• IRS HIRES PRIVATE COLLECTORS
    TO CHASE DOWN OLD TAX DEBT
    • Uncle Sam needs some help collecting unpaid taxes, so the Internal Revenue Service will now use private companies to tackle this growing backlog of debt. Consumer advocates worry this could lead to harassment and an increase in IRS imposter fraud.

COSIGNING A PRIVATE STUDENT LOAN CAN HAVE SERIOUS FINANCIAL CONSEQUENCES
Most private student loans require a cosigner – typically a parent – who must put their good credit on the line to get the loan approved. Many parents do not understand what it means to cosign and are surprised to see their credit scores drop and their retirement delayed by doing it.
 
THE BEST WAY TO PAY DOWN THOSE COSTLY CREDIT CARD BALANCES
With interest rates going up, it's more important than ever to pay off those credit card balances. If you have more than one card with an unpaid balance, you need a plan. A new study shows how to increase your chances of success.
 
WATCH OUT FOR DISHONEST TAX PREPARERS WHO CHARGE TOO MUCH & FILE FALSE RETURNS
The annual rush to file taxes creates a major opportunity for fraudulent tax preparers who charge inflated fees and file inaccurate returns to claim bogus refunds. They put you at greater risk of fines, fees or an IRS audit.
 
U.S. RETAILERS DO BETTER JOB OF SATISFYING CUSTOMERS, SURVEY FINDS
The nation's retailers are doing a better job of making their customers happy. After two years of declining satisfaction, they reversed course during the 2016 holiday shopping season, but many people still prefer to shop online.
 
CONNECTED HOMES AND CARS CAN BE DIFFICULT FOR NEW BUYERS TO UN-PLUG
It seems that smart products aren't quite smart enough to disconnect from the original owner when they're sold. That can lead to serious privacy and security problems if you sell a connected car or a home with locks, thermostats or security system that can be controlled via the Internet.
 
AN AFFORDABLE HOUSE MAY GROW HARDER TO FIND
Soaring home prices and rising interest rates have put the American dream out of reach for many. Simply put, they can't afford the price or save enough money for the down payment.
 
YES, IT'S LEGAL FOR DEALERS TO SELL USED CARS WITH UNREPAIRED RECALLS
Consumer advocates are outraged by the Federal Trade Commission's decisions in several recent cases that allow car dealers to advertise used vehicles with open recalls as safe. They say its dangerous, irresponsible and could put lives at stake.
 
WILL TRUMP ADMINISTRATION MEAN MORE ANNOYING ROBOCALLS?
Consumer groups have expressed their outrage that the Federal Communications Commission, with a new chair appointed by a president who wants to reduce regulations, could allow more computer-generated phone calls. Illegal robocalls are now the top complaint to the FCC.
 
IDENTITY FRAUD HITS RECORD NUMBER OF AMERICANS IN 2016
Identity thieves, who commit financial fraud with stolen account information, had a banner year in 2016. These fraudsters successfully hit a record 15.4 million Americans and stole $16 billion dollars, according to a new report.
 
MORE THAN 4 BILLION RECORDS WERE STOLEN IN DATA BREACHES LAST YEAR
Cybercriminals are stealing data at an alarming rate. Both the number of breaches and the number of files stolen globally in these hacks rose dramatically to set a new record in 2016. And most of these hack attacks were against American companies and organizations.

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