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Foreclosure rescue scams, noncharitable charities and phony debt collectors top the list.

By Karen Datko Dec 27, 2010 4:45PM

This post comes from Mark Huffman at partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

This year was marked by a continued slow recovery from a devastating recession, a still-sinking housing market, skyrocketing gold prices and a proliferation of charities that were less than charitable.

 

It all plays into our annual list of the top 10 scams of 2010.

 

Amazon has patented a system to 'return' gifts before they're shipped. It would save Amazon money, but is it tacky?

By Teresa Mears Dec 27, 2010 3:27PM

Here's a radical way to cut down on gift returns: Reject inappropriate gifts before they're even sent. The giver doesn't have to know.

Amazon has patented a system that will let you do just that: Pre-empt a bad gift before it arrives, surreptitiously exchanging it for something you'd like better.

 

Judging from the diagram from the patent reproduced at TechFlash, you could set up gift rules the same way you set up rules in your Outlook e-mail program. For example, you could tell Amazon to convert all gifts from a specific sender to gift certificates, verify sizes, convert VHS films to DVD or reject any clothing gift that includes wool.

 

As an aunt who nearly always sends educational gifts, I'm not sure I like this. I'd hate to see my gift of "How to Go to College Almost For Free" converted to "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation."

 

The protagonist is careful with her money and is a shrewd horse trader to boot.

By Donna_Freedman Dec 27, 2010 1:38PM

I've been reading and rereading this wonderful Charles Portis novel since I was a teenager. Mattie Ross, the narrator of "True Grit," is a hell of a protagonist. She's strong, determined, relentless and, above all, frugal.

Here are 10 things you could learn from her story, courtesy of Mr. Portis and the Coen brothers. And without a single song by Glen Campbell!

 

Follow these 10 rules, or even just three or four of them, to insulate yourself from con artists.

By Stacy Johnson Dec 27, 2010 10:56AM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.

 

If you've ever fallen victim to a scam -- and who hasn't -- you'd probably like to avoid repeating the experience. Well, follow these 10 golden rules of scam prevention -- or even just three or four of them -- and you likely won't be foolishly parted from your money again.

1. Testimonials are a testament only to how gullible people are. There's only one kind of testimonial worth believing -- the kind that comes from people you both personally know and totally trust. Testimonials from strangers you see on TV or online may very well be lies. I've met more than one infomercial actor whose told me they simply read a script without ever seeing the product.

 

Which financial benchmarks and milestones help you determine if you're on the right track?

By Karen Datko Dec 27, 2010 9:51AM

This post comes from J.D. Roth at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.

 

In a recent link roundup, I pointed to an article over at Gen Y Wealth in which RJ has listed 20 financial milestones you should reach in your 20s. "I like this list," I wrote, "and I'd actually love to see similar lists for different age ranges. People could use it as a sort of road map to where they ought to be."

What sorts of milestones were on the list? Things like:

  • Pay off your student loans.
  • Build an emergency fund.
  • Learn to negotiate.
  • Set a target retirement date.
  • Learn to give.

Like me, a lot of GRS readers found RJ's list of financial milestones useful. Often, there's no real way to know if you're doing things "right." How much should you be saving for retirement? How much should you have in your savings account? How soon should you buy a home? Get married? Have children?

 

In conversations shared or overheard, the long-term unemployed express desperation.

By Karen Datko Dec 23, 2010 5:07PM

This guest post comes from I am the working poor.

 

I'm still not seeing this recovery we are supposed to be in. None of my customers are feeling it either.

I haven't once had someone come through my line and say, "I'm buying extra for a party to celebrate my promotion. My company can't find enough people to hire for all the work that needs to be done."

 

Nope, that's not going to happen.

I have a regular customer, probably in her late 50s to early 60s, who used to work at a store in the next shopping plaza. I think they went through some management changes and the entire crew lost their jobs for new hires at one point.

 

In a show of support for its rival, Expedia changes the way it displays AA fares.

By Karen Datko Dec 23, 2010 2:39PM

This post comes from Mark Huffman at partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

Consumers shopping for airfares on Orbitz.com will no longer be able to choose from among American Airlines flights. The carrier says that, effective immediately, it will no longer sell tickets through Orbitz or its subsidiary, Orbitz for Business.

American's move represents a potentially serious blow to Orbitz. Its stock fell nearly 6%, and financial analysts said Orbitz would be "at a competitive disadvantage" to its rivals, including Priceline and Expedia.

 

Deals and freebies include free chicken biscuits, cookbooks and potato chips.

By Teresa Mears Dec 23, 2010 1:55PM

Here it is almost Christmas, and we hope you haven't spent your last dollar on gifts and decorations.

 

Just in case, we bring you some holiday freebies.

You can send your kids (or your mother or your co-worker) a personalized phone call from Santa, courtesy of Google Voice. To create the call, you must first answer some questions about the recipient and then you can preview the message, which you can send via telephone, e-mail, Facebook or Twitter.

 

Our friends at Albuquerque on the Cheap have put together a whole list of free holiday music to download.

 

You can get free cooking and entertaining tips and recipes from Martha Stewart and Paula Deen's Holiday Hosting Guide (.pdf file), with downloadable cookbooks online.

 

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