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Consumer Affairs

Workers, students, taxpayers all can be hurt by mandatory prepaid debit cards

If you get a prepaid card as payment, empty it at once so fees don't destroy its value

Colleges and universities are hardly the only large institutions who've found it lucrative to work with prepaid debit card companies: certain employers and even state governments do, too.

Consumers often pay a steep price for cybercrime

Despite promises, survey shows many victims don't get reimbursed

We hear a lot about consumers falling for online scams, having their credit and debit card accounts hacked and being victimized by other types of cyber-fraud. We rarely hear about what happens next.

Feds warn BabyBus to get parents' permission to track children

FTC says the China-based app developer may be violating child privacy laws

In the letter, the FTC notes that it appears BabyBus' child-directed apps appeared to collect precise geolocation information about users. The letter notes that the company does not get parents’ consent before collecting children’s personal information, which would appear to violate the COPPA Rule.

Coke dumps voicemail; believes it's lost its fizz

Do you really think anyone will miss it?

Coca-Cola is ditching voice mail at its corporate offices. It's not a cost-saving measure, it's just intended to increase productivity, Bloomberg reports.

No surprise: EZ Pass knows how fast you're going

And penalizes speeders in 5 out of the 15 EZ Pass states

If you're enrolled in EZ Pass, take note: you won't be surprised to hear that in addition to collecting toll fees, it can also monitor your speed — and might punish you if you disobey the speed limits.

Big hotel chains take aim at wi-fi hotspots

They want you to use their slow, expensive, inconvenient system

Big hotel chains are lusting to install devices that will block your smartphone's ability to work as your own personal broadband hotspots.

Feds challenge wart-removal and weight-loss supplement promoters

There's no evidence the products work, the FTC alleges

The FTC says the wart removal and weight loss claims made by DermaTend and Lipidryl were unsubstantiated and deceptive.

Malware alert: beware fake shipping notices and order confirmation emails

Notice the scam-warning bells ringing throughout this typical fake “FeDeX” notice

Watch out for fake “shipping notices” or “tracking messages” purporting to be from the post office, UPS, FedEx or other mailing-and-shipping companies.

How to turn up the heat on your energy bill

Keeping it cooler inside saves fuel and burns more calories

Lets see if we can help take the heat off your bank account during these winter months.

Giving your dog a pill doesn't have to be an ordeal

Camouflage can work but it's important not to be stressed out

Dogs aren't any better than kids when it's time to take meds, but there are some ways to make giving a pill a little easier to swallow, both for you and your dog.

Knowing store policies will make post-Christmas returns easier

Here are the return policies of 5 major retailers

Different stores have different policies, so to help you sort through the process, here are the return policies for 5 major retailers: Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Toys R Us and Amazon.com.

Missouri AG sues 13 St. Louis County towns for speed-trap profiteering

Simply put, the towns are making too much money from traffic tickets

A civil suit filed by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster against 13 St. Louis County towns alleges they're in violation of state law restricting income from so-called speed traps.

Prescription drugs still the leading cause of poisonings

But 'bath salts,' synthetic marijuana and laundry pods are rising fast

Prescription drugs are still the leading cause of poisonings in the U.S. but a new study finds that "bath salts," synthetic marijuana and laundry detergent pods are becoming common threats as well.

Air pollution in pregnancy linked to increased autism risk

Genetics and airborne pollution seen as significant

Pregnant women exposed to high levels of fine particulate matter -- particularly during the third trimester -- may face up to twice the risk of having a child with autism than mothers living in areas with low particulate matter, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).

No lie -- you can stop your kid from lying

Fear of punishment doesn't work

The best way to help your child tell the truth and be honest, is to not threaten them with punishment if they spill the beans and fess up. That's the primary finding of a study conducted at McGill University in Canada with 372 children between the ages of 4 and 8.