Surprise! Reverse Mortgages Are Very Confusing

A three-year examination of reverse mortgage complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau shows that borrowers often didn’t understand the terms of those loans, including how quickly their loan balances would go up and their home equity would fall, the bureau said in a new report. Reverse mortgages allow homeowners age 62 and older to tap into the equity in their homes. They’re different from home equity credit lines or home equity loans because a reverse mortgage generally is paid back only when the homeowner …

How to Make Your Financial Dreams a Reality

In his “I Have a Dream” speech, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. encouraged us to think about the real possibilities of a brighter future — a future that affords us to live in comfort and prosperity. It is in that spirit that we encourage you to evaluate your dream of financial security. >> AARP’s Financial Freedom Program There are several steps you should consider to help you work toward financial freedom as you kick off the new year with a …

Prep for Safe Tax Filing … and for Scammers

There’s good reason — several, actually — why Monday kicks off Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week. As the tax-filing season gets under way for 2014 returns, the Internal Revenue Service faces massive budget cuts while two widespread tax scams continue. In addition to the epidemic IRS impostor scam, in which scammers pose as agents of that agency or the U.S. Treasury Department to extort supposedly “owed taxes,” there is another threat in the coming weeks: early filing of bogus tax returns to …

Prepaid Cards May Get Added Fraud Protections

Swipe a debit or credit card and all sorts of consumer protections are in place in case something goes awry. With a prepaid card, not so much. That may soon end. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is proposing to extend many of the consumer rights that exist for credit and debit cards to prepaid products, such as limiting customers’ losses if their prepaid cards are lost or stolen. >> 10 Consumer Spending Regrets “People use prepaid accounts as a convenient way …

Is a Credit Freeze for You?

To freeze or not to freeze? It’s a common question, particularly after reports of yet another breach of payment card data like those at Home Depot, Kmart and Dairy Queen. The answer: Probably yes — but not because of those kinds of breaches. Certainly a credit freeze (also known as a security freeze) is a great way to proactively prevent identity theft and is advised for past victims of this crime who are likely to be targeted again. But it’s not foolproof and, …