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.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Chip cardToday’s top story: How to get rewarded for being responsible with your credit cards. Also in the news: The hidden costs of a new job, tips on how to avoid credit fraud, and how you should and shouldn’t pay for college.

3 Credit Cards That Reward You for Being Responsible
Paying on time has its benefits.

5 Hidden Costs of a New Job
That new salary could cost you.

5 Common-Sense Tips to Help Avoid Credit Card Fraud, ID Theft
Protect yourself.

Making smart choices when paying for college
Using your retirement savings isn’t one of them.

7 scams that just won’t die
Microsoft isn’t calling you.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: President Obama will take action to help those with student loan debt. Also in the news:images How not to get scammed on your summer vacation, being honest about your debt situation, and how to make sure you’re being paid what you’re worth.

President Obama to Take Executive Action on Student Debt Monday
“Pay As You Earn” will be widely expanded.

How to Avoid Getting Scammed on Your Summer Vacation
Protecting your mobile devices is key.

Are You in Denial About Your Debt?
Be honest with yourself.

3 Ways to Tell If You’re Being Paid What You’re Worth
Don’t shortchange yourself.

2 Things You Have To Teach Your Kids About Money
Budgets and credit cards.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

471x286xdebt-collector.jpg.pagespeed.ic.N0bBKkAfMqToday’s top story: How to deal with calls from bill collectors. Also in the news: A low-tech method of tracking your spending, how to strategically pay down credit card debt, and protecting your information at post office kiosks.

How to Deal With Harassing Calls From a Bill Collector
Know your rights.

A Slow-Tech Approach to Tracking Spending
Skip the fancy apps and use a pencil.

How to Pay Down Credit Cards to Boost Your Credit Score
Making strategic payments.

Watch Out For Card Skimmers On Post Office Kiosks
Your personal and financial information could be at risk.

9 Financial Habits That Can Make You Wealthy
Becoming a financial Jedi.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s big story: What you can get removed from your credit report. Also in the news: How to tell if your partner is a sound financial match, which Olympic medal would your savings plan win, and why online dating can be hazardous to your wallet.

What Can I Get Removed From My Credit Reports?
Patience is key.

Want To Know If Your Partner Is A Financial Match? Take These 8 Steps
Financial compatibility is crucial in a relationship.

Which Olympic Medal Would Your Savings Habits Win?
Go for the gold!

The Financial Risks of Online Dating
That dreamboat on the screen could actually be a nightmare.

How I went from $50,000 in debt to $50,000 in savings
It can be done!

Friday’s need-to-know money news

valentines-day-money-100092381726Today’s top story: How your net worth can keep your budget in check. Also in the news: What to do when your employer switches 401(k)s, protecting elderly parents finances, and watching out for Valentine’s Day scams.

Calculate Your Net Worth While Budgeting to Maintain Perspective
Looking at the bigger picture in order to focus on the smaller one.

Your Best Moves When an Employer Switches 401(k)s
First move: Don’t panic.

Why Do Elderly Parents Fall For Scams That Seem So Obvious To Us?
How to protect elderly parents from falling victim to financial predators.

Don’t Fall for these 5 Valentine’s Day Scams
Guarding your heart and your money.

The Hidden Costs of Buying a Car
Don’t let your wallet get taken for a ride.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 11 personal finance books you should read before you turn 30. Also in the news: Avoiding Valentine’s Day scams, five ways to boost your credit score, and how to prepare financially for the zombie apocalypse. wall_street_zombie_money

11 Personal Finance Books You Should Read Before You Turn 30
Time to load up the e-reader.

5 Valentine’s Day Scams to Avoid
Don’t let cupid break your heart or your wallet.

5 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score
Simple guidelines for the path to credit perfection.

Preparing Financially for the Zombie Apocalypse
Keeping an eye out for walkers.

4 Free Tools to Super Charge Your 401k or IRA
Give your retirement savings a boost.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: The retirement moves baby boomers should consider this year. Also in the news: Predictions about the economy, avoiding money scams, and the hottest real estate markets in the country.

5 Retirement Moves Boomers Should Make in 2014
Start learning about Social Security benefits.

5 Predictions About Your Money and the Economy in 2014
Could the economy get back on track?

4 Outrageous Scams Consumers Fall For
Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

10 hottest housing markets for 2014
Getting the most bang for your housing bucks.

Wait! Don’t make these common (and costly) tax mistakes
Filing close to the deadline could put you at risk for identity theft.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Credit card backgroundToday’s top story: Planning for Black Friday. Also in the news: How the CARD ACT saved consumers billions, five factors that could increase your insurance rates, and three tax moves you should make before the end of the year.

Score on Black Friday by doing research now
Developing a plan of attack could save you a lot of money.

CARD Act Helped Consumers Without Limiting Credit Access
Saving consumers over $20 billion a year.

5 Factors That Could Raise Your Insurance Rates
You might want to put out that cigarette.

3 Tax Moves to Make Before the End of Year
It’s time to get your investments in order.

DHS Secretary warns of Obamacare scams
Your personal information could be at risk.