heat Your Home Safely This Winter to Avoid the Dangers of Carbon Monoxide, the Silent Killer
2Dec

Heat Your Home Safely This Winter to Avoid the Dangers of Carbon Monoxide, the Silent Killer

It's that time of year and cold weather is sweeping across the country, which means that households everywhere have the heat turned on. Unfortunately, the late fall and winter months are also the peak time for accidental deaths caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. Don't become a statistic this year. Make sure you are aware of carbon monoxide and the steps you can take to fight this silent killer.

Tip-Offs to Rip-Offs: Don't Fall for Health Care Product Fraud Scams
25Nov

Tip-Offs to Rip-Offs: Don't Fall for Health Care Product Fraud Scams

It's a shame that you don't see scam warnings on health products. Then you wouldn't need to be on your toes to spot scams. To keep yourself from being scammed, stay on the lookout for the false claims touting revolutionary scientific breakthroughs, miracle cures, or alternatives to drugs or surgery. This language is used by scammers trying to prey on people who want easy fixes for health problems.

Thanksgiving Food Safety Tips: What to Do and Not to Do When Prepping and Cooking a Turkey
19Nov

Thanksgiving Food Safety Tips: What to Do and Not to Do When Prepping and Cooking a Turkey

Thanksgiving is a day to spend with friends and family around the table, but not around a hospital bed after someone gets a foodborne illness. Food safety is something that everyone should practice daily, not just on a holiday. Whether you're a seasoned chef or a novice preparing your first big meal, make sure that you know the safest ways to thaw, prepare, stuff, and cook your Thanksgiving turkey.

Here Are a Few Quick Tips for Keeping Your Holiday Meals Safe at Home and When Traveling
18Nov

Here Are a Few Quick Tips for Keeping Your Holiday Meals Safe at Home and When Traveling

It's the most wonderful time of the year again! It doesn't really matter if you're staying at home for the holidays or traveling to visit friends and family. Food will always be a part of the holiday festivities. But you don't want this holiday season to be remembered for the wrong reasons, so make sure you know how to keep you food safe. Food poisoning can certainly put a damper on the holidays.

Remember That Antibiotics Should Not Always Be the First Answer During Cold and Flu Season
11Nov

Remember That Antibiotics Should Not Always Be the First Answer During Cold and Flu Season

No one really likes cold and flu season. When it hits, it usually hits hard and brings with them the stuffy noses, coughs and general yuckiness that knock us off our feet. When someone we love feels bad, we want to help them get better as soon as possible. Many of us might reach for leftover antibiotics or rush to the family doctor to get some. But doing this will often do much more harm than good.

Your Computer Probably Doesn't Have a Security Problem if You Get a Pop-Up Warning Message
10Nov

Your Computer Probably Doesn't Have a Security Problem if You Get a Pop-up Warning Message

If you're on your computer and you get a warning message, stop for a moment. Common tech support scams use pup up messages that claim you have a security problem. The warning messages vary a little bit, but they usually give you some kind of dire warning that you will lose access to your data unless you contact the tech support number displayed or click a tech support link. Don't fall for the scam.

SCAM ALERT: Beware of Phone Calls Warning Your Credit and Debit Cards Have Been Cancelled
9Nov

SCAM ALERT: Beware of Phone Calls Warning Your Credit and Debit Cards Have Been Cancelled

Have you received an automated phone call advising that your credit or debit card has been deactivated or even cancelled? If you, so are not alone. People answer these phone calls every day and mistakenly believe them to be coming from their banks. While it may sound quite alarming at first, it's just a scammer trying to scare you into giving up your sensitive information and your account numbers.

Know How to Protect Yourself on Halloween, the Worst Night of the Year for Vehicle Vandalism
29Oct

Know How to Protect Yourself on Halloween, the Worst Night of the Year for Vehicle Vandalism

Halloween is the worst night of the year when it comes to vehicle vandalism and a top night for thieves looking to make a quick score. In fact, compared to your average day, you're twice as likely to be a victim of vehicle vandals on Halloween. While you may not become a victim, there are a few things you can do to lower your risks and hopefully make it through this mischievous night unscathed.

Scam Alert: Thieves Again Targeting Your Personal Info and Money Thanks to Election Season
23Oct

Scam Alert: Thieves Again Targeting Your Personal Info and Money Thanks to Election Season

Have you noticed the phone ringing a bit more than usual lately? It may be thanks to Election Day, which is almost here and giving scammers a way to steal your personal information and hard-earned money. A loophole in the National Do Not Call Registry allows political organizations to call you. Don't let a scammer pull one over on you by asking for a donation or to verify your voter registration.

How Do You Protect Yourself From Unfair Charges for Rental Car Damage That You Didn't Cause
20Oct

How Do You Protect Yourself From Unfair Charges for Rental Car Damage That You Didn't Cause

You sign the rental car agreement, get the car keys, and drive off only to notice that there was some preexisting damage you didn't see earlier. Will you be charged for that damage when you return the car? Even if you're on your toes and this situation doesn't apply to you, what happens if the rental car gets damaged after you drop it off but before the rental company performs a final inspection?

Scam Alert: Law Enforcement Agents Don't Call to Collect Fines From Using Online Pharmacies
14Oct

Scam Alert: Law Enforcement Agents Don't Call to Collect Fines From Using Online Pharmacies

Purchasing your medications online is a quick and convenient alternative to driving to the drug store. But many consumers who need medications and who have purchased them online or by phone have unwittingly exposed themselves to extortion by individuals posing as Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agents. Here's what you need to know right now about how this scam works and how to protect yourself.

If You Lose Your Credit or Debit Card Only to Find It a Short Time Later, Cancel It Anyway
13Oct

If You Lose Your Credit or Debit Card Only to Find It a Short Time Later, Cancel It Anyway

Have you ever lost your wallet or purse? Or maybe you've given your credit or debit card to a cashier only to walk away without it? Well, you're not alone. It's happened to pretty much everyone at one time or another. If you lose your credit or debit card only to find it a short time later, you may think nothing more of it. But you really should consider canceling the card and requesting a new one.

Your Auto Insurance Premium Changes Based Upon Insurance Points Each Time You File a Claim
12Oct

Your Auto Insurance Premium Changes Based Upon Insurance Points Each Time You File a Claim

Filing a claim with your auto insurance company will usually leave you paying higher premiums for a few years, especially if there was a lot of damage. But how much more money will you end up paying? Filing an insurance claim might not be so bad on your wallet depending upon your insurance company, insurance discounts, the amount of the claim, and the number of insurance points you've accumulated.

Don't Race to Replace Your Electronic Devices Now That Faster Bluetooth 5 is Finally Here
9Oct

Don't Race to Replace Your Electronic Devices Now That Faster Bluetooth 5 is Finally Here

A lot electronic devices today, from phones to medical devices, have Bluetooth technology. With the vast proliferation of Bluetooth, having fasting and longer-range signals is very important. The new Bluetooth 5 specification is making things a lot faster and giving much better range, but you shouldn't start replacing your devices and peripherals just yet solely to take advantage of the changes.

You Can Protect Yourself From Identity Theft by Keeping Your Private Information Private
7Oct

You Can Protect Yourself From Identity Theft by Keeping Your Private Information Private

The Internet is so prevalent in our day-to-day lives that we often give little thought to our privacy as we browse our social media feeds or reorder dog food. But it's more important than ever in our connected world to safeguard our information from identity thieves. Thankfully, there are a few steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of having your identity stolen, whether online or offline.

Beware of Graduated Payment Plans That Promise Very Low Payments When You Buy Your Next Car
6Oct

Beware of Graduated Payment Plans That Promise Very Low Payments When You Buy Your Next Car

If you are in the market for a new vehicle, steer clear of dealers that use graduated payment plans to lure you in. Dealers that offer these types of payment plans often use a variety of ads and even paid programming spots aired late at night or on weekends in an effort to hook you with promises of no money down and exceptionally low monthly payments that later skyrocket to insanely high amounts.

Seven Key Things You Need to Know About Your Home Insurance Policy Before Disaster Strikes
21Sep

Seven Key Things You Need to Know About Your Home Insurance Policy Before Disaster Strikes

Looking over your homeowners insurance policy can be challenging and confusing. But with more insurance companies inserting provisions to shift risk and costs to homeowners, a careful read is more important than ever! You don't want to find out that your policy doesn't cover certain types of damage when you call to make a claim. So here are seven things you should know now about your policy.

Here's What You Need to Know in Order to Dispose of Old and Leftover Medications Properly
16Sep

Here's What You Need to Know in Order to Dispose of Old and Leftover Medications Properly

If you look in your medicine cabinet, you will probably find some old medications you don't need anymore. Whether it's a prescription painkiller or something over-the-counter, you should properly dispose of old and unused medications to prevent them falling into the wrong hands where they can have potentially harmful effects. But how exactly do you do that? Some medications require proper disposal.

IRS Scam Again Targeting Consumers With Recorded Messages Threatening Arrest Unless You Pay
10Sep

IRS Scam Again Targeting Consumers With Recorded Messages Threatening Arrest Unless You Pay

The IRS scam is again and targeting unsuspecting people who have fear of being arrested for unpaid taxes. It's just another variation of common scams already making the rounds that threaten arrest in exchange for iTunes gift cards. The goal is to feed on your fears and get you to make hasty payments through means that offer you no possibility of getting your money back. Just hang up on these scams.

Be on the Lookout for Home Repair Scams and Shady Contractors Following Natural Disasters
9Sep

Be on the Lookout for Home Repair Scams and Shady Contractors Following Natural Disasters

Preparing for an approaching hurricane or other weather disaster is stressful enough without worrying about scammers who want to take advantage of the situation and steal your money in your time of need. If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of needing repairs after a storm, know what to look for to help you separate good contractors from scammers and cheats looking for a quick payday.

Yo-Yo Auto Scams: Your Financing 'Fell Through' So You Have to Return the Car or Pay More
8Sep

Yo-Yo Auto Scams: Your Financing 'Fell Through' So You Have to Return the Car or Pay More

You've finally filled out the lengthy paperwork for your new or used car and drive it home in triumph. Everything is done, right? But you may get a phone call a few hours, days or even weeks later from your dealer saying that your financing fell through and that you have to return the car or agree to different financing terms. That's illegal. If a dealer tells you this, it's time to get help.

Auto Shop Fluid Flushes Are Rarely Needed, Can Cause Damage, and Hardly Ever Fix Problems
2Sep

Auto Shop Fluid Flushes Are Rarely Needed, Can Cause Damage, and Hardly Ever Fix Problems

Have you seen the displays at your auto shop advertising fluid flushes designed to protect your major vehicle systems? It may seem like a good idea, but fluid flushes should be done sparingly, if ever. Vehicle fluids lose color quickly since color is added mainly to help you distinguish between the different types of fluid, not the fluid's condition. Some flushes even damage sensitive vehicle parts.

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