SEARCH

Sunday
Oct242010

Poll: Most Americans Worry About Identity Theft

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A new poll from a non-profit credit counseling group finds two-thirds of Americans worry about whether their personal information is at risk.

Identity theft has been the number one complaint to the Federal Trade Commission for three years in a row. 

Adam Levin of Identity Theft 911 says you could put your information and yourself in danger simply by posting too much on a social networking site such as Facebook.

"For some reason people feel the need to give your physical address when you don't really need to do it," Levin says, adding that your home address is one of the "critical building blocks" in identity theft. 

Other information vital to a crook who's anxious to hack into your bank account includes your birth date and social security number.

Experts say the bottom line is to think before you put anything online that you wouldn't wear on a t-shirt.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

 

Sunday
Oct242010

Fall: A Good Time to Check Retirement Savings Process

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- You still have several months to maximize your retirement and investment portfolio before you sit down to tackle your taxes.  Experts say now is a good time to look at the process and see how you can have a better retirement.

Kimberly Palmer of U.S. News and World Report says there are plenty of ways to improve your portfolio, such as maximizing your 401K plan by ramping up contributions to it.  Palmer says several one-time tax deductions run out at the end of this year.  For example, improving the energy efficiency of your home could bring back up to 30 percent of your investment.  Upgrades such as new heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, insulation and energy efficient windows all fall under that program. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Oct232010

It's Buyer Beware When Shopping for a Foreclosed Property

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Homebuyers shopping for foreclosed properties may believe challenge contains opportunity and it can certainly be true. 

Kathleen Day of the Center for Responsible Lending says there can also be some big challenges, including bank mistakes.

"They still will have to prove in each case they have proper documentation," Day said.

Without meticulously correct paperwork on the foreclosure itself, the new buyer may end up in a court battle and spending the money they saved on the sale on legal fees.

The government is investigating foreclosures and many banks have suspended them until the process can be refined.  Day says it's a sign something is not right in that part of the lending industry.

"It's indicative of a foreclosure process that's broken."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

 

Saturday
Oct232010

Banks Making More Loans as Economy Struggles Out of Recession

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Banks are starting to make more loans as the U.S. economy, still bogged down by high unemployment and low consumer confidence, struggles to pull itself out of recession. 

Its good news for small businesses, which many see as the engine of recovery.  Banks have fewer bad loans on their books and are more willing to take a second look at an applicant that may not be as strong as some others. 

Brian Hamilton, CEO of the research firm Sageworks, says 57 percent of the banks his company surveyed plan to make more or significantly more commercial loans this year than last year.  Hamilton calls it a clear trend and says its good news for small businesses and consumers.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct222010

Bureau of Labor Statistics Says 29 States Have Seen Drop in Unemployment

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Bureau of Labor Statistics released new numbers Friday showing the unemployment rates by state -- likely a key factor in the upcoming midterm elections.

According to the most recent data, 15 states have unemployment rates higher than the national average (9.6%).

But it’s not just where the rate is now, it’s about the trend during the previous year.  Many economists believe this year-over-year change helps determine consumer sentiment to a large part.

In the past year the national unemployment rate has been fairly static -- a reduction of just two tenths of a point between September 2009 and September 2010.

During the same period, sixteen states have seen their unemployment rates go up, a deterioration that will help push voters into a negative headspace.

The worst deterioration is the state of Nevada – home to the fight over Harry Reid’s senate seat and ground zero for the Democrat’s last minute push.  In the past twelve months Nevada’s unemployment rate has jumped by 1.7% to 14.4%.  It’s an employment situation that might explain the headwinds the incumbent is currently facing.

One thing to note here, though -- it is getting better.  Twenty-nine states have seen their unemployment rates drop in the past year.  Some states -- Alabama, Tennessee and Michigan being the best examples -- have seen substantial improvement over the past year.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct222010

Nestle Announces Candy Recall 

Photo Courtesy - PRNewsFoto(GLENDALE, Calif.) -- Nestle has announced a voluntary recall of Raisinets brand candies.

The company announced the recall of the 10oz bags Friday after it was found that certain lots could contain undeclared peanuts, according to Nestle. So far three complaints have been reported.

The Nestle Raisinets Fun Size Bags were only distributed in the U.S. to Target, Shop Rite and Don Quixote retail stores and have a production code of 02015748.

Nestle has advised consumers who are allergic to peanuts and who have purchased the recalled products to avoid consumption and contact Nestle Consumer Service at 1-800-478-5670.

The recall does not impact any other Nestle products.


Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio



Friday
Oct222010

Ethan Allen Recalls Cribs Citing Child Injury

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Furniture chain Ethan Allen Friday announced a recall of its drop-side cribs citing entrapment, suffocation and fall hazards. 

The store and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission urge consumers to stop using the product immediately.

The decision to recall was made after receiving reports that three children had recently been injured while in the crib.  Ethan Allen has said that consumers may contact any Ethan Allen store to obtain a free repair kit that will assist in immobilizing the drop-side rail mechanism.

In the meantime, Ethan Allen encourages consumers to use "an alternative sleeping environment."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct222010

Google, US Companies Dodge Billions in Taxes

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Google and other U.S. companies are using legal corporate tax loopholes to avoid paying the U.S. Treasury billions of dollars in corporate income taxes every year, according to a new report by Bloomberg News.

"Over the last three years, Google has saved over $3 billion," said Bloomberg reporter Jesse Drucker, who broke the story.

Google, with its informal corporate motto of "don't be evil," employs a strategy called the "Double Irish" to help it pay a tax rate of just 2.4 percent on overseas profits, according to Bloomberg.  The corporate income tax rate in the U.S. is 35 percent.

Even though the company is headquartered in Northern California, it licenses some of its intellectual property overseas.  Any profits made outside of the U.S. never get taxed in this country.

Thanks to its lenient tax law, Ireland is one of the top places for Google and other companies to license their intellectual property.  Profits from the licensed property go to a Google subsidiary in Ireland, but they're not getting taxed in that country, either.

Instead, according to Bloomberg News, Google uses Ireland's lax laws to send the subsidiary's profits on a quick detour through the Netherlands to avoid taxes in the European Union.  The money eventually ends up in Bermuda, where the corporate tax rate is zero percent.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct222010

Video Games More Than Just Games

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(DENVER) -- New research from the University of Colorado finds an employee trained with video games may do a better job than one trained in a more traditional way.  The University of Colorado Business School-Denver study finds workers trained on video games have better skills and retain information longer than those trained in less interactive ways. 

Researcher Dr. Traci Sitzman spent a year reviewing data from multiple studies to determine video-game-trained workers have 11% more factual knowledge than their co-workers, 14% more skill-based knowledge and 9% better retention. Sitzman says until now the information had never been interpreted to prove the benefits, but many businesses were using video games, based on hunches and experience.

Among the businesses that believe in the video games approach are Cold Stone Creamery, which was losing money because workers were over-filling ice cream cones and Miller Brewing, which has developed a game called Tips on Tap to teach bartenders how to draw a perfect glass of beer. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct222010

No Need to Phone Home for Cash

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Now you can use your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android to process credit card transactions.  The man behind Twitter, Jack Dorsey, has created something called Square which USA Today says he hopes will do for financial transactions what Twitter did for communication.

It involves a plug-in that allows your iPhone, iPad or other device to read credit card information.  There is a free application you can download that will get the consumer or merchant up and running with the new technology.  Merchants will pay 2.75% of the purchase price plus fifteen cents per card swipe.

Its not the first effort at using cellphones and other digital devices as payment mechanisms.  PayPal and Intuit's GoPayment have been doing it for a while, but experts say there's plenty of room in the market for more. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio