It's National Consumer Protection Week!

It's National Consumer Protection Week!

The FTC has designated this week National Consumer Protection Week, so all scams will be put on hold and businesses won’t overcharge you until next Sunday. What, no? That’s now how it works? Ah… it looks like it’s more about consumer education, which is also a good thing since that will help consumers protect themselves year round. For adults, here’s a whole page of various scam prevention tips, fact sheets, and videos. If you’re an educator, you can enroll in the National Financial Capability Challenge and get an “educator toolkit” to help you teach students how to be smart consumers. There’s a section for businesses too, with information on how to protect customers’ personal info and deter ID theft. [More]

Reduce Your Chances Of Laptop Theft By Turning Off

Reduce Your Chances Of Laptop Theft By Turning Off Wi-Fi

A security company says that one easy way to find recently closed laptops hidden in cars or bags is to search for Wi-Fi radios, because some laptops can take half an hour or more before going into sleep mode. You need a specialized scanner to do sniff out Wi-Fi radios, but says you can get one for about $50. The security company, Credant Technologies, says a group of lottery scammers in Jamaica were using stolen laptops that they found in this way. The solution: disable your Wi-Fi before you close the lid on your laptop. [More]

What Do You Do When Your Credit Card Has Been Armed With An
Interest Rate Trap?

What Do You Do When Your Credit Card Has Been Armed With An Interest Rate Trap?

Harry’s got a problem: the Bank of America card he’s had for years is paid off, but now it’s been set to explode in Harry’s wallet if he ever uses it again because the variable APR will jump to 29.99 percent. What’s worse, his other card has been canceled. Now Harry doesn’t know if he should start using the BofA card or back away quietly from it. [More]

Ask The Consumerists: How Do You Stay Calm When You're Being Wronged?

Ask The Consumerists: How Do You Stay Calm When You're Being Wronged?

Stacey has an interesting question for the Consumerist hive mind. She wonders: when you are in the middle of a grave consumer injustice, how do you stay calm? How do you hold on to your temper and stay professional, whether on the phone or dealing with a company in person? [More]

It's Probably A Bad Idea To Cash A Check For A Stranger

It's Probably A Bad Idea To Cash A Check For A Stranger

I bet if some guy approaches you on the street right as you’re about to walk into your bank or credit union and asks you to cash a check for him, you’d say no. That’s a good idea. Apparently at least two people in Madison, Wisconsin thought they were doing a good deed and helped the man out. It turns out that the checks were drawn on a closed bank account in Atlantic City, NJ. [More]

Stay On Budget By Maintaining One Indulgence

Stay On Budget By Maintaining One Indulgence

Adam Baker at Get Rich Slowly suggests you’ll be able to better stick to a budget if you pick one non-essential hobby or interest instead of cutting them all out. The key to figuring out whether or not it’s something worth “wasting” money on is to identify any hidden benefits, and then to make sure there aren’t hidden drawbacks. [More]

Don't Fall For Job Scams

Don't Fall For Job Scams

The Federal Trade Commission has a website at with information on the types of scams you’re likely to find in Help Wanted listings. They’ve also put together a short video (below) that describes how scammers try to charge job hunters fees to pay for job certification, or to provide access to executive-level interviews, or to acquire study materials that are supposedly crucial to passing a hiring exam. It’s a good refresher course in what to look out for when you’re answering ads. [More]

24 Ways To Make Some Extra Money

24 Ways To Make Some Extra Money

If you’re between jobs, underemployed, or just have a lot of extra time on your hands now that you’ve give up expensive hobbies like smoking or shopping, here’s a list of 24 ways you can you earn some extra money. They’re not full time jobs, or sometimes even part-time jobs, but they’re a good starting point if you need some inspiration on how to bring in a little extra cash. [More]

