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.
We’ve all heard about “skimming.” That’s when you use your ATM card and some scam artist has inserted an additional piece of card-reading hardware that will steal you ATM card information. The people that monitor this sort of thing say incidents of skimming were up 500% in 2015 over the previous year.
Here’s how you can reduce the risk of someone getting you valuable information:
- Stick with the Chip – Digital chips are harder to hack (not impossible, but harder). Try to avoid using card readers where you still have to swipe the card's magnetic strip.
- Use a Bank Machine – While not perfect, bank ATMs are more secure. They are better maintained and have 24/7 surveillance cameras. Machines at gas stations and convenience stores account for the majority of card information theft.
- Inspect Before Swiping – If the machine doesn’t accept your card smoothly, walk away. Newer machines also have a flashing light in the card slot. If you don’t see one or it’s partially obscured, you might want to find another machine.
- Always Check Your Card Statements – Make there are no unusual or unfamiliar charges.
- Talk with Your Bank about Alternative Solutions – You might open a separate account with a smaller amount of money just for ATM purchases or you can lower the daily limit for ATM withdrawals.
Everybody thinks they got some treasure stashed somewhere - in the attic, down in the baseball or in the closet where old photos and more are lurking. But the truth is all that's old is not necessarily gold. Don't let Antiques Roadshow put dollar signs in your eyes.
Here's what's hot and what's not in the world of collectibles:
With Memorial Day weekend here, it's the start of vacation season! If you're planning on renting a car when you reach your destination, the rental company is sure to try and sell you rental car insurance. Do you really need it?
In a lot cases, the answer is no!
If you own a car and have car insurance, many of those policies automatically cover you when you're driving a rental car. Check with your insurance company before you take your trip and see if you're covered!
Planning on hitting the road this summer? You may be able to save money on your transportation if you’re willing to a little searching.
There are companies that need to move vehicles (even RVs) from one location to another. Now, these are one-way trips, so you may have to find other ways to get yourself back home, but it’s worth investigating.
Important legal stuff: BoomtownAmerica.com is not affiliated with nor does it endorse any of these websites. We advise you check things out for yourself and as always, make sure you read the fine print or consult with an expert before you enter into any agreement.
We’ve all heard about identity theft in regards to bank accounts and credit cards, but there is another kind of identity theft that can be even costlier to you!
It’s medical identity theft. That’s when someone steals you name and insurance information, then uses it to get treatments and drugs for themselves, sticking you with the bill. With most credit card fraud, the bank or the card company winds eating most of phony charges. With medical ID theft, you could be on the hook for the charges.
To protect yourself:
- Read those letters that say “THIS IS NOT A BILL” – Make sure you go over the medical services and drugs in those letters. If you notice a treatment or a doctor you don’t know (as well as medication you are not taking). Contact your insurance company immediately.
- Guard your health insurance cards and numbers – And remember that goes for dental and vision plans as well as your medical insurance. That also goes for your Medicare card (even though it no longer contains your SSN).
- When you visit a doctor, make sure you get a copy what transpired during that visit – Including treatments performed and medication prescribed.
- Be Careful of “Free Screenings” – While most are legit, avoid any “free screening” that requires you disclose insurance information.
A 18-year study from Oregon State University suggests that working a bit longer many actually help you live longer.
The study found that those who worked at least one year past the age of 65 had a 9 percent lower death risk.
Obviously, health is a factor in some retirement decisions, but in you’re healthy enough, you may want to think about working a bit longer to live longer!
Most homes now have Wi-Fi routers so multiple devices can access the internet. Be careful, hackers can use these devices to access your computer simply by being in your neighborhood.
To keep your personal information safe, make sure your wireless router’s encryption and password protection are turned on.
If you are unsure how to check that, contact the tech support team at your internet service provider.
You may think you have enough socked away, but financial planners caution that these items may derail some of the best-laid plans:
Luxury Auto: Average cost $55,000
Dream Wedding For Your Child: Average cost $33,000
Dream Around-the-World Cruise: Average cost $25,000
Big Toys: 22-foot sailboat average Cost $25,000 + upkeep
Having trouble saving money? Here's a simple trick.
Start out by putting away 5¢ tomorrow. The next day add a nickel (putting away 10¢).
Keep increaisng the amount by five cents a day. At the end of a year, you'll still only putting away $18.75, but you will have saved $3,339.75!
Some things to check before you downsize to the retirement condo you think might be perfect:
- Check if the condo association dues have increased from year to year
- Determine if most of the units are owner-occupied and not rentals
- Ask about any plans for any big infrastructure projects planned for the future – and how they’re supposed to be paid for
- Ask if they have a reserve fun and how that fund is invested
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