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3 Tips to Avoid Travel Scams

The internet brings vacations and getaways to travelers’ fingertips, but instant access also means vulnerability to fraudsters looking to steal data.

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(Family Features) The internet brings vacations and getaways to travelers’ fingertips, but instant access also means vulnerability to fraudsters looking to steal data. Scams such as fake phone numbers on popular search engine results can lead to stolen money or sensitive personal information like credit card details.

Next time you search the web to book that long-awaited vacation, consider these tips from the experts at Expedia to spot, avoid and report scams.

Identify Common Scams

  • Search engine and gift card scams: Fraudsters will buy fake ads with illegitimate contact information for well-known companies to pose as agents and ensnare people searching for online support numbers. These imposters often request gift cards in exchange for services such as a trip refund or flight change, wire transfers or sensitive personal information. They may even use personal data obtained from unaware customers to use an itinerary look-up tool and view real trip details in order to gain additional trust.
  • Phone call scams: Scammers will sometimes use “spoofing” technology to make telephone numbers appear legitimate then claim a customer won a prize such as cash, a trip or credit for future travel from a trusted travel company. In exchange, these convincing scammers may ask for personal information including a name, address, payment information and social security number.
  • Email scams: Phishing is a scam criminals use to ask for personal information via email by tricking recipients into clicking a link, opening an attachment or directly providing the information. When they appear to come from established businesses or organizations, the emails can be quite convincing, as they sometimes even link to legitimate-looking websites.

When In Doubt, End the Conversation
If you think you’ve received a fraudulent phone call or are in contact with an imposter, hang up or end the conversation immediately.

Do not click any suspicious links or engage further. Double check the sender’s address and delete any suspicious emails. Take note of how you came into contact, such as the phone number you dialed, the contact information displayed and any other identifying information provided by the scammer.

Contact representatives of the company the scammer claimed to represent along with the Federal Trade Commission and state attorney general.

Trust the Experts
With a trusted travel group like Expedia, your experience and safety are the top priorities, meaning representatives won’t request a gift card in exchange for services, call or send an email asking for account passwords, request personal information unrelated to a previous service issue or request wire transfers or payment information through text messages.

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If you need help with your trip, visit Expedia.com or use the mobile app for self-service tools like a 24/7 virtual agent so you can easily change or cancel trips, redeem credits and check on the status of a refund, all without having to call in to speak with an agent.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images


SOURCE:
Expedia

 

Rod is a blogger, writer, filmmaker, photographer, daydreamer who likes to cook. Rod produces and directs the web series, CUPIC: Diary of an Investigator. He is also the editor, producer and administrator of TNC Network.

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Automotive

Electric vehicles helping drivers to reduce their bills

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  • 90% of vehicle-owning US households could reduce their bills as well as their carbon footprint by switching to electric vehicles. 
  • 85 million households could halve their transport bills by going electric compared to just 25 thousand households if they switched to newer, gasoline-fuelled cars. 
  • Adopting an electric vehicle would more than double the number of US households with low transport costs, spending less than 2% of their annual income on transport fuels. 

Newswise — Drivers in Washington, California, and New York are set to see the greatest reductions in transport costs and greenhouse gas emissions due to a combination of cleaner power grids and low electricity prices in comparison to gasoline prices, among other factors.  

Over 90% of vehicle-owning US households could slash their greenhouse gas emissions as well as their transport costs by switching to electric vehicles. A study maps the change in annual income spent on transport fuels for vehicle-owning US households upon adopting electric vehicles.  

US households are highly dependent on private vehicles, with over 80% of journeys taken via personal cars. These journeys are not only bad for the environment and public health, but they are also expensive: around 67% of US households are currently considered to have medium-to-high travel costs, spending greater than 2% of their annual income on transportation. 

“Joshua Newell, co-author of the study and Professor of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan, says: “As the need for decarbonisation becomes increasingly urgent, it is crucial that we identify where and how we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, starting with assessing the long-term affordability of electric vehicles. Our results show that not only are electric cars better at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but in most cases, they are cheaper to run too.” 

Study evaluates the cost-effectiveness of switching to electric vehicles in comparison to new gasoline-fuelled vehicles, for different regions across the United States. The results show that 71% of US drivers could halve their transport bills by going electric. In comparison, just 0.02% of drivers would see the same reduction in fuel costs by switching to newer, gasoline-fuelled cars. 

Moreover, the team found that adopting an electric vehicle would more than double the number of US households with low transport costs, spending less than 2% of their annual income on transport fuels. Nationwide, this equates to over 80% of vehicle-owning households. 

“Our research contributes to the topic of energy justice, ensuring participation in the energy system is equitable, affordable, and accessible for all. We are hopeful that this study will inform people on where significant, affordable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions can be made. For the majority of people, the ongoing fuel cost of electric vehicles will be even lower than adopting newer, more efficient gasoline vehicles. However, the prominent differences across the nation emphasize the need for a regional approach to electric vehicle transitions,” concludes Jesse Vega-Perkins, lead author of the study. 

Source: Institute of Physics (IOP) Publishing

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https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aca4e6

https://stmdailynews.com/category/science/

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financial wellness

5 Ways to Get Your Finances Back on Track in the New Year

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NEW YORK (Newswire.com) – iQuanti: The New Year is here, and it’s the perfect time to get your finances back on track. Whether you want to save for retirement, pay off debt, or just try to manage your money better, there are multiple ways to help you reach your financial goals. This article will provide some tips on how to get your finances back in order this year. From budgeting and tracking expenses to creating a plan or getting a loan to pay off high-interest debt, these solutions can help you get your finances back on track in no time. With some dedication and hard work, you’ll be able to achieve financial success in 2023. 

1. Create a budget: A budget is essential when it comes to managing your money effectively. Take the time to figure out where your money is going each month and what expenses are necessary versus unnecessary. Once you have an idea of where all your money is going, create a monthly budget that will help you stay within those boundaries. This way, you know exactly what expenses you can afford and the amount of money that can be saved.

2. Track your spending: Knowing where your money is going will help you stay on track with your budget. Start by tracking all your purchases for a month so that you can see where your money is being spent. This will not only help you stay in line with your budget, but it will also help identify any unnecessary expenses or overspending that may need to be addressed. 

3. Refinance your credit cards: If you have high-interest credit cards, consider refinancing them with a lower interest rate. Refinancing your credit cards can help you save money in the long run, as it will reduce the amount of interest you are paying each month. 

4. Make a plan for the future: Once you have created a budget and tracked all of your spending, it’s important to start thinking about the future. Establish financial goals, such as saving money for retirement or paying off debt, then create a plan for how you will reach those goals. Some solutions may include setting up an automatic savings plan or making more payments to reduce debt faster.

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5. Consolidate your debt: If you have multiple debts, it may be a good idea to consolidate them into one loan. This will reduce the amount of interest that you are paying, as well as make it easier to manage all of your payments in one place. The best way to do this is by seeking out a loan consolidation service or talking to a financial advisor about what options are available. 

As you begin this new year with renewed determination, taking a few moments to evaluate your finances and take specific steps can result in significant savings of both time and money. By following these tips and making small changes throughout the year, you can get your finances back on track in no time. With some dedication and hard work, you’ll be able to achieve financial success in 2023.

Source: iQuanti

https://stmdailynews.com/category/lifestyle/business/financial-wellness/

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financial wellness

8 Things Retirees Should Know

Retirement can be a time to slow down, relax, and enjoy life, but it can also come with its fair share of challenges. For anyone embarking on their retirement journey, here are eight financial and lifestyle considerations to keep in mind:

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MILWAUKEE (Newswire.com) – Northwestern Mutual: Retirement can be a time to slow down, relax, and enjoy life, but it can also come with its fair share of challenges. For anyone embarking on their retirement journey, here are eight financial and lifestyle considerations to keep in mind:

1. Their budget: Retirees will want to have a good idea of all their retirement finances, including both their yearly and monthly budgets. This can help them make informed decisions about their spending and figure out how much they can afford on things like travel, new hobbies, and other activities.

2. How to get the most out of their money: Many retirees worry about whether they are making the most of their retirement savings. Retirees may want to consult a financial advisor to help sort out this information and provide guidance on how to make the most of one’s money. From tax-efficient withdrawal strategies and a plan to weather market volatility, financial advisors can help turn a lifetime of savings into guaranteed income retirees don’t have to worry about.

3. Their downsizing options: For some retirees, downsizing is a great way to simplify their life (and save money). Understanding what the options are for relocating to a smaller home can help retirees make an informed decision about what is best for them. It can help to get in touch with a real estate agent and discuss what options are available.

4. Their travel plans: Many retirees see retirement as a time to travel and see new places. For retirees who want to prioritize travel, it can help to plan ahead and research different travel options. Advance planning can allow retirees to keep an eye out for the best deals and make the most of their time.

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5. How they plan to spend their free time: Retirement can be a great time to pursue new hobbies and interests. Some retirees may want to volunteer, take up a new sport, or join social clubs. Having a rough plan for how they want to spend their time can help retirees make the most of their retirement.

6. Their social circle: For some people, retirement can be a time to reconnect with old friends and family. Others may find that their social circle changes as they meet new people. Understanding how they prefer to socialize can help retirees make conscious decisions and plan for their retirement years.

7. Whether they want a retirement hustle: Some retirees find that they want to stay active and busy in retirement by starting a small business or working part-time. A job or small business can also provide a source of supplemental income. Retirees who choose to have a retirement hustle will also want to consider how to set up their business and whether they prefer to live close to work.

8. Their estate plan: Retirement can be a good time to review one’s estate plan and make sure that it is up-to-date. This can include things like wills, trusts, and power of attorney documents, and updating beneficiaries for any permanent life insurance policies, like universal life insurance and whole life insurance. Talking to an attorney about these matters can help retirees ensure that their wishes are carried out. 

Source: Northwestern Mutual

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