Tax refund for unemployment: Why you may get more money back this year

John Matarese  |  April 9, 2021

If you received unemployment benefits last year, you probably have a bigger tax refund coming your way. That’s great news for the tens of millions of people who were out of work due to the pandemic in 2020 and who could now get an additional $1,000 to $5,000 tax refund later this spring. Under the …

Amazon phone scam: What you need to know

John Matarese  |  April 2, 2021

Many of us have been ordering dozens of items from Amazon during the pandemic. Sometimes you don’t remember what you ordered, which makes it easy to fall for the latest phone scam, which involves a very slick call telling you of a problem with your Amazon account. Kimberly Moore was at her health administrator job …

What you need to know about the eBay Motors car scam

John Matarese  |  March 31, 2021

It’s the start of the car-buying season. But if you are buying a used car, buyer beware. Fake car ads, advertising inexpensive used cars that don’t really exist, are everywhere, as one woman found out. Heather Wolff wanted to purchase a used car this spring, so she checked Facebook Marketplace and found a gorgeous yellow …

5 reasons why your tax refund may be delayed

John Matarese  |  March 20, 2021

It’s a new year, but many of the same old problems remain when it comes to tax filing. A month after the IRS started processing returns, complaints are already coming in about late refunds. Heather Niehaus is a busy mom of a 2-year-old girl, and every dollar counts at her home. So she filed her …

Stuff Etc. Consignment Store

How to sell your old stuff and make money

John Matarese  |  March 19, 2021

After almost a year in COVID-19 lockdown, Melanie Dicker’s home is filled with clothing and toys she doesn’t know what to do with. Her dining room is cluttered with the relics of months of at-home learning for her two young boys. Like many moms, she is ready for spring cleaning to clear out unwanted clothing, …

What you need to know about the kidnapping phone scam

John Matarese  |  March 18, 2021

More police departments are warning about a phone scam, where someone claims your son or daughter has been kidnapped. A woman captured one of the chilling and convincing calls on her phone. Diane Peters agreed to talk about the very frightening evening in her life when she got the call, because she wants everyone to …

Columbia Customers Avoiding New Utility Fee

Utility companies in several states have resumed shutoffs

John Matarese  |  March 15, 2021

Most states passed emergency laws banning evictions and utility shutoffs during the pandemic. Those moratoriums are running out, and thousands of unemployed people — plus others still battling COVID-19 — are running out of options. Mashelle Fields is one of them, living off batteries and borrowed power in her apartment. She said Duke workers shut …

Why your DoorDash, Grubhub or Uber Eats order may be late

John Matarese  |  March 12, 2021

A growing number of people are complaining about food delivery arriving as much as two hours late. It turns out that the way you place your order may be the reason for those late deliveries in many cases. Hana Chu is the co-owner of an Asian restaurant, KungFood Chu. She says more and more customers …

Free repairs are running out for rusting Toyota frames

John Matarese  |  February 28, 2021

Owners of some popular Toyota pickup trucks are riding on frames that are rusting away — and those who have not visited a dealer lately may not know about it. What’s worse, though, is that a special warranty extension to replace those frames is running out, leaving owners with little time to take action before …

Warning signs that an Instagram or Facebook retailer is fake

John Matarese  |  February 27, 2021

The 2020 holiday season is long over, but some families are still waiting on gifts that failed to arrive for Christmas — and still have yet to be delivered. Many of those items were ordered from slick-looking Facebook and Instagram ads, often with young models showing off cute outfits. Amanda Kontopos is among those disappointed …

How to slash your streaming TV bill to under $40 a month

John Matarese  |  February 26, 2021

Remember when cutting the cord and streaming was a great way to slash that cable bill? That’s so 2010. Jennifer Taylor says her streaming bill is now out of control. “It keeps getting more and more expensive,” she said, “paying for Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and having cable, so it’s really expensive now.” She’s right. Have …

