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Consumer Affairs

Direct General car insurance "worthless," class action charges

Company dismisses claims based on alleged misrepresentations in the application, suit charges

A class action suit in Chicago's Cook County Court charges that Direct Auto Insurance targets low-income minorities for its "worthless" car insurance policies, profiting from the premiums but refusing to honor claims, Courthouse News Service reports.

Senate committee looks at the 'grandmother scam'

Meanwhile, you need to protect yourself and warn your senior friends and family members

The so-called “grandmother scam” has snared so many victims that the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging held a brief hearingon on Wednesday in an attempt to find some solution to the problem – including, perhaps, increased cooperation and awareness from phone companies and various retailers.

Checks being mailed to Ab Circle Pro customers

Consumers hoped for quick and easy weight loss but lost only money

An administrator working for the FTC is now mailing 196,969 checks averaging $47.51 each to consumers who purchased the Ab Circle Pro.

How to tell if your elderly parents are being scammed

Change in financial behavior is one of the clues

In a 2013 report, AARP recorded a surge in scams in New York City directed at senior citizens. Not only were the numbers up, the AARP report estimated that one third of elderly fraud victims don't report the crimes.

Summer vacation: time for scammers to crawl out of the woodwork

Beware these summer-specific versions of year-round scams

It's the start of summer vacation season, and although you might be looking forward to taking a few days off work, the thieves, fraudsters and con artists of the world have no intention of doing so.

Keep your pet safe in the summer heat

Cold water, sunscreen and plenty of fresh air and shade are the keys to a healthy summer

Don't sweat it, there are ways to keep your pet safe in the summer heat.

Don't fall for utility bill scams

Some are old, some are new but they all attack your wallet

Maybe it's because summer is on the way, with rising air-conditioning costs, or last winter's frigid weather, but the tried-and-true utility bill scam appears to be making a return appearance across the U.S.Maybe it's because summer is on the way, with rising air-conditioning costs, or last winter's frigid weather, but the tried-and-true utility bill scam appears to be making a return appearance across the U.S.

Mixed ruling in ongoing LinkedIn class action case

Email harvesting is allowed but followup invitations are notJennifer Abel of ConsumerAffairs

If you've been feeling annoyed with various friends, colleagues or peripheral acquaintances who keep e-pestering you with email urging you to connect with them on LinkedIn, register with LinkedIn, or just do something LinkedIn, keep this possibility in mind: those people might have no idea any this is happening.

Air-conditioning: necessity or expensive luxury?

The correct answer is “It depends”

Budget-conscious consumers are always looking for ways to reduce their utility bills, and depending on where they live and what time of year it is, the bulk of those monthly bills usually cover the cost of climate control: heat in the winter, air conditioning in summer.

Another third-party energy provider story with an unhappy ending

Reader's tale of contract dispute sounds sadly typical of the genre

In the past few months, unregulated or third-party energy providers have received not only a lot of bad press, but a lot of negative attention from legislators and government regulators, all based on complaints which boil down to poor customer service: confusing or hard-to-break contracts, hidden and unjustified rate increases, and more.

Deregulated energy providers: are they a good deal?

Customers of Ambit Energy decry unexpected price jumps

Electricity deregulation was supposed to be good for consumers — all else being equal, a competitive market should offer lower prices than a monopoly — yet in practice, that hasn't exactly been the case.

How secure are cloud storage services?

Johns Hopkins researchers say they have found a security flaw

To make it easier to share huge files, as well as ensure the safety of important data, businesses are making increasing use of the cloud – storing their computer files on remote servers. But two researchers at Johns Hopkins have questioned the security of the growing number of companies now offering cloud storage services.

Tease photo

Overcoming the 'uncanny valley' to catch a pedophile

Dutch non-profit animates a 10-year-old 'Sweetie' as bait

Technology is all too often used by pedophiles and those who cater to them. Now a Dutch non-profit has turned the tables and is putting technology to work stopping pedophilia.

A word of caution about relying on Dr. Internet

Researchers find health information on the web isn't always reliable

If you happen to consult the Internet on health issues, rather than talking them over with your doctor, you might be making a big mistake.

Can't make more money? Then make your money go further

Here's some of the frugality tricks that've helped me

Nowadays, depending on your tax bracket, a penny saved from your take-home pay can equal more than one and a half pre-tax pennies earned.