Consumer Affairs http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4809/all en-US What to Do About a Terrible Airbnb Stay http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-about-a-terrible-airbnb-stay <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-to-do-about-a-terrible-airbnb-stay" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-453477539.jpg" alt="what to do if your airbnb is awful" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I have a friend, I'll call her &quot;Diane.&quot; Diane was excited to find an affordable two-bedroom Airbnb rental in Chicago. She looked forward to spending the holidays meeting up with old friends and saving money by cooking for her family instead of eating out every night.</p> <p>Instead, she ended up wasting the first few days of her trip on the phone with Airbnb customer service, and the unit's owner &mdash; who had provided a nearly empty apartment. This was not what she expected from the listing.</p> <p>&quot;The whole place felt like an abandoned afterthought,&quot; Diane said. She learned the owner had moved out and left very little behind &mdash; no couch in the living room and not enough kitchen supplies to put together a meal.</p> <p>Airbnb can be a great way to save money and enjoy neighborhoods outside tourist districts &mdash; when things go well. But some guests have been frustrated by the company's response when things don't turn out as advertised.</p> <p>Airbnb Spokesman Nick Shapiro calls negative experiences &quot;extremely rare&quot; on the service, but said that when they happen, Airbnb wants to get problems fixed and get guests into a better situation if necessary. He points out that guest refunds come directly from the host, and if the company seems to ask tough questions when people complain, it's because it must protect both hosts and guests.</p> <p>&quot;We are negotiating with another user's money and we are not there on the premises, so we do our best to work with both the host and the guest to find the most fair outcome,&quot; Shapiro said.</p> <p>It is possible to get a refund or replacement accommodation from Airbnb when a rental isn't up to snuff. But you need to play by their rules &mdash; and even then, it isn't always easy. Despite trying her best to follow every rule, my friend never ended up getting the full refund or hotel reimbursement she asked for, although she did get some money back from the host after bugging out early. If you find yourself in a similar situation as &quot;Diane,&quot; here's what you can do.</p> <h2>1. Act Quickly</h2> <p><a href="https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/544/what-is-airbnb-s-guest-refund-policy" target="_blank">Airbnb's policy states</a> that guests must file a claim within 24 hours of check-in in order to claim a refund. They are pretty strict about this. Just contacting them within the first 24 hours &mdash; as Diane did &mdash; isn't enough. You have to file a complaint within that period to comply with the refund policy.</p> <p>The company holds payments for the first 24 hours, to give the guest time to verify that all is as it should be. Shapiro explained that since Airbnb staff can't verify complaints in person, caution is necessary.</p> <p>&quot;It can be easy for a bad actor to fabricate evidence, which ultimately hurts a host. If a guest contacts us on day three of their five-night reservation complaining that the listing is messy, there is no way to know if that mess was caused by the guest or not.&quot;</p> <p>If you discover a problem late at night, don't wait until business hours to complain. Airbnb provides 24/7 customer service everywhere.</p> <h2>2. Contact the Host</h2> <p>If you call Airbnb to complain about a rental, they'll tell you to contact the host first.</p> <p>&quot;Giving them a chance to fix an issue is the fastest way to make sure you get what you need,&quot; Airbnb explains on its website. But don't wait long to hear back from the host before you request that refund. Remember, the clock is ticking.</p> <p>For this reason, meeting the host for a walkthrough is a good idea, and the best time to bring up any problems with the property.</p> <p>When Diane and her husband met the owner at that nearly empty Airbnb, they accepted the keys and said goodbye to the owner, a move she now realizes was a mistake.</p> <p>&quot;I wish I had been less worried about being polite, and more assertive about the missing items right from the start. Having to confront the person who has your money and holds the keys is really challenging. You just want the guy to leave so you can make a game plan and take it all in,&quot; she said.</p> <p>Another way to prevent problems that the host could fix is to communicate with the host before you arrive,&quot; Shapiro advised.</p> <h2>3. Communicate Through Airbnb</h2> <p>Use Airbnb's messaging system when you contact the host, so that the company can see your message, when you sent it, and the host's reply. Also save a copy of all communications for yourself, in case you need them later.</p> <h2>4. Read Airbnb's Refund Policy Carefully</h2> <p>Only certain conditions may be eligible for a refund in Airbnb's policy, even in that first 24 hours:</p> <ul> <li>If you can't get into the rental;</li> <li>If the listing misrepresents the unit;</li> <li>If the place is dirty or unsafe;</li> <li>If there's an animal there that wasn't disclosed in the listing.</li> </ul> <p>When you submit the refund claim, make it clear how the property qualifies for a refund under these specific conditions.</p> <h2>5. Re-Read the Listing Closely Before Complaining</h2> <p>In order to comply with Airbnb's narrow refund qualifications, it's a good idea to study the listing before contacting them to pinpoint any misrepresentation. It's not a bad idea to print the listing before you travel, in case you have trouble accessing the listing while on your trip. And don't forget to check the photos and captions, not just the main listing text.</p> <p>&quot;Some of the promises for the apartment were in the photo captions,&quot; Diane explained. &quot;So when I first wrote to the owner and Airbnb, everyone claimed there was no promise of a stocked kitchen, etc. I felt like I had imagined it. By the time I realized they were in the photo captions, it was really too late.&quot;</p> <p>It's important to plan your initial complaint carefully, because changing or adding to your complaint later could work against you. Remember, Airbnb staff is looking to protect owners from bad actors.</p> <h2>6. Document the Conditions</h2> <p>Airbnb requires proof in your refund claim, as in photos. Take a picture of that broken window, dirty bathroom, or the gaping hole where the kitchen stove should be, and send it along with your claim.</p> <h2>7. Check the Cancellation Policy</h2> <p>Even if Airbnb and the owner refuse to refund the first night of a stay, if the owner has chosen the <a href="https://www.airbnb.com/home/cancellation_policies" target="_blank">&quot;flexible&quot; cancellation policy</a>, you can go on Airbnb and cancel the remainder of your stay for a refund. Of course, you'll need to check out at that point.</p> <p>With the &quot;moderate&quot; policy, you can get a 50% refund for unused nights. For the stricter policies, you can't get a refund for cancellation after checking in. For a long-term rental, the first month cannot be canceled.</p> <h2>8. Try Social Media</h2> <p>If you feel the host and Airbnb are not being helpful, or you've complained but didn't hear back, a nudge on Twitter or Facebook can get things moving.</p> <p>When Rose Maura Lorre and her family checked into an Airbnb that didn't live up to the listing photos, had treacherous stairways, a minor bug issue, and &quot;a bedroom that really wasn't,&quot; her husband first tried emailing customer service, but then, Lorre said, &quot;I took it to their Facebook page and got an immediate response.&quot;</p> <p>Airbnb found them a new place to stay by the next day, and refunded them for the first night.</p> <p>Diane got a quick response from Airbnb's Twitter team, although the team's proposed solution didn't work for her. They offered money to buy the missing items, but she didn't feel that she should have to spend her vacation time stocking someone else's kitchen.</p> <h2>9. If the 24-Hour Window Has Passed, Complain Anyway</h2> <p>Shapiro acknowledges that sometimes guests discover a problem mid-stay.</p> <p>&quot;This is where our customer service team has more responsibility to make a judgment call,&quot; Shapiro said. &quot;We have to ask questions like, 'Why was this not discovered until now?' 'Is this something that the guest somehow could be at fault for?'&quot;</p> <p>Airbnb didn't give Diane a refund, claiming that, although she had complained right away, she had raised the qualifying issues with the apartment too late. But other customers have had better luck. The blog Root of Good describes getting a <a href="http://rootofgood.com/bad-experience-airbnb/" target="_blank">full refund and an apology voucher</a> when he complained two days after checking into a filthy apartment.</p> <h2>10. Try the Owner Again</h2> <p>For Diane, more problems popped up throughout her stay, like a hairball lurking under the bedsheets. When she wrote to Airbnb again, they directed her to its <a href="https://www.airbnb.com/resolution_center" target="_blank">Resolution Center</a>, where you can request money back directly from the host with a click of a button. Asking doesn't necessarily mean getting, but you can try. Diane was able to convince the host to refund the days she didn't use his apartment.</p> <h2>11. Contact Your Credit Card Provider</h2> <p>As with any unsatisfactory customer experience, you can request that your credit card provider withhold payment. One Airbnb customer, who <a href="http://www.airbnbhell.com/tag/chargeback/" target="_blank">described on AirbnbHell</a> being locked out of a rental for hours, reported successfully getting a refund through this method.</p> <p>If your credit card offers travel insurance, you could also ask for a refund via that route. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had?ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Travel Perks You Didn't Know Your Credit Card Had</a>)</p> <h2>12. If Nothing Else Works, Try the Media</h2> <p>Columns such as Christopher Elliott's The Travel Troubleshooter are able to spur companies &mdash; <a href="http://elliott.org/the-troubleshooter/cant-get-refund-airbnb-rental/" target="_blank">including Airbnb</a> &mdash; to give refunds after initially refusing. Besides, it might feel good to vent about a frustrating experience to a columnist or on TV. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-vacation-rental-alternatives-to-airbnb?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Vacation Rental Alternatives to Airbnb</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-about-a-terrible-airbnb-stay">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-using-your-credit-card-on-the-road">Travel and Money: Using Your Credit Card on the Road</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-save-on-accommodations-online">8 Ways to Save on Accommodations Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-vacation-rental-alternatives-to-airbnb">10 Vacation Rental Alternatives to Airbnb</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-your-best-travel-budget">How to Build Your Best Travel Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-negotiate-a-cheaper-hotel-room">The Easy Way to Negotiate a Cheaper Hotel Room</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Travel accommodations AirBnb Airbnb stay hotels travel tips vacation vacation rentals Fri, 20 Jan 2017 10:30:36 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1877411 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Big Brands Making the World a Better Place http://www.wisebread.com/5-big-brands-making-the-world-a-better-place <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-big-brands-making-the-world-a-better-place" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-458560005.jpg" alt="these brands are making the world a better place" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We tend to believe that big retailers are only interested in the bottom line. But many large retail companies <em>do </em>want to make the world a better place, and they are happy to put their profits and influence to work in order to do so. The following big retailers are working to create a better world, which means you can feel great about spending your money with them.</p> <h2>1. Patagonia</h2> <p>This outdoor clothing giant has long been a supporter of grass roots environmental groups. Back in 1986, the company pledged to donate 1% of its daily global sales to<a href="http://www.patagonia.com/company-history.html" target="_blank"> environmental organizations</a>, which amounted to a donation of $7.1 million in 2015. But this year, Patagonia decided to step up its game by pledging to give away 100% of the sales it brought in on Black Friday, and shoppers responded. The company made $10 million in sales on Black Friday, and every single penny of it will be given to various environmental organizations all around the world.</p> <p>Though the Black Friday initiative is over, shoppers looking for outdoor gear can still feel good about spending their money with Patagonia, since 1% of their sales will still go to helping the environment.</p> <h2>2. Ben &amp; Jerry's Ice Cream</h2> <p>Who doesn't love ice cream, especially when it comes with a side of social, economic, and environmental values? The Ben &amp; Jerry's brand is about more than just funny ice cream names and unique flavor combinations &mdash; founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield <a href="http://www.benjerry.com/values" target="_blank">created a three-part mission</a> to guide all of their decision making.</p> <p>Their product mission drives them to make fantastic ice cream using the best ingredients while promoting business practices that respect the environment. Their economic mission asks them to manage their company for sustainable financial growth that respects the needs of all employees. That means offering their lowest-paid workers more than twice the national minimum wage. And their social mission compels the brand to operate in a way that initiates innovative ways to improve quality of life.</p> <p>And 7.5% of the company's <a href="http://www.benjerry.com/whats-new/2014/philanthropy-foundation" target="_blank">pretax profit is given away</a> each year to philanthropic endeavors through Ben &amp; Jerry's Foundation. This extraordinary level of giving was set way back in 1985, and has continued since the sale of the ice cream label in 2000 to Unilever.</p> <p>All of this together means you can feel great anytime you dig into a pint of Cherry Garcia.</p> <h2>3. Starbucks</h2> <p>The coffee giant is committed to corporate social responsibility and ethical business practices. When it comes to their product, Starbucks focuses on the sustainable production of coffee. This is why everyone's favorite purveyor of pumpkin spice lattes created <a href="https://www.scsglobalservices.com/starbucks-cafe-practices" target="_blank">Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices</a>, a set of guidelines to achieve product quality, economic accountability, social responsibility, and environmental leadership in the coffee production business. In terms of their employees, Starbucks has always been a leader in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-part-time-jobs-that-offer-college-benefits" target="_blank">providing outstanding benefits</a>, including health insurance to part-time baristas, and tuition reimbursement for part- and full-time workers who wish to continue their educations.</p> <p>On top of these ethical business practices, Starbucks makes a point of giving back through investments in alternative loan programs to help small businesses. As of 2015, Starbucks has <a href="https://www.starbucks.com/responsibility/global-report" target="_blank">invested $21.3 million</a> overall in such programs.