Homeowners who are financially distressed can be targets for scammers. In particular, scammers have recently focused on the federal Making Home Affordable Program, which provides many options to help homeowners with their mortgage challenges. Scammers are taking advantage of this program by promising that they can modify the mortgage or eliminate the mortgage debt.
Superstorm Sandy and approaching winter weather have turned thoughts to how we would survive a natural disaster. Being prepared when natural disasters, severe weather, or other emergencies occur, can help you get through the situation. What does being prepared mean? Here are some questions to get you started.
When disasters occur, such as Hurricane Sandy, scams appear almost immediately. The scams include fake charities, home repair rip-offs, contractor scams, fake disaster officials, and many more.
You may receive appeals for donations by email, through websites, and social media. Some appeals may even come over the phone.
Recently some Twitter users have received direct messages that have fake Facebook links. Clicking the fake link could cause you to download malware. Another recent scam involved a fake Facebook notification that indicated the message recipient is in a newly uploaded picture. The message says that the picture is in the attachment. The attachment doesn't contain a picture but malware. Other recent scams include various phishing scams and "like-baiting" (promising free gifts in exchange for clicking the like button).
Social networks are favorite targets of scammers, so here are some tips to help you protect yourself:
- Use caution when granting access to your social media profiles.
- Review your privacy settings regularly on each network.
- Check out the social media specific settings in your security software.
- Don't click on links in messages that seem out of character from the sender.
- Be stingy with your personal information. Provide it only where necessary and only after you have checked out what it will be used for.
Recently the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced an addition to their testing suite, the small overlap frontal test. This test is designed to simulate what happens when the front corner of a car hits another vehicle or an object such as a utility pole or tree. In the test, 25 percent of the front end of the car (on the driver's site) impacts a 5-foot-tall rigid barrier at 40mph. This test, along with the rest of the IIHS test suite, is designed to replicate real-world crashes.
Why is this test needed? While most new cars perform well in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) full frontal crash test and the IIHS's moderate offset frontal test, there are still over 10,000 deaths in frontal crashes each year. Many of those deaths result from small overlap crashes.
Feel like you're fighting an uphill financial battle to reach the golden gates, better known as a college diploma? Burdened with rising tuition costs and heavy student loan debt?
You are not alone.
The amount of outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. surpassed a previously estimated $1 trillion this year. Add in a weak job market and graduates are struggling to stay on top of payments while current students are trying to keep debt to a minimum.
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