Your to honest - beware of scams!

The truth is honest people believe everyone is as honest as they are and unfortunately that's just not the case.  The internet has opened up to scammers from all over the world.  They prey on honest and good people.  Many of you don't lie and don't expect other's to lie to you.  The truth is that scams always rely on a lie and someone believing that lie.  In order to avoid scams, you'll need to be better at detecting lies.  

You need to be on you toes at all times.  Don't answer the phone from numbers not in your contact list.  Don't replay to emails from people you don't know or follow links in emails that look legitimate.  Here are some common scams you should be aware, they might help you understand the mind set of criminals trying to scam you.

Avoid Social Media Scams

Beware of Customer Service Scams

Avoid these cash payment scams

Watch out for tax scams

Secure your banking and financial logins

Debt Collection Scams

Ignore Blackmail Scams

Electronic Wallets and Digital Payments

Someone Accidentally Sends you Money

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How to get rid of that timeshare

Years ago I learned that my mother in-law bought a timeshare years ago in Daytona Beach.  She kept making the payments but never used it.  Did you inherit or no longer want to own the timeshare you bought years ago, here are a few things to try to liquidate it:

First contact the timeshare company and ask if they have a program to surrender or take the deed back on the timeshare.  Most of the larger companies have a program for taking time shares back.  You may not get any of your money back using these programs, but at least you won't have to keep making the payments for a timeshare you are not longer using.  If you are dealing with a smaller developer or resorts, they may not have a program which means you may need to resort to more aggressive options.

Stop making your payments.  Before you do this you should understand the risks.  It's possible that the timeshare company will report you to the credit bureaus for not making a payment.  They may also bring a law suit against you for the non payments.  In some cases once you stop payments, the timeshare company will let you surrender the deed so that they can resell the timeshare.  This can be much less expensive then for them to go through a foreclosure.

Resell your timeshare to someone else.  Again you probably won't get your money back from the original purchase but at least you will no longer be required to make the yearly payment.  

Don't use a company that "Specializes" in helping you get out of timeshares.  Many of these require you to pay up front and don't deliver results.

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Someone Accidentally Sends you Money

Make sure you monitor your checking, savings and credit card transactions for suspicious activity.  You may be contacted by someone who claims to have accidentally sent you money.  They contact you and ask you to send the money back to them since it was a mistake.  What you don't know is that the money came from a stolen credit card.  You politely send them their money back.  Before you know it the credit card company finally sees the scam transaction and automatically withdrawals the originally deposited money.  Watch out for this scam, if you accidentally receive money in your account just keep it there and don't spend it.  Leave it to the banks to correct the issue.

<-- Ignore Blackmail Scams

<-- Your to honest - beware of scams!

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Electronic Wallets and Digital Payments - Keep it safe

Certainly cash works if you are paying in person, but the new digital wallets may be even better.

Digital Wallets

Apple, Google and Samsung all have an app on their smart phones which enable you to make touches payments in many stores.  The apps allow you to add your credit card information where it is securely stored and encrypted.  When you are at the store you can make a contactless purchase by summoning the app.  The apps confirm your ID through their normal fingerprint, facial recognition or password before they finalize the transaction.  You payment information is kept safe and secret.  Best part is you don't need to carry or get your wallet or credit card out in the store.  

Keep it safe by reviewing your credit card statement for all transactions.  You can also turn on credit card charge notifications.

Peer to Peer Payment Apps

These apps are great for transferring money to friends or family.  Some of the more popular and more trustworthy are PayPal, Venmo and Zelle.  You download the app, connect it to your bank account and then connect with people you know.  I can't emphasize that enough.  These apps do not guarantee or back up scam transactions so continue to use your credit card for purchases with other's whom you don't know.  These are great apps to transfer money or to easily split a bill at a restaurant.

Keep it safe by only using the app with people you know.

Bank Electronic Payments

These are the best and most secure way to make payments.  Using your bank you can make utility bill, mortgage and any other type of payment to a company or individual.  These electronic payments are backed by your bank and can be withdrawn if there was a problem or mistake.  Being on the road and traveling a lot, I setup recurring bank payments for some of my bills so I never need to worry about sending the money.   You can also use your checking account number and bank routing number to setup an automatic payment with utility companies or others.  For example I logged into my Detroit Edison online account and added my bank account information so that they automatically pull funds from my checking account when the bill is due.

Keep it safe by only giving your account numbers to companies you trust.  Avoid entering you account information on fake company sites.  Remember don't visit them using links in emails.

<-- Technology Home Page for more tips apps and securing
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Shopping Cart and Shopping List - Add and Hold to Save Money

Here's a great tip to help you avoid those impulse buying when you are shopping on line or catalog shopping. 