</p> <p>The company works to support many communities, including veterans and military, farming communities, youth, and underserved and marginalized groups through their diversity and inclusion initiatives. They are also committed to helping the environment through their business practices by focusing on reducing waste, conserving energy, and by working to bring all of their stores up to LEED certified building standards.</p> <p>Starbucks is truly committed to making sure your morning coffee is something you can feel good about.</p> <h2>4. Zappos</h2> <p>The online shoe (and clothing) retailer has long been known for its excellent customer service. The company believes that happy employees mean happy customers, and they focus on the well-being of all of their employees to ensure great service.</p> <p>If Zappos were simply a great employer, that would be enough of a reason to shop with them. We do need to support businesses that want to provide excellent jobs to their workers. But Zappos also takes their role in the community very seriously. Each Thanksgiving, the company <a href="http://www.zappos.com/about/tag/thanksgiving" target="_blank">feeds over 1,000 Las Vegas families</a> in its headquarters, and gives away shoes and socks to anyone needing a new pair. In addition, the e-tailer donates Zappos goods, as well as money, to a number of charitable organizations, <a href="https://www.zapposinsights.com/about/zappos/higher-purpose/operation-glass-slipper" target="_blank">including Operation Glass Slipper</a>, which provides dresses and accessories to girls who could not otherwise afford prom clothing, and <a href="http://www.zappos.com/about/zappos-project-we-vegas-roots-garden" target="_blank">Project WE</a>, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of young people through participation in arts in athletics.</p> <p>Ordering a new pair of kicks or some new clothes at Zappos will give you both phenomenal customer service and an opportunity to support a company that does a great deal of good.</p> <h2>5. Lowe's</h2> <p>Recently, a photo of Lowe's Home Improvement employee <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2016/12/08/a-disabled-air-force-veteran-needed-a-job-so-lowes-hired-him-and-his-service-dog/" target="_blank">Clay Luthy and his service dog Charlotte</a> made the rounds on social media. Luthy is a disabled vet who needs to have Charlotte with him, and because of that he found it difficult to find a job, until the home improvement retailer hired him and welcomed his service dog on the sales floor.</p> <p>For many people, this viral photo was the first indication that Lowe's had a social conscience, but it has long been committed to helping people &quot;love where they live,&quot; which includes everything from helping customers with home improvement, to helping make communities stronger, to helping protect the environment.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.toolboxforeducation.com/grants.html" target="_blank">Lowe's Toolbox for Education</a>, which was launched in 2005, has benefitted nearly 8,000 schools. The home improvement retailer has focused on bringing better products to the market, working with suppliers to remove ortho-phthalate plasticizers from residential flooring, and committing to phasing out the sale of products that contain chemicals that can harm pollinators.</p> <p>Lowe's is also committed to providing an excellent working environment to its employees, as Clay Luthy's story has highlighted. It has launched a mentoring program that <a href="http://careers.lowes.com/why-lowes/" target="_blank">pairs minority and female store managers</a> with market directors to help grow their leadership skills, and it works to build diversity within the company through its recruiting efforts.</p> <h2>Make the World Better With Your Shopping Choices</h2> <p>Big retailers can make a big impact, and these five companies use their resources to improve lives, communities, and the environment. Spending your hard-earned money with them will not only offer you great products, but also a better world.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-big-brands-making-the-world-a-better-place">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-brands-with-the-best-warranties">6 Brands With the Best Warranties</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-your-brand-boycott-actually-make-a-difference">Will Your Brand Boycott Actually Make a Difference?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-retailers-use-big-data-to-track-you">8 Ways Retailers Use Big Data to Track You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-sneaky-store-perks-that-make-you-overspend">4 Sneaky Store Perks That Make You Overspend</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping Ben & Jerry's brands Lowe's patagonia retailers Starbucks Zappos Mon, 02 Jan 2017 11:00:08 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1865740 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Protect Yourself From an Investment Scam http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-yourself-from-an-investment-scam <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-protect-yourself-from-an-investment-scam" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-479413254.jpg" alt="don&#039;t fall for these investment scams" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's nothing wrong with putting your money to work for you. Investments can be the difference between making ends meet, and making a mint. But remember your mom's advice: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.</p> <p>Following this warning is one of the best ways to avoid financial scams. Here's a list of some infamous investment frauds, and ways to spot red flags. Pay attention. Make your mom proud &mdash; and your wallet happy.</p> <h2>The Classic: Pyramid Scheme<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Many pyramid schemes come across as multi-level marketing opportunities. Investors pay fees to join and then make money from direct sales. Backers also get a cut of profits from folks they've recruited to the program. But pyramid organizers need this new money to pay off earlier investors, and often, the scheme collapses under its own weight. There's not enough money to make payoffs. Participants see investments and returns disappear.</p> <p>Pyramid schemes often spread through social media, websites, online ads, and group pitches. Be alert to these warning signs.</p> <ul> <li>You're told you'll make a lot of money quickly, but you won't have to put in much effort.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>You have to pay a fee to join, and your main role is getting others to sign up.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Any product that's sold has little value outside the scheme.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>You can't find evidence, such as professionally audited financial statements, of sales profits. Money comes from recruitment.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Profits come from within the program. Your earnings depend upon other participants, not on outside sales.</li> </ul> <p>Lots of money, little work: this is exactly what your mother was talking about.</p> <h2>Risky Business: Energy Scams<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Legitimate investment opportunities in oil and gas development come with no guarantees. They need lots of money and time, and proceeds are uncertain. Developers might drill and drill with little return for their efforts. Investors can lose everything they put in. And that's with authentic energy exploration. If the whole purpose is to separate you from your money, participants don't stand a chance.</p> <p>So how do you separate real energy investment deals from scams? Be on the lookout for these warning signs.</p> <ul> <li>Company offices are in one state, drilling is in another, and investors don't live in either. You can't easily visit the corporation or well site. If fraud is suspected, the geographic range creates a nightmare for law enforcement investigators.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You receive a surprise email or phone call. You don't hear a lot of facts, just tremendous pressure to commit. You're warned that if you don't immediately jump in, you'll miss out. Real energy companies don't fish around for investors.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Little risk, high returns: Is that what you've been promised? Run away, because that's not how it really works in the energy business.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Some get-rich-quick scams use current events as lures. If high gas and oil prices are currently in the news, investors might be convinced the time is right. But remember, well development is a long process.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>If the company is secretive and doesn't want you to talk to anyone about your investment opportunity, there's a good reason for that. It's a shady proposition. You should be encouraged to consult others and investigate the deal. And all your questions should get answers &mdash; in writing. If you get shut down, close your wallet.</li> </ul> <p>Energy development is a business, not a mystery. All aspects should be open and aboveboard.</p> <h2>I'm Just Like You: Affinity Sham<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Affinity fraud targets participants based on a specific characteristic, such as age, religious affiliation, or ethnicity. Schemers present themselves as members of the same group in order to create an immediate relationship. Some hustlers are so good they enlist recognized leaders of the community. Unfortunately, these respected notables wind up falling prey to the scam &mdash; and unintentionally drawing others in.</p> <p>You might feel a connection to the individual trying to get you to invest, but that's what these con artists count on. Be wary.</p> <ul> <li>Don't invest just because you have an association with the promoter &mdash; even if it's someone you trust. That person may have been duped. Do outside research. If that's discouraged, say no. Real investments hold up against scrutiny.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Avoid online opportunities that show up in chat groups, bulletin boards, or websites exclusive to your group. The Internet is a quick and easy way to target a specific audience.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Steer clear of any investment that guarantees low risk and high returns. The two just don't go together. Valid deals don't promise them.</li> </ul> <p>The bottom line here &mdash; listen to your mother. When it comes to changing your socks, eating your vegetables, and avoiding fraud, she knows best.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/anum-yoon">Anum Yoon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-yourself-from-an-investment-scam">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spot-a-charity-scam-from-a-mile-away">How to Spot a Charity Scam From a Mile Away</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen">Don&#039;t Panic: Do This If Your Identity Gets Stolen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-sale-aftermath-beware-of-paypal-chargebacks-0">The Sale Aftermath: Beware of PayPal Chargebacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-more-scams-everyone-should-know-about">10 More Scams Everyone Should Know About</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/scams-what-the-ftc-wants-you-to-know">Scams: What the FTC Wants You to Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Investment advice energy scams fraud money protection multi level marketing pyramid schemes scams Wed, 21 Dec 2016 10:31:29 +0000 Anum Yoon 1858984 at http://www.wisebread.com Is This News Story Fake? Here's How to Tell http://www.wisebread.com/is-this-news-story-fake-heres-how-to-tell <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-this-news-story-fake-heres-how-to-tell" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_reading_computer_519833420.jpg" alt="Man determining if news is real or fake" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Fake news has become an issue with <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/12/05/504404675/man-fires-rifle-inside-d-c-pizzeria-cites-fictitious-conspiracy-theories">real life consequences</a> in recent years. Regardless of your politics, you don't want to be the dummy who shares a conspiracy theory from NewzGuzzlers.info, do you? That's just embarrassing. Here are six ways to determine if your news source is real or fake:</p> <h2>1. Scrutinize the URL</h2> <p>You might wonder if that's just a cosmetic detail &mdash; There are so many desirable URLs that are already taken, so why not trust a website with a strange name? Well, they're not all just weird-sounding. Many are downright misleading.</p> <p>For example, look at WashingtonPost.com.co. Catch that extra &quot;.co&quot; at the end? That's just one way a fake news publisher can piggyback on the credibility of an established outlet. Many people might not see it, and are swayed enough by the clickbait that they overlook it. If the name is similar to a real source, open a new tab and look at the original.</p> <p><strong>Bias Alert!</strong> Just as well, look for biased keywords in the URL. CoolLiberals.net or ConservativeEagle.web are clearly names that suggest a hard lean to one set of ideologies. While it might not be 100% fake news, these sites usually take a kernel of real news from a credible outlet, removing important context and replacing it with baseless opinion.</p> <h2>2. Look up the Author</h2> <p>Before you continue reading an article you're suspicious of, ask this: Who wrote the article, and why? If the piece was written by &quot;staff&quot; or &quot;anonymous,&quot; those are red flags. Many fake news websites use pseudonyms, or the article might show up as written by &quot;staff&quot; because all the articles are going through one administrator on a bare-bones website. If there is an author name near the top of the page, Google them. If you can't find a website, Twitter account, Wikipedia page, or bio of them on the Internet that match the information on the article byline (a brief writer bio hosted by the website in question), they may not be a real person.</p> <p><strong>Bias Alert!</strong> If the article or video is from a real person, look at their writing history across the Internet. Do they all fit a narrative strongly for/against an idea, a person, or group of people? Do they consider themselves a &quot;truther&quot; for something? That's a sign that they care more about pushing an agenda than the facts. Google what reporters and academic experts say about the topic before you decide if they are a reputable source.</p> <h2>3. Check the Quotes</h2> <p>Quotes are key. If an article is being shared as news but does not cite any persons in quotes, that is a big red flag. If the writer has reported on a real news event with no citations, it's really an opinion article and should be taken with a grain of salt. If it's supposedly &quot;exposing&quot; a new event or making an accusation without any citations or quotes, it's definitely fake news. If you want to verify whether a statement from a public official is true or not, <a href="http://www.politifact.com/">always check PolitiFact</a>.</p> <p><strong>Bias Alert!</strong> Having quotes in a story does not make it true. Remember what we learned from <a href="http://mashable.com/2016/12/05/pizzagate-explained/">#PizzaGate</a> and Google any names mentioned in the article to see if they are real public figures. If the source is cited as &quot;anonymous&quot; or someone &quot;close&quot; to the perpetrators in question, be suspicious. That brings us to&hellip;</p> <h2>4. Google the Claim</h2> <p>If you can't believe the headline, or it feels too irresistibly good to be true, it's probably at least somewhat false. Take the keywords of the headline and Google them to see if any major news outlets have written about it. Is it on your local news at 10 p.m.? If the only other outlets making the claim are similarly other off-brand news sites like &quot;NationalTimes&quot; or &quot;Newspeople,&quot; you've got a fake headline. Google it before your friends have to debate you on Facebook. But beware: <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/autocomplete-feature-influenced-by-fake-news-stories-misleads-users-2016-12/#when-we-typed-michelle-obama-is-into-google-the-second-and-third-suggestions-were-proof-that-she-is-a-man-1" target="_blank">Don't believe Google's autocomplete</a>, as that can actually make it even harder to find the correct news and take you deeper down a rabbit hole of lies.