Week of March 4, 2019 (see last week)
Happy (and Sad) National Consumer Protection Week!
"NCPW" is the week when consumer professionals alert the public to various scams, and offer tips to make them more consumer savvy. Sadly, we have to report that the federal Consumer Action Handbook -- the "consumer bible" with contact information for consumer agencies and corporate consumer affairs departments nationwide -- has been discontinued by (the unwise) decision of upper management at the GSA after decades of availability. And we're told even the PDF version online will not be updated. Here is the final 2017 version.
Don't Fall for a Tech Support Scam
Many of us have been shocked when a full-screen warning pops up saying that a virus has been detected, directing us to call a particular support number immediately. Don't fall for it, it is a scam. And when you need technical support, don't Google the support phone number of Microsoft, Norton, AOL, or any other company. Scam artists create fake websites of those companies with their own number to rip you off. Here is an instructive video warning about tech support scams.
Top Consumer Complaints 2018
Through its network of state and federal agencies, the FTC annually publishes its list of top complaints. This past year, imposter scams topped the list. These include cases where consumers are contacted by scamsters claiming to be from the IRS, Social Security Administration or other government agencies. Debt collection and ID theft complaints followed closely in second and third place. See what complaints were filed most in your state.
Consumer World Original
Mouse Print* -- A $2-Million Coupon Surprise
If you haven't read the fine print on cents-off coupons lately, you might be in for a surprise. Besides limiting the number of coupons you can use in a shopping trip (aimed at coupon hoarders), there is another costly provision often overlooked.
That is our Mouse Print* story this week.
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Bargain of the Week
How to Get Items for a Penny at Dollar General
Shhhhushhh. Keep this to yourself. It is possible to get discontinued items at Dollar General for only a penny, but there is a steep learning curve figuring out how to do it. You'll want to join "secret" groups online that track which items are a penny, get an app to double-check your finds while in-store (since DG does not have aisle scanners), and watch a number of educational videos on how to penny shop. Here, for example, is a list of recent penny items. This concept of penny shopping is one of the best kept retail consumer secrets, so don't tell a lot of your friends because once an item is discovered and sold for a penny, store personnel are supposed to remove the rest from sale!
See also: Hot Deals
"Bargain" HDTVs with Good HDR
HDR is the latest buzzword for TVs that display more realistic images. Consumer Reports names five HDTVs that won't break the bank with great video displays.
More from Consumer Reports
Most stories are free
Consumer World Originals