Category Archives: Financial Tips and Tools

15 Tips to Avoid Storm Damage Repair Scams and Other Rip-Offs

Our hearts and prayers go out to those affected by the most recent tornadoes and storms. Please pass along this vital information, as sadly there are scam artists attempting to take advantage of an already difficult situation …

storm damage fallen tree

The last few weeks of storms wreaked havoc on much of North Texas, leaving damage and destruction of vehicles, homes, property, and more. To avoid another disaster at the hands of scam artists, be sure to use caution with these useful tips from Fort Worth’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the FTC:

Avoid Home Contractor and Repair Scams

  1. Check with your insurance company first to determine your home and repair coverage and filing requirements; keep their contact information handy.
  2. Be leery of door-to-door workers or telephone solicitors who offer home repairs, inspections, heating/cooling services, or speedy insurance processing.
  3. Shop around for contractors. You may need to make temporary repairs, but permanent repairs made by a contractor should be the result of multiple work bids and contractor research.
    Require written bids that clearly identify the project’s materials, associated costs, labor charges, as well as the timing of work including the beginning and expected completion dates.
    • Be sure that the bids are comparable.
    • Do not pay in advance for any work and do not pay in cash.
    • Get references from the contractor’s past customers.
    • Check out the contractor’s history with the BBB and relevant trade association(s). Always research a business with the BBB before you sign any contracts.
  4. Require copies of all contractor licenses, permits and liability insurance prior to any work commencing.
  5. When work is complete, be sure to get a notarized statement that all sub-contractors have been paid in full to avoid a contractors lien on your property.
  6. If you have an HVAC repair, allow heating/cooling units to be cleaned out and dried before determining what, if any repairs are actually needed.

Steer Clear of Vehicle Damage Scams

  1. Similar to home repairs, shop around for a quality vehicle repair service. 
    • Require written bids that clearly show the repair parts, associated costs, mechanic labor charges, as well as the timing of work including the beginning and expected completion dates.
    • Do not pay in advance for any work and do not pay in cash.
    • Get references from past customers.
    • Check out auto mechanic’s history with the BBB or business review sites like Yelp.
  2. If you are shopping for a used vehicle, look for signs of flood or hail damage like rust, mud, watermarks, discolored upholstery, mismatching carpet or a musty odor.
  3. Request a vehicle report based on the VIN to check for past reported auto damage of any kind.

Protect Yourself From Charity & Financial Solicitation Scams
Take the following precautions to make sure your donation benefits the people and organizations you want to help.

  1. Ask for detailed information about the charity, including name, address, and telephone number.
  2. Get the exact name of the organization and do some research. Searching the name of the organization online — especially with the word “complaint(s)” or “scam”— is one way to learn about its reputation.
  3. Call the charity. Find out if the organization is aware of the solicitation and has authorized the use of its name. The organization’s development staff should be able to help you.
  4. Find out if the charity is trustworthy by contacting the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving AllianceCharity NavigatorCharity Watch, or GuideStar.
  5. Ask if the caller is a paid fundraising company. If so, ask the name of the charity they represent, the percentage of your donation that will go to the charity, how much will go to the actual cause to which you’re donating, and how much will go to the fundraising company.
  6. Learn the basic signs of a Charity scam and more ways to protect yourself at the FTC’s helpful online guide.

Help stay clear of all scams by using the free resources at the Better Business Bureau.  Be sure to check out all businesses and charities online or by phone (800)-621-8566.

If you find yourself a victim of poor workmanship or a scam artist, immediately contact the BBB to try to recover your investment or alert others about the business or individual(s) involved. Consumers or small business owners victimized by a scam can learn more or file a complaint at fwbbb.org.

 

Get Blog Updates Delivered By Email - FREE! Follow Us On Twitter! Subscribe to My Feed

Want to keep up with fresh ways to save money
and button down the family finances?
Subscribe to Frugal in Fort Worth now. It’s FREE

 


Linking to Amazon through our site helps support
Frugal in Fort Worth (bunches of thanks!)

Advertisements

Beware! City of Fort Worth Warns of Scam Callers Demanding Money For Fake Warrants

Bookmark and Share

Please pass this warning along…


The Fort Worth Municipal Court warns of a scam involving phone calls to residents asking for money for unsettled warrants.

The calls are not from Municipal Court officers, who do not call residents to collect payments. Anyone receiving such a bogus call should contact the Fort Worth Police Department at 817-335-4222.

Here’s how the scam works: Phone calls are made to residents from supposed “marshals” who say that arrests will be made if money isn’t immediately sent via Western Union. The requested amounts range from $500-$2,000 per call.

Keep in mind that the Municipal Court does not call people at their residence to collect payment. Instead, letters are mailed to home addresses when a warrant demands attention.

Between 25 and 40 bogus phone calls have been reported in Fort Worth recently, many of them to elderly residents.

To check your warrant status, call the Warrants Office at 817-392-8665 or check online.

In the meantime, never send money to anyone without knowing for certain who you’re speaking to and what the payment is for.

P.S.  Consumers or small business owners victimized by a scam can also contact the Fort Worth Better Business Bureau or file a complaint at www.fwbbb.org. Always research with the BBB before you sign any contracts or hand over any money. 

 

Get Blog Updates Delivered By Email - FREE! Follow Us On Twitter! Subscribe to My Feed

Want to keep up with fresh ways to save money
and button down the family finances?
Subscribe to Frugal in Fort Worth now. It’s FREE

..


Linking to Amazon through our site helps support
Frugal in Fort Worth (bunches of thanks!)

15 Tips to Avoid Storm Damage Repair Scams and Other Rip-Offs

Please help protect others by sharing this information…

storm damage fallen tree

Last week’s storms wreaked havoc on much of North Texas, leaving damage and destruction of vehicles, homes, property, and more. To avoid another disaster at the hands of scam artists, be sure to use caution with these useful tips from Fort Worth’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the FTC:

Avoid Home Contractor and Repair Scams

  1. Check with your insurance company first to determine your home and repair coverage and filing requirements; keep their contact information handy.
  2. Be leery of door-to-door workers or telephone solicitors who offer home repairs, inspections, heating/cooling services, or speedy insurance processing.
  3. Shop around for contractors. You may need to make temporary repairs, but permanent repairs made by a contractor should be the result of multiple work bids and contractor research.
    Require written bids that clearly identify the project’s materials, associated costs, labor charges, as well as the timing of work including the beginning and expected completion dates.
    • Be sure that the bids are comparable.
    • Do not pay in advance for any work and do not pay in cash.
    • Get references from the contractor’s past customers.
    • Check out the contractor’s history with the BBB and relevant trade association(s). Always research a business with the BBB before you sign any contracts.
  4. Require copies of all contractor licenses, permits and liability insurance prior to any work commencing.
  5. When work is complete, be sure to get a notarized statement that all sub-contractors have been paid in full to avoid a contractors lien on your property.
  6. If you have an HVAC repair, allow heating/cooling units to be cleaned out and dried before determining what, if any repairs are actually needed.

Steer Clear of Vehicle Damage Scams

  1. Similar to home repairs, shop around for a quality vehicle repair service. 
    • Require written bids that clearly show the repair parts, associated costs, mechanic labor charges, as well as the timing of work including the beginning and expected completion dates.
    • Do not pay in advance for any work and do not pay in cash.
    • Get references from past customers.
    • Check out auto mechanic’s history with the BBB or business review sites like Yelp.
  2. If you are shopping for a used vehicle, look for signs of flood or hail damage like rust, mud, watermarks, discolored upholstery, mismatching carpet or a musty odor.
  3. Request a vehicle report based on the VIN to check for past reported auto damage of any kind.

Protect Yourself From Charity & Financial Solicitation Scams
Take the following precautions to make sure your donation benefits the people and organizations you want to help.

