iTunes Gift Cards the Latest Go-To Tool in Many Gotchas

The song remains the same: You owe back taxes and now face arrest or a lawsuit. Your grandkids are in trouble. Your computer has a dangerous virus. You owe a debt, missed mandatory jury duty, or didn’t pay your utility bill. But there’s a new chorus in these and other scams: “Now pay me…with an iTunes gift card.” Why? Like other scammer preferred payment methods – notably, wire transfers and prepaid debit cards – iTunes gift cards are a fast, …

Students the Latest Target of IRS Scammers

College students and others who have student loans are the latest target of IRS impersonators. In this iteration of the ongoing, widespread scam, fraudsters threaten arrest and other penalties unless a nonexistent “federal student tax” is paid immediately. Sound familiar? For years, con artists posing as IRS agents have telephoned citizens, claiming they owe back taxes and making similar threats of impending arrest, deportation and seizure of property unless the alleged debt is paid immediately with untraceable prepaid debit cards …

New FTC Rule: How NOT to Pay Telemarketers

The payment methods most favored by con artists because they are hard to trace — and which make it difficult for consumers to recover their money — will be prohibited for all telemarketers, thanks to new requirements by the Federal Trade Commission aimed at curbing financial losses suffered by scam victims. Simple ways to save a buck, expert investment advice, scam alerts and much more! — AARP Money Newsletter » In amending its Telemarketing Sales Rule last week, as AARP and other …

CFPB: Reverse Mortgage Ads Can Confuse More Than Inform

Advertisements touting reverse mortgages often leave older consumers confused about the loan terms and unaware of the risks, according to a new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “Perhaps most concerning of all, the ads left the consumers believing that if they purchase a reverse mortgage loan, they will be able to rest assured that they can live in their homes and enjoy financial security for the rest of their lives,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a teleconference. …

Permanent Fix for Medicare Payments to Doctors Moves to Obama

This post was updated April 21, 2015. President Barack Obama signed into law on April 21 a permanent solution to a problem that has plagued the Medicare system for years. Doctors never knew whether the payments they received for treating Medicare beneficiaries would suddenly drop, making it difficult for them to make long-term business plans and causing some to stop taking Medicare patients altogether. Obama once compared the flawed payment formula to a “guillotine” hanging permanently over doctors’ heads. Approving …

Consumer Agency May Clamp Down on Payday Lenders

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is proposing new rules to restrict high-cost payday and car-title loans that often leave borrowers in worse financial shape. The agency can’t do anything about the interest rates charged — that’s up to the states — although it does have the authority to regulate the lenders making these loans. “Too many short-term and longer-term loans are made based on the lender’s ability to collect and not on a borrower’s ability to repay,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray …