Entries in Consumers Union (2)


Consumerist Website: Was It Hacked?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The consumer advocacy website Consumerist, which has been down nearly a week, had a spotty return Wednesday afternoon using the online publishing platform WordPress and alternate content.

Owned by the non-profit group Consumers Union, publisher of the venerable consumer testing site Consumer Reports, Consumerist publishes stories about consumer customer service issues and news.

The site normally requires users to register with an email address and password to comment on stories. However, the commenting functionality was temporarily disabled on an alternate version of the website posted Wednesday via its new hosting provider while Consumerist investigated its problems, a spokesman said.

On the new Consumerist site, a Q&A called “What’s Up With Consumerist?” said that the site “received reports that some of our pages had been altered to begin redirecting our traffic to spam websites. We took down [sic] as quickly as possible and began investigating.”

Consumerist was investigating if it has been hacked and will publish its findings on the site and notify users via email.

“The passwords are secured in accordance with industry best practices,” the Q&A said. “They are salted and hashed. As a matter of prudence and good practice we always recommend that you do not use the same password at more than one site, including Consumerist.”

Over the summer, Consumerist notified registered users that it had two “security issues.”

“We do not yet know for sure whether any user names, email addresses, or passwords were compromised; all password files were encrypted,” the site said at the time.

Michael Schreiber, editor-in-chief of the money and security site, said it was “strange” that Consumerist may have been targeted because it is a site devoted to consumer financial protection.

“They have a long history advocating for the little guy,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Report: Do Prepaid Debit Cards Cost More than Bank Checking Accounts?

Bananastock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study released Monday by Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, found that individuals using a prepaid debit card may be paying more in card fees than basic bank card users.

When Consumers Union compared 12 of the more popular prepaid cards to the basic no-interest checking accounts of Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, US Bank, Wells Fargo, Alliant Credit Union and Golden 1 Credit Union, the consumer advocacy group found that some prepaid card companies do not clearly disclose usage and monthly maintenance fees.  They also reported that monthly fees for four of the five bank accounts are less expensive than the costs linked with nine of the 12 prepaid cards.

Consumers Union also revealed tips on how consumers can minimize costs that occur with "free" bank checking accounts:

1.  Avoid ATM fees by using only the issuing bank's ATMs.

2.  By linking the checking account to a savings account, consumers may be able to get over-draft protection for free.

3.  Banks might waive monthly fees if account holders meet requirements such as having paychecks directly deposited into the account.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio