A Down to Earth Day Quiz

You want to buy products that are good for the environment. But is grabbing the tree-covered package the way to do it? Take this quiz to test your “green” smarts: Continue Reading >

Blog Topic: 
Your Home

Are you affected by the recent Target hack?

Target has announced that any credit or debit card used in a Target store in the U.S. between November 27 and December 15 may have been compromised. According to the announcement, the stolen information includes the customer’s name, credit or debit card number, and the card’s expiration date and three-digit-security code CVV1 (a security code stored on your card's magnetic stripe).

In light of this announcement, the FTC has this advice: Continue Reading >

Blog Topic: 
Banking, Identity Theft

Can’t Fully Pay? Put it on Layaway

Eyeballing that chic dress in the store window, but don’t have enough cash on hand to buy it? Maybe you need that new set of tools, but your checking account is hovering around its minimum? If the store you’re buying from offers a layaway plan, you might consider using it when you don’t have all the money you need to pay for something you’d like to buy. Continue Reading >

Get ready for National Consumer Protection Week!

It’s about that time again. Are you ready?

Every year, National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), encourages people and businesses to learn more about avoiding scams and understanding consumer rights. This year, NCPW takes place March 1-7, 2015. NCPW highlights free resources from government agencies and consumer organizations to help people make smarter buying decisions and spot rip-offs. Continue Reading >

Give It a Rest

A mattress that’s better for you, your baby, or the environment? Sounds great, right? The problem is, it might not be true.

Three companies have agreed to settle FTC charges they falsely claimed their memory foam or natural latex mattresses were free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and promoted unproven health and environmental “benefits.” VOCs, which are emitted as gases, can be bad for your health and the environment. Continue Reading >

Blog Topic: 
Health & Safety

Giving and getting gift cards this holiday season

Mark Twain once said, “Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.” If you live by this mantra, you might find yourself scrambling at the last minute to finish your holiday shopping this season. Enter the gift card. Continue Reading >

How NOT to use a gift card

Thinking about giving a fancy new gadget as a holiday gift? Or maybe there’s something on your wish list that Santa forgot to bring? If so, you might be tempted by an ad for high-tech at a low price. But if a merchant other than asks you to pay using an Amazon gift card, it’s probably a scam. In fact, Amazon’s gift card terms don’t allow you to use Amazon gift cards to make payments anywhere besides and a few specific sites. Continue Reading >

Blog Topic: 
Scam Alerts

How to write an effective complaint letter

Having a problem with a product or service can be frustrating. When you’re trying to resolve a problem with a company, the first step should be to discuss your concerns with a representative of the business. If a phone call or email doesn’t resolve the problem, consider writing a complaint letter.

A letter is important. It puts your complaint on record with the company, helps preserve any legal rights you may have in the situation, and lets the company know you’re serious about pursuing the complaint. Continue Reading >

Minimum Payments Can Undo a Deal

For many of us, the holiday season and shopping go hand-in-hand; it can be tough not to pounce on those big deals when you see them. But if you use a credit card to pay, remember you’re borrowing money you’ll have to pay back. What’s more, if you’re counting on making only your card’s minimum payment, you could end up paying much more in interest than you’d save on the deal. Continue Reading >

Outlet shopping: Getting your money’s worth

Who doesn’t like a bargain? I know I do. And anytime I go to the beach on vacation, I head for the outlet malls. One-stop shopping for everything from clothes, shoes and handbags to housewares and home furnishings to luggage and more, with labels I know and trust. And at prices that can’t be beat. Continue Reading >

Rent-to-Own: Consider your alternatives

Need a sofa, washer/dryer, TV, or new tires? Don’t have the cash or credit to buy them outright? You may be considering rent-to-own: simply make weekly or monthly payments for a while and you own the goods. Continue Reading >

Scammers Targeting Target Shoppers

If you’ve been following the news this holiday season, you’ve probably heard that Target shoppers may have been affected by the recent data breach. Target notified their customers of the breach via email. Continue Reading >

Secret Sister Gift Exchange – Don’t pay or yule be sorry

Have you already decked your halls in lights, timed to blink to the strains of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? Even if you haven’t reached that level of early enthusiasm, the holiday spirit is starting to spread already. If you spend any time on social media, you may have seen posts about the Secret Sister Gift Exchange. SSGE encourages you to mail a gift worth $10 dollars to a stranger at the top of the list. Supposedly, in return, you’ll get a pile of presents from other participants. Continue Reading >

Blog Topic: 
Scam Alerts

Shopping for Just the Right Gift

The clock is ticking, and you’re on the hook to find just the right gift this holiday season. Perhaps you’re shopping at the last minute; maybe the giftee is really picky; or, if you’re like I am, maybe you just don’t feel like dealing with wrapping paper! Regardless, a gift card or certificate may seem like a great solution: it’s a quick buy for you and it presents plenty of options for that person on your list. Continue Reading >

Spring into action with Financial Literacy Month

Spring has finally sprung. And whether you’re shopping for a new lawn mower, a bike, or a gift for a new graduate, a little research can save you a lot of money. Even when you know what you want, it can be overwhelming to choose among dozens of products, brands, retailers and websites.

April is financial literacy month. To help you make smart buying decisions and save more of what you earn, here are a few tips from the FTC.

Step one: Think before you shop. Continue Reading >

Tips for Cyber Monday success

Each year, Cyber Monday promises unbelievable savings – but before you start snagging deals, here are some tips to help you save money and protect your personal information:

Know the seller and the item. Put the company or product name in a search engine, along with “review,” “complaint,” or “scam.” Read the reviews. Be sure you can contact the seller if you have a dispute. Continue Reading >

Traveling for Spring Break?

Oh yes, it’s that sweet time of year again — Spring Break is almost here! Whether you’re off to sunbathe on the sand, see the sights, or ski the slopes, it pays to be an informed travel shopper.

You might find your inbox overflowing with tempting discount offers for your getaway. But can you tell the difference between a legitimate travel deal, and a scam? If you’ve got a minute, take a listen to our travel tips to avoid travel tricks. Continue Reading >

Blog Topic: 
Scam Alerts, Technology