Consumer Affairs http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4809/all en-US How Dirty Is Your Money, Really? http://www.wisebread.com/how-dirty-is-your-money-really <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-dirty-is-your-money-really" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-531714398.jpg" alt="Person learning how dirty their money really is" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Cash. We need it to live. But have you ever stopped to think of what it is you're touching when you hold a $20 bill, or a handful of nickels and dimes? Unless they're crisp bills straight from the mint, or freshly unwrapped quarters, the chances are, they've changed hands many, many times. Let's break it down, and discover the filthy truth of what might be lurking on the money in your wallet.</p> <h2>The Lifespan of Bank Notes and Coins</h2> <p>Coins are built to last. Right now you can find coins for sale that date back to the age of Julius Caesar. The average <a href="https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/coin-lifespan/" target="_blank">lifespan of a coin is around 30 years</a>, but some can still be in circulation after 50 years or more. They change hands thousands of times, and never get cleaned.</p> <p>Conversely, &quot;paper&quot; money is nowhere near as hardy, but as it's <a href="http://www.bep.gov/hmimpaperandink.html" target="_blank">made up of 25% linen and 75% cotton</a>, it's not really paper at all. It's cloth. This makes it resistant to folds (the average bill can be folded back and forth over 4,000 times before tearing), with a humble dollar bill lasting almost five years. However, because the material is also absorbent, it has the chance to pick up a multitude of germs and bacteria.</p> <h2>What's on Your Money?</h2> <p>The Dirty Money Project, in New York, has been studying our money for years. Their findings are not for the faint of heart. Each dollar bill carries roughly 3,000 types of bacteria on its surface. Common microbes found include the ones that cause acne and other skin problems. Anthrax was also detected, but fear not, it was not the weaponized variety.</p> <p>The Southern Medical Journal also did one of many studies conducted on the state of our one-dollar bills. A staggering <a href="https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-98033286.html" target="_blank">94% of the bills they tested contained pathogenic</a>, or potentially pathogenic, organisms. In other words, almost every one-dollar bill you touch contains a bacterium, virus, or microorganism that causes disease. Now, what kind of disease you come into contact with is a matter of blind luck.</p> <p>Furthermore, the very dangerous bacteria MRSA (which can lead to the flesh-eating disease necrotizing fasciitis) was discovered on <a href="https://newsspc.wordpress.com/2012/09/24/cash-credit-cards-spreading-harmful-bacteria-spc-professors-work-shows/" target="_blank">80% of the dollar bills studied in a test</a> by St. Petersburg College professor Shannon McQuaig.</p> <h2>Specifically, What Germs Are on Bank Notes?</h2> <p>Of the many studies done, several of which have been cited in this article, the following dangerous microorganisms were found:</p> <h3>Streptococcus</h3> <p>This isn't too much of a concern. Should you contract this, you will most likely get a sore throat, although it can cause skin infections, urinary tract infections, and even pneumonia.</p> <h3>E. coli</h3> <p>You know this one well, especially after the spread of it last year at several Chipotle locations. Although many types of it are harmless, some can be deadly. E. coli has led to anemia and kidney failure, which can lead to death. Most people who get ill from it suffer stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea.</p> <h3>Salmonella Enterica</h3> <p>A major cause of food poisoning, you will usually get this by eating contaminated food. However, anyone who handles raw food or fecal matter, and then handles money, can be responsible for spreading it.</p> <h3>Staphylococcus Aureus</h3> <p>This causes the staph infections you have probably heard about. Most commonly, this is a skin infection, but it can also lead to pneumonia, food poisoning, and blood poisoning.</p> <h3>MRSA</h3> <p>A type of staphylococcus aureus that is very dangerous, because it is resistant to antibiotics and other drugs in the methicillin class.</p> <h3>Proteus</h3> <p>This is a bacterium found in the intestines of animals, and in the soil. It will most likely cause a urinary tract infection, which is easily treatable.</p> <h2>Your Money Is Downright Disgusting</h2> <p>It's filthy. It's teaming with bacteria. It's infested with germs. And it really can make you sick. If you handle money on a regular basis, it's advisable to wash your hands regularly, and use hand sanitizers as often as you can. Don't lick your fingers to count money, as that can obviously have nasty results. You should also avoid touching money and then eating food with your hands, but as that is something that happens often (restaurants, bars, food carts, football games) you should carry a pocket hand sanitizer and apply that before you eat. Also, don't put money in your mouth, not even for a bet, and don't put your hands near your mouth after touching money.</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/how-dirty-is-your-money-really">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-11"> <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/what-booze-teaches-us-about-money">What Booze Teaches Us About Money</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-valentines-day-picks-your-pocket">8 Ways Valentine&#039;s Day Picks Your Pocket</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/in-times-like-these-separate-the-want-from-the-need">In times like these, separate the want from the need.</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/is-daylight-saving-time-a-complete-waste-of-energy">Is daylight-saving time a complete waste of energy?</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/would-you-accept-200000-if-you-didnt-know-where-it-came-from">Would You Accept $200,000 If You Didn&#039;t Know Where It Came From?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Consumer Affairs bacteria cash cleanliness dirty money germs money Spending Money Fri, 17 Feb 2017 11:00:13 +0000 Paul Michael 1893507 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways to Get the Most Out of a Home Warranty http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-the-most-out-of-a-home-warranty <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-get-the-most-out-of-a-home-warranty" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-516251216.jpg" alt="make the most of your home warranty" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have ever bought a home with a real estate agent, chances are they told you they convinced the seller to include a home warranty in the deal.</p> <p>Unfortunately, those home warranties often turn out to be difficult to use. I have a friend in Florida whose central air system failed twice while the home was still under warranty, and the company found a different reason each time to deny the claim. I myself have had home warranty companies (initially) deny a claim for a clogged drain and a broken garbage disposal. Even when the warranty does cover a problem, many consumers are disappointed with the quality of the repair service.</p> <p>Is it impossible to get results from a home warranty? No, it's not. While I'm not a huge fan of the policies, I personally have had home warranties pay for themselves several times over. It wasn't easy, though. Here are some tactics for getting the most out of your home warranty.</p> <h2>Shop Around for Policies</h2> <p>Not all home warranties are created equal. If you're buying your own warranty, first check the company's reputation, and then look at the different levels of coverage it offers. If the warranty is being given to you with a home sale, you can ask your real estate agent the same questions.</p> <h2>When Something Breaks, Contact the Warranty Company First</h2> <p>You have no heat in the dead of winter! Shouldn't you call the furnace company first and worry about getting compensated for it later? Not so fast. The home warranty company may not cover a repair if you hire someone first, and later contact them.</p> <p>Some warranty companies offer 24/7 support, but if the warranty company puts you on hold forever or can't send a technician for a week, you may be in a tough spot. What you do then comes down to how much you want your claim covered, and how much damage &mdash; like frozen pipes &mdash; might occur while you wait.</p> <h2>Read Your Contract Before Calling</h2> <p>When filing your claim, explain exactly how your problem qualifies for warranty coverage. For instance, say your warranty covers appliances but not plumbing. Your dishwasher failed and caused water damage to your kitchen floor. Don't call and simply tell them you have flood damage in your kitchen. Call and report that your warranty-covered dishwasher malfunctioned and damaged your floor.</p> <h2>Be Persistent, Both With Phone Agents and Service Providers</h2> <p>Continuing with the above scenario, if the phone agent tells you your floor damage isn't covered, have the contract handy so you can cite the passages that support your claim. And if the agent isn't helping you, ask to be transferred to a manager. Follow up in writing or by email if denied.</p> <p>Once a service provider is dispatched, be present for the visit. Some providers will show up, charge the visit fee, and say that the repair isn't covered &mdash; without thoroughly investigating. If they try to say it's not covered, point out why it should be. Contact their supervisor if necessary before paying the fee.