</p> <p><strong>Bias Alert!</strong> Was this tip upsetting because you don't trust the &quot;Mainstream Media&quot; with basic fact-checking? That is actually a bias. If you only read websites that only tell you what you believe, you have set yourself up for misinformation.</p> <h2>5. Read the Comments</h2> <p>After you've tried the above methods, scroll to the bottom for the comments. Do you see a lot of people sharing links to other conspiracies? Do you see people saying &quot;This is fake!&quot; or &quot;This has been debunked?&quot; That's a good sign that you've got fake news. Again, try Googling the claim to be sure.</p> <p><strong>Bias Alert! </strong>Did the headline make you feel strongly in any way? In the comments, do you see posts with strong feelings of anger and calls for action to hurt or target someone or a group of people? That's a sign that, at the very least, the article you're reading was designed to prey on readers' emotions and biases so they may overlook factual errors or missing context.</p> <h2>6. Use These Browser Extensions</h2> <p>Finally, another great way to combat the spread of fake news is to install a browser app that will help alert you that a website you're viewing might be a fake news site. If you use Google Chrome (which I recommend), download the apps <a href="http://lifehacker.com/b-s-detector-lets-you-know-when-youre-reading-a-fake-n-1789084038">B.S Detector</a>, or <a href="http://nymag.com/selectall/2016/11/heres-a-browser-extension-that-will-flag-fake-news-sites.html">Fake News Alert</a>. These will both help you in the moment with pop-up warnings as you land on any fake news or otherwise suspicious websites.</p> <p><strong>Bias Alert!</strong> While having these bots helping you suss out poor websites is very helpful in the short-term, you shouldn't only trust pop-ups. Learn how to tell real from fake on your own. Even when reading a news outlet like The Washington Post or The New York Times, you might run into a piece that is biased, or missing information, or using a source you have reason to suspect is not credible. These fake news-identifying skills are useful throughout your media consuming life.</p> <p>What to do next? Whenever you see a Facebook friend share an onerous fake news link, <a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/craigsilverman/heres-how-to-report-fake-news-on-facebook" target="_blank">flag it as false news</a> so Facebook can drop it from its feeds. Friends don't let friends share fake news!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-this-news-story-fake-heres-how-to-tell">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-not-so-private-parts">The Not-So-Private Parts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-student-who-created-a-pr-nightmare-via-wikipedia">The Student Who Created a PR Nightmare Via Wikipedia</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen">Don&#039;t Panic: Do This If Your Identity Gets Stolen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lower-your-credit-card-interest-rate-and-reduce-your-phone-bill-immediately-and-easily">Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate and Reduce Your Phone Bill, Immediately and Easily</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-refill-an-ink-cartridge-with-a-small-piece-of-tape">How to refill an ink cartridge with a small piece of tape</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Consumer Affairs bias conspiracies Facebook fact checking fake news fear mongering information websites Tue, 13 Dec 2016 10:00:06 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1850790 at http://www.wisebread.com Will Your Brand Boycott Actually Make a Difference? http://www.wisebread.com/will-your-brand-boycott-actually-make-a-difference <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/will-your-brand-boycott-actually-make-a-difference" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_screaming_megaphone_522170143.jpg" alt="Woman learning if her brand boycott will make a difference" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Interest rates aren't the only thing on the rise after Donald Trump's election night win. Threats of product boycotts are soaring, too.</p> <p>Breitbart News, for example, is encouraging its readers to boycott Kellogg's after the cereal maker pulled advertising from the conservative site. Supporters of the incoming president also threatened a boycott of Pepsi after mistakenly believing that the company's chief executive officer said that Trump supporters should take their business elsewhere.</p> <p>Opponents of Trump have threatened their own boycott of shoemaker New Balance after its vice president of public affairs told The Wall Street Journal that the company's officials believe that &quot;things are going to move in the right direction&quot; after the businessman's election. The comment actually referred to the debate over the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement, but many in the anti-Trump camp thought the shoemaker was tossing out a &quot;support Trump&quot; message.</p> <p>Will any of these boycotts work? Will enough consumers stop buying Cornflakes or Diet Pepsi to actually hurt the companies making them?</p> <p>And if you stop buying these products, will<em> you </em>make a difference?</p> <h2>The Struggle to Make an Impact</h2> <p>Consumers have vowed to boycott plenty of products. But only a small number of these boycotts actually work. Those that <em>do</em> succeed, according to a story by the Harvard Business Review, are <a href="https://hbr.org/2012/08/when-do-company-boycotts-work">highly strategic and have clear goals</a>. They want to force a company into a specific concession, such as eliminating a controversial ad campaign or removing a potentially harmful ingredient from their products. But boycotts that simply call for consumers to stop buying a certain brand forever? Those rarely have a long-term impact.</p> <h2>Boycott's Long History</h2> <p>The word boycott as a form of shunning actually came into being way back in 1880 in County Mayo, Ireland. Back then, Captain Charles Boycott &mdash; a land agent working for an absentee landlord &mdash; threatened to evict 11 tenants from the land he managed when the landowner refused to reduce these tenants' rents by a high enough percentage after a particularly poor harvest.</p> <p>The community took on an organized and effective campaign to shun Boycott, with local business owners refusing to trade with him and the postal worker even refusing to deliver his mail. That first boycott was effective. Many that have followed have not been.</p> <p>The Guardian has reported that while boycotts might make an initial dent in a company's sales, they <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/vital-signs/2015/jan/06/boycotts-shopping-protests-activists-consumers">rarely impact these firms</a> for the long haul. The Guardian pointed to the 2003 U.S. boycott of French wines. Many U.S. consumers were furious with France's refusal back then to support the war in Iraq. So they decided to stop buying products from the country, including its wines.</p> <p>The boycott caused a quick 26% drop in sales of French wine in the United States. That sounds impressive &mdash; but the sales drop was a blip. The Guardian quotes Larry Chavis, a professor of entrepreneurship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who said that sales returned to their normal trajectory just six months after the boycott began, meaning that the long-term effects of it were nil.</p> <p>This is an example of the type of boycott that rarely works: one without a clear goal. French wine sellers had no power to change their country&rsquo;s stance on the Iraq War. The boycott, then, had little chance of forcing a change in France's policy.</p> <p>What's more effective is when boycotts ask for a specific change while at the same time attacking a company's brand through social media, traditional media appearances, and large protests. In such boycotts, the actual boycotting of a company's products might have little long-term impact on sales. But the negative public relations can hurt a brand's image enough so that the company eventually makes a change to appease protesters.</p> <h2>The Nike Example</h2> <p>The Guardian cites the boycott of shoemaker Nike in the 1990s as one of the most successful. Activists heavily criticized Nike for relying on child labor, and calls for a boycott did hurt the company's sales. But the real long-term impact came from the negative hits against the company's brand image. This has forced Nike to work hard ever since to rehabilitate its image, change its labor practices, and exert greater oversight over its shoe production.</p> <p>There are plenty of boycotts going on right now, with <a href="http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/boycotts/boycottslist.aspx">Ethical Consumer</a> currently listing more than 65 active boycotts. There are boycotts against ice cream maker Ben &amp; Jerry's because of its contractual relationship with an Israeli franchise that sells ice cream in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem; an ongoing boycott against oil giant BP for the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico; and one against Chevron Texaco for allegedly dumping toxic waste in the Ecuadorean Amazon rain forest.</p> <p>Will these boycotts accomplish their goals? The odds are against them. But there are always those boycotts that do make a difference.</p> <p>Consider the recent boycott against Orlando amusement park SeaWorld. Animal welfare activists, including PETA and the Captive Animals' Protection Society, demanded that SeaWorld stop holding and displaying orca whales, saying that the captivity was harmful for these animals. In March of 2016, SeaWorld announced that it would end its orca breeding programs. The park said that it will also phase out its orca whale shows. Ethical Consumer has listed this boycott as one of the most successful.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-your-brand-boycott-actually-make-a-difference">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-big-brands-making-the-world-a-better-place">5 Big Brands Making the World a Better Place</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-brands-with-the-best-warranties">6 Brands With the Best Warranties</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lower-your-credit-card-interest-rate-and-reduce-your-phone-bill-immediately-and-easily">Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate and Reduce Your Phone Bill, Immediately and Easily</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/unbearably-stupid-packaging">Dumbest packaging ever?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-end-of-the-energizer-bunny-six-products-that-dont-need-batteries">The end of the Energizer bunny: SIX products that don&#039;t need batteries.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Lifestyle Shopping boycotts brands businesses consumers ethics making a difference politics protests public image Mon, 12 Dec 2016 10:30:24 +0000 Dan Rafter 1850789 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Spot a Charity Scam From a Mile Away http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spot-a-charity-scam-from-a-mile-away <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-spot-a-charity-scam-from-a-mile-away" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_phone_park_621595942.jpg" alt="Man learning how to spot a charity scam from a mile away" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to donating to charity, people have good intentions. They want to give to a worthy cause, but unfortunately, so many individuals do very little research before opening up their checkbooks.</p> <p>While many charities are legitimate, there are several that should be avoided. They are the ones that rate low, with the majority of their funds being funneled into the pockets of CEOs or marketing efforts. For example, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights is one charity that is low-rated by <a href="http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=topten.detail&amp;listid=8">Charity Navigator</a>, yet has one of the highest paid CEOs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/surprisingly-easy-ways-you-can-support-charity?Ref=seealso">Surprisingly Easy Ways You Can Support Charity</a>)</p> <p>Here's how to make sure your donation is winding up in the right hands.</p> <h2>Make Sure the Name Is Right</h2> <p>Some notable low-rated charities have made it a point to choose names similar to popular nonprofit organizations. For example, Cancer Research Institute is a highly rated charity, but Cancer Survivors' Fund and American Association for Cancer Support are both low-rated charities, according to <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/charitable-donations/best-and-worst-charities-for-your-donations/">Consumer Reports</a>. Both of the low-rated charities have important sounding names, and it can be easy to confuse them when there are so many to keep track of.</p> <h2>Avoid Callers</h2> <p>Don't give in to pesky callers asking for donations. Often telemarketers are hired by select charities to help raise funds. However, the charity does not get all of those funds. Instead, a lot of your donation will end up going to the marketers rather than your cause. Definitely do not give any personal information, such as your credit card or Social Security number to any charity. Most importantly, if anybody pressures you to give money, then it is best to walk away.</p> <h2>Know Where the Money Goes</h2> <p>The highest rated charities are very transparent about where their money goes. You should be able to see the organization's annual expense reports or the charity's Form 990. Churches and other big religious groups are not required to file 990s, so be sure to check them out at <a href="http://www.ministrywatch.com/">Ministry Watch</a>, a website that helps alert donors to fraudulent religious charities. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-giving-to-charity-is-good-for-you?ref=seealso">5 Ways Giving to Charity Is Good for You</a>)</p> <h2>Don't Donate Cash or Give Through Wire Transfers</h2> <p>Never give any charity cash or send money through wire transfers. If the charity insists on cash or a wire transfer, it should make you suspicious of the organization. But what about religious tithing? While dropping cash in your local place of worship's donation bucket doesn't mean you are donating to a scam charity, it is still wiser to write a check or donate online. This will allow you to keep track of your charitable giving for tax purposes. If you do give cash, try your best to get a receipt.</p> <h2>Be on Alert</h2> <p>During the holidays, more for-profit charities are likely to increase their marketing. Expect more calls and emails that will appeal to your emotions. Of course you want to help wounded veterans, homeless children, and abused pets but if you have never heard of the charity, then don't rush into donating. Charity scams also are more likely to pop up after a natural disaster, such as a hurricane.</p> <p>Ask a charity if they are registered, and if they claim they are, then get the registration number. Also know that most respectable charities do not ask for donations via email, unless an individual has already signed up for the mailing list.</p> <h2>Do Some Research</h2> <p>Before you donate a large sum of money to any charity, spend a few minutes researching the organization. You should be able to find the rating of charities on the <a href="https://www.bbb.org/">Better Business Bureau</a>, <a href="http://www.charitynavigator.org/">Charity Navigator</a>, <a href="https://www.charitywatch.org/">Charity Watch</a>, <a href="http://www.give.org/">BBB Wise Giving Alliance</a>, and <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/">Consumer Reports</a>.