Thursday’s need-to-know money news

hidden-fees1Today’s top story: Scams to watch out for. Also in the news: Understanding Social Security spousal benefits after divorce, fixing a critical 401(k) flaw, and new airline luggage fees.

Scams Called ‘Worst’ of Consumers’ Top 10 Complaints
Don’t fall for them.

Divorce Doesn’t Preclude Social Security Spousal Benefits
Understanding the complicated rules.

How fix a critical flaw in 401(k) plans
Adjusting your retirement savings.

Some Airlines Have Rolled Out a New Luggage Fee
Pack appropriately.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

file_161555_0_tax refundToday’s top story: Investing your tax refund so it feels like splurging. Also in the news: IRS scams to avoid, financial mistakes to watch out for, and being frugal without wasting your time.

How to Invest Your Tax Refund So It Feels Like Splurging
Long term rewards.

Don’t Fall for These IRS Scams
With tax season comes scam season.

3 Big Financial Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make
Avoiding these pitfalls.

How to Be Frugal Without Wasting Your Time
Making the most of your time AND money.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

check-credit-report-easilyToday’s top story: Five credit reports you may not know about. Also in the news: Money gift ideas for the holidays, why your nest egg could be at risk next year, and the top money scams affecting your pocketbook.

5 Credit Reports You Don’t Know About But Should
How’s your casino credit?

5 Money Gift Ideas for the Holidays
Financially creative gift giving.

5 Reasons Why Your Nest Egg Could be at Risk in 2016
Looking towards the future.

12 Top Scams Affecting Your Pocketbook
The latest scams you need to watch out for.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: How to determine when to start taking Social Security. Also in the news: Tips for getting approved for a personal loan, what to buy and not buy in November, and five surprising sources of debt.

When to start Social Security? This tool can tell you
Getting the most from your benefits.

4 Tips for Getting Approved for a Personal Loan
Applying wisely.

What to Buy (and Not to Buy) in November
Strategic shopping.

5 Surprising Sources of Debt
Nipping them in the bud.

Federal Lawsuit Alleges Financial Aid Deception Targeting Students, Parents
Apply with care.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

check-credit-report-easilyToday’s top story: The email mistake that can hurt your credit. Also in the news: Tools to eliminate student debt, tax identity theft, and scams that target investors.

The Email Mistake That Can Hurt Your Credit
Unsubscribe is your friend.

2 Tools to Eliminate Student Loan Debt
Income-based repayment plans could reduce your monthly payments.

ID Tax Theft: What You Can Do To Limit The Damage
How to fight back.

5 Scary Schemes and Scams That Target Investors
Staying a step ahead of the scammers.

If You Have Poor Credit, Beware Extra Charges on Your Monthly Bills
You could be subject to risk-based pricing.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: How to stop being afraid of credit cards. Also in the news: Personal finance lessons we wish we learned in school, protecting seniors from financial scams, and how to avoid money mistakes after losing a spouse.

Scared of Credit Cards? This Tool Could Help You Make the Leap
There’s nothing to be afraid of if you do it right.

6 personal finance lessons we wish were taught in school
Probably more helpful than trigonometry.

How to Guard Against Common Scams That Target Seniors
Protecting your loved ones from predators.

4 Money Mistakes People Often Make After a Spouse Dies
Don’t make any impulsive decisions.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

scamToday’s top story: How your Social Security benefits will be taxed. Also in the news: A Millennial’s guide to moving out, how to make sure your favorite charity isn’t a scam. and what would you do if you had a surprise windfall?

How will your Social Security benefits be taxed?
What everyone needs to know.

Millennial’s Guide to Moving Out of Your Parent’s House
You have to leave sometime!

How Do You Know Your Favorite Charity Isn’t a Scam?
Making sure your money is going to the right place.

The $10,000 Question: What Would You Do With a Surprise Windfall?
Following the 90/10 rule.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: The most common used car buying scams. Also in the news: Saving an extra $1,000 by Labor Day, how to keep “funemployment” from draining your savings, and the qualities you should look for in a financial adviser.

5 of the Most Common Used Car Buying Scams
Don’t get taken for a ride!

How To Save An Extra $1,000 By Labor Day
Just in time for the beginning of holiday shopping.

Keep Funemployment From Draining Your Bank Account
It’s only fun if you can afford it.

4 Qualities a Financial Adviser Ought to Have
A combination of Yoda and Warren Buffett.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Household-Budget1Today’s top story: How a good budget can help you build credit. Also in the news: Avoiding financial scams, tips on managing your elderly parent’s money, and five money rules for a successful retirement.

How Your Budget Can Help You Build Credit
A good budget can help you build a great credit score.

10 Tips To Avoid Common Financial Scams
Don’t be taken advantage of.

Managing Your Mom or Dad’s Money
Taking over a difficult task.

5 Money Rules For A Successful Retirement
How to make your money last longer.

An IRS impersonator just called me

Customer Support liarHere’s the voicemail he left me (in a rather heavy Indian accent):

“I am Jonathan Knight and I am calling you from the federal investigation department of IRS. My badge number is 46719. The matter at the hand is extremely time sensitive and urgent as after audit we found that there was a fraud and misconduct on your taxes which you are hiding from the federal government. This needs to be rectified immediately so do return the call as soon as you receive the message on my direct line number. And this is Jonathan Knight again federal investigation department of IRS.”

I was really rather bummed that I’d let this particular gem go to voice mail. Oh, the fun I could have had with this idiot! Here’s me, pretending to be all scared and upset…drawing him in, getting him all excited about the money he was going to scam from me…and then Boom! Telling him exactly what I thought of his morals, his conduct, his parentage and what bug he’ll be incarnated into the next go-round.

I did call the number back and got a different gentleman with an Indian accent on the line (with the noise of a call center in the background). He called himself “Chief Ray Parker” and told me that “complete audits” of my tax returns from 2002 to 2012 had turned up “errors and miscalculations” and that the government was going to the courthouse to file a lawsuit against me within two hours. When he demanded to know if I had a lawyer and I said yes, though, he didn’t seem to know what to say next, and hung up on me. So I didn’t get to unleash at all.

The IRS says this a pervasive, aggressive scam that’s hitting taxpayers all over the country. The scammers alter their caller ID to make it look like it’s coming from a Washington D.C. number and may know a lot about the people they’re calling. Unfortunately, too many people take the bait and give up sensitive personal information or even money to these scoundrels.

Just as a refresher: the IRS typically contacts taxpayers by letter, not by phone, particularly if an audit is involved. If the IRS thinks you owe money, it will let you know and give you some time to make payment arrangements. Oh, and by the way, the IRS is one of the few creditors that doesn’t need to go to court to get a wage garnishment.

If you get one of these calls, report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1.800.366.4484 or at www.tigta.gov. Even if you don’t, tell your parents and grandparents about this since older people may be more vulnerable to these kinds of scams.