</p> <h2>Ask If You Have a Choice of Service Providers</h2> <p>Before agreeing to allow a service provider into your home, check their online reviews. In my experience, home warranty companies sometimes send low-rated providers. You can look up a provider on Angie's List or Yelp quickly while on the phone with the service company. If it's a terrible company, ask to have a better one dispatched.</p> <h2>Ask If You Have the Option of Taking a Cash Payment</h2> <p>Warranty companies do sometimes offer cash instead of replacing an appliance. On the downside, the cash they pay probably won't cover your true replacement cost. On the upside, if you get the cash, you can choose the model and installer you want.</p> <p>My home warranty company offered a $500 check when our water heater broke shortly after we bought our current home. Our new water heater cost twice that with installation, but we were glad to have the flexibility to upgrade the unit and work with a more reputable plumber than the warranty company initially sent.</p> <h2>Be Persistent Even If You're Not Sure Who's Right</h2> <p>The home warranty initially refused to cover my clogged drain because it was in the basement, leading to the outside of the house, and they only covered the inside the house. Was this argument valid? I wasn't sure, but because it required jackhammering and repairing my basement floor, it was going to be a very expensive repair &mdash; so I just kept at them. I emailed, I faxed, I called. It took weeks, but I finally got the company to pay for the repair &mdash; probably just to get me off their back.</p> <h2>Don't Schedule Service If You Know the Repair Isn't Covered</h2> <p>When the home warranty company dispatches a service provider to your house, they'll charge you a visit fee of $35 to $100 &mdash; whether they fix anything or not. So there's no sense calling them for a repair that falls outside the coverage, and there's certainly no sense misrepresenting your repair. You'll just lose the service fee.</p> <h2>Keep a Close Eye on Older Appliances and Systems During the Warranty Period</h2> <p>Is your furnace making a funny noise, but you can live with it? If your warranty expires soon, it may be worth paying the visit fee to have a technician check it out, just in case that noise indicates a major problem that will come to a head just after the warranty expires.</p> <h2>Keep Your Expectations in Check</h2> <p>Don't get surprised or angry when your home warranty provider tells you they won't cover a claim. Go in with a lot of patience and persistence on tap, and try your best to get something out of them. In the end, if you end up with a less-than-perfect repair or a smaller-than-desired check, acknowledge that at least you got something. Life's too short to waste time fuming at a company that angered you.</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/10-ways-to-get-the-most-out-of-a-home-warranty">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-20"> <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/4-warranties-that-arent-worth-it">4 Warranties That Aren&#039;t Worth It</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-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed">6 Ways to Apartment Hunt on Craigslist Without Getting Scammed</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/these-are-the-7-features-home-buyers-want-most">These Are the 7 Features Home Buyers Want Most</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/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings">9 Sneaky Home Money Pits That Sap Your Savings</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/4-ways-a-home-energy-audit-will-save-you-money">4 Ways a Home Energy Audit Will Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Real Estate and Housing Angie's List appliances cash payouts filing claims home warranties phone agents repairs services Wed, 15 Feb 2017 10:30:29 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1889842 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Mold on Common Household Items http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-get-rid-of-mold-on-common-household-items <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-easy-ways-to-get-rid-of-mold-on-common-household-items" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-543337910.jpg" alt="Man learning how to get rid of mold on everyday items" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Mold is everywhere. It might even be hiding on everyday items that you didn't even think to check. With continued exposure, you can begin developing respiratory problems or allergic reactions.</p> <h2>Where to Look for Mold</h2> <p>Here's where mold might be lurking.</p> <h3>Toys</h3> <p>Recent <a href="http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning/news/a42382/sophie-the-giraffe-mold/" target="_blank">findings of mold</a> in children's sippy cups and teething toys have led to widespread panic among parents. However, most pediatricians agree that a <em>small </em>amount of mold exposure is usually <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/family/kids-parenting/should-parents-throw-out-rubber-toys-like-sophie-the-giraffe" target="_blank">okay for children</a>, except if your baby has a mold allergy or an immune deficiency. However, your child's toys should be cleaned regularly so that they don't accumulate a significant amount of mold over time. If you notice shadowing coming from inside of the toy, or the toy smells bad, then you need to clean it to reduce the chance of you or your child getting sick from mold exposure.</p> <p>Children's toys, dog toys, and bath toys can become covered in mold. Mold can also grow inside of a squeaky toy or any toys with a hole. If a toy is safe for the tub, then it's also usually safe for the top rack of the dishwasher for routine cleanings. For fabric toys, consider running them through the washer and dryer regularly.</p> <p>To disinfect the toys with bleach, fill up a covered container with 1 gallon of hot water and 1/4 cup bleach. Cover and allow the toys to soak for about an hour. You can also do the same thing with a mix of 1 gallon water and 1/2 cup white vinegar. If you'd like to skip the bleach altogether, then consider boiling the toys in hot water.</p> <p>Going forward, make sure that the toys are allowed to drain properly so they don't get filled up with mold again. You can also plug up the holes with a drop of hot glue to prevent water from getting trapped inside. As a general rule, if an item is not meant to be wet, don't get it wet. For instance, throwing toys not meant for the bathtub into the bath may be inviting mold into your life.</p> <h3>Kitchen Tools</h3> <p>Certain items are more susceptible to mold, such as anything that may be hiding moisture or food. For <a href="http://www.rd.com/home/cleaning-organizing/12-smart-ways-to-use-bleach/" target="_blank">butcher block cutting boards and countertops</a>, Reader's Digest suggests dipping a brush in a solution of 1 t bleach and 2 quarts water. Scrub the area in small circles and wipe clean with a damp cloth. The bleach solution can also be used to clean countertops and plastic tablecloths.</p> <p>Your trash can be a breeding ground for mold and mildew, so on occasion, flush the garbage pail out with a hose. Use the bleach solution to scrub the can clean.</p> <h3>Bathroom Tools</h3> <p>Plastic bathroom items, such as shower mats, can become susceptible to mold. To disinfect, soak the items in hot water and bleach for about an hour. You may need to scrub the items to remove any clingy mold.</p> <p>The hot water and bleach solution should work well for bathroom tools, shower caulking, and bathroom tiles. You can even mix the solution in a spray bottle to spray over grout and moldy areas.</p> <p>Your shower curtain can quickly grow mold, especially if you don't stretch the curtain out so it can dry properly. Wash your curtain with a load of towels, or clean it with hot water, bleach, and a small amount of laundry detergent and allow to hang dry.</p> <p>Make sure to frequently wash your bathroom towels and rugs to prevent them from growing mold. Moisture invites mold, so make sure to allow items to dry completely. You may also want to squeegee your shower walls and shower doors to speed up the drying process and prevent mold.</p> <h3>Outdoor Items</h3> <p>Just as your indoor items are susceptible to mold, your outdoor items (like tablecloths, plastic lawn furniture, and gardening tools) can also be susceptible to mold if they are exposed to moisture. Sanitize these items by washing them with the bleach and water mixture. For gardening tools or items susceptible to rust, rub a few drops of tea tree oil on the surface after drying to prevent rust.</p> <h2>How to Get Rid of Mold</h2> <p>Now that we know where mold might be hiding, here are some easy ways to get rid of it.</p> <h3>1. Bleach</h3> <p>Mix 1 gallon of hot water with 1/4 cup bleach for a quick disinfecting spray. Regardless of what you use the bleach solution on, it's important to thoroughly rinse the area with hot water afterward so that you aren't exposing your home or your family to bleach. Make sure never to mix bleach with ammonia or vinegar. Bleach is the best option if you're dealing with a <a href="http://cleaningallstars.com/the-truth-about-mold-removal-bleach-vs-vinegar/" target="_blank">nonporous surface like glass or tile</a>.</p> <h3>2. Vinegar</h3> <p>Mix 1 cup white vinegar with 1/4 cup water. Spray it on the item's surface, let it dry, and rinse and wipe clean.</p> <h3>3. Tea Tree Oil</h3> <p>Mix 1 t tea tree essential oil with 1 cup hot water or distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray it on the item's surface, allow it to sit, and wipe away.