Expert Explains
Time Warner

$16 million cable bill quickly reversed by Time Warner

Computerized billing systems are advertised as a way to make life easier. A $16 million cable bill is the latest in a long string of accidental overcharges that call that into question. While Time Warner has already reversed the bill, the incident reveals the danger of putting your finances on autopilot. The $16 million cable
idenity theft, victime or perpetrator?

Identity thieves see job seekers, children as lucrative targets

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America. Nearly 11 million credit card holders each year are victims of identity theft. While everyone is vulnerable, trends show that identity thieves are increasingly targeting children and job seekers. Ingenious identity theft scams Victims of identity theft in the U.S. lost an average of
tax forms

Facts about extending the Bush tax cuts and the Obama tax plan

The Bush tax cuts are scheduled to expire Dec. 31. The Obama tax plan would extend for two years the Bush tax cuts for everyone except those who make at least $200,000 a year. Republicans say raising taxes on the rich will stifle economic recovery. Obama says he can’t reduce the deficit and offer tax

Obama proposes doubling of the child care tax credit

Nervous about slow growth? Throw money at it! America’s economic recovery may not be coming along as fast as you prefer. Since scoring political points is akin to sucking up Cheez-Its for hungry politicians, change cannot come fast enough. In other news, President Obama has proposed doubling the child care tax credit as part of

How to finance your home improvement projects

According to Fox Business, Americans are likely to spend more than $121 billion on home improvement in 2010, so knowing how to finance home improvement is important. Here are seven financing options. How to finance home improvement: Seven possibilities Breaking a larger concept down into smaller parts makes it much less daunting; that includes how
IRS refund status

How to check IRS refund status

Checking IRS refund status is easy If it has been more than 72 hours since you electronically filed your taxes, it’s easy to check your IRS refund status. First, make sure you know the exact amount of your refund. Don’t round up or down! Also, have your social security number handy. You’ll also need to
An elderly man is receiving dialysis treatment.

Estate tax sends elderly racing for the grave

Provided Congress fails to pass legislation to keep it dead and buried, the estate tax will rise from the grave on New Year’s Day, 2011. According to the Associated Press, this has prompted many elderly estate holders and their heirs to consider desperate measures. U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wy.) recently stated that a number of
A vintage 1960s photo of a woman wearing a crown.

Top 10 US college majors that lead to highest pay

The Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps track of the average starting salaries from various career paths. In order to maximize your earning potential, forget majors like English and consider the top 10 highest paying college majors in the U.S., advises Salaries depicted here reflect annual pay for bachelor’s graduates without an advanced degree. Grease
fukushima disaster

Fukushima disaster lays bare the cost of nuclear power

Before the Fukushima disaster, nuclear power appeared on the verge of a comeback. But in the aftermath of the Japan earthquake and tsunami, nuclear reactors worldwide have been shut down and construction of nuclear plants has been put on hold. Expensive new safety measures that may be required as a result of the Fukushima disaster
Photo of a report card.

On Ultrinsic college students can gamble on their grades

Ultrinsic, a New York-based Web company, is helping college students to achieve better grades by giving them a platform where they can wager on their own good grades. From betting on top grades to delving into “grade insurance” against failure, Ultrinsic gives students the opportunity to put their money where their grades are. Ultrinsic CEO
A Jackalope, a fictional type of rabbit with antlers

FTC sues another get rich quick infomercial company sued

The Federal Trade Commission is suing the makers of a late night “get rich quick” infomercial. The company behind the “Winning in the Cash Flow Business” series of infomercials has been sued by the FTC for defrauding consumers. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Promissory notes promised nothing but losses
Ghost town

Rise in national vacancy rate not worth panicking over

It has been reported that the national rate of vacancy, or the number of houses sitting empty, has reached a 13 percent, but don’t panic. That figure does not mean it is time to begin constructing a bomb shelter and making hats from tinfoil. The housing market is depressed, but signs of life are still
Consumer hand squeezes credit card

Credit rating bureaus have double standard for handling disputes

Credit Rating Bureaus issue reports that affect the financial life of everyone who has ever used or will ever use credit. All consumers are judged by their credit rating when it comes to credit cards, mortgages and even job offers.  It may be disturbing to some, however, to learn that the bureaus have a two-tiered
Close-up on a Visa debit card.

Debit card interchange fees force consumers to pay hefty tax

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon claims that consumers should start paying for the privilege of using their debit cards, but the truth is that consumers have been paying a premium to use debit for years, argues public policy consultant Richard Eskow in a March 24 Huffington Post column. Eskow states that U.S. consumers pay $48
Social Security card

New rule makes Social Security benefits off-limits for garnishing

A newly enacted law makes it more difficult for debtors to garnish Social Security benefits. Banks cannot garnish any benefit payments like Social Security or disability unless there are two months of benefit payments, which is not incredibly likely to happen. However, the new rule only applies to banks. Government benefits under new protections The
Tax Extension form

Can’t pay your taxes? What to do about extensions and interest

The IRS deadline for 2011 may be three days later than usual, but some people still need extra time. If you cannot pay your taxes or file on time, addressing the situation quickly is key. Ignoring the problem of late taxes will make the situation worse. Extending your filing deadline If you will not be
A man and a woman caress a pile of money.

Learn how to find the unclaimed money waiting for you

There are billions of dollars in unclaimed money sitting in accounts in the U.S. Are you one of the rightful owners of unclaimed money sitting in savings bonds, misplaced pensions, apartment deposits, lost tax refunds and more? Try out some ideas from “Good Morning America” at Oprah endorses unclaimed money recovery General purpose websites