Here's A Simple Flowchart To Help Thwart Phishing Attacks

Here's A Simple Flowchart To Help Thwart Phishing Attacks

I like flowcharts because they appeal to the part of me that wants to be a robot. I also like them because they make multi-step decision paths incredibly simple to follow, even if you don’t have a lot of insight into the big picture. This flowchart from will help even your PowerPoint-slideshow-forwarding relative (yes, that one) shoot down phishers as soon as they hit the In Box. [More]

How To F@#$ing Shovel Snow

How To F@#$ing Shovel Snow

There’s a lot of snow in parts of the country that don’t seem to get snow that often. Thankfully, The Awl has some f*cking instructions about how to f*cking shovel the snow. [More]

How To Protect Your Receipts

How To Protect Your Receipts

There’s a slight problem with many receipts these days–they’re printed on thermal paper, and over time they fade. Some readers were discussing this in the Kodak warranty thread from earlier this week, and I thought it might be useful to highlight it here for other readers. [More]

Mass Effect 2 Shopkeeper Makes Fun Of People Who Buy Expensive Cables

Mass Effect 2 Shopkeeper Makes Fun Of People Who Buy Expensive Cables

Mass Effect 2 is an awesome game that you should buy immediately. In addition, it also offers solid electronics buying advice in the form of an alien shopkeeper. [More]

8 Ways To Make Sure Your Complaint Letter Will Be Ignored

8 Ways To Make Sure Your Complaint Letter Will Be Ignored

You’re mad, you’re annoyed, or you’ve been ripped off. So you decide to take action, and open up your word processor or e-mail client to write a complaint letter. But that doesn’t mean you actually want anyone to take you seriously, or to help you. Follow these tips to make sure your complaint goes nowhere near anyone in power. [More]

Six e-Readers Compared

Six e-Readers Compared

If you’re thinking of buying a digital reader in the next six months and you’re wondering what device to get, here’s a handy chart that compares six of the most highly publicized models side by side. As you might guess, bigger screens and more flexibility with file formats means higher prices. Also, the iPad is sort of a misfit here as it’s the only device that’s not a dedicated ebook reader. [More]

Why Aren't You Haggling Yet?

Why Aren't You Haggling Yet?

Michael S. Rosenwald saved $15 on a pair of shoes at Macy’s, $3 on a steak at Giant, $6 on a DVD set at Best Buy, and $100 off his next Verizon bill (plus a 10% discount on future bills) during one week spent haggling. In this Washington Post article, he describes how it felt to switch from the habit of paying full retail to looking at a price tag as a “suggestion,” in the words of one expert he met with. The executives Rosenwald spoke with repeatedly said that bargaining is not standard practice, but that didn’t stop employees and managers from making deals in order to close the sale. [More]

Free "How To Be Invisible" Download In Exchange For Your Email Address

Free "How To Be Invisible" Download In Exchange For Your Email Address

J.J. Luna, a former security consultant turned author, released a guide ten years ago that showed readers how get rid of paper and digital trails. The subject matter is probably a little too paranoid for most of our readers, but it overlaps with issues we talk about all the time here, like identity theft and online security. He’s just released a revised version, so he’s giving away the 2000 edition in PDF format for free. Well, in exchange for your email address. [More]

Protect Yourself From Unexpected Fees At Medical Clinics

Protect Yourself From Unexpected Fees At Medical Clinics

An anonymous reader wrote to us to ask what he should do about unexpected bills from a medical clinic. He chose the clinic precisely because he can’t afford hospital bills in the hundreds of dollars, and was led to believe that there’d be no out-of-pocket cost. It turns out there was. [More]

Don't Let An Unknown Caller Talk You Into Downloading Software

Don't Let An Unknown Caller Talk You Into Downloading Software

In the wide world of scams, this combination of a phone call and computer malware is sort of a novel twist. Jay likes to string phone scammers along to waste their time, so he managed to get quite a few details about how this particular scam works. If you’ve got naive family members with access to computers, either take away their computers or tell them never to download software from a stranger on the phone. [More]