Website stores and shopping carts make it really easy to add items to your cart at the last minute and make that impulse purchase.  I like to use the shopping list or wish list when I shop online.  Take advantage of these tools provided by Amazon, WalMart and almost all of the online stores.  If you see something you like or think you want, add it to your wish list.  Let the item sit in your wish list for a few days.  If you still want it or need it after a few days you can move it to your shopping card to make the purchase.

<-- Ride Share or Own a 2nd Car in Retirement?

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Apple iPhone and Apple Watch - Organ Donor Information

Give emergency medical responders quick access to your organ donor intentions. If you didn’t know, you can add your organ donor intentions to your Apple Health App on an iPhone. If you have a medical emergency or are in an accident, medical response teams can quickly access your organ donor desires. They can do this even if your watch or iPhone are locked.

Open the Apple Health App and click on your profile picture in the top right corner. Select Medical ID and then Edit on the top right. Select Donate Organ “Yes”, you can also choose to register as an organ donor with donate life if you want. You could also add more specific instructions in the medical notes as an alternative.

Turn on Emergency Access

There are two sliders you will need to turn on so that your information is available: Show When Locked Screen Share During Emergency Call

Since your at this page in your Health App, you may also want to add the rest of your medical information to the medical ID.

--> Medical ID for Critical Medical Information

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Keep your computer secure

Here are a few tips to help keep you computer secure.  Remember if you can connect to the internet, then others may be able to connect to your computer.  This will also help you with peace of mind on any scams others may try to pull on you.

  1. Don't open emails from senders who you don't know.  Just delete them.
  2. Beware of fraudulent emails, again delete them if you are unsure.
  3. Don't follow links in emails from senders you don't know or even from emails where a friend or family may have forwarded information.
  4. Change your passwords regularly.
  5. Use long and complicated passwords with the help of a password manager.
  6. Keep your antivirus software up to date.  I use an Apple Mac and so I rely on apple and safari for much of this.
  7. Be very cautious of websites you visit.  Make sure you read and understand the URL for unknown web sites.  I heard of someone who typed in SSS. com thinking they were getting to the Social Security government site.  They entered their social security number on the fraudulent site.
  8. Keep you computer operating system up to date with the latest security patches.
Stay alert, scammers are everywhere.

<-- How to Manage Your Passwords

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Ignore Blackmail Scams

I read a recent stat from Google where they claim to block a 100 million scam emails everyday!  Some of these emails are blackmail scams that you should ignore.

Blackmailer's will claim that they have been

  • monitoring all your emails, or 
  • they've been watching you on your computer web cam, or
  • they have damage secrets they are going to expose, or
  • they have nude pictures of you and your wife, or
  • they may threaten to have you live in shame for the rest of your life, or
  • they have all your passwords that they go off the dark web, or
  • they are watching and monitoring your computer on a daily basis, or
They will also want you to make a payment using a cash payment scheme.  Avoid these cash payment scams.  

So just ignore these requests and delete the email into your spam folder.  Don't ever respond, the scammers will just circulate your email to others.  If you do have incriminating information on you computer that you don't want others to see, delete it or move to a hard drive or computer that's not connected to the internet.

<-- Return to Money Home page for more scamps to avoid

Insurance you should know about

Most people are familiar with auto insurance or home insurance.  Here are some others you should think about adding depending on your life situation.

Liability Umbrella

You can add this insurance for added liability coverage for just about everything in your life.  I have an umbrella policy that adds Two Million Dollars of liability above and beyond my car and home owner's insurance.  This would cover my family should someone sue me for more than my current coverage.  Consider this type of insurance if you have substantial assets.  The insurance costs between $150-$300.  Why do you need it?  Maybe your dog attacks a neighbor.  Someone gets in a car accident after leaving a party at your house.  A friend gets hurt on your boat.

Life Insurance

Should you die, your estate would receive the money to help cover your bills.  This is a lump sum payment to you heirs that can help clear up debt and help them pay your final bills.  If your estate is large, you may or may not need life insurance.  The older you get the more the life insurance costs, so make sure you have the right balance.

Renter's Insurance

Similar to house insurance, renters insurance covers loss if you are renting a house or apartment.  It can also cover living expenses if you are forced to move from your apartments.

Long Term Care

Earlier this year, I learned that I had long term care insurance through my employer.  I decided to continue to play for this coverage into retirement.  Long Term Care insurance helps with the cost of nursing home care, in home care or other types of care.  This type of insurance can help you protect your assets should you need this type of care.  This type of insurance can be expensive and goes up as you age, so you'll need to way the cost / benefit analysis.

Long Term Disability

If you get sick or injured and can't work, long term disability insurance covers covers about 60% of you pay until you are able to return to work or turn 65. If your retired and are living off a pension or social security, this wouldn't apply to you. This is why it ends at age 65 when medicare kicks in. The policy's are based on salary not bonus or commission, so this could make your payment even less.

Talk to you insurance agent to see how he might help answer your questions.

Debt Collection Scams

 Not all debt collections are legitimate.  The first thing you should do is to figure out if you really owe the money.  If you do, you should probably make plans to pay and have you credit cleared.  

Don't remember if you owe the money?

Debt collectors love to prey on older people who may have memory lapses... and maybe others.  They'll try and persuade to you pay debt and to do it quickly, most likely with a fraudulent payment method.   Avoid these cash payment scams.  You may remember that you had an account at the the store, bank, loan company etc., but can't remember your status.  Just because someone knows your name, doesn't mean they really know you debt status at that collector.

They may threaten to sue you.

Are you getting last minute phone calls from someone you've never heard of, threatening to sue you.  Probably a scam.  Legitimate companies don't just decide to sue you first without a significant attempt to contact you otherwise.

Has your debt expired?

Legally most debt is not collectible after a few years.  So if someone is trying to collect money from you, review your state laws to see if the legal time line has lapsed.

Beware of debt inflation.

Some collectors will illegally inflate what you owe.  They may try to tack on a $100-$200 debt collection fee.  They may also try and charge for collection fees.  Beware of inflated charges that you really are not responsible for.

<-- Money Home Page for more information on scams

Save Money With Hundreds of Money Savings Ideas

This is a compilation for some of the ways I've come across to save money.  Some our mine, some are borrowed, hopefully they will start you thinking of other money savings ideas.  I'll continue to add to this list as I come up with more ideas.

Save Money Idea Index

The money savings ideas are arranged by these main topics:
  • Apps
  • Credit Cards
  • Food
  • House
  • Investing
  • Shopping
  • Technology
  • Travel
  • Utilities and Bills

Save Money with Apps

Automate Coupons - Use browser add-ins to automatically find coupons and discount codes for the items your looking at.

Save Money with Credit Cards

Free Airline Travel from you Credit Cards - Sign up and get the bonus miles for travel.  Read my post on How to Fly Anywhere in the World for Free.

Cash Back Deals - Look for the the best cash back deals on cards.  I'm getting 5% back from Amazon, Kohls, Target and from my Bank of America cart on select categories.  Remember make sure there are no annual fees and you pay off the card monthly.

Write Notes on Cards - If you have different cards for different discount categories, write the discount amount right on the credit card.

No Annual Fee - Make sure you find cards that don't have annual fees.

Pay off your balance - Do not carry a balance on your credit cards, make they they are paid off every month.

Save Money on Food

Eat Left Overs - Don't through out that extra food.

Farmers Markets  - Visit these on a Saturday and look for fresh items for lower costs.

Homemade soup - Save you left over chicken or turkey carcass for some great homemade soup.

Vegetable Stock - Collect your veggie scams and simmer in water to make stock for soup.

Save Money in your House

Borrow what you need - Need a saw, tent or extra table and chairs.  Borrow them from a friend or neighbor.  Reach out on social media with your request.

Concentrated Cleaners Save Money - Add the water to the concentrate and save money.  These can be huge savings.

Craigslist  - Buyer beware, meet the seller at a police station or public place.  I've bought and sold many of items on Craigslist.  Again they are way less expensive then new.  For example my $300 IR Sauna.  Just be patient.

Make your own cleaner - 8 oz of water, 2 oz of vinegar and a tablespoon of dish soap will work great on most surfaces.  Make sure you test it first to make sure it doesn't harm the surface.

Estate Sales - Look for household goods on the cheap at estate sales.  Negotiate for a better price.

Facebook Marketplace - Find local items for sale that are more affordable then new

Garage sales - Shop, negotiate and save for household items.  

Free Wood Mulch - Check with you local tree, utility or city.  Sometimes you can find much for free.

Lumber Yards - Check out a lumber yard instead of Home Depot or Lowes.  You may get better lumber for a lower price.

Refurbish you old furniture - Strip the old paint off your patio or wood furniture in your house and repair.  Add some new cushions to make them look like new.

Efficient Lightbulbs - Are you still using incandescent or fluorescent light bulbs?  Switch to LED to save money.

Make your own rags - Old socks and t-shirts make great cleaning rags.  Also see microfiber below.

Reuse microfiber towels - Instead of throw away cleaning products use microfiber towels to save money over cleaning products.  Just wash and reuse.

Sell your Stuff - Have a garage sale or sell you stuff on Facebook or Craigslist to bring in a little extra cash.

Toothbrushes - Save your old ones for cleaning tools

Save Money Investing

Custom Bank Accounts - Create multiple bank accounts to save money for specific purposes.  For example a vacation account or new car account.

Budget - Plan ahead and create a monthly budget you stick with.

Cash Envelope Budget - Create an envelope for each budget category.  Every pay period, put your budgeted amount in each envelop.  When the envelop is empty you don't spend anymore on that category until it's got money in it on your next payday.

Checking Account - Investigate ways to link you checking account to an investment account.

Force yourself to save - Every month commit to savings 10% of your income for retirement.  Best to have this auto withdrawn and moved to a separate retirement investment account.

Fractional Shares in Stock - More companies are making portions of shares available for purchase.  So instant of trying to buy 1 share at $2000 for expensive stocks, they let you buy a percent of a share.  So for example 5% costs you $100 and you still can leverage the gains of that company. 

Mutual Fund Fees - Review your investments and make sure you choose the ones with lower fees.  Savings 1% over time cane be significant. can help you review the yearly fees.

Go on a Spending Strike - Make yourself a commitment to not spend money other then for essential purposes for a hole month.

Refinance you home - How are interest rates compared to your current loan?  Be careful of extending your loan or you may never get that house paid off.

Savings Account Balance - Banks no longer pay much interest on savings accounts.  Move you extra cash to an investment account that can be invested in conservative bonds.  You can have your cash in a few days.

Save Money Shopping

Amazon Shipping - If you are prime member opt for the longer shipping to get a little cash back or discount on books.

Used Cars  - Consider Carvana, CarMax or even you local dealership for a used car. 

Comparison Shopping - Always check items and multiple locations online.  I usually compare Amazon and Wal-Mart to others.

Comparison Shop for your drugs - Consider a site like

Coupons - We all know what they are, look for them and use the to save a significant amount on your grocery bill.

Buy Groceries on Sale - bulk up and adjust you menu accordingly.

Wait to make big purchases on holiday weekends - Wait for the 4th of July, Labor Day or other holiday to make bigger purchases.

Pair Your Clothes - Only buy clothes that work well and match other clothes.  This ensures you'll wear them more and get more use for your money.

Rent a dress (or tux) - Don't buy a dress you'll only wear once, rent the dress for a day.

Price Checking - use free price tracker apps to track cost of items on Amazon and other Sites.

Shop at ethnic food stores - If you like Mexican or Indian food, use specialty stores for those foods and save.  Items are usually cheaper then at a normal grocery store.

Shopping Cart Hold - Leave items in your shopping cart for a few days.  You may receive a coupon enticing you to complete the purchase.

Shopping Cart and Shopping List - Add and Hold to Save Money - Leave items on your digital shopping wish list for a few days to make sure you still want them.   you may receive a coupon enticing you to complete the purchase.

Use a smaller shopping cart - The bigger the cart the more you'll put in it.  Use a smaller cart and be more selective.

Sign up for text coupons - from your favorite stores.  You may get different and better details.

Shopping List Needed Items  - Make shopping list of needed items and wait for them to go on sale before you buy. 

Grocery Shop During the week - Less people means more competitive prices.  Shop midweek for the best deals.

Use Store Credit Cards - Target, Amazon and others give you 5% back of you use their store credit card. Just make sure there are no yearly fees and that you payoff the full balance every month.

Buy Frozen Seafood - It's usually less money then the fresh on ice version at the meat counter

Refrigerate left over red wine - it will last longer and it's better then throwing it away. 

Shop at Costco without a membership - Non members can buy glasses, use the optical center and pharmacy.  If you receive a gift card they also let you in to spend it.

Shop at Sam's Club without a membership

Subscribe and Save - Many retailers offer subscriptions for items you use often.  You can sometimes save 10-15% for you loyalty.  Try Amazon and Target.

Wine you like versus expensive wine because a critic said so - my neighbor considers it a challenge to find an $8 bottle of wine he likes.  The $25 bottles are easy so save some money and look for the $8 bottle.

Warehouse Brand Wine - Buy a bottle and try it, often times it's the same wine as branded.

Wine in a box - Again try it you might like it.

Use Technology to Save money

Apple Care Insurance instead of your phone company - Even if you buy your phone from your wireless carrier, the Apple Care insurance can be added through apple. Do the math the Apple solution is less expensive.

Cell phone data plans - Are you paying for the best plan considering your usage.  Call you cellphone company and ask for advice.

Used Cameras - Looking for a DSLR, consider buying a slightly older used model.  You can save hundreds by buying a camera only a couple of years old.  The picture quality will still be phenomenal.

Used Lenses - I buy and sell used lenses all the time.  They hold their value and others have already taken the depreciation hit. 

Don't Rent your Cable Router - You can buy one and save the monthly charges.

Protect your mobile phone - Buy a new case and add a screen protector to save you the cost of a damaged phone.

Smart Plugs - They can help you lower your electrical bill by smartly managing your lights

Save Money on Travel

Airline Travel Card -  If you fly a lot and often check a bag, use one of these cards to get a first bag free. Make sure you understand the year fees.

Compression Bags - Literally squeeze the air out of your luggage and fit more in.

Credit Card Benefits - Often times credit cards offer travel insurance, auto rental insurance and other travel benefits.  Call and ask. 

Foreign Fees - Find a card that doesn't charge international transaction fees

Don't check a bag - Figure out how to consolidate what you back and make a carryon work.  My wife and I went to Italy for 12 days with carryons.

Travel Insurance - Save money on travel insurance, Maybe you already have coverage?

Timeshares, book and unused one - Sometimes owners can't use their time share.  You can often book them at a significant discount.

Buy a used RV - I've owned 5 used trailers and don't ever expect to buy a new one.   Let someone else take the depreciation hit.

Save Money on Utilities and Bills

Auto Insurance - Shop around and talk to you agent every year to see if your situation has changed to help you lower cost.

Rent your Car - Similar to Air B&B, you can sign up for a service that rents your car to others.

Free College Classes - Look online, there are many universities that offer free classes online.  Try

House Insurance - Every year call you agent and asked for a better deal.  Every couple of years get competitive quotes.  Review your home owner's insurance to save money.

Negotiate your bills - Never hurts to ask for a discount on anything your purchase, ask if they have any open coupons available, ask if they'll throw in and extra item.

Nest or other smart thermostat - They make you smarter at managing your house temperature.

Pay the yearly subscription up front  - Many apps, magazines and other monthly services let you may for a year in advance to save money.

Share a Streaming Service - Until they stop you, share streaming service like Netflix, Disney + or Hulu with family or a friend and split the cost.

Cancel Your Cable TV - Change to over the air TV.  You can use $10 rabbit ears and get HDTV.  

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Apple iPhone and Apple Watch Medical ID for Critical Medical Information

Give emergency medical responders quick access to your emergency medical information. If you didn’t know, you can load your critical medical information into the Apple Health App on an iPhone. If you have a medical emergency or are in an accident, medical response teams can quickly access your critical medical information. They can do this even if your watch or iPhone are locked.

Open the Apple Health App and click on your profile picture in the top right corner. Select Medical ID and then Edit on the top right. Make sure the emergency contact information in entered into the respective fields so the 1st responders and hospital doctors will have access to your Medical ID. Edit and fill in these fields:

  • Medical Conditions
  • Medical Notes
  • Allergies and Reactions
  • Medications
  • Add Blood Type
  • Add Organ Donor Information
  • Your Personal Information, Height, Weight, etc
  • Emergency Contact

Turn on Emergency Access

There are two sliders you will need to turn on so that your information is available: 

Show When Locked Screen 

Share During Emergency Call

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Review your homeowner's insurance

 Make sure you go through and annual review of your home owner's insurance.  I also like to get three other quotes at the same time to make sure that I'm getting a competitive price for my insurance.  Here are some circumstances that may affect the cost of your insurance.

You Inherited Jewelry, Coins or other Valuable Items

Over the past year did you inherit anything of value that should be ensured.  Most home owner policies have limits on what's covered so you may need to add a rider for the additional items.

Did you make renovations or build and addition to you house

The main cost of your home owner's insurance is the cost to replace your house should you suffer a catastrophic loss.  Make sure that new addition is covered.

Consider a liability umbrella rider added to your homeowners

An additional liability umbrella policy can be added to your homeowners to help you cover liability on other real estate, cars, boats, etc.  Get the added coverage you might need.

Building code coverage

Sometimes building codes change and are updated to help fortify houses for natural disasters.  Think about what you should do to bring you house up to code.

Flood insurance

Most home owner policy's don't cover flood insurance.  Depending on where you live, you may want to consider a flood insurance, hurricane insurance or tornado insurance.

Downsizing to an Apartment or Condominium

Make sure you adjust you insurance for any downsizing in your life.

Talk to your insurance agent!

Best to talk with an insurance agent to make sure you are adequately insured based on your current circumstances.

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