  1. Ask for detailed information about the charity, including name, address, and telephone number.
  2. Get the exact name of the organization and do some research. Searching the name of the organization online — especially with the word “complaint(s)” or “scam”— is one way to learn about its reputation.
  3. Call the charity. Find out if the organization is aware of the solicitation and has authorized the use of its name. The organization’s development staff should be able to help you.
  4. Find out if the charity is trustworthy by contacting the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving AllianceCharity NavigatorCharity Watch, or GuideStar.
  5. Ask if the caller is a paid fundraising company. If so, ask the name of the charity they represent, the percentage of your donation that will go to the charity, how much will go to the actual cause to which you’re donating, and how much will go to the fundraising company.
  6. Learn the basic signs of a Charity scam and more ways to protect yourself at the FTC’s helpful online guide.

Help stay clear of all scams by using the free resources at the Better Business Bureau.  Be sure to check out all businesses and charities online or by phone (800)-621-8566.

If you find yourself a victim of poor workmanship or a scam artist, immediately contact the BBB to try to recover your investment or alert others about the business or individual(s) involved. Consumers or small business owners victimized by a scam can learn more or file a complaint at fwbbb.org.

 

Get Blog Updates Delivered By Email - FREE! Follow Us On Twitter! Subscribe to My Feed

Want to keep up with fresh ways to save money
and button down the family finances?
Subscribe to Frugal in Fort Worth now. It’s FREE

 


Linking to Amazon through our site helps support
Frugal in Fort Worth (bunches of thanks!)

TODAY ONLY: Save Over 60% on Norton Security ($29.99 For 5 Devices)

Bookmark and Share

  

TODAY ONLY: Amazon has a special daily deal offer ~ get Norton Security for $29.99 and protect up to 5 Devices including PCs, Macs, Smartphones and tablets  (retail is $79.99).  Norton Security gives you the their most comprehensive protection for the many ways you connect online. Along with proactive web and privacy protection, Norton Security even includes a special feature that helps you easily locate lost or stolen smartphones and tablets.

:: Go here to get Norton Security for $29.99 ~ price valid today only.  

Enjoy and Share!    :)

Get Blog Updates Delivered By Email - FREE! Follow Us On Twitter! Subscribe to My Feed

Want to keep up with fresh ways to save money
and button down the family finances?
Subscribe to Frugal in Fort Worth now. It’s FREE

..

 


Linking to Amazon through our site helps support
Frugal in Fort Worth (bunches of thanks!)

TODAY ONLY: 58% OFF TurboTax & Quicken Bundle PLUS Up To 10% On Top of Your Federal Tax Refund

Bookmark and Share

  

TODAY ONLY: Amazon has a really great bundle offer  ~ get BOTH TurboTax Deluxe and Quicken Deluxe 2014 for $51.94  (retail is $124.94)!  Plus, right now, they are offering one of the best bonuses that we’ve seen anywhere ~ receive up to 10% bonus on top of your Federal Tax refund* (more details below). 

If you plan to use this do-it-yourself tax and money management software, jump on this, as this bundled price is only valid today, and we’ve not found a better deal.  

:: Go here to get TurboTax Deluxe & Quicken Deluxe 2014 for PC or Mac for $51.94 (58% OFF, MSRP $124.94 ~ when purchased separately) ~ bundled discount price valid today only.  

*Get Up To 10% Tax Refund Bonus!  Use some of your federal refund to purchase an Amazon.com Gift Card from TurboTax and they will tack on an extra 10%!  That means a $500 gift card purchase would become a $550 gift card. While we like to encourage people to save their tax refunds as a family finance priority, if you already have a purchase from Amazon budgeted, this is a great way to significantly stretch your buying dollars.  Learn more about the refund bonus here.

The 10% bonus offer small print (only made larger): Amazon.com Gift Card offer is for federal refunds only. Limits apply ($2000 per e-card, maximum $10,000 per customer). Offer available only for TurboTax Online or CD/download versions sold and shipped, or downloaded directly from Intuit or Amazon. Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Amazon.com Gift Cards (“GCs”) sold by Intuit, an authorized and independent reseller of Amazon.com Gift Cards. Except as required by law, GCs cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions go here.

