(Alan Cleaver)

State Of Indiana Does Not Think Senior Center Card Games Are Secret Gambling Den

Last week, the Indiana Gaming Commission contacted a senior center in Muncie to let them know that a popular activity, thrice-weekly games of euchre (a four-player card game) was possibly breaking the state’s gambling law. The seniors shut down their game, not wanting to run afoul of gambling regulations. When the story hit local news, the state government clarified that this type of card game was not really what they had in mind for a crackdown on informal gambling venues. [More]

(Laurice Marier)

Chicago Will Have The Highest Sales Tax In The U.S. At 10.25%

Sales taxes are variable from place to place and very visible, and they’re visible day-to-day as we dig in our pockets for change to pay a coffee tab of $3.14. Starting next year, Chicago will have the highest sales tax in the country, with state, county and city taxes adding up to 10.25%. [More]

Man Behind IRS-Impersonation Scam Sentenced To 14 Years In Prison

Man Behind IRS-Impersonation Scam Sentenced To 14 Years In Prison

One of the more insidious scams of this decade has been the IRS impostor phone scam, where someone posing as a police officer or federal agent calls you up and threatens to arrest you over your tax balance. Of course, that balance is payable immediately by prepaid debit card. A Pennsylvania man who pleaded guilty earlier this year to running such a scam from 2011 until his 2013 arrest has been sentenced to 175 months in prison and $1 million in forfeiture for his crimes. [More]

How big is this jar?

Procter & Gamble Settles With California Over Allegedly Misleading Moisturizer Boxes

When an item is costly by the ounce and comes in very small containers, how can you make the product seem more substantial while also making it harder to steal? Many companies that make expensive things to smear on your face solve this problem by adding a false bottom to jars. Procter & Gamble’s Olay brand was accused of doing this by four California counties, and has agreed to settle the lawsuit by changing the product’s packaging and paying a civil penalty. [More]

SCOTUS Decision: The Financial Benefits For Married Same-Sex Couples

SCOTUS Decision: The Financial Benefits For Married Same-Sex Couples

While most things about marriage have changed throughout human history, one thing remains true. No, not love: marriage for love is a modern innovation. Married couples have always been an economic unit, from ancient farms to modern condos. This morning’s Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriages nationwide will have important effects on the finances of married gay and lesbian couples, whether they live in a state that currently allows them to legally marry or not. [More]

(SarahMcGowen)

Jury: Company That Collected Workers’ DNA To Solve Fecal Matter Mystery On The Hook For $2.2M

Add this one to the list of things your employer cannot subject you to on the job: A federal jury recently awarded two warehouse workers in Georgia $2.2 million, after a judge ruled that their bosses illegally collected their DNA. But why would your employer want to get hold of your DNA? In this case, management was trying to bust a mysterious pooper who was leaving piles of feces in the company’s warehouses. [More]

(Christian Schnettelker)

SCOTUS Sides With California Farmer Who Refused To Pay Raisins Into The National Reserve

A few years back we heard the tale of a California farmer who was raisin’ a stink over the government’s insistence that he pay 1.2 million pounds of raisins into the national reserve without paying him for them. Today, the Supreme Court of the United States sided with him, saying the Fifth Amendment requires the government to pay just compensation when it takes personal property (movable property), just as when it takes real property (things like land). [More]

This is a regular Michael Kors store, where outlet items would never have been sold. (Mike Mozart)

Michael Kors Settles Class Action Over Imaginary Outlet Prices

Outlet shoppers know the drill: items are marked with a “Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price,” and then an outlet price. What does that mean when you’re shopping at the Michael Kors outlet, and the merchandise is all made for the outlet? That makes the suggested price meaningless, and is exactly what a recent class action suit against the fashion company alleged. The suit has been settled, and the fashion company has agreed to pay consumers a total of $4.88 million to make up for years of imaginary price tags. [More]

(Michael Gil)

Acuras Recalled Because They Auto-Brake For Imaginary Obstacles

Automatic braking is a feature available that car manufacturers offer on their higher-end models as part of feature and safety packages. The idea is simple: if your car recognizes that there’s something in front of it, it stops. Except for some model year 2014 and 2015 Acura SUVs and sedans: there have been documented cases where they stop when there is no obstacle in front of the cars. [More]

IRS Officials, Congress Agree That Agency Needs Better Anti-Fraud Measures

IRS Officials, Congress Agree That Agency Needs Better Anti-Fraud Measures

Congress was understandably alarmed at the news that cyberbaddies, believed to be criminals based in Russia, were able to gain access to previous years’ return data for 104,000 U.S. taxpayers. The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing today, where the Inspector General of the IRS explained that the agency simply isn’t keeping up with the criminals who want its data. [More]

The IRS Is Still Using Windows XP, Has A Cybersecurity Staff Of 363 People

The IRS Is Still Using Windows XP, Has A Cybersecurity Staff Of 363 People

In the last few years, tax return fraud has become a serious problem at the state and federal levels, thanks to the growth of e-filing and security holes in IRS and third-party tax software systems. Is the IRS to blame for this trend? There are really only two options: the IRS is either broke or incompetent. [More]

IRS Suspects Russian Identity Thieves In Data Breach

IRS Suspects Russian Identity Thieves In Data Breach

You may remember that the Internal Revenue Service announced late yesterday that about 100,000 taxpayers’ personal information was breached when thieves armed with their personal information were able to log in to the IRS transcript system and extract even more sensitive information about their victims. Today, we learned that the IRS suspects that an organized group of hackers out of Russia are responsible for the 200,000 attempts to extract taxpayer data. [More]

IRS: Thieves Obtained Information On 100,000 Taxpayers From Transcript System

IRS: Thieves Obtained Information On 100,000 Taxpayers From Transcript System

A tax transcript is a document from the IRS that shows key information from tax returns that you’ve already filed, or changes to what you and the government owe each other that may have been made after the return was filed. You can normally order them online, but the system is now closed after the IRS learned that people identified only as “thieves” accessed transcripts for about 100,000 people. [More]

FTC: ‘Clinically Proven’ Menopause And Weight Loss Supplement Helps With Neither

FTC: ‘Clinically Proven’ Menopause And Weight Loss Supplement Helps With Neither

American consumers have spent $65 million on Amberen, a supplement meant to ease the symptoms of menopause and perimenopause. These symptoms can include hot flashes, insomnia, irritability, and weight gain. Did Amberen help with these symptoms, as promised? No, the Federal Trade Commission says: it mostly helped to lighten customers’ bank accounts, and has filed a complaint against the company that sells it. [More]

Verizon, Sprint To Pay $158 Million To Settle Wireless Bill-Cramming Allegations

Verizon, Sprint To Pay $158 Million To Settle Wireless Bill-Cramming Allegations

Several months after AT&T and T-Mobile reached multimillion-dollar settlements with federal regulators to close the books on allegations of bill-cramming — illegal, unauthorized third-party charges for services like premium text message subscriptions — both Sprint and Verizon have also decided to pay the regulatory piper. Combined, the two wireless companies will pay $158 million to settle cramming claims with the FCC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. [More]

Being Declared Dead By The Social Security Administration Is Very Inconvenient

Being Declared Dead By The Social Security Administration Is Very Inconvenient

Being dead is very inconvenient, but having the government believe that you’re dead when you aren’t is even more inconvenient. Yet the Social Security Administration accidentally declares about 9,000 people living in the United States dead every year. Yet when this happens to someone, they struggle to find help and to get anyone to believe them so they can be brought back to life financially. [More]

How Do You Get Your Tax Refund Back When Someone Steals It?

How Do You Get Your Tax Refund Back When Someone Steals It?

If you have only one job and take the standard deduction, filing your taxes can be pretty simple. It’s so simple, in fact, that fraudsters are happy to do it for you, stealing your refund in the process. What happens to taxpayers who get stuck in this situation? Tax fraud is complicated, and sometimes they end up waiting for a very long time to get their money back. [More]

(Seattle Plice Department)

Truck Full Of Salmon Turns Over On Highway, Blocks Traffic For 9 Hours

The creatures of the sea are rising up to…snarl our traffic and then get eaten anyway. First, a tractor-trailer in Maine overturned, but its cargo of 30,000 pounds of live lobsters were fine and survived to be loaded on another truck. Now a truck full of salmon turned over on a highway in Seattle, messing up traffic everywhere from down the road to in the sky. [More]