Consumer Watchdog, U.S. Public Interest Research Group. @USPIRG Former Plain Dealer business columnist. Navigationally challenged but I know where I'm going.
Oct 12, 2022 • 4 tweets • 3 min read
Thanks @malonespeaking for talking with @uspirg today about online romance scams, which are common. It is stunning, though, that someone could buy a tale that their "boyfriend" is an astronaut who needs money for a ride back from outer space. (THREAD) vice.com/en/article/3ad…@malonespeaking@uspirg The poor woman, 65, sent $30,000 over a couple of weeks before realizing she'd been conned. Desperate people do irrational things, whether it's giving money to someone who promises to marry you or buying gift cards to get your grandson out of jail. @RobOn1100@cachearoberts (2)
Oct 5, 2022 • 4 tweets • 4 min read
Thanks @malonespeaking for having @uspirg on your radio show today to talk about employment scams and flooded cars being sold after Hurricane Ian.
First, it's awful that a NEOhio woman was bilked out of $10,500 last month by someone supposedly offering her a job. (THREAD)
@malonespeaking@uspirg Two tips: 1. You should never pay an employer for items you supposedly need for a job. If you need a computer, a printer, new shoes, etc., buy it on your own. 2. You shouldn't make instant P2P payments (esp large ones) to people you don't know well. @RobOn1100@cachearoberts (2)
Sep 14, 2022 • 4 tweets • 4 min read
Thanks @malonespeaking for chatting with @uspirg on your radio show today to warn consumers about utility bill scams. Con artists are taking advantage of our desire for lower utility bills by going door-to-door and asking to see bills. Then they can steal your info. (THREAD)
@malonespeaking@uspirg Then they can switch you to another company with higher rates.
Or, worse, scammers are calling and emailing consumers BY NAME and telling them they overpaid and can get a refund by just providing their bank account info. @RobOn1100@cachearoberts (2)
Sep 7, 2022 • 4 tweets • 3 min read
Thanks @malonespeaking for having @uspirg on to talk about the increase in rental scams. People think they're renting a home to live in or vacation in but it's a con.
One big tip: Take a screen shot of the main photo and do a Google image search. Find it elsewhere? Oops.(THREAD)
@malonespeaking@uspirg Con artists often lift photos from legitimate sites and post them on elsewhere to collect deposits and rent. It's easy to get keys made for a vacant property. Potential renters should also search for the address and do Google Earth searches to see whether the property exists. (2)
Aug 31, 2022 • 6 tweets • 4 min read
Thanks @malonespeaking for having @uspirg on your radio show to yell at you for your lack of sympathy for some scam victims. I agree this scam -- a person was conned into buying $4,000 in gift cards to resolve a $2,500 fraudulent charge -- sounds outlandish. But ...(THREAD)
@malonespeaking@uspirg Millions of people fall victim to various cons every year, often through scam robocalls, robotexts or emails. The bad guys are REALLY, REALLY good at this. An above-average-smart consumer can suspend their common sense on any given day, especially if they're distracted ... (2)
Aug 10, 2022 • 5 tweets • 5 min read
Thanks @malonespeaking for having @uspirg on your show today to talk about P2P scams where people are called by someone posing as their bank. The callers sometimes even know the person's name and address! @edmpirg (THREAD) nj.com/news/2022/08/w…@malonespeaking@uspirg@edmpirg I beg consumers not to think it couldn't happen to them with a spoofed robocall or scam text. You never know what you'll do in a panic, esp if you're distracted by something else. Nearly 18 million people were scammed in P2P Zelle transactions in 2020. (2) nytimes.com/2022/03/06/bus…
Aug 3, 2022 • 8 tweets • 12 min read
Thanks @malonespeaking for having @uspirg on your show today to talk about medical bills & the latest Equifax mess.
Good news when we schedule a doctor's visit or procedure. The federal #NoSurprisesAct requires upfront estimates. @PatriciaKelmaruspirgedfund.org/blogs/blog/usp… (THREAD)
@malonespeaking@uspirg@PatriciaKelmar Just like we can get a written estimate for a home improvement or car repair, we can start getting written, upfront estimates for medical care. It's in effect now for people without insurance or for uncovered procedures. It will take effect soon for people who have insurance. (2)
Thanks @malonespeaking for having @uspirg on your radio show today to talk about how medical debts will start falling off credit reports on July 1. This is huge for the millions whose credit scores are hurt by medical bills in collection. @edmpirg@MikeLittUSA@PatriciaKelmar (1)@malonespeaking@uspirg@edmpirg@MikeLittUSA@PatriciaKelmar It's estimated that nearly 20 percent of consumers have medical debt actually in collection, according to the American Medical Association. This is stunning. And medical debt is the largest source of personal debt among consumers. (2)
Jun 8, 2022 • 4 tweets • 5 min read
Thanks @malonespeaking for having @uspirg on your show today to talk about Apple's new "Pay Later" service. It could be trouble for consumers who don't pay attention to the details or know what they're getting into. @edmpirg@MikeLittUSA (THREAD) uspirg.org/feature/usf/bu…@malonespeaking@uspirg@edmpirg@MikeLittUSA Like we talked about with Buy Now plans, it's troubling that people might be putting not just big-ticket items on a 6-week repayment plan, but Big Macs and shoes too. It's easy to lose track of what's due when and end up paying interest or fees or having bounced transactions. (2)
May 11, 2022 • 5 tweets • 4 min read
Thanks @malonespeaking for having @uspirg on your show today to talk about how consumers can safeguard their finances and personal information if their wallet is lost or stolen. The recent rash of wallet thefts in Westlake are concerning. (THREAD) fox8.com/news/police-wa…@malonespeaking@uspirg 1. Avoid even having a debit card tied to your primary checking account. If you do, don't carry it with you unnecessarily. A debit card on a secondary account, or no debit card, are better options. If your debit card is stolen, your bank account could be drained in minutes. (2)
Thanks @malonespeaking for having @uspirg on your show to talk about MONEY (not what #JimmieWalker pitches in TV ads). Consumers should check MissingMoney.com to find out whether they have unclaimed funds that have been turned over to the state. It's free to claim. (1)@malonespeaking@uspirg People often have $ from old utility deposits or forgotten bank accounts. MissingMoney.com is legit; it's the only site endorsed by the Nat'l Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. Don't be tricked into paying a fee if someone offers to file a claim for you. (2)
Mar 11, 2022 • 5 tweets • 5 min read
Thanks @malonespeaking for having @uspirg on today to warn people about crypto scams. The tale of the Solon lady who lost $600,000 is heartbreaking. Consumers need to realize crypto is not regulated the way bank deposits are. At best, crypto is more like an investment. (THREAD)
@malonespeaking@uspirg The most important takeaway: People shouldn't put money in or sign ANYTHING they don't understand-whether it's an investment or a contract or the fine print on a website that asks you to agree to terms & conditions. You know many people investing in crypto don't understand it (2)
Mar 4, 2022 • 6 tweets • 5 min read
Thanks @malonespeaking for having @uspirg on the show today to talk about avoiding scam charities, such as ones claiming to raise money for refugees from Ukraine. It's such a shame there are con artists lurking everywhere, trying to take advantage of our generosity. (THREAD)
@malonespeaking@uspirg One legitimate charity doing good work in Ukraine is UNICEF. unicef.org/ukraine/en Other options: We have several Ukrainian churches in Greater Cleveland. Reach out to them to see how you can help. If you hear about other charities, check them out before donating. (2)
Feb 18, 2022 • 10 tweets • 7 min read
Thanks @malonespeaking for having @uspirg on your show today to talk about opting out of junk mail such as credit and insurance offers. The credit bureaus are allowed to sell our information but we can opt out. There's one official site for this: optoutprescreen.com (THREAD)
@malonespeaking@uspirg Or you call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT.
You can opt out for 5 years or permanently. (Duh!) You do have to provide your personal information: name, address, SSN & date of birth. The credit bureaus already have this info.
Jan 14, 2022 • 6 tweets • 5 min read
Thanks @malonespeaking for having @uspirg on your show to talk about CLUE reports that show past auto insurance and property damage claims, going back 5-7 years. You can get your own CLUE report free. Call LexisNexis at 1-866-312-8076 or go to personalreports.lexisnexis.com (THREAD)
@malonespeaking@uspirg Most consumers don't know about CLUE reports (stands for Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange). Just like with traditional credit reports, you're entitled to one free copy of your CLUE report per year.