Frauds and scams come in a variety of forms—insurance fraud, ATM fraud, credit card scams, scholarship scams, and the list goes on and on. Learn more about frauds and scams so that you don’t become a victim.
So I want to go to Cuba. What are the rules with that? Will my government arrest me for traveling?
U.S. citizens and permanent residents are not allowed to travel to Cuba, unless they have special permission from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) at the Department of the Treasury. OFAC does not grant permission for tourist travel to Cuba.
The travel restriction also includes travel to Cuba from or through a third country, such as Mexico or Canada.
Travelers who fail to comply with the regulations could face civil penalties and criminal prosecution upon return to the United States.
The warmer than average temperatures this winter have led trees to release their pollen into the air earlier than usual. That’s great if you’re a lonely tree, but not so great if you’re a person who suffers from seasonal plant allergies, also known as hay fever.
Feel like you’re coming down with a cold or flu? It might be allergies if -
Your symptoms kicked in fast. (Colds take days.)
Symptoms last longer than a week
You don’t have fever or aches.
Your nose is running and it’s clear.
You can help alleviate allergy symptoms by avoiding the outdoors during times when pollen counts are highest, usually early and late in the day. Following pollen counts in the news can help you predict high levels, too.
You can also help prevent allergy symptoms by:
Keeping windows closed in your house and car and running the air conditioner
Avoiding mowing grass and doing other yard work. If you have to do yard work, wear a mask that filters pollen.
Does the library of congress top librarian have a list of recomended reading list?
The current Librarian of Congress is Dr. James Billington. He was sworn in as Librarian of Congress on September 14, 1987 and is the 13th person to hold the position since the Library was established in 1800. Dr. Billington does not have a public reading list available on the Library of Congress website.
However, the Library of Congress’ Read.gov site does have booklists available for kids, teens, and adults. Find books to spark the imagination and transport you to new and exciting places at Read.gov.
Identity theft. It accounted for 15 percent of the 1.8 million complaints registered with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2011.
Here’s the rest of top complaints FTC received in 2011:
Debt Collection Complaints
Prizes, Sweepstakes, and Lotteries
Shop-at-Home and Catalog Sales
Banks and Lenders
Telephone and Mobile Services
Advance-Fee Loans and Credit Protection/Repair
The data comes from complaints entered by Americans into the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant. The FTC shares the complaints with more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad, allowing them to track trends and target offenders.
Check the Batteries in Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors This Weekend
Two-thirds of deaths from fires occur in homes without working smoke detectors. Research shows that the main reason why some people die in fires and some don’t is that the people who survived had working smoke detectors.
Also, about 183 Americans die each year from unintentional carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning due to malfunctioning appliances like furnaces and fireplaces. CO gas is colorless and odorless. People who are being poisoned usually don’t know it.
These detectors save lives, but only if they work.
When you change your clocks for Daylight Saving Time, you should also check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Replacing dead batteries could save lives.
Move your clocks forward one hour on Sunday morning
Daylight Saving Time (DST) begins on the second Sunday in March at 2 a.m. Advancing our clocks an hour helps line up the daylight hours with the times of day when most people are awake and busy.
Part of the goal of DST is to save energy by encouraging people to be outside during these warmer months rather than inside and using lights and TVs and other energy-sucking appliances.
Research has yet to show conclusively that DST actually saves a noteworthy amount of energy. However, two studies show that DST reduces automobile crashes significantly, saving lives and money every year, which was an unexpected benefit.
If you live in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the parts of Arizona that are not the Navajo Reservation, you don’t have to worry about changing your clocks. Those places don’t observe Daylight Saving Time.
Daylight Saving Time ends on the second Sunday in November at 2 a.m. The rest of the year is called Standard Time.
If you are a veteran, you can get copies of your military or other service records from the National Archives. You can request the records online or by mail or fax.
If you want to get copies of medical records from a VA medical facility, you’ll need to submit a written request directly to the hospital or clinic. The request should detail what records you are requesting, why you are requesting those records, and to whom they are to be released.
With winter coming to an end, it’s time to open your windows, air out the house and get started on some spring cleaning. While most people dread cleaning their house and getting rid of things, it’s a great time to take inventory of what you truly need and can live without. Cleaning out your home can also help improve your health when you get rid of dust piles and clutter. Use these tips to help you get started:
Mold can grow easily in places you use every day, such as the sink, bath tub, heater or AC unit. It’s important to stay on top of cleaning these areas as soon as you notice the mold. Left untreated, mold can cause thousands of dollars of damage to your home, and lead to health problems.
