Pay Yourself First

Another painless savings strategy is to bank all of your raises. If you can pay your bills on your current income, you can simply send all that extra money straight to savings. The same goes for bonuses, cash gifts or other unexpected windfalls.

This method is especially easy if your employer allows you to directly deposit your paycheck to multiple accounts. Set up a direct deposit to savings for the amount of the raise, and you’ll never miss it. Then, when your furnace gives up the ghost or it’s time to take that cruise, you’ll have a nice sum of money waiting for you in the bank.

What’s your secret strategy, or your nemesis, when it comes to saving money? Let us know in our Forums. It’s a place where you can swap questions and answers on money-related matters, life hacks and ingenious ways to save.

Reference: MoneyTalkNews

Cargo Theft on The Move?

 

By Carol Tice

updated 5/19/2013 9:47:20 AM ET

A lot of Super Bowl parties got ruined this year when shortly before the big game, two Atlanta-area thieves made off with raw chicken wings valued at $65,000. Allegedly, employees hailed from the same Georgia cold-storage facility where the birds were stored.

This was hardly an isolated incident. Exact dollar figures are hard to come by, but the FBI describes cargo theft as a growing, “ multibillion-dollar industry ” dominated by professional crime rings, not amateur burglars. Theft reports analyzed by national crime database firm CargoNet reveal there were 28 percent more domestic cargo theft incidents in the first three quarters of 2012 than there were in the same period of 2011, the most recent data available.

Bitcoin $$

Staying current: Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies

You may have heard about them in the news, through one of your favorite online shopping sites, or from a friend who always has the latest scoop on technology trends: cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, are a way to buy things online — or in person, using a mobile app — with sellers who agree to accept them.

Cryptocurrencies can be a fast and inexpensive way to pay for goods and services. They aren’t backed by a government or central bank, and they’re not insured, the way U.S. bank deposits are. They have value because users agree they have value.

The value of cryptocurrencies rises and falls — sometimes sharply — depending on demand. If the value goes down, there’s no guarantee that it will rise again.

Some payment systems offer legal protections if something goes wrong. For example, the law limits your responsibility for unauthorized use of your credit card to $50. There are no such protections for purchases made with bitcoins.

Bitcoin users store their bitcoin addresses in a “wallet” — either on a computer or other data storage device, or through an online wallet service. If you use Bitcoin, encrypt your wallets and back them up. If your Bitcoin wallet files are accidentally deleted, tampered with by a virus, or stolen, your funds could be gone. Or if the company behind your digital wallet fails, or is hacked, you could lose your funds. That’s already happened to some Bitcoin users.

Bitcoin users have private and public virtual keys. It’s important to secure your private keys, and not share them with anyone. They’re the only way you can use or transfer your bitcoins.

If you’re considering Bitcoin mining as way to make money, read up on the FTC’s recent case against Butterfly Labs. And if you’ve had a problem with a bitcoin-related product or service, file a complaint with the FTC.

Tagged with: mobile, payment, technology

A Year In Debt??

A year in debt collection

Making a plan is one thing. Sticking to it: quite another. During 2015, the FTC made a plan to address some new and troubling issues in debt collection. Throughout the course of the year, we stuck to that plan – bringing a record number of new cases, banning bad debt collectors, talking with industry, and finding new ways to do outreach.

The FTC gets more complaints against debt collectors than against any other industry. But this year, we hope, we put a dent in the bad practices we hear so much about. During 2015, we not only coordinated the first federal-state-local enforcement initiativeagainst debt collectors – including actions by more than 70 different partners – we also filed 12 new cases against 52 different defendants. And we resolved 9 cases, getting nearly $94 million in judgments.

We added to our list of banned debt collectors in 2015 – and published the list. These are people and companies that – because of serious and repeated violations of the law – have been banned by federal court orders from ever doing business in debt collection again. This has the result of putting these folks out of business, but it’s also a message to law-abiding debt collectors everywhere: don’t do debt collection business with these folks or you may find yourself in hot water.

One of the really important things we did this year was talk with the debt collection industry. The Debt Collection Dialogues kicked off in Buffalo, and then continued in Dallas and Atlanta. At all three, to sold-out houses, we brought together the debt collection industry with the state and federal agencies that regulate them – allowing all perspectives to be heard.

In consumer education, 2015 saw the release of a Spanish-language graphic novel – or fotonovela – about debt collection. It shows how you can deal with questionable debt collection tactics – and people ordered more than 113,000 copies of the publication last year.

But 2016 is another year – and we have more plans. So watch this space to see what else is coming – and to learn how to spot and avoid bad debt collection practices.

Tagged with: debt collection, FTC
Blog Topics:

Money & Credi

Spread The Word!!!

Spread the word about government imposters

We’re hearing from our colleagues that those pesky government imposters are at it again, using the FTC’s name to try to con people into paying them for something. Whether it’s to clean up your credit report, give you a prize, resolve a complaint against you, or pay off a debt you owe, they’re all lies. The message may be a call or an email, but it isn’t from the Federal Trade Commission, or any other federal agency.

Here’s the bottom line: if someone claiming to be a government employee asks you to send money to collect a prize or remove negative information from your credit report, don’t do it. And don’t give them your personal or financial information, either.two overlapping dialogue bubbles

As long as the scammers keep posing as government officials, we’ll keep putting outwarnings like this one. But we need your help to spread the word. Talk to your friends. Tweet it. Post to your social networks. Blog about it. You just might help someone you care about avoid falling for a scam.

Sign up to get free scam alerts by email.

Blog Topics:

Money & Credit

Business Opportunity Scams

Looking for a job or to earn extra income? Ever thought about starting your own business? Buying into a business opportunity that makes big claims about what you can earn might sound like the answer. But don’t sign up just yet.

Learn about your rights and the seller’s responsibilities under the FTC’s Business Opportunity Rule, and questions to ask that can help you avoid a rip-off.

Even legitimate business opportunities involve risk. For example, if you’re considering buying a franchise, you’ll want to find out more about how to shop for a franchise opportunity, the obligations of a franchise owner, and questions to ask before you invest.

Starting a Business

Before you sink money into a business opportunity, it’s a good idea do some research and get specific information from the promoter.

Thinking About Buying a Franchise?

Buying a franchise is a major financial investment and a serious personal commitment. Understanding your abilities and goals is one step toward deciding whether a franchise is right for you.

Bogus Business Opportunities

Want to buy a business? Here’s how the Business Opportunity Rule can help you evaluate the opportunity — and the seller.

Starting an Internet Business

Thinking about an internet startup? The promise of big bucks and terrific working conditions can be tempting, but consider these factors before you hand over any money.

Multilevel Marketing

Some multilevel marketing plans are pyramid schemes, which are illegal and risky.

Work-at-Home Offers

Many work-at-home opportunities are promoted by scam artists. These can cost you more than you can earn.

Work-at-Home Businesses

Many work-at-home opportunities are promoted by scam artists. If you pay in, it’s likely that you will spend more than you can earn.

At-Home Medical Billing Businesses

Many medical billing business opportunities are worthless. Their promoters lie about their earnings potential and fail to provide key information.

Envelope-Stuffing Schemes

Offers that promise quick and easy income from stuffing envelopes at home virtually never pay off.

Investments

If you risk a lot of money, you can lose a lot of money. High pressure offers promising high returns are virtually always scams.

Identity Theft Scams – ScamGuard™

Here are seven recommendations to protect yourself from identity theft online. Be extraordinarily vigilant whenever you surf in unknown territory and each time you are asked for personal information.

Source: Identity Theft Scams – ScamGuard™