There are a number of well-known apps that allow you remotely track your phone if it’s lost, or that track the movement of another device but do so with that user’s knowledge. What about those apps that let you track another phone — and maybe intercept calls and texts — without the other person having any idea? [More]
Things are difficult for the IRS right now. For the last few years, people contacting the IRS have encountered lengthy phone hold times, and identity theft and refund fraud drain billions of dollars’ worth of tax refunds into the pockets of international criminals. The Government Accountability Office has the job of overseeing government agencies, including the IRS, and it released a new report today about its issues and possible ways to fix them. [More]
According to the latest data from the FCC, more than two-thirds of people living in rural tribal lands currently lack access to decent Internet, nearly 30 percentage points higher than the rate for the rest of rural America. So what is it about these tribal lands that makes connecting so difficult? [More]
A growing number of cable companies are implementing data caps (sorry — “data thresholds”), which put limits on how much data a subscriber could use before facing penalties ranging from warning messages to throttled speeds to overage fees. A new report from the federal Government Accountability Office says that lack of competition in the broadband market could result in these caps being implemented with no one benefiting other than cable companies’ bottom lines. [More]
Broadband data caps might not be affecting everyone just yet, but that could easily change as the current wave of ISP merger mania continues. A preliminary government report taking a look at data caps, both wired and wireless, was released this week. It finds that ISPs and subscribers are far from being on the same page when it comes to how much data consumers move.
In theory, the Transportation Security Administration is supposed to be a last line of defense against terrorists and other folks who want to do bad things on airplanes. With so many lives on the line, employee misconduct of any kind can’t really be tolerated, but the last few years have seen an increase in bad behavior by TSA staffers. [More]
There’s no doubt that millions of homeowners were the victims of shady foreclosure practices at the country’s biggest banks when the recession hit. So many of those people were likely hoping for a positive resolution to their woes when the government said it was going to figure out how to compensate homeowners with its Independent Foreclosure Review, an investigation into banks’ mistakes in servicing mortgages. But after waiting years for an answer, about three million eligible borrowers will only be seeing checks for between $300 and $500.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) includes a number of protections for members of the armed forces who took out a mortgage before going on active duty. But as we have learned in recent years, there are at least 15,000 instances where banks failed to follow those guidelines — and hundreds — perhaps thousands of times where lenders have illegally foreclosed on servicemembers’ homes.
Between 36-122 Million Americans Have Pre-Existing Conditions That Would Restrict Health Insurance Coverage
Health insurance providers have a long history of telling individual policyholders — and people shopping for individual policies — that their care isn’t covered or their policy is voided because of a pre-existing condition. Starting in 2014, that is all supposed to stop when a condition of the Affordable Care Act kicks in, making it illegal for health insurers in the individual market to deny coverage, increase premiums, or restrict benefits because of a pre-existing condition. Question is: Just how many people are we talking about?
Among the intended goals of higher taxes on cigarettes is that some smokers will quit rather than deal with the increased cost. While this may happen, newly released numbers show that taxing cigarettes also drove up the sales of forms of tobacco that are taxed at lower rates.
A 2010 GAO studied showed that federal aid to students at for-profit colleges had tripled over a five-year period from $8 billion to $24 billion and now accounts for 23% of the total aid given out, even though enrollment at for-profit schools only accounts for 8% of college students. Meanwhile, studies continue to show that an inordinately small number of students at these schools ever graduates. In an effort to cut back on the number of people left with mammoth amounts of student loan debt they can’t pay back, the U.S. Dept. of Education has issued a new edict: Show us your college actually prepares students for gainful employment or risk losing out on that lovely loan money.
In 2009, U.S. consumers spent at least $2.4 billion in fees for credit card debt protection products that provide them with the ability to suspend or cancel a part of their debt obligations as a result of things like disability and involuntary unemployment. However, a new Government Accountability Office report finds that the credit card companies are making a substantial profit from these fees.
Even though it’s referred to as “paper” money, most of the material used to produce U.S. banknotes is actually cotton. And with raw cotton costs at a 140-year high, it’s costing more money to print money.
While many other global economies — including the European Union — have ditched their low-value paper banknotes in favor of coins, the U.S. continues to churn out dollar notes while $1 coins take a backseat. But a new report by the Government Accountability Office urges the Treasury and the Federal Reserve to give renewed thought to the idea of making dollar bills extinct.
Back in August, the Government Accountability Office released the findings of their hidden-camera investigation that caught employees at several for-profit colleges encouraging applicants to lie in order to get more federal financial aid. Today, the GAO released a report that sheds some light on just how much money these schools have been getting from the government.
According to the Dept. of Education, enrollment in for-profit colleges has exploded in recent years, growing nearly 500%. Last year alone, students at for-profit colleges received more than $4 billion in Pell Grants and more than $20 billion in federal loans. With all that money floating around, the Government Accountability Office was asked to investigate — and their findings will probably not please taxpayers.
As reported earlier today, the Government Accountability Office thinks airlines could do a lot more to be transparent about the fees they charge. And buried about 45 pages deep in the GAO’s report are two very helpful tables detailing fees for checked bags and other items that U.S.-based airlines charge extra for.