Household products such as disinfectant, cleaning supplies and polishes can help make your cleaning duties much easier, but it’s important to remember they can be hazardous to your family and home too. The EPA offers guidelines on being smart when storing, using and disposing of your household products.
Dust can pile up during the winter months when your windows stay closed, adding to allergies and other health problems. Increased dust could also mean you need to change your furnace or air purifier filters more often. Find out the ways dust can enter your home and ways you can remedy the situation.
Unfortunately, unwanted rodents can show up in your basement, attic and other spots throughout the house any time of the year. Learn the appropriate steps for cleaning and disinfecting the areas and furnishings they’ve contaminated, and how to dispose of them properly.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and over 6,000 partners are teaming up to recognize tomorrow, March 8th, as “What’s on My Plate?” Day. The national campaign highlights the importance of people choosing nutritious foods for healthy, well-balanced meals. As part of National Nutrition Month, the USDA is hoping to create a national buzz about making healthy food choices, and promoting the resources available to the public.
ChooseMyPlate.gov offers tips of the day, how to eat healthy on a budget, dietary guidelines and lots of sample menus and recipes for healthy eating. These free resources encourage you to build a healthier plate and give you the knowledge you need to make healthier decisions.
On Thursday, you can tweet a picture of your healthy plate using the hashtag #MyPlate, or post a photo on USDA’s Flickr page. The USDA will then highlight some of the pictures on its blog.
A permanent resident is someone who has been granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. As proof of that status, a person is granted a permanent resident card, commonly called a “green card.”
You can become a permanent resident several different ways, such as being sponsored by a family member or employer in the United States. The steps to getting a green card vary depending on which category you fall under.
What is the Burden of Proof for Deceptive Business Practices?
On Twitter, @erconger asked us, “What is burden of proof of deceptive business practice?”
Before a company runs an ad, it has to have a solid proof to back up all claims - express and implied - that consumers take from the ad. If the claim is about health, safety or benefits of the product, companies need “competent and reliable scientific evidence.”
Companies Must Have Permission to Charge Your Account
On Twitter, @sneech416 asked us, “For “mail order” merch, are “auto-ship” rules being changed, i.e.,do sellers have to make more clear the rules?”
The Federal Trade Commission says it’s the law - and it’s always been the law - that companies can’t charge people for stuff without their express permission. The FTC has brought dozens of cases against companies that signed people up for negative option plans illegally.
The Restore Online Shoppers Confidence Act puts new protections in place. The bottom line for internet or mail order companies: Don’t bill or debit people’s accounts without their express permission. Silence does not mean consent. And don’t bury terms and conditions in fine print or hard-to-find hyperlinks.
we got a bill from yponline that said we owed $599.95. we never ordered this or got it,how do I get them to stop harassing us, the address was wrong for us& lot of other errors. please address this on Tuesday
You should first contact the company directly to ask them to stop sending you bills. You can find a sample complaint letter at http://go.usa.gov/P17.
If this does not work, you should file a complaint with your state consumer protection office or the attorney general office. Find your state’s consumer protection at http://1.usa.gov/q8U4Jl.
How do people with a millions or billions of dollars protect their assets? It can't be stored in a bank because their limit is 250K by FDIC. And there is simply not enough banks to hold your money because you will accumulate interest. Do the US treasury have bonds or stock that your money can be placed in?
The FDIC protects depositors of insured banks located in the United States against the loss of their deposits if an insured bank fails. The standard deposit insurance amount is $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, for each account ownership category. The FDIC does not insure U.S. Treasury bills, bonds or notes, but these investments are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.
People may also chose to invest their money in other opportunities such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, life insurance policies, annuities or municipal securities, however, these are not insured by the FDIC.
On Twitter, @VJillAnnie asked us, “Could the Bureau of Consumer Protection assist w/ Transparency Strategies to Reduce Land Use Consumption 4 land owners?”
The Federal Trade Commission says land use is usually a matter for local groups. Clearly people are looking for accurate information about making choices that are good for the environment.
When companies make “green” claims, they need to back them up with solid science. The FTC is revising its Green Guides to help companies comply with the law and make sure you have access to accurate information. Find the latest at ftc.gov/green.
Your school closed before you could complete your program.
For FFEL℠ and Direct Stafford Loans only: Your school owes your lender a refund, forged your signature on a promissory note, or certified your loan even though you didn’t have the ability to benefit from the coursework.
You work in certain designated public school service professions (including teaching in a low-income school).
You file for bankruptcy. (This cancellation is rare and occurs only if a bankruptcy court rules that repayment would cause undue hardship.)
If you are unable to work and earn money because of an injury or illness that is expected to continue indefinitely or result in death, you may apply for a Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) discharge of your FFEL Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Direct Loans, or TEACH Grant service obligation. Disabilitydischarge.com has more information on qualifying and to apply for a TPD discharge.
