Payday Lender Ordered to Pay $10 Million Over Collection Practices

Ace Cash Express, one of the nation’s largest payday lenders, has agreed to pay a $10 million settlement over its collection practices. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said that Ace, based in Irving, Tex., must refund $5 million to customers who fell victim to such practices from March 2011 to September 2012; it must also pay a $5 million civil penalty. Payday loans are taken out by people who need quick cash between paychecks. Companies such as Ace Cash Express have been known …

Students Find $40,000 in Thrift Store Sofa

Three college roommates who bought an old couch for $20 at a Salvation Army store in New Paltz, N.Y., had the surprise of their lives when they found $40,000 in cash hidden inside. “I almost peed,” Reese Werkhoven, one of the lucky trio, told TheLittleRebellion.com, an online student newspaper at SUNY New Paltz. “The most money I’d ever found in a couch was, like, 50 cents.” As it turned out, the couch contained three cash-stuffed plastic envelopes, one of which had …

Fraudsters Cash In on Fake Check Scams

Even in this age of high-tech trickery, one classic con continues strong: The gotcha that results from any number of scams that involves a fake check or money order. Last year, fake checks once again ranked as number one on the “Top Scams” list by the National Consumers League and recently, they’ve been on the increase in some parts of the U.S. But no matter where you live, they remain the route to rip-off in some of the most prevalent schemes …

What’s in Your Wallet? A Whole Lot of Germs

Open your wallet. Pull out a dollar bill. You’ve just touched more than 3,000 bacteria that have been linked to stomach ulcers, acne, pneumonia and staph infections. (Thinking about using that plastic credit card more often now?) These kinds of microbes, which are found on many surfaces, are transferred when we touch things. Money, in particular, gets handed around a lot, say researchers with New York University’s aptly named Dirty Money Project. >> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter …

Man Finds $98,000 in Craigslist Desk

It’s always a pleasant surprise when you dig an old jacket out of the closet and find a dollar in the pocket. Multiply that feeling by, oh, about 98,000, and you might begin to imagine how Noah Muroff, a rabbi in New Haven, Conn., felt the other day. After buying a used desk for about $200 on Craigslist, Muroff, who works at a local religious school, found that it wouldn’t fit through the door to his office. So he and …

Secrets of Outsmarting the ATM

I still remember how proud I was to open my first checking account. Even better: getting my work permit when I turned 16, and then going to the grocery store and saying, “I’d like to cash a check.” Pre-ATM days required some planning. Omnipresent ATMs make it easy to grab $20, but it’s the classic case of both blessing and curse. Personal finance writer Donna Freedman clearly believes that curse is more accurate — and for more reasons than you’d …