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Every get those call s from groups that claim to help your local police or fire fighters? Beware!

Many times, these are groups that have incorprate with names like "police BEnevolent Organization," but they have no connection to your local first responders. Even if they are legit, they may also be professional fund raisers that can take as much as 90% of your money, leaving only 10% to help your local firefighters and police.

If you want to help, experts suggest you call your local police, fire or EMT departments and ask te best way for you to donate.. 

Do you ever receive an email claiming to be from FedEx, UPS, DHL, Amazon or some other business involved in shipping that’s notifying you that a shipment is coming your way – when you know you never ordered anything?

Beware. Courier cons are on the rise. Bogus shipping confirmations contain links that once clicked deliver malware to your computer!

Experts always recommend that you never click on links in these types of emails. Instead, go to the bona fide website of the business that claims to be contacting you and check it out from there.

Once you’ve retired, experts say it makes less sense to lease a car than to buy it outright.

Here are their reasons:

1.) While lease payments may be lower than purchase payments, over the long run, buying costs you less over the long run. That’s because after you pay off your car (typically in 5 years), you can drive payment free for as long as you care to continue owning the vehicle.

2.) You don’t have to worry about mileage. Typically, when we retire, travel is one of the activities that tends to increase. With a leased vehicle, you pay penalties for driving more than 12,000 to 15,000 a tear.

3.) Should your lease vehicle be involved in an accident that totals the vehicle, you may be liable for an “early termination fee.” You may be able to avoid such a fee by purchasing gap insurance, but that insurance also creates an additional expense you don’t have with a purchased vehicle

4.) Typically, your regular insurance may be higher as well as the leasing agency requires you to carry a higher accident liability than you might purchase if you are buying the car. This is because the lease vehicle is still legally the property of the lease company. If it’s involved in an accident, lawyers for the other party usually go after the lease company, figuring they have “deeper pockets” than the driver. To protect themselves, lease companies require you to carry higher liability insurance.

However, if you’re the type that likes driving a fancier car than you may be able to purchase or if you like having a new vehicle every 3 years or so, then leasing might still be the way to go no matter your age!

You know the situation. You’re calmly surfing the web on your PC or laptop when all of a sudden a big pop-up window appears and a loud voice comes over your speakers warning you that your computer is dangerously infected with a virus or malware. There is just one problem…

Real anti-virus/anti-malware programs do not operate like this. They do not take over your computer with loud voices or screens you cannot close.

Your computer IS in danger – but from the source of the pop-up.

If you get one of these pop-up warnings, here are some steps to remember:

1.) Do NOT click anywhere on the pop-up window

2.) Do NOT take any action the pop-up window is urging you to take (like call a toll-free number)

3.) If possible, immediately closer your web browser.

4.) If that’s not possible, reboot your computer immediately

5.) If all that fails, get your computer to an authorized repair center as soon as possible.

If you think “catfishing” online is bad (that’s someone pretending to be someone else), we now have people scamming other people with the fake promise of a puppy.

If you’re looking for a fur buddy, beware anyone offering to sell you a dog over the internet, especially if they’re asking you to buy gift cards and read the numbers to them over the phone.

The experts say you’re better off visiting a local shelter. Not only will you get a real dog, but you can make sure you and your new best friend hit off before you take him or her home.

Before you pay money to monitor your credit, check out these sites which promise to do the job for free:
CreditKarma.com
CreditSesame.com

And this site that will monitor your SSN and up to 3 credit cards:

TrustedID.com.

Many smartphones and tablets are preset to find and join networks automatically. This may seem like a good idea as it could save you on data fees, but be careful.

Many public networks are unsecure and can easily be breached by hackers.

You can solve this problem in two ways.

First, turn off the option on your device(s) to automatically connect to networks and turn on the option to ask you first. Second, simply make sure your phone or tablet is off when you’re not using it. Hackers can’t access a device if it’s off the grid.

While most of us live on a budget, there are those emergencies that require cash quickly.

Here are a few ways to raise extra money in a hurry:

Sell Your Old Stuff: Not only can you get extra dough, you're also reducing clutter. Most of us know about Craigslist, but there are also new mobile apps that allow you to list what you want to sell for free. Those include LetGo and OfferUp.

Join a Focus Group: Helping market researchers by participating in a focus group can put $50 to $250 in your pocket for up to two hours of your time. To be considered for a focus group, check online for companies like Schlesinger Associates or Fieldwork.

Access Your Life Insurance: Many life insurance policies has investment components that lets you borrow or withdraw cash. But make sure you check with your financial advisor because policies differ. Some may require you to repay the money at a later date and withdrawing money from others may lower that policy's death benefit.

Repair shops have a bad reputation. One reason why is most of us don’t really know much about our vehicles. When a repair person tells us our framastat and carburatic overgloid needs replacement, we just nod and sign the repair order.

One of the most common cons is the Oil Change Add-Ons: Many repair shops advertise a very low price on oil changes. Once they get your car in their service bay, they’ll tell you about all the other things you need – like a new air filter or a coolant flush. Unless you know and trust your repair shop, treat these tactics with skepticism, especially if your car has been running just fine.

BTW – Many of the coolants used in today’s vehicles are good for 100,000 miles.

It would be a rare person who has not had at least one attempted scam via phone (cell or land line) this past year.

Law enforcement says these are the top scams of the year gone by:

  • Phone numbers on your caller ID that are very close to your own number. Scam artists know you're more likely to answer an unknown number that's close to your number. If you don't recognize the number, let it go to voice mail.
  • “The IRS” claiming they’re about to take you to court or have you arrested unless you make immediate payment via wire transfer or debit card. Tip: The IRS NEVER makes phone calls. Official business is always conducted by mail.
  • “Tech support worker” claiming they need access to your computer remotely to remove viruses. What they’re really going to remove is your personal information.
  • “Utility bill collectors” looking for immediate payment or else your utilities will be shut off. Again, real utilities do not operate this way.

When in doubt, get off the phone and make contact yourself with the agency the original caller claimed to be from.

What’s Hot in the World of Collectibles…

Space Program Memorabilia: Particularly from the Apollo moon missions. Our early astronauts tended to sign a lot of autographs, which they left with their families as a kind of insurance in case they dudn’t make it back!

What’s Not…

WWII Memorabilia: They may have been the Greatest Generation, but their wat souvenirs are fetching much on the collectors’ market.

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