What is the Law that governs the operation of credit reporting agencies?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that was enacted in 1970 to regulate the dissemination and use of consumer information, including credit information.
The FCRA requires consumer reporting agencies to maintain correct and complete files. It also requires the agencies to provide you with a free copy of your credit report every year. Annualcreditreport.com is the ONLY website authorized to get free credit reports.
Banks with National in the name or N.A. after the name, federal savings and loans, and federal saving banks are regulated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
Citizens cannot recall a U.S. Senator or Representative because the ability to remove a member of Congress was not written into the Constitution. The Constitution describes the term length and the courts have said that no action by a state or citizen can override it.
However, there is one way for a U.S. Senator or Representative to be terminated before the end of the normal term. Other members of the House or Senate, whichever body the member of Congress belongs to, can remove a fellow member by a two-thirds vote. This process is called “expulsion” and it’s outlined in the Constitution.
THOMAS.gov, a service of the Library of Congress, shows all laws passed by the current Congress and lets you search for bills in the House and Senate. You can also see the top five bills of the week or current activity in Congress.
Do you need help paying for college? If you do, it’s time to apply for financial aid. Almost all two- and four-year colleges, universities and career schools use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to award federal student aid, and most state and college financial aid.
Federal student aid covers expenses such as tuition, fees, room and board, books, supplies and transportation. Aid also can help pay for a computer and for dependent care.
There are three categories of federal student aid:
Grants: Funds that don’t have to be repaid
Work-study: A part-time work program to earn money while you’re in school
Loans: Funds that must be repaid with interest
It’s a good idea to apply for federal aid before other sources, because federal loans usually offer lower interest rates, and have more flexible repayment options than loans from banks or other private sources. Your school’s financial aid office is the best place to learn about the full range of financial aid available to you.
I have an incredible amount of APR for my credit. 29%+ from CapitalOne. It used to be quite low, and I was able to pay for it diligently, then I was out of work for 1 Month, forgot to pay some bills and the interest went up to 29%. I am paying for it now for about 2 years now, but I was wondering if there's a consumer law that can help me lower it to a single-digit percentage, or at least less than 15%?
There is no federal law that limits the interest rate that a credit card issuer can charge. The law of the state where the credit card issuer has its headquarters generally determines the maximum interest rate the card issuer can charge.
However, if you are a servicemember serving on active duty, you may have unique protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). Find out how you can protect your finances by visiting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website.
Answer provided by Dave DuBois, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Office of Servicemember Affairs.
Work discrimination is not only wrong, it’s illegal.
The U.S. government has laws that prohibit work discrimination based on age, disability, place of origin, race, religion and sex, as well as pregnancy and other things. These laws protect both employees and applicants.
In 2011, the agency received a record of almost 100,000 work discrimination claims, and obtained more than $455 million in compensation for both employees and job applicants. The information below will give you a general idea of how the process of filing a claim works.
In most cases you must file your discrimination claim no later than 180 days after the date of the incident. However, the deadline can be extended up to 300 days depending on the type of discrimination that occurred and also on state and local employment discrimination laws.
Call your local EEOC office to find out on how they handle appointments and walk-ins. If you’re filing by mail, you will need the following information:
Your name, address and telephone number as well as those of the employer.
The number of employees that work for the company (if known).
A description of why you think you were discriminated against and the type of discrimination you were subjected to.
The date of the offense.
What Happens during Investigation
The EEOC will evaluate your complaint and contact the employer within 10 days to request more information about the incident. They might ask both parties to participate in the agency’s mediation program (see below).
If an investigation is open, representatives from the agency might visit the employer to obtain documents and gather more information. They might also interview witnesses by phone or ask for documents by mail.
Investigations can take several months depending on where the complaint was filed and whether the parties involved try to resolve their issues through mediation.
How Mediation Works
Mediation is an alternative and effective way to resolve work discrimination disputes. With the help of a neutral mediator, both parties will try to resolve their differences without determining who is right and who is wrong.
A few things you should know about mediation:
It’s voluntary and can only take place if both parties agree to do it.
Can help speed up a resolution to the case.
Can help avoid long investigations and lawsuits.
It’s free and confidential.
You can check the status of your work discrimination case by calling (800) 669-4000.
If you e-file your taxes and select the direct deposit option, you may receive your refund in as few as 10 days. Generally, the IRS issues most refunds in 21 days or less. If corrections or reviews are required, it may delay the process.
You can check the status of your tax refund on the IRS website 72 hours after e-filing or 4 weeks after submitting a paper return. You’ll need to know your Social Security number, filing status, and exact refund amount.