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Bob Sullivan

Contributor |  In Personal Finance, Identity Theft

Bob Sullivan is author of the New York Times best-sellers Gotcha Capitalism and Stop Getting Ripped Off. His stories have appeared in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and hundreds of other publications. He has appeared as a consumer advocate and technology expert numerous times on NBC’s TODAY show, NBC Nightly News, CNBC, NPR’s Marketplace, Terry Gross’ Fresh Air, and various other radio and TV outlets. He helped start MSNBC.com and wrote there for nearly 20 years, most of it penning the consumer advocacy column The Red Tape Chronicles. See more at www.bobsullivan.net. Follow Bob Sullivan on Facebook or Twitter.

3 Renter Gotchas

Identity Theft

3 Renter Gotchas

3 Renter Gotchas

It’s already hard enough to find an affordable home or apartment to rent (especially if you live in one of these cities). Rental prices are rising fast around the country, even in unexpected places like Kansas City and Portland. But as more people turn to online help to find a decent home, there are more… Read More

Shirley, You Can’t Be Serious. Airplanes Are Hackable?!

Identity Theft

Shirley, You Can’t Be Serious. Airplanes Are Hackable?!

Shirley, You Can’t Be Serious. Airplanes Are Hackable?!

There are two ways to describe an important report issued by Congress’ General Accountability Office this week about airplanes and computers. Here’s how the GAO titled its paper: “FAA Needs a More Comprehensive Approach to Address Cybersecurity As Agency Transitions to NextGen.” And here’s how many observers described the report: “Airplanes can be hacked through passenger… Read More

The Airlines With the Most Passenger Complaints

Personal Finance

The Airlines With the Most Passenger Complaints

The Airlines With the Most Passenger Complaints

If you feel like airline service is slipping, that’s because it is. In fact, it has slipped back to levels not seen since the recession, according to a new “Airline Quality Rating” report out this week. The rating considers four factors most important to travelers: on-time performance, involuntary bumping, mishandled baggage and complaints. Only Virgin… Read More

Feds: Millions Targeted by ‘Phantom’ Debt Collection Scheme

Managing Debt

Feds: Millions Targeted by ‘Phantom’ Debt Collection Scheme

Feds: Millions Targeted by ‘Phantom’ Debt Collection Scheme

A Georgia firm called millions of consumers attempting to collect on “phantom” debts, and tricked consumers by citing personal information purchased from payday loan lead generators, federal investigators allege. A lawsuit against Universal Debt and Payment solutions and a host of related companies was revealed Wednesday, alleging the firm’s tactics included purchasing personal information from… Read More

A Brief Guide to Never Doing Your Own Taxes Again

Personal Finance

A Brief Guide to Never Doing Your Own Taxes Again

A Brief Guide to Never Doing Your Own Taxes Again

Maybe you wasted this past beautiful holiday weekend working on your taxes. Or perhaps, despite warnings about taxpayer ID theft, you still have midnight oil to burn between now and the April 15 deadline. Either way, you have probably mused, for at least a moment, that this will be the last time you do your own taxes…. Read More

3 Dangers of Borrowing Against Your Pension

Managing Debt

3 Dangers of Borrowing Against Your Pension

3 Dangers of Borrowing Against Your Pension

For consumers who are entitled to a steady stream of future payments, like a pension or structured settlement after a lawsuit, they may find themselves eligible for a lender offer on an “advance” lump-sum, upfront payment on that money. It’s kind of like taking out a loan on money you’ve already been promised. Since the… Read More

Financial Woes Plague the Smartphone Dependent

Personal Finance

Financial Woes Plague the Smartphone Dependent

Financial Woes Plague the Smartphone Dependent

A fast-growing portion of Americans depend only on smartphones for Internet access, but nearly half of that group faces high rates of service interruption for financial reasons, according to a new study conducted by the Pew Research Center. This “smartphone dependent” group tends to be poor and non-White, Pew says, raising the possibility of a… Read More

Can a New Government Toolkit Simplify Homebuying?

Mortgages

Can a New Government Toolkit Simplify Homebuying?

Can a New Government Toolkit Simplify Homebuying?

Thinking about buying a home? A new, free toolkit might help you make better decisions, and avoid falling into common traps in the process. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released its new “Your Home Loan Toolkit” Tuesday, with the goal of making home purchases as easy as 1 – 2 – 3. As in, 1:… Read More

What Happens to a Debt Collector That Gets Shut Down

Managing Debt

What Happens to a Debt Collector That Gets Shut Down

What Happens to a Debt Collector That Gets Shut Down

Travell Thomas is desperately trying to save his business, or at least part of it. His debt collection firm, Four Star Resolution, was raided during the morning on Feb. 11, as a result of a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission. Employees were told to leave immediately. A temporary restraining order now prevents Thomas… Read More

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