</p> <p>It is best to decide at the beginning of the year what your annual charitable giving will be and which charities you want to donate to. This then puts you and your budget in the right place for donating money and helping those in need.</p> <p>Charity scammers take advantage of people's goodwill and desire to help. However, these scammers can steal more than just your money. They can steal your identity if you give out too much information. Give to causes you care about while also protecting your bank account and personal information.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spot-a-charity-scam-from-a-mile-away">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-charities-you-can-trust-with-your-holiday-donations">8 Charities You Can Trust With Your Holiday Donations</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-yourself-from-an-investment-scam">How to Protect Yourself From an Investment Scam</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen">Don&#039;t Panic: Do This If Your Identity Gets Stolen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-safe-is-craigslist">How Safe Is Craigslist?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-you-suspect-a-scam">What to Do When You Suspect a Scam</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Consumer Affairs charity donating fraud Giving Back scams theft things to watch out for wire transfers Thu, 08 Dec 2016 12:30:07 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1849882 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Classic Impulse Buys We Need to Stop Falling For http://www.wisebread.com/10-classic-impulse-buys-we-need-to-stop-falling-for <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-classic-impulse-buys-we-need-to-stop-falling-for" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_cake_37433622.jpg" alt="Woman resisting impulse buys we need to stop falling for" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>An impulse buy is just how it sounds. It's a purchase that we haven't really thought through, and instead follow the direction of our &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-lizard-brain-derail-your-finances">lizard brains</a>.&quot; We don't ponder the pros and cons of the purchase, or even think about what it is we're actually buying. We simply grab it, pay for it, and enjoy it. But these little impulse buys can really add up to some serious money every month. And just by alerting yourself to the biggest offenders, you may actually think twice next time you're about to grab one, and save yourself a nice chunk of change every month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-simple-ways-to-stop-impulse-buying?ref=seealso">9 Simple Ways to Stop Impulse Buying</a>)</p> <h2>1. Magazines</h2> <p>You're standing in line at the checkout, you've loaded up the conveyor belt, and now you're playing the waiting game. That's when you notice some of the outrageous or tempting headlines on the magazines in the rack, and pick one up. Before you know it, you're sucked in, you've plopped the magazine on the conveyor, and you've just spent $5 on something you were not planning to buy. That, in itself, is bad enough. But magazines fresh off the rack are way more expensive than a magazine subscription. These days, you can pick up a subscription to most of the big magazine titles for between $5-$10 per year! Not only that, but almost everything you read in the magazine is available online, through your phone, tablet, or computer. It's a complete waste of money.</p> <h2>2. Candy</h2> <p>Oh, those pesky supermarket designers are devious. They know just how to get you dipping into your purse or wallet, and candy is a classic example. Even if you're not tempted by chocolate or sugary snacks, kids are. And the &quot;nag factor&quot; is enough to make most parents, grandparents, aunties, and uncles, cave in. You will also see special offers on candy in the checkout line, such as BOGO free, or BOGO half off. You may also see &quot;Buy 2, Get 1 Free.&quot; These offers are designed to push you from a maybe to a &quot;well heck, I don't want to miss out on that kind of a deal!&quot; And before you know it, you've added a bunch of extra calories, and expenses, onto your grocery haul.</p> <h2>3. Cold Drinks</h2> <p>Have you noticed that mini-refrigerators have been popping up at checkouts with increasing regularity? From stores like Walmart and Target, to Goodwill, Ross, and Best Buy, as you wait in line, you will be staring into ice-cold beverage heaven. For some reason, many of us are preprogrammed to just naturally grab a drink after we've been shopping, but those drinks are more expensive as singles than as part of a pack &mdash; a pack you can find just a few aisles away. Plus, you need to ask yourself, &quot;Are you really that thirsty?&quot; Many stores have drinking fountains, so grab some free water before dropping $2-$4 on a drink you probably don't need.</p> <h2>4. Lip Balm</h2> <p>Raise your hand: How many of you have more than three or four lip balms at home (and yes, I'm putting my hand up, too). It may be more common in places with a drier climate, like Colorado or Arizona, but for some reason, the lure of the fresh, hermetically sealed lip balm is as tempting as candy and soda. And at the same time, we seem to forget how many we already have at home in the junk drawer or nightstand.</p> <h2>5. Batteries</h2> <p>&quot;Batteries Not Included&quot; is a phrase that has been burned into the memory of anyone that has ever given a present to an eager child. They open it up, press the buttons, and nothing happens. That's when you realize it takes eight size &quot;C&quot; batteries and all the stores are closed. Due to that conditioning, batteries are strategically placed near checkouts in grocery stores, warehouse stores, and electronics outlets. &quot;Don't forget your batteries&quot; ticks away in your head, and you grab a pack of each variety&hellip;. just in case. They join their unopened brothers and sisters on the shelf in the garage. One day, hopefully before they run out of juice, they'll get used.</p> <h2>6. Gum or Mints</h2> <p>Another classic impulse purchase is the tin of mints or packs of gum. They're placed at eye-level, right as you're plunking down your purchases for the cashier. No one likes a whiff of bad breath, so a tin of extra strong mints and a pack of spearmint gum will do the trick. They're only a few bucks, after all. You can put them in the glove compartment, and hope you'll have a reason to use the 60 sticks of gum that are already in there.</p> <h2>7. Coffee</h2> <p>What is the deal with coffee these days? It's like you can't walk 10 feet without bumping into a store selling the latest organic, dark roasted, pumpkin-spice-flavored cup of joe. Let's be honest though. Somewhere along the line, we were all convinced that paying $6-$7 for coffee was reasonable, even though we can all make perfectly good coffee at home for a tenth of the price. The smell of coffee, and the incredible flavors that go into it, is often hard to resist. There are Starbucks stores inside grocery stores, just near the exit, and one whiff is enough to get most people diving into their pockets for a quick pick-me-up.</p> <h2>8. Fast Food</h2> <p>Just like coffee stores, fast food brands have been setting up shop in grocery stores and retail outlets around the country. For instance, you can find both Subway and McDonald's inside Walmart, and they do an incredible amount of business. Some people say that you should never do your shopping on an empty stomach, and grabbing a quick burger before hitting the aisles seems like a good idea. Or, as you leave the store, the scent of grilled beef and fresh bread breaks down your willpower in seconds. Before you know it, you're munching on a burger in the car, despite having a week's supply of food in the trunk.</p> <h2>9. Energy Shots</h2> <p>These pesky critters have been popping up around the checkouts for the last few years. It used to be just one brand (Five Hour Energy), but now there are dozens of different brands on the scene. Gas stations and supermarkets are not exactly fun places to be, and if you're in one for long enough, or you're having one of those days, a little shot of energy seems like a great idea. &quot;I'm tired&hellip;oh, energy in a bottle. I'll take one!&quot; These shots can cost $2-$3 each, and the effects they have vary from person-to-person. You may get an insane energy buzz, or barely a twitch. Either way, it's an expensive little impulse.</p> <h2>10. Protein Bars</h2> <p>Protein. Protein. Gotta have your protein. These protein-packed bars are big business, and can be found in various places, including the vitamins and supplements aisles. That is a bit bizarre, because although they do contain a big chunk of protein, they also contain a list of ingredients that would give a healthy eater nightmares: <a href="http://www.prevention.com/food/bad-energy-bar-ingredients">high-fructose corn syrup, inulin</a>, agave syrup, sugar alcohols, and fractionated palm kernel oil are just a few horrors lurking in them. But due to our increasingly hectic lifestyles, these have become a quick &quot;grab-and-go&quot; meal replacement. No time for lunch? A protein bar will do. Actually, it won't. It's an expensive mistake, and it can lead to sugar crashes and diarrhea.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-classic-impulse-buys-we-need-to-stop-falling-for">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-44-sneaky-shopping-traps-to-avoid">Flashback Friday: 44 Sneaky Shopping Traps to Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-frugal-skills-you-must-have-to-survive-autumn">9 Frugal Skills You Must Have to Survive Autumn</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheat-sheet-retail-markup-on-common-items">Cheat Sheet: Retail Markup on Common Items</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-30-brilliant-ways-to-survive-black-friday-madness">Flashback Friday: 30 Brilliant Ways to Survive Black Friday Madness</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-160-gift-ideas-for-everyone-you-know">Flashback Friday: 160 Gift Ideas for Everyone You Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping candy gum impulse buys junk food saving money shopping shopping hacks shopping tips willpower Thu, 03 Nov 2016 09:00:10 +0000 Paul Michael 1825862 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Sneaky Ways You're Being Upsold http://www.wisebread.com/8-sneaky-ways-youre-being-upsold <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-sneaky-ways-youre-being-upsold" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_84332599_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="sneaky ways you&#039;re being upsold" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Upselling is defined as &quot;a sales technique whereby a seller induces the customer to purchase more expensive items, upgrades, or other add-ons in an attempt to make a more profitable sale.&quot; And it can be used in almost every industry where money changes hands for goods and services. Most of us can spot a big upsell &mdash; like the heavy-handed extras car dealerships will try and push on you in the financing room. But there are more subtle upsells being used on you; some you may not even realize are upsells at all. Here's how to spot them, and sidestep them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-creative-shopping-strategy-could-save-you-tons?ref=seealso">This Creative Shopping Strategy Could Save You Tons</a>)</p> <h2>1. &quot;Did You Save Room for Dessert?&quot;</h2> <p>It seems like an innocent enough question, although if you really think about it, it's kind of insulting. &quot;Hey&hellip; did you completely pig out, or are you planning to do that with a slice of cake?&quot; However, this question is the classic restaurant upsell, pushing you to add an additional series of charges onto the bill that you were not planning on. Some restaurants will go one step further, and actually bring around a dessert trolley, or a cheese board. Then it gets even harder to say no. But it's an easy enough one to turn down. Know that your server is not interested in seeing you enjoy a delicious piece of triple-chocolate fudge-mallow brownie. He or she simply wants a bigger tip, and the more you spend, the more they get. Even if you could eat another main course, simply say you're too full&hellip; unless, of course, that sweet treat is calling your name.</p> <h2>2. &quot;This Shirt Comes With Your Choice of Tie...&quot;</h2> <p>At first, it almost sounds like a freebie. You look at the ties (or replace ties with anything else that could complement your fashion purchase) and select one. You're invested in it. Only then are you told that if you'd rather not have the tie, the shirt will be $20 less. In other words, you're paying for the tie. But, you've already invested in the tie emotionally, and may even feel embarrassed to give back the tie and pay less for the shirt. This is a common technique used by salespeople in many industries. They will offer you an item that naturally complements something you are going to buy, using language that suggests it's all part of the price. It's certainly a little deceptive, but not illegal as they will always state that you can pay less for the original item by not choosing the add-on. Sneaky.</p> <h2>3. &quot;Would You Like Fries With That?&quot;</h2> <p>Or batteries. Or a matching waistcoat. Or insurance. Whatever the industry, asking you straight up if you'd like an additional item, be it with your food, clothing, gadget, automobile, or even new home, is a classic upsell. It's become synonymous with the fast food industry, which more than any other has perfected the art of the subtle upsell. Simply asking if you want fries with a burger is a no-brainer, but not all places include them for free (looking at you, Five Guys). The most common reaction is &quot;sure,&quot; and bingo, you've just added an extra cost to the bill.</p> <h2>4. &quot;These Items Are Frequently Bought Together&hellip;&quot;</h2> <p>If you want a prime example of this subtle upsell, look no further than Amazon. When you pop an item in your cart, let's say it's a set of kitchen knives, you will see a &quot;Frequently Bought Together&quot; box that could contain a knife sharpener and cutting board. You will also see a combined price for all three. Now, some people think that buying all three will apply a discount for the bundle, but that's not usually the case. Amazon is simply upselling you a package that contains three related items. You could buy all three separately and spend the same, or buy just one extra item without losing out on any kind of discount. It's quite clever when you think about it.</p> <h2>5. &quot;For Only $50 More, You Can Get&hellip;&quot;</h2> <p>Faster processing speed. Bigger rims. An extra handset. The salesperson or, more commonly these days, website, will prompt you to get some upgrades to your purchase for a small fee. Apple and other computer manufacturers do this masterfully. You select your model, perhaps a 27-inch iMac, and then get asked a series of questions about upgrades. Would you like it to run even faster? Would you like to give it more storage space, or a more powerful graphics card? You click through the upgrades list, and by the time you've finished, your $1,500 computer now costs over $2,000. Of course, they could always offer you the best model available from the very beginning, and ask you to reduce the price by downgrading it, but that leaves a nasty taste in your mouth. No one likes de-pimping their shiny new gadget, and the starting price would be prohibitively high, resulting in fewer sales.</p> <h2>6. &quot;&hellip;And Did You Want the 16 ounce?&quot;</h2> <p>When you're in any kind of place that serves food and drink, this classic, but subtle technique is a way to upsell you without even getting you to think about it. Say, for instance, the menu lists three different sizes of steak &ndash; 8 ounce, 12 ounce, and 16 ounce. The server can easily get you to choose the most expensive of the three options simply by not acknowledging the other two. If he or she asks &quot;and which size of steak would you like?&quot; you will look at the menu and probably choose based on your hunger level, and the price. But by turning the question into one that's more presumptive, they are much more likely to get a &quot;yeah, sure&quot; response.</p> <h2>7. &quot;You Get a Lot More for Just a Little Extra Money.&quot;</h2> <p>This is a quality upsell, and it is used everywhere &mdash; from restaurants and electronics stores, to car dealerships and vacation sites. The basic premise is this; you've already committed to spending a big chunk of money, so why not spend a <em>tiny </em>bit more to get something <em>way</em> better. Maybe it's going from a $300 mountain bike, to a $400 mountain bike. But it has extra gears, a leather seat, and will last forever! When this happens, chances are the salesperson is on commission and wants a bigger check. Now, that's not to say you aren't getting value for your money. Quite often, when you pay a little more for a better quality brand, you are doing well. But, don't be fooled, as this is always about making money for the store.</p> <h2>8. &quot;Would You Like a Smaller Cocktail?&quot;</h2> <p>Most of you are probably thinking, <em>That doesn't sound much like an upsell to me</em>. But, it is, when used correctly. When this little tactic is invoked, the customer in question has already indicated that a regular drink, or dessert, is too much&hellip; either in volume, or price. They'd rather just settle the bill.</p> <p>But servers don't want you settling the bill if there is a chance you could spend more. So, they will entice you with a smaller item, which is still much better for them and the establishment than you ordering nothing at all. Every item has a profit margin. They may even make the smaller item sound like a much better deal. For example &quot;this smaller cocktail packs a real punch, and it's half the price.&quot; This doesn't just apply to restaurants though. Whenever any salesperson sees you opting for the &quot;I'll have nothing&quot; answer, they will immediately bring in smaller, cheaper options. This technique is actually known as &quot;downselling&quot; but it's still technically an upsell.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-sneaky-ways-youre-being-upsold">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-30-brilliant-ways-to-survive-black-friday-madness">Flashback Friday: 30 Brilliant Ways to Survive Black Friday Madness</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-160-gift-ideas-for-everyone-you-know">Flashback Friday: 160 Gift Ideas for Everyone You Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-sneaky-store-perks-that-make-you-overspend">4 Sneaky Store Perks That Make You Overspend</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-coupons-trick-you-into-spending-more-money">5 Times Coupons Trick You Into Spending More Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-frugal-skills-you-must-have-to-survive-autumn">9 Frugal Skills You Must Have to Survive Autumn</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping frugal living sales sales tactics smart shopper upselling upsold Fri, 28 Oct 2016 10:00:10 +0000 Paul Michael 1822091 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Simple Ways to Protect Yourself From Medical Records Theft http://www.wisebread.com/7-simple-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-medical-records-theft <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-simple-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-medical-records-theft" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/medical_records_theft_4391261.jpg" alt="Finding ways to protect yourself from medical records theft" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Hacker attacks on medical records are exploding, with more than 113 million health files stolen in 2015. Criminals are using health records to commit medical identity theft, a crime that causes even more suffering than financial identity theft.</p> <p>Think having credit cards or a mortgage opened in your name is a nightmare? Maybe, but it's nothing compared to what victims of medical identity theft have suffered. Victims of this crime often suffer from financial fraud, just like those who have their credit cards compromised, says Ann Patterson, program director of the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance.</p> <p>Resolving medical identity fraud is much more difficult than cleaning up a case of financial ID theft. The majority of medical ID theft victims reported spending an average of <a href="http://medidfraud.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/2014_Medical_ID_Theft_Study1.pdf">$13,500 on lawyer fees</a> or medical bills in their names, compared to an average of just $55 to clean up financial ID theft, according to a 2015 Ponemon Institute survey. And with no centralized source to consult like a credit report, and no real-time alerts like banks and credit monitoring services, it may take a long time to even realize you're a victim of medical identity theft, Patterson warns.</p> <p>Whether you have just received a discomfiting letter from your health care provider that a data breach has occurred, or you simply want to head off this kind of life disruption before it happens, here are seven steps you can take to protect yourself from medical ID theft.</p> <h2>1. Read Your Mail</h2> <p>Those explanation of benefits statements from doctors' offices and hospitals may not be light reading, but you should look at them, at the least to verify that you saw the provider named on the date listed. Also, if you get mail from an unfamiliar doctor's office, don't toss it out without reading it &mdash; what you might think is junk mail could actually be a bill taken out in your name by an identity thief.</p> <h2>2. Review Your Medical Records</h2> <p>One positive thing about medical records going online is that it makes it easier for patients to periodically check that all the procedures listed there were actually performed on you, and that the details listed match your identity. If your records aren't online, you can ask to check your file when you're at the doctor's office.</p> <p>Reviewing medical records could be a matter of life and death, because &quot;information, such as an allergy to penicillin, is often <a href="http://icitech.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/ICIT-Brief-Deep-Web-Exploitation-of-Health-Sector-Breach-Victims2.pdf">deleted from a patient's medical record</a> when it is stolen by a hacker or used by a buyer,&quot; warns the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology in a report that was presented to the US Senate in September.</p> <h2>3. Ask About Safeguards</h2> <p>Whether it's your doctor's office or your kids' school collecting data about your family, ask what happens to the paperwork you fill out. Is it shredded after being entered into a database, or tossed into the recycling? What kind of security protects those databases?</p> <h2>4. Don't Always Do as You're Told</h2> <p>Medical forms frequently ask for the patient's social security number. Patterson leaves that line blank, and if challenged, she explains that the omission is for privacy reasons. &quot;I have yet to be refused medical care because I refused to provide my Social Security number,&quot; she says.</p> <h2>5. Treat Health Information Like Financial Information</h2> <p>Just as you should shred your tax documents and bank statements before tossing them, you should shred your doctor's office visit receipts, prescription labels, and even destroy prescription bottles with information stickers on them, Patterson says.</p> <p>And if you wouldn't post your bank account balance on social media, don't be so quick to divulge upcoming medical treatments either. While it might be hard to imagine the harm in asking for thoughts and prayers for an upcoming surgery, Patterson urges patients to look at their profile from a criminal's point of view.</p> <p>&quot;You're putting out free information to give a detailed profile of you,&quot; she says, such as what region you live in, what doctors you frequent, and what ailments you have. If a criminal knows you have cancer, for instance, they may be able to &quot;buy painkillers in your name and not raise a red flag immediately, because it fits your profile,&quot; she says.</p> <p>If you think it's okay to share such information because your posts are only seen by friends and family, consider that, according to the Ponemon Institute, about half of medical ID fraud is committed by people who know the legitimate account holder.</p> <h2>6. Use Monitoring Services When Offered</h2> <p>It's now common for health insurers and other providers who have been hacked to offer members free fraud monitoring services. Take advantage of the offer! Patterson says that less than half of consumers offered free subscriptions actually sign up. Although they monitor for financial fraud &mdash; they won't tell you that someone checked in as you at a hospital &mdash; the services can provide valuable red flags. For instance, if a fraudulent medical bill goes into collections, it will show up on your credit report, and therefore trigger a fraud monitoring alert.</p> <h2>7. Be Careful What You Tell Your App</h2> <p>There are lots of fitness and health monitoring apps and websites nowadays, and while it's fine to sign up for one, look into the company that made the product, and think carefully about how much personal health data you share with them.</p> <p>&quot;Most of these companies are not regulated in the same way as your health care provider or health plan to protect your personal health information,&quot; MIFA warns.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-simple-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-medical-records-theft">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/women-pay-more-for-health-care-heres-how-to-pay-less">Women Pay More for Health Care — Here&#039;s How to Pay Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/epipens-and-other-ways-companies-have-profited-from-your-pain">EpiPens and Other Ways Companies Have Profited From Your Pain</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/health-insurance-how-to-fight-back-against-4-common-claim-denials">Health Insurance: How to Fight Back Against 4 Common Claim Denials</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen">Don&#039;t Panic: Do This If Your Identity Gets Stolen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-a-dental-discount-plan-save-you-money">Will A Dental Discount Plan Save You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Consumer Affairs Health and Beauty credit monitoring doctors fraud health care medical identity theft medical records privacy safeguards social media thieves Fri, 28 Oct 2016 09:30:25 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1821821 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Panic: Do This If Your Identity Gets Stolen http://www.wisebread.com/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/data_breach_58553266.jpg" alt="Learning what to do if your identity gets stolen" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reported that in 2014, 17.6 million Americans aged 16 or older were <a href="http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/vit14_sum.pdf">victims of identity theft</a>. That, alone, is a scary fact. And to be honest, when anyone says the phrase &quot;identity theft,&quot; most of us picture lives being upended, years of court cases, and bank accounts being wiped out.</p> <p>But let's look a little deeper into this issue, because while it is definitely something to keep on your radar, identity theft is a broad term. Plus, these days, with so many people being affected, there are more resources available than ever before to help you out. So before you go into full-blown panic mode&hellip;read on.</p> <h2>It's Highly Unlikely Someone Will Actually &quot;Steal&quot; Your Identity</h2> <p>Of the 17.6 million Americans that were victims of identity theft in 2014, only 4% of them actually had their personal information used to open a new account. Think about that for a second, and you should already be feeling much more calm. The chances of someone actually pretending to be you, opening up account everywhere in your name, and sinking you into a world of pain, are very slim indeed. Sadly, media outlets and the news don't like to cover that, because it's not sexy, and it doesn't get ratings. That's why the identity theft stories you hear about are horrific. But in reality, it is highly unlikely that you will have your literal identity stolen.</p> <h2>Identity Theft Is a Very Broad Term</h2> <p>The phrase itself puts most people in a cold sweat, but it covers a lot of different aspects of the crime. The vast majority of identity theft crimes, around 86%, are tied to the misuse of a credit card or bank account. That's it. Someone grabs your digits, takes out some cash, and calls it a day before the card gets canceled. Or, they withdraw a bunch of money and move on to someone else's account. Either way, it's quick and dirty, but rarely goes beyond that level of theft. And as the next point proves, it's not worth worrying about&hellip;</p> <h2>Credit Card and Bank Account Misuse Is Covered</h2> <p>If someone manages to get hold of your credit card, either by stealing or cloning it, they will undoubtedly go on a shopping spree. But you don't have to worry. While the initial shock of seeing thousands in charges you didn't accrue is horrifying, you are not on the hook for it. Card issuers and bank accounts cover you <a href="https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0213-lost-or-stolen-credit-atm-and-debit-cards">for most (and generally all) of the theft</a>. You will get all of those funds put back onto your account, usually very quickly, and the card issuer or bank will take the hit and investigate the crime. Sadly, very little of this money is recovered from the thieves who did the spending. Unless there is CCTV footage of them committing the crime, and significant evidence to track them down, they'll get away with it. But rest assured, you won't have to foot the bill.</p> <h2>Over 52% of Identity Theft Victims Resolve the Problem in a Day or Less</h2> <p>Not years. Not months. Not weeks. Just one day. That should come as great comfort if you're worried about the time and expense it could take to sort out the mess some nasty crook has created for you. And here's further cause to relax&hellip;only 9% of victims spent more than a month trying to get their lives back on track, and even then, it was not a month taken off work, fighting eight hours a day, seven days a week. It is simply a process that can take time to get right.</p> <h2>This Is a Common Problem, So You'll Get Help</h2> <p>When identity theft first popped up, it was hard to get card issuers and banks to listen to the facts. But these days, that has all changed. There were more victims of identity theft in 2014 than <a href="https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2014/crime-in-the-u.s.-2014/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/property-crime/property-crime">there were property crimes</a>, so it's definitely on law enforcement's radar. Most credit card companies monitor accounts very closely, and track your spending habits. They will often shut down a card immediately if they believe there is suspicious activity going on &mdash; for instance, an unusually large purchase, many purchases in one day, or purchases made out of state.</p> <p>If your card is stolen, report it the moment you notice it is gone, or has been cloned. If you see a new account has been opened in your name, report that immediately. These companies want your business, and they are setup to handle this kind of crime.</p> <h2>It's Easy to Stop Identity Theft in Its Tracks</h2> <p>These days you have resources and tools to monitor your accounts and your credit reports. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) puts this kind of protection into two basic categories.</p> <h3>Credit Monitoring</h3> <p>This tracks activity on your credit reports, and notifies you if a company checks your credit history, a new account is opened in your name, a debt collector reports a late payment, your credit limits change, or your personal information changes. It's worth noting that this isn't actually protection, but a warning. However, once you're alerted, you can act on that information.</p> <h3>Identity Monitoring</h3> <p>This alerts you when personal information, including your driver's license, passport, Social Security number, medical ID number, or bank account information, is used in ways that don't show up on your credit report.</p> <p>You will already know of major identity theft protection sites and services out there, including LifeLock, CompleteID, IdentityGuard, and IDShield. Your bank account and credit card issuers may also have their own version of identity theft protection for you to take advantage of. All of these services require a nominal monthly fee, but for the peace of mind offered, it's worth it.</p> <h2>Criminals Need More Than Just Your Personal Information</h2> <p>If you see a news story talking about a data breach, take the time to find out what has actually been stolen. As Time reported in 2015, criminals can do very little with your name, birth date, and email address. Even with your address and phone number on top of that, they aren't going to be able to do much without a SSN and/or account numbers and passwords. The most they can do is some kind of &quot;phishing&quot; scam, where they will use your personal information to try and get money out of you in some way, via phone or email. But use your common sense, and never respond to a cold call or email. Always contact a business yourself to verify this.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/phishing-scams-continue-to-plague-social-media-sites">Phishing Scams Continue to Plague Social Media Sites</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-yourself-from-an-investment-scam">How to Protect Yourself From an Investment Scam</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spot-a-charity-scam-from-a-mile-away">How to Spot a Charity Scam From a Mile Away</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-simple-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-medical-records-theft">7 Simple Ways to Protect Yourself From Medical Records Theft</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-credit-monitoring-ever-worth-it">Is Credit Monitoring Ever Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Consumer Affairs credit monitoring data breach fraud hacked identity theft illegal phishing scams social security stolen money Tue, 25 Oct 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Paul Michael 1819826 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Signs Your College Is a Scam http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-your-college-is-a-scam <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-signs-your-college-is-a-scam" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_93713933_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="signs your college is a scam" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A college degree opens doors. While there are certainly ways to find professional and financial success without a college degree, it can be a harder and longer path. The relationships built, the skills learned, the knowledge granted, and the credentials earned open pathways that might have beyond an individual's reach.</p> <p>However, not all colleges in the United States deliver the type of education that will lead to financial success. ITT Technical Institutes' <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/news/archive/2016/09/itt-tech-closes/498752/">recent and sudden closure</a> after it was barred from admitting students utilizing federal funds, was a reminder of that fact. The closure of the school put the educational and financial prospects of thousands of students in jeopardy.</p> <p>Prospective students need to remember that technical schools and colleges &mdash; even nonprofits &mdash; are run like businesses. They won't necessarily broadcast that they aren't capable of delivering the type of education you expect. It's up to you to investigate the school and discover any red flags that indicate the college is a total scam. Here are a few warning signs to look out for.</p> <h2>1. It's in Poor Financial Health</h2> <p>ITT Tech's closure due to financial issues isn't an isolated, once-in-a-blue-moon incident. Inside Higher Ed reports that on average, <a href="https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/09/28/moodys-predicts-college-closures-triple-2017">five colleges close down annually</a>. The number of college closures per year is expected to triple in the coming years as admission rates at smaller colleges drop. Smaller private and public colleges are dependent on tuition to remain financially viable. This means that years of low admission rates can result in a slow, prolonged death for the college which can blindside students.</p> <p>When a school closes, students might need to:</p> <ul> <li>Restart the school vetting process;</li> <li>Pay admission and application fees for new colleges;</li> <li>Find an institution that will transfer the most credits;</li> <li>Potentially apply to have&nbsp;<a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/closed-school">federal loans discharged</a>;</li> <li>Contend with issues keeping&nbsp;<a href="http://www.scpr.org/news/2016/09/19/64802/itt-tech-closure-could-turn-into-housing-crisis-fo/">housing benefits</a>.</li> </ul> <p>In order to avoid enrolling in a college that might go under before you graduate, potential college students can check the financial health of their college by doing a Google search about the school's financial health or admission rates.</p> <h2>2. It Lacks Proper Accreditation</h2> <p>Proper accreditation is vital to a degree or certificates' worth. According to RuthAnn Althaus, a program coordinator at Ohio University, <a href="http://onlinemasters.ohio.edu/mhadegree-org-an-interview-with-dr-ruthann-althaus/">accreditation is vital because</a> it &quot;provides assurance to students, their employers, and the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) that institutions are meeting rigorous educational standards and are professionally sound.&quot;</p> <p>If you accidentally attend a college without proper accreditation, you will not be qualified to work in a field that requires a degree, and employers might not recognize your degree as a valid educational credential. You can ensure that the institution is accredited by searching for the school's website for the accreditation information. Be sure to double check the accreditation claim on the accrediting institution's website.</p> <h2>3. Does It Have National or Regional Accreditation?</h2> <p>There's another layer to the accreditation conundrum. In the U.S., colleges and programs can either be regionally accredited or nationally accredited. Accreditation from nationally accredited institutions (a lot of for-profit schools fall into this category) are often not recognized by public colleges.</p> <p>ITT Tech students are currently dealing with this issue. Due to the fact that ITT Tech was nationally accredited, students have very few options as they attempt to find a replacement school. Right now, ITT students<a href="https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/09/01/options-itt-tech-students-if-profit-chain-collapses"> who want to transfer to another school</a> are limited to other nationally accredited schools and the few community colleges that are willing to consider transferring their credits.</p> <p>Before you apply to a nationally accredited institution, you should seriously consider if you would like the option to eventually transfer to a regionally accredited institution.</p> <h2>4. The School Is Facing Accreditation Probation or Withdrawal</h2> <p>Accreditation isn't a lifetime endorsement for a college. Accredited institutions must continually prove that they meet the required educational and financial standards to keep their certification. Schools that fail to meet standards can be placed on probation.</p> <p>Enrolling into a college that is in a probationary period is risky. Failure to improve can lead to the institution losing their accreditation either voluntarily or by having it revoked. The loss of accreditation will mean that if you want a degree that is actually worth anything, you will need to transfer to another school. If this happens in the middle of the semester, you can lose time and money.</p> <h2>5. It's Linked to State or Federal Investigations</h2> <p>State or federal investigations of the school or its accrediting agency might be a sign that the school will not be a good investment. While not all investigations indicate wrongdoing, in recent years, the federal and state investigations of ITT Technical Institutes resulted in the Department of Education barring the school from utilizing federal aid to enroll students. That restriction led to the collapse of the school.</p> <p>When accrediting agencies are investigated, the fallout can be even more extreme. ACICS, the agency that accredited ITT Technical Institution, has been <a href="https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/06/24/federal-panel-votes-terminate-acics-and-tightens-screws-other-accreditors">recommended for termination</a> after a federal investigation. If the recommendation goes through, <em>every college</em> ACICS accredits will have 18 months to get recertified with a different agency. Those school's ability to find another certification agency to endorse them really depends on the quality of the institution and their financial health.</p> <p>To be safe, before you enroll in a college, you should search for any news of investigations of the colleges you are vetting or the agency that accredits the college. If the investigations have to do with the school's finances or recruitment practices, you might want to dig a little deeper into the investigation before enrolling.</p> <h2>6. It Has Low Freshman Retention and Graduation Rates</h2> <p>Enrolling in a college with low student retention and graduation rates is an extremely risky endeavor. While you shouldn't discount a school entirely due to low rates, it should at least be a warning sign that should lead to further investigation.</p> <p>Low rates can be the result of:</p> <ul> <li>Students transferring to another school before graduation;</li> <li>Students taking more than four years to graduate;</li> <li>Low emotional and academic student support and guidance by teachers and advisers;</li> <li>Lower academic standards for admission.</li> </ul> <p>You can check the rates of colleges utilizing the website&nbsp;<a href="https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/">College Scorecard</a>.</p> <p>Colleges whose rates are around the national average &mdash; you probably don't need to investigate further. If the college has lower than average rates (10%-20%), that might be a major red flag to take into account before enrolling. You should at least prepare yourself for an uphill battle in your quest to earn your degree.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/samantha-stauf">Samantha Stauf</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-your-college-is-a-scam">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life">How to Stop Student Loans From Ruining Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-trumps-presidency-might-change-student-loans">How Trump&#039;s Presidency Might Change Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-vicious-home-rental-scam-dont-get-conned">The vicious Home Rental Scam – don’t get conned.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-freebies-for-college-students">20+ Freebies for College Students</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-places-to-buy-or-rent-textbooks">20 Places to Buy or Rent Textbooks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Education & Training back to school college college degree fraud higher education ITT Tech scam school Fri, 07 Oct 2016 09:30:24 +0000 Samantha Stauf 1807406 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Strange Ways Online Shopping Has Changed the World http://www.wisebread.com/6-strange-ways-online-shopping-has-changed-the-world <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-strange-ways-online-shopping-has-changed-the-world" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shopping_online_36991010.jpg" alt="Woman learning strange ways online shopping changed the world" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you prefer online shopping to in-store purchases, you're not alone. According to Business Insider, about&nbsp;<a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/the-surprising-demographics-of-who-shops-online-and-on-mobile-2014-6">78% of the U.S. population age 15 and older</a> fancies themselves a few clicks and a quick checkout when buying something new. While that's all well and good &mdash; and incredibly convenient &mdash; this new American pastime does have its downsides. Check out a few of these strange ways online shopping has changed the world &mdash; not necessarily for the better. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-retailers-use-big-data-to-track-you">8 Ways Retailers Use Big Data to Track You</a>)</p> <h2>1. Consumer Reviews Can Make or Break a Product</h2> <p>Before online shopping became commonplace, consumers had few ways to learn about the pros and cons of a product. They could rely on word-of-mouth if someone they knew had purchased the same item, or they could listen to what the media said about it, perhaps on consumer-related nightly news piece or in magazines, like <em>Good Housekeeping</em>. Because information on how well &mdash; or not well &mdash; a product worked was sparse, consumer unhappiness was limited. Retailers were relatively safe from gaining a poor reputation unless its products were outright duds that caught attention en masse. But that all changed with online shopping, which gave consumers the voice they had been looking for. Today, reviews of a product are trusted more than personal recommendations, according to research. In fact, a whopping&nbsp;<a href="https://www.brightlocal.com/learn/local-consumer-review-survey/">92% of consumers trust online reviews</a> as much as they would a friend or family member, or perhaps even more.</p> <h2>2. There Are No True Holidays Anymore</h2> <p>Remember when we were kids and holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas meant that virtually no retail stores would be open? We'd drive through town on the way to our relatives' house for supper and there was nary a car in any of the stores' parking lots. That's all changed thanks to online shopping, much to many people's dismay. Each year, it seems, Black Friday hours are pushed earlier and earlier, creeping into Thanksgiving, with some stores opening on Thanksgiving Day even. Last year, Kmart said to hell with the entire holiday and opened at 6 a.m. the fourth Thursday of November, the earliest among major retailers. It was beat out by one other chain, however, though not a competitor: Victoria's Secret opened its doors from 12 a.m. to 12 a.m. Thanksgiving Day (a full 24 hours!), because, ya know, who isn't in the mood for sexy lingerie after stuffing themselves silly with turkey and mashed potatoes?</p> <h2>3. Shopping Malls Are Becoming Ruins</h2> <p>Shopping malls were huge in the 1980s and '90s, so much so that they defined an entire generation. But by the 2000s, attendance at malls around the country started to dwindle. Many factors have contributed to the decline (not the least of which was that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.salon.com/2013/10/26/why_so_much_violence_happens_at_the_mall_partner/">they had become locales of violence</a>), including the rise of online shopping. Bustling hubs of commerce and social activity that once stood proud are now in ruin, relics of the past that serve as a stark reminder that American life isn't what it used to be.</p> <p>&quot;Dozens of malls have shuttered since 2010, with hundreds more on the brink,&quot; says Benjamin Glaser, features editor with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dealnews.com">DealNews</a>. The few shopping centers that have been built in the last decade usually aren't traditional, enclosed malls, but larger complexes with a wider dining and entertainment options, and often open-air areas. To compete with online shopping, brick-and-mortar retailers are trying to create experiences.</p> <p>This fate doesn't paint a pretty picture of what was left in the wake of the downturn or for current mall owners. Those that have already heard its final cash register cha-ching now&nbsp;<a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/completely-surreal-pictures-of-americas-abandoned-malls?utm_term=.vmGR1doAG#.dq8X0xRoy">look like sets for <em>The Walking Dead</em></a>, and those that still exist are being&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-16/day-of-reckoning-comes-for-u-s-shopping-malls-laden-with-debt">murdered by debt</a>.</p> <h2>4. Dog Bites Have Increased</h2> <p>Family dogs and mail carriers have had a rocky relationship for decades, but recently our friendly canines have been acting out in droves &mdash; all because that pesky USPS employee is stopping by more often with your online packages.</p> <p>According to <em>AdAge</em>,&nbsp;<a href="http://adage.com/article/digital/online-shopping-causing-a-rise-dog-attacks/305366/">dog bites were up 14% last year</a>, reaching a total of 6,549 incidents. The most attacks were in Houston, which had 77, while San Diego and Cleveland clocked in at 58 each.</p> <h2>5. Identity Theft Is Out of Control</h2> <p>Before online shopping became everybody's go-to method of buying everything from clothing to groceries, it was difficult for an identity thief to target a large amount of data. Sure, your credit card could be stolen by a single thief and charged up until the bank caught wind of suspicious activity, but the consequences pale in comparison to a million-accounts data breach that could throw your entire life out of whack.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2013/04/14/identity-theft-growing/2082179/"><em>USA Today</em> reports that credit-card data theft has increased 50%</a> from 2005 to 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Likewise, because your credit card numbers can be worth hundreds of dollar a piece to resellers &mdash; the number of malicious programs written to steal your information has grown from about 1 million in 2007 to an estimated 130 million today. So basically, no one is safe, and you should take even more precautions &mdash; like not storing your credit cards with retailers online &mdash; to avoid becoming a victim.</p> <h2>6. Some Online Orders Are Now Being Delivered by Drones</h2> <p>Future moving too fast for you? Then you won't be elated to hear the news that drones may start arriving at your home or office to deliver your online shopping orders. Yep, flying robots are entering the friendly skies all over the world, and they could be landing in your front yard soon if Amazon has its way. Its PrimeAir program is gearing up for its first consumer flights that promise to deliver packages in 30 minutes or less.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wsj.com/video/china-mail-drone-makes-first-delivery/A3EA877F-AF8E-4E43-AF27-BFE5EF8F15C5.html">China</a> and Australia have already implemented similar services, which has its benefits, especially to those in hard-to-reach rural areas, or for medical purposes, but we can all probably agree that&nbsp;<a href="https://www.pddnet.com/news/2016/09/chipotle-drone-delivery-pilot-program-runs-virginia-tech">nobody needs their piping-hot burrito dropped from the sky</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-strange-ways-online-shopping-has-changed-the-world">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-little-known-amazon-shopping-hacks">5 Little Known Amazon Shopping Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-secrets-of-amazons-pricing-strategy-will-help-you-find-the-best-buys">These Secrets of Amazon&#039;s Pricing Strategy Will Help You Find the Best Buys</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-surprising-things-you-can-have-delivered">12 Surprising Things You Can Have Delivered</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/filler-strategies-for-amazon-s-free-super-saver-shipping">Filler Strategies for Amazon’s Free Super Saver Shipping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-amazon-prime-perks-youve-forgotten-to-use">7 Amazon Prime Perks You&#039;ve Forgotten to Use</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping Amazon delivery online shopping shipping shoppers shopping shopping habits Tue, 27 Sep 2016 10:30:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 1800743 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways Retailers Use Big Data to Track You http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-retailers-use-big-data-to-track-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-retailers-use-big-data-to-track-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_93804837_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="retailers use big data to learn your shopping secrets" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you ever wondered how some retailers seem to have a sixth sense when it comes to the things you need, or want? How did they know you were looking for a pair of heels, or a crib? Was it incredible guesswork that they sent coupons for luggage just as you started planning a vacation? The answer is no. It's not luck, or guesswork, or a coincidence. Retailers have many methods available to them to learn, track, and take advantage of your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-thinking-skills-frugal-people-should-master">personal shopping habits</a>. Here are eight that you may never have considered.</p> <h2>1. Store Loyalty Cards</h2> <p>Have you ever wondered why certain discounts and promotions are available only to loyalty card holders, when the cards are completely free to get? Well, this is one of the prime ways retailers &mdash; grocery stores in particular &mdash; can track your spending habits. You'll notice the effect instantly when the receipt machine spews out a whole bunch of coupons for you after you pay for your groceries. These are coupons based on what you have just bought, and what you have purchased in the past. And as the coupons are printed on demand, they are different for every customer.</p> <p>But it's not just about food and household supplies. When you buy a more expensive item, say a big screen TV, a carpet shampooer, or a piece of furniture, the store stores that data, too. Soon, you'll get email offers and mailed coupons for discounts on TV mounts, cleaning supplies, and furniture polish. If you've tied your loyalty card to an email and phone number, you could get coupons in your inbox, or as a text. And the more you shop, the more they know about you, and the more they can target you with specific offers designed to get you spending.</p> <h2>2. Your Phone Number</h2> <p>When you reach the checkout in many stores, you will be asked for your phone number. Most people just give it out without even thinking. If you ask why, you will probably be told something like, &quot;we just like to know where in the state our customers are coming from.&quot; While that's not untrue, there is way more to it than that. It's also another reason loyalty programs like to tie your phone number and email address to the card.</p> <p>Once you give up that phone number, you are handing over all of your purchasing information to the retailer. And if that retailer is very savvy, such as Target, they can analyze it with some sophisticated software to discover just what your future may hold, and how they can be there for you. Take the example of a young woman who was buying things that Target associates with an upcoming pregnancy (for example, cocoa-butter lotion, magnesium supplements, a large purse, and a powder blue rug). Target sent this girl a circular featuring a lot of maternity clothing and baby furniture. Her parents were furious, until they found out later that she was actually pregnant. As reported by Forbes, Target knew about the baby before the girl's own parents did. And Target also assigns every single customer with a &quot;pregnancy prediction score.&quot; Scary? Many people think so.</p> <h2>3. Your Smartphone</h2> <p>This is not about the phone number, but the technology used in your smartphone. Through a technique known as <a href="https://www.plotprojects.com/geofencing/">geofencing</a>, which uses Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth, retailers are automatically alerted to your presence as you approach, enter, and browse the store. And once again, Target is one of those retailers that is on the cutting edge of this technology.</p> <p>If you have an app like Cartwheel installed on your phone, you may notice that offers pop up as you enter the Target store (or, after a few minutes of browsing). This is not a weird coincidence. This is all part of Target's strategy to get you spending more in their stores. And of course, as they already know a lot about your shopping habits, they can serve up the coupons and offers that are most likely to get you opening your wallet. Make a purchase using the app, and bingo, you have just given even more information to their database. Now they know not only what you're buying, but how effective their instant offers are; and they can tailor them to be even more successful in the future.</p> <h2>4. Free Wi-Fi</h2> <p>They say nothing is really free, and in this case, it applies to Wi-Fi. We all love free Wi-Fi because it prevents us from eating into our own data plans, and it's usually a lot faster than 4G. But there is a price to pay for it, and that price is information. It may seem very Orwellian, but these days, stores can use their Wi-Fi service and your phone to track your shopping habits in real-time while in the store. They know which aisles you're visiting first, which offers keep you occupied the longest, and can even trace the path you take from the entrance to the checkout.</p> <p>While it's harder (but not impossible) to capture this data on a person-by-person case, it is usually used as a research tool to help stores improve the shopping experience. If certain aisles are more successful than others, they will know why. If there are areas of overcrowding, they can be fixed. The aim is to get people spending more, and that is most likely to happen when the customer is happier in the store, and ready to peruse for a longer period of time. So the next time you use Wi-Fi anywhere from a bookstore to a warehouse store, remember&hellip; your every move could be tracked.</p> <h2>5. Website Cookies</h2> <p>If you don't know already, a cookie is a small piece of data stored on your computer, tablet, or phone by a website's server. It is used to help keep track of your movements within the site, and is usually very helpful. For instance, it can store the last page you visited, autofill forms, or provide suggestions based on your last visit. But, it can also assist the retailer behind the website, supplying them with information about your previous visits and purchases, your searches, and your overall shopping habits. This is often a benefit to you, as you may receive offers to entice you to buy something that you left in your shopping cart.</p> <p>It can also be used against you. A prime example is vacation searches. The more you search, be it for a hotel or flight, the likelier it is that the prices will actually go up. The sites know you're looking for a vacation, and when something is in demand, the price rises. By browsing anonymously, or using a VPN (virtual private network), you can stop that. Websites can also sell this cookie information to a third party, and it is common these days for sites to refuse entry if you turn off cookies. They want to know everything about you. You can also routinely clear you cookies, which may cause a few pages to load more slowly.</p> <h2>6. Purchasing Data</h2> <p>Quite often, you will see language like, &quot;We do not sell or share your information with third parties&quot; on websites, forms, and other methods of collecting your personal information. That's because it has become common practice for many retailers to store, collate, and sell the information of millions of customers for a profit. In the age of online retailing and phone shopping, big data is huge. The more retailers can know about you, the more targeted their campaigns can be. If a company wants to specifically focus on white males, ages 31&ndash;40, who smoke, drink, and subscribe to a sports package, they can buy that list. It can be expensive, initially, for retailers to buy this data, but it can really pay off because their message is laser-focused on the audience they want to reach.</p> <p>All of these methods mentioned above &mdash; including phone numbers, loyalty information, and website patterns &mdash; can be collected and sold. When they are in control of it, they can build on the data, creating a picture of you as a consumer that is so detailed, you may be shocked by its accuracy, and invasion of privacy.</p> <h2>7. CCTV Equipment</h2> <p>Smile, you're on camera. We are in the age of eyes in the sky, and big brother on every street corner. Cameras are also a major part of every store's infrastructure, and if you think they are only there to monitor shoplifters, think again.</p> <p>As The Guardian reported earlier this year, facial recognition software can determine who is entering the store, and how they are reacting to certain displays and promotions. If you're a guy with a beard, and there is an endcap devoted to grooming products, the retailer wants to know if you're reacting to it. As this technology develops, it will not be unusual to see specific ads targeted to certain consumers as they walk through the store. Expect to see ads for maternity products being displayed on LCD screens as a pregnant lady walks past, which change to ads for toys as a family with small children pass by the same area. This is not decades away; this technology is already being perfected. If it sounds like something from <em>Minority Report</em>, it's not far off.</p> <h2>8. Social Media</h2> <p>You probably have at least a Facebook account, and possibly Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat, and FourSquare. While these are all great ways to share information and keep in touch with friends, they are also a boon for retailers, who also have a massive presence on these platforms. Brands and retailers can push offers and information at you 24/7, and sophisticated software can help them interact with you. They know if you &quot;like&quot; certain products or advertisements. They provide links to let you instantly purchase products and services that have been sent to you. They give out rewards for sharing offers and coupons. And the more you do it, the more they learn about you and your habits.</p> <p>Some people have started multiple social media accounts &mdash; one for personal use, and one that does not share as much private information &mdash; for this very reason. You are being watched constantly on social media, and you are being targeted with specific offers based on data that has been collected.</p> <p>Be careful out there.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-retailers-use-big-data-to-track-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-brands-with-the-best-warranties">6 Brands With the Best Warranties</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-big-brands-making-the-world-a-better-place">5 Big Brands Making the World a Better Place</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-strange-ways-online-shopping-has-changed-the-world">6 Strange Ways Online Shopping Has Changed the World</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-sneaky-store-perks-that-make-you-overspend">4 Sneaky Store Perks That Make You Overspend</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping big data personal data retailers shopping habits shopping trends tracking Fri, 23 Sep 2016 09:30:21 +0000 Paul Michael 1798176 at http://www.wisebread.com EpiPens and Other Ways Companies Have Profited From Your Pain http://www.wisebread.com/epipens-and-other-ways-companies-have-profited-from-your-pain <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/epipens-and-other-ways-companies-have-profited-from-your-pain" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/medication_pills_money_88647685.jpg" alt="Learning how epipens and other companies profit from pain" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The EpiPen literally saves lives. So naturally, the makers of the lifesaving product decided to cash in on that, <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/mylans-epipen-price-increases-are-valeant-like-in-size-shkreli-like-in-approach-2016-07-20">raising the cost</a> from $100 for a package of two, to over $600! (And that's with a coupon, by the way).</p> <p>The reason behind the dramatic increase is awful. According to Tech Times, five top Mylan NV executives had to hit some <a href="http://www.techtimes.com/articles/175921/20160901/whats-the-reason-behind-the-outrageous-epipen-price-increase-executive-pay-of-course.htm">pretty incredible sales figures</a> to achieve their combined $82 million in bonuses. Knowing the EpiPen is essential to many people, they simply jacked the price up and hit their goals. But, as you'll soon discover, this isn't the first time companies like Mylan NV have stuck it to people in need of medications.</p> <h2>Daraprim, One Pill &mdash; $13.50 to $750</h2> <p>If the drug doesn't sound familiar, the awful person behind its price hike will. His name is Martin Shkreli, often described in news stories and social media outlets as a man with a face you'd love to slap. His company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, acquired Daraprim in 2015 for $55 million. The drug is used to fight AIDS, malaria, and is also an antiparasitic. On September 17th, 2015, it was reported that the price of the drug had spiked from <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/21/business/a-huge-overnight-increase-in-a-drugs-price-raises-protests.html?_r=0">$13.50 per pill to $750 per pill</a>, an increase of 5,456%!</p> <p>Shkreli defended the massive increase, saying &quot;If there was a company that was selling an Aston Martin at the price of a bicycle, and we buy that company and we ask to charge Toyota prices, I don't think that that should be a crime.&quot; It was poetic justice to see <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/06/accused-fraudster-martin-shkreli-pleads-not-guilty-to-indictment-filed-last-week.html">Shkreli in court this year</a>.</p> <h2>Cycloserine, 30 Capsules &mdash; $500 to $10,800</h2> <p>Used to treat drug-resistant tuberculosis, Cycloserine was already costly at $500 for 30 capsules. So when Rodelis acquired the drug and <a href="http://www.ibtimes.com/tuberculosis-drug-cycloserines-massive-price-hike-rodelis-therapeutics-rolled-back-2107884">raised the price</a> in September 2015, overnight, to $10,800 for the same number of pills, there was outrage. In fact, so much was said about it that biotechnology stocks suffered losses, with investors worried about the backlash. Rodelis caved to pressure and <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/22/business/big-price-increase-for-tb-drug-is-rescinded.html?hpw&amp;rref=health&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;module=well-region&amp;region=bottom-well&amp;WT.nav=bottom-well&amp;_r=1">gave the drug back</a> to its previous owners, a nonprofit organization affiliated with Purdue University. However, the drug did not go back to its regular price. The cost was doubled from $500 to $1,050 for 30 capsules.</p> <h2>Isuprel, One Vial &mdash; $180 to $1,472</h2> <p>A drug used to treat abnormal heart rhythms is, as you can imagine, vital to many people in the U.S. and around the world. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International didn't see that as a good enough reason to keep the drug at its already steep price, and <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/12/business/valeant-promised-price-breaks-on-drugs-heart-hospitals-are-still-waiting.html">jacked the cost up by 718%</a> in February last year. Valeant were called before Congress to explain their actions, and agreed to set up discounts of as much as 40% on the drug. As of May 11th, many heart hospitals were still <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/12/business/valeant-promised-price-breaks-on-drugs-heart-hospitals-are-still-waiting.html">waiting for those discounts</a> to appear.</p> <h2>Nitropress, One Vial &mdash; $215 to $881</h2> <p>The same company responsible for the Isuprel price hike were also behind the massive cost increase of Nitropress last year, a drug used to keep blood pressure low during heart surgeries. However, it wasn't quite as steep as the Isuprel rise, costing hospitals, and therefore patients, 312% more. The then CEO of Valeant, J. Michael Pearson (who has a net worth of $175 million) issued a statement saying the price increases were mistakes, saying &quot;The company was too aggressive &mdash; and I, as its leader, was too aggressive &mdash; in pursuing price increases on certain drugs.&quot; That probably comes as little comfort to the people who receive their hospital bills.</p> <h2>Vimovo, One Tablet &mdash; $1.88 to $23.86</h2> <p>There are over 100 types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. If you are diagnosed with it, you will be suffering from joint pain that can be crippling and debilitating. So, a drug that helps ease this pain should not be just as painful to buy.</p> <p>Horizon Pharma acquired the rights to the drug Vimovo, which helps to fight arthritis, in 2013. It then <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/10/20/investing/drug-price-hikes-martin-shkreli-valeant/">hiked the price by 597%</a>, taking one tablet from $1.88 to $23.86. Considering a vast number of people suffering from this condition are in retirement and on a fixed income, this is a disgrace. But the company hiked the price again recently, with a pack of 60 tablets <a href="http://www.goodrx.com/vimovo">now costing over $2,000</a> (with a coupon). Ironically, the drug is simply a mixture of two very cheap drugs, esomeprazole and naproxen. Many doctors are encouraged (that means kickbacks) by big pharma companies to write &quot;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/20/business/drug-makers-sidestep-barriers-on-pricing.html">prescriptions made easy</a>&quot; for these combination drugs. Always ask your doctor if there is a cheaper alternative that works just as well.</p> <h2>Dutoprol, One Pill &mdash; $0.52 to $5.26</h2> <p>This drug is used to treat high blood pressure, and up until 2013, the price was fairly reasonable &mdash; around $15 for a bottle of 30 pills. Clearly, the company the manufactures Dutoprol, Covis Pharma, was not happy with a reasonable price. So, they <a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/stunning-increases-drug-prices-that-have-shot-400-1200-percent/">hiked the price by 1,013%</a> to $5.26 per pill, or $157.80 for a bottle of 30 pills.</p> <h2>Sprix Nasal Spray, One Bottle &mdash; $32.07 to $183.97</h2> <p>If you have severe nasal pain, you will require a good pain reliever. Sprix is the only nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) on the market, and is preferred by people who do not want to use opioids or controlled substances. That preference will now cost a lot more. In February of 2015, Egalet Corp <a href="http://hedgeclippers.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/NDC-Description.png">raised the price of one bottle</a> from $32.07 to $183.97, an increase of 574%. And as the spray is often sold in packs of five, you will be paying over $900 for that much-needed pain relief.</p> <h2>Tasmar, One Tablet &mdash; $15.70 to $105.98</h2> <p>Perhaps the most famous person you'll know of that may need Tasmar is Michael J. Fox. It's a drug used to treat the effects of Parkinson's disease. And once again, Valeant Pharmaceuticals is behind the massive price hike. In April last year, the company decided to raise the price of one tablet from $15.70 to $105.98, an increase of 675%. While a movie star may not have issues paying that bill, most people will get serious sticker shock when they have to pay over $6,300 for their bottle of 60 tablets.</p> <h2>Edecrin, One Vial &mdash; $470 to $4,600</h2> <p>Used in the treatment of edema and heart failure, Edecrin is a diuretic that helps your body get rid of excess salt and water. When Valeant acquired the rights to this drug, it started raising prices. Not once. Not twice. Not three times. The price has been increased <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/05/business/valeants-drug-price-strategy-enriches-it-but-infuriates-patients-and-lawmakers.html">an astonishing nine times </a>since 2014, and is now $4,600 per vial.</p> <h2>Targretin Gel, One Tube &mdash; $1,687 to $30,320</h2> <p>Those are not typos. You did read that correctly. There is clearly something going wrong somewhere when a company can charge more than the price of a Dodge Charger for a tube of topical gel. And, of course, it's used to address the symptoms of a form of cancer, which is one of the most expensive diseases to treat. Once again, those wonderful people at Valeant are behind the rise, and at over $1,600 a tube to begin with, it was hardly in desperate need of a price hike. But, they did it, making the small tube of gel <a href="http://www.fiercepharma.com/financials/jama-valeant-s-18-fold-price-hikes-top-widespread-increases-dermatology-prices">18 times more expensive</a> after they bought the rights to the drug in 2013.</p> <p>Valeant has defended the rise, saying full retail prices &quot;rarely represent the prices that patients and insurers are paying or what the pharmaceutical company receives.&quot; If you don't have good insurance, or any insurance, you likely won't have the money needed for this drug. Incidentally, at the same time, <a href="https://healthfinder.gov/News/Article.aspx?id=705625">Valeant raised the price of Carac cream</a>, another topical treatment dealing with skin cancer, from $159 to $2,705. The message this company is sending is clear&hellip;you get sick, we get rich.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/epipens-and-other-ways-companies-have-profited-from-your-pain">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-simple-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-medical-records-theft">7 Simple Ways to Protect Yourself From Medical Records Theft</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-gadget-that-can-save-you-thousands-of-dollars">The $5 Gadget That Can Save You Thousands of Dollars</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/don-t-waste-your-money-on-homeopathic-remedies">Don’t Waste Your Money on Homeopathic “Remedies”</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/healthcare-20-websites-to-help-you-save-on-doctors-dentists-and-more">Healthcare 2.0: Websites to Help You Save on Doctors, Dentists, and More</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/women-pay-more-for-health-care-heres-how-to-pay-less">Women Pay More for Health Care — Here&#039;s How to Pay Less</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Financial News Health and Beauty big pharma companies drugs health care illness medication pharmaceuticals price hikes Thu, 22 Sep 2016 10:00:05 +0000 Paul Michael 1796989 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways Women Can Avoid Paying the "Pink Tax" http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-women-can-avoid-paying-the-pink-tax <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-women-can-avoid-paying-the-pink-tax" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_82779733_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="women can avoid paying extra for the &quot;pink tax&quot;" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Regardless of age, pink has remained the color most identified with the female gender. And it turns out, <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2016-02-17/the-pink-tax-why-womens-products-often-cost-more">women pay a &quot;pink tax&quot;</a> on items that are marketed for them. Also, products made and marketed to women are higher priced and sometimes not as well made. All of this <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-obstacles-that-are-especially-tough-for-women">makes women begin to see red</a>.</p> <p>In football, they say the best defense is a good offense, and the same can be said when shopping for the best prices. With a calculator as your playbook, here's how you avoid paying the pink tax and save money in the process.</p> <h2>On Toiletries</h2> <p>What is the difference between a three-blade pink razor and a three-blade blue razor? It's not a trick question, but when you see the difference in price, you will feel like you've been pranked. Price is the only difference in gender-based razors. Some razors may offer moisture strips and an extra blade, but you might save more by spending your money on the blue razors and a moisturizing lotion. If you use a women's shaving cream, compare that price with the price of an unscented men's shaving cream.</p> <p>Don't put your calculator away just yet. Wander over to the shampoo and conditioner aisle and compare prices and sizes of shampoos marketed for women and shampoo for men. Often the biggest difference between the two, apart from the cost and size of bottle, is the fragrance. You're going to wash shampoo out and possibly use a conditioner, so is a fragrance really worth the higher cost?</p> <p>Apart from items specifically marketed to menstruating women, <a href="http://www.12news.com/mb/money/business/consumer/call-12-for-action/the-pink-tax-and-how-to-avoid-it/45021187">many toiletries made for men</a> are less expensive, come in larger quantities, and are available in unscented versions that could be used by women &mdash; including deodorant. Simply compare prices and quantity. Your time spent investigating will be well worth it.</p> <h2>On Hair Care</h2> <p>Women are quickly discovering the benefits and savings in visiting the neighborhood barbershop for a haircut instead of a higher priced, fancier hair salon. Most barbershops can easily cut short hair. Check with your selected shop if you have long hair. The barbershop may or may not do styling and colors, but for a quick trim or new bob, you might be surprised.</p> <h2>On Clothing</h2> <p>Women's clothing may require less fabric than men's clothing &mdash; jeans, for example &mdash; but <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-ways-to-save-money-on-clothes">they cost a great deal more</a>. If you're handy with a sewing machine or know a good seamstress, you can have most men's clothing tailored to fit and still save money.</p> <h2>On Car Maintenance</h2> <p>It's financially wise for women to learn how to <a href="https://blog.cjponyparts.com/repair-or-replace-infographic/">perform basic car maintenance</a> and emergency repairs like changing a flat tire, but it also gives women the knowledge to know when they are being overcharged at a repair shop. Many technical schools offer classes in basic car maintenance and repair.</p> <p>Knowledge is power, not only when it comes to car repairs, but also in real estate, mortgages, and buying or leasing vehicles. The more you know, the smarter your choices and decisions will be, especially when it comes to avoiding a pink tax.</p> <p><em>Where else can women avoid the unfair &quot;pink tax?&quot; Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/anum-yoon">Anum Yoon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-women-can-avoid-paying-the-pink-tax">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-44-sneaky-shopping-traps-to-avoid">Flashback Friday: 44 Sneaky Shopping Traps to Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-classic-impulse-buys-we-need-to-stop-falling-for">10 Classic Impulse Buys We Need to Stop Falling For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-cash-is-not-king">8 Times Cash Is Not King</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-shopping-list-strategy-from-5-meal-plan-will-save-you-big">This Simple Shopping List Strategy From $5 Meal Plan Will Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-spending-too-much-on-halloween-this-year">Are You Spending Too Much on Halloween This Year?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping beauty products budgeting feminine products pink tax saving money tampons taxes Thu, 08 Sep 2016 10:30:08 +0000 Anum Yoon 1788320 at http://www.wisebread.com