</p> <h3>4. Hydrogen Peroxide</h3> <p>Mix 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide with 1 cup water. Spray it on the item's surface, let it dry, and rinse and wipe clean.</p> <h3>5. Baking Soda</h3> <p>Mix 1/4 T baking soda into a spray bottle of water. Spray moldy surfaces, scrub, and rinse clean. You can even spray the area again and allow it to dry to prevent future growth. You can also spritz this solution into carpeting after vacuuming.</p> <h3>6. Store Favorites</h3> <p>Purchase quick cleaning solutions that can remove mold and help prevent the regrowth of mold and mildew. Items like <a href="http://amzn.to/2jLmTrY" target="_blank">Lysol Disinfecting Wipes</a> and <a href="http://amzn.to/2kMjkzq" target="_blank">Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover</a> can get the job done quickly. You may also want to invest in something like the <a href="http://amzn.to/2kjZ23j" target="_blank">OXO Good Grips Deep Clean Brush Set</a>, which can deep clean areas that could be housing mold.</p> <h2>What Should You Toss?</h2> <p>Some items just aren't worth the trouble and should be tossed and replaced, for safety's sake. In fact, many professionals recommend throwing a toy away that shows signs of mold growth. If you notice significant mold growing inside of your child's toys, or you aren't able to clean them well enough on your own, it's best to just replace them with new toys that won't trap water.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-get-rid-of-mold-on-common-household-items">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/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</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/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</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-5-best-mops">The 5 Best Mops</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/254-uses-for-vinegar-and-counting">254 Uses for Vinegar. And Counting.</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/6-smart-ways-to-use-garage-space">6 Smart Ways to Use Garage Space</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Home cleaning cleaning hacks cleaning products getting rid of mold mold mold on toys Fri, 10 Feb 2017 10:30:38 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1889191 at http://www.wisebread.com So Far Trump Has Called Out 6 Companies: Here's How They've Done http://www.wisebread.com/so-far-trump-has-called-out-6-companies-heres-how-theyve-done <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/so-far-trump-has-called-out-6-companies-heres-how-theyve-done" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-576909262.jpg" alt="trump has called out these companies" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Even before he took over the @POTUS Twitter account, President Trump had long been using the 140-character social media network to settle scores, sound off on critics, initiate attacks, as well as denounce or praise the mechanics of several American businesses. Find out what happened to companies Trump has boosted or blasted. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-a-donald-trump-presidency-could-impact-your-wallet?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways a Donald Trump Presidency Could Impact Your Wallet</a>)</p> <h2>1. The New York Times</h2> <p>On several occasions, Trump has taken on The New York Times on Twitter, calling the newspaper &quot;so totally wrong,&quot; among other things. In one anti-Times Twitter episode, Trump claimed that the newspaper &quot;is losing thousands of subscribers because of their very poor and highly inaccurate coverage of the 'Trump phenomena.'&quot;</p> <p>So how did The Great Gray Lady fare? In a tweet responding to Trump's claims of falling readership, the newspaper's parent company said that new subscriptions were surging on the heels of Trump's public criticism. As a result, stock in the Times' parent company soared tenfold <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/29/new-york-times-subscriptions-soar-tenfold-after-donald-trump-wins-presidency.html" target="_blank">immediately following Election Day</a>.</p> <h2>2. Boeing</h2> <p>Trump called for the cancellation of a deal with Boeing to develop a new Air Force One. &quot;Cancel order!&quot; he tweeted, calling the situation &quot;totally out of control,&quot; citing sky high costs.</p> <p>In the immediate wake of the incident, nervous investors drove Boeing stock down by selling off shares, but the stock's value ultimately rebounded. Boeing has since engaged in several talks and price negotiations <a href="http://fortune.com/2017/01/17/donald-trump-boeing-ceo-conversation/" target="_blank">with Trump</a>, and company officials have said that the two parties are close to making a deal on the cost of the new presidential aircraft fleet.