Enjoy and Share!    :)

Subscribe to My Feed Get Blog Updates Delivered By Email - FREE! Follow Us On Twitter!

Want to keep up with fresh ways to save money
and button down the family finances?
Subscribe to Frugal in Fort Worth now. It’s FREE! 

 

Linking to Amazon through our site helps support Frugal in Fort Worth (bunches of thanks!)

40% OFF TurboTax Deluxe ($29.99 For a Limited Time)

Bookmark and Share

Amazon has a really great offer on TurboTax this week ~ $29.99 for TurboTax Deluxe Federal + E-File 2012 download for PC or Mac.  If you plan to use this do-it-yourself tax software this year, you might not want to wait on this one, as the price will unlikely stay this low for very long (historically, the price has continued to rise as Tax day approaches, and we expect this year to be no different).  Here’s the scoop…

For a limited time, Amazon is offering TurboTax Deluxe download for PC or Mac for $29.99  (40% OFF, MSRP $49.99) ~ a hot price that we don’t expect to last very long ~ it’s even cheaper than Costco Warehouse!  We did a price comparison with some of our favorite discounters and found this price to be $10 cheaper across the board (e.g. Costco is selling the same software in a boxed version at a discounted box price of $39.99). We haven’t found anyone who has beat the Amazon price yet.

:: Go here to get the TurboTax Deluxe download version for PC or Mac for $29.99.

Enjoy and Share!    :)

 

Subscribe to My Feed Get Blog Updates Delivered By Email - FREE! Follow Us On Twitter!

Want to keep up with fresh ways to save money
and button down the family finances?
Subscribe to Frugal in Fort Worth now. It’s FREE! 

 

 

Linking to Amazon through our site helps support Frugal in Fort Worth (bunches of thanks!)

SAVVY SHOPPER TIP: A New Way to Get an Online Bargain

Bookmark and Share

Here’s a savvy online shopping tip worth passing along (finally, it pays to be indecisive!)…

piggybank600

You know the “Everything is negotiable” saying? That’s often true, but with online shopping, trying to bargain over price is a bit more difficult.  For shoppers, there is a new way to try to “haggle” to get a better online deal ~ abandon your shopping cart. We have found that it pays to wait, as many online retailers will email discounts to those who fill up a shopping basket, but don’t complete their purchase.

The Chicago Tribune Reports:  “Every few seconds, thousands of online shoppers do something they would probably never do in real life — they walk away from their shopping carts.  …Retailers are trying to combat such massive lost opportunity with emails, reminding customers that they left merchandise unpurchased… Some offer discount codes to lure shoppers back to their carts, and therein lies an opportunity for wafflers.”

Do note that in order for the shopping cart abandonment discount strategy to work, you have to get far enough into the checkout process to enter your email address and create a customer account.

Not every online retailer will offer this type of discount (we’ve tried Amazon, but to not avail), but it’s worth a try if you want to get the best deal and aren’t in a hurry.  Those who we know are regularly using this tactic include Land’s End, Best Buy, Home Depot, Zappos, Lids.com, Overstock, Hanes.com, Crocs, and ProFlowers

Even Avis Car Rental has taken part in this “negotiation” tactic.  When members of their preferred program set up a reservation with them and do everything except finalize it, they’ll get a coupon for a free upgrade less than 8 hours later.

In the end,  abandoning your shopping online shopping cart is one of many ways to save on an online purchase.  As always, we continue to recommend that you shop around and compare and search out the best discount strategies to get the best deals.

::

Have you had an experience with an online retailer that has sweetened the deal after you abandoned your cart?  
Tell us in a comment below and share with your fellow readers.
We’d all love to hear about your experience!

 

Enjoy and Share!    :)

 

Subscribe to My Feed Get Blog Updates Delivered By Email - FREE! Follow Us On Twitter!

Want to keep up with fresh ways to save money
and button down the family finances?
Subscribe to Frugal in Fort Worth now. It’s FREE! 

 



Linking to Amazon through our site helps support Frugal in Fort Worth (bunches of thanks!)