</p> <h2>3. L.L. Bean</h2> <p>Linda Bean, granddaughter of L.L. Bean's founder, came under fire in the media when news broke that the thousands of dollars she had donated toward Trump's presidential candidacy were, in fact, illegal. Liberal groups responded by initiating boycotts of the Maine retailer. Then Trump chimed in: &quot;Thank you to Linda Bean of L.L.Bean for your great support and courage. People will support you even more now. Buy L.L.Bean,&quot; he said on Twitter.</p> <p>In an interview on Fox Business Network, Linda Bean said her company experienced an <a href="http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2017/01/12/linda-bean-calls-boycott-un-american-trump-says-thank-in-tweet.html" target="_blank">&quot;uptick&quot; in business after Trump's tweet</a>. She did not provide specific numbers.</p> <h2>4. Fiat Chrysler</h2> <p>&quot;It's finally happening,&quot; Trump tweeted. &quot;Fiat Chrysler just announced plans to invest $1 BILLION in Michigan and Ohio plants, adding 2,000 jobs.&quot; The praise came after Trump criticized automakers for importing vehicles to the U.S. from Mexico. Fiat officials said its decision to make <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2017/01/09/trump-lauds-fiat-chrysler-but-ceo-seeks-policy-clarity/96361424/" target="_blank">the $1 billion investment</a> praised by Trump had long been in the works, and was not in reaction to criticism by Trump. &quot;It wasn't a pre-emptive strike against a tweet,&quot; said Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne.</p> <p>Nonetheless, Fiat's stock value enjoyed a bump on the heels of the announcement of its investment in Michigan and Ohio, and Trump's subsequent kudos.</p> <h2>5. Carrier</h2> <p>A hallmark of the Trump campaign was keeping American jobs within U.S. borders. For Trump, news that Carrier would export 1,400 jobs from Indiana to Mexico became a symbol of a larger problem. But Trump moved to negotiate with the company, securing a deal in which more than half the jobs said to be headed for Mexico would instead remain in Indiana. As part of the deal, the air conditioning manufacturer received <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/01/business/economy/trump-carrier-pence-jobs.html?_r=0" target="_blank">seven million dollars in tax incentives</a>. &quot;Big day on Thursday for Indiana and the great workers of that wonderful state,&quot; Trump tweeted. &quot;We will keep our companies and jobs in the U.S. Thanks Carrier.&quot;</p> <p>Carrier benefited from Trump's use of the company's plans to export U.S. jobs to Mexico by becoming the recipient of $7 million in state tax breaks.</p> <h2>6. CNN</h2> <p>&quot;You are fake news,&quot; Trump told a CNN reporter at the last news conference before his inauguration, adding, &quot;Your organization is terrible.&quot; The remarks by Trump came after CNN reported that intelligence officials had briefed Trump on an unverified document alleging that the Russian government has compiled unflattering and compromising information about him. Trump punctuated his opinion on CNN's reporting of the matter with a tweet: &quot;@CNN is in a total meltdown with their FAKE NEWS because their ratings are tanking since election and their credibility will soon be gone!&quot; CNN responded by saying that it stands by the story.</p> <p>Despite losing viewers <a href="http://www.thewrap.com/donald-trump-says-cnn-ratings-tanking-since-election-is-he-right/" target="_blank">since the election</a>, CNN is up in year-to-date viewership. CNN's Jake Tapper, who contributed reporting to the network's story on the dossier allegedly compiled by Russia, tweeted this: &quot;<a href="https://twitter.com/jaketapper/status/819554352939618304?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw" target="_blank">@TheLeadCNN was #1</a> in its time slot in the demo Tuesday, thanks for watching folks!!&quot;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/so-far-trump-has-called-out-6-companies-heres-how-theyve-done">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/could-trump-bring-higher-interest-rates-and-inflation-consider-these-money-moves">Could Trump Bring Higher Interest Rates and Inflation? Consider These Money Moves</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-be-the-best-customer">How to be the best customer</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/netspend-the-story-of-the-visa-debit-card-we-did-not-apply-for">netSpend: The Story of the Visa Debit Card We Did Not Apply For</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-dirty-is-your-money-really">How Dirty Is Your Money, Really?</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/10-things-you-should-do-immediately-after-losing-your-wallet">10 Things You Should Do Immediately After Losing Your Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Boeing business news carrier cnn donald trump fiat LL Bean potus president the new york times trump twitter Fri, 03 Feb 2017 10:30:27 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1884231 at http://www.wisebread.com 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> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhat-to-do-about-a-terrible-airbnb-stay&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhat%20to%20Do%20About%20a%20Terrible%20Airbnb%20Stay_0.jpg&amp;description=What%20to%20Do%20About%20a%20Terrible%20Airbnb%20Stay" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/What%20to%20Do%20About%20a%20Terrible%20Airbnb%20Stay_0.jpg" alt="What to Do About a Terrible Airbnb Stay" width="250" height="374" /></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-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/5-cities-where-airbnb-is-way-cheaper-than-a-hotel">5 Cities Where Airbnb Is Way Cheaper Than a Hotel</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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-simple-ways-to-save-on-hotel-stays">9 Simple Ways to Save on Hotel Stays</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-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/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-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/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-2 views-row-even"> <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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/countrywide-tried-to-steal-my-parents-money-how-you-can-avoid-being-a-victim-of-mortgage-servicing-f">Countrywide tried to steal my parents&#039; money - How you can avoid being a victim of mortgage servicing fraud</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-reasons-to-stay-away-from-penny-stocks">5 Reasons to Stay Away From Penny Stocks</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/obamacare-fraud-alert-con-artists-prey-on-worried-health-insurance-consumers">Obamacare Fraud Alert: Con Artists Prey on Worried Health Insurance Consumers</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-12"> <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/how-to-make-your-own-soda-tidy-a-room-in-three-minutes-cure-a-hangover-and-become-a-movie-extra-phew">How To Make Your Own Soda, Tidy A Room In Three Minutes, Cure A Hangover And Become A Movie Extra. Phew!</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-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> <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/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen">Don&#039;t Panic: Do This If Your Identity Gets Stolen</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-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/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/the-7-dumbest-big-purchases-people-make">The 7 Dumbest Big Purchases People Make</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/unbearably-stupid-packaging">Dumbest packaging ever?</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-safe-is-craigslist">How Safe Is Craigslist?</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-protect-yourself-from-an-investment-scam">How to Protect Yourself From an Investment Scam</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/what-to-do-when-you-suspect-a-scam">What to Do When You Suspect a Scam</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/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen">Don&#039;t Panic: Do This If Your Identity Gets Stolen</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/cheat-sheet-retail-markup-on-common-items">Cheat Sheet: Retail Markup on Common Items</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-deals-to-look-for-at-pawn-shops-thrift-shops-and-other-weird-stores">The Deals to Look for at Pawn Shops, Thrift Shops, and Other Weird Stores</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-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 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-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/5-ways-social-media-saved-someones-life">5 Ways Social Media Saved Someone&#039;s 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/will-a-dental-discount-plan-save-you-money">Will A Dental Discount Plan Save You Money?</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </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-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/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/6-signs-that-a-winning-notification-email-is-a-fake">6 Signs That a Winning Notification Email Is a Fake</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/is-credit-monitoring-ever-worth-it">Is Credit Monitoring Ever Worth It?</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-spot-a-charity-scam-from-a-mile-away">How to Spot a Charity Scam From a Mile Away</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. 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