Mysterious 1099 tax form could be a sign of identity theft

John Matarese  |  February 13, 2021

This is W-2 and 1099 season when companies send you tax statements for what you earned last year. But check those statements carefully. Some people are receiving 1099 forms saying they earned unemployment benefits when they never filed for unemployment. Joe McFarland is struggling to understand what’s been showing up in his family’s mail. His …

How to claim a missing stimulus check on your taxes

John Matarese  |  February 12, 2021

Many people who feel they should have received a stimulus check last year — or the second one this year — are still empty-handed. While many of us have finally received our portion of the $1,200 check and the latest $600 check, many are still waiting for at least one of them. You can try …

How to block annoying car warranty robocalls

John Matarese  |  February 6, 2021

With everything we are dealing with this pandemic, robocallers and scammers are still calling our cell phones. And the number one unwanted call so far in 2021 has to do with your car’s warranty, according to the Federal Trade Commission. It seems that almost every day, someone needs to reach you about your warranty expiring. …

It’s February, so why is your mail still arriving late?

John Matarese  |  February 5, 2021

Almost two months after the holiday season, the U.S. Postal Service is scrambling to catch up on millions of pieces of mail that have not yet been delivered — and it could be weeks still before mail delivery is back to normal. Helen Forester is among those with late-arriving bills. “I have one that was …

Americans are planning for a post-vaccination splurge

John Matarese  |  January 29, 2021

Have you given any thought as to what you are going to do once you receive your COVID-19 vaccine? A new survey says Americans should be prepared for a surge in travel and spending, at least among those who are still working. Most of us have heard of the “roaring twenties,” and the parties, drinking …

What to know before you buy a used appliance

John Matarese  |  January 23, 2021

If you need a new refrigerator, washing machine or other appliance, you could face a long wait these days. That’s why stores selling inexpensive used appliances could be a great option. But one single mom has a cautionary tale. Mom buys used for big savings Stephanie Holley found a home for her and her children. …

People are throwing away stimulus check debit cards because they think they’re junk mail

John Matarese  |  January 20, 2021

As if waiting for a stimulus check to arrive wasn’t frustrating enough, now it turns out some people are throwing their $600 away. Jim Wallace almost tossed a letter he received in the mail the other day. “I received a white envelope, with clear plastic on the top left corner and in the middle,” Wallace …

Warning signs your remote job interview could be a scam

John Matarese  |  January 16, 2021

If you are looking for a job during this pandemic, you may have to do your interviewing via Zoom or Skype. Unfortunately, this new way of hiring — with no face-to-face interview — has led to a surge in job scams, as one Ohio man learned. Jordan Dixon was recently laid off from his job …

Why you should never return a rental car after hours

John Matarese  |  January 15, 2021

Renting a car locally usually isn’t part of a fun experience, like a vacation. Typically, local renters have been in a wreck, need repairs on their own car or need to rent a small truck for a move. But what can make it even worse is when renters get hit for extra charges that you …

What you need to know about puppy scams

John Matarese  |  January 8, 2021

Tens of thousands of children around the country will be getting a holiday puppy this year, but others will end up empty-handed and disappointed, ripped off by a puppy scam that has only gotten worse during the pandemic. So before you start looking for one, we have the warning signs a cute pup you find …

TurboTax, H&R Block customers are fuming over missing stimulus checks

John Matarese  |  January 8, 2021

By now, millions of Americans have received their new $600 stimulus. But thousands of frustrated taxpayers, looking forward to that money, are discovering their money went into a bank account that isn’t theirs. If you are among the 22% of people who received last year’s stimulus check by mail, you figure it will take a …

How to find a PS5 or Xbox Series X, this year’s hottest holiday gifts

John Matarese  |  December 20, 2020

The hottest gift this holiday season is a new gaming system under the tree. Microsoft’s new XBox Series X and Sony’s new PlayStation 5 are the hardest-to-find items this Christmas, quickly becoming the Furby or Hatchimal of 2020. To make it even more frustrating, some people who ordered one are ending up with nothing after …

Why the kitchen appliance shortage continues

DWYM Staff  |  December 19, 2020

If you’ve been looking for a new kitchen appliance this year, locating certain models can be as tough as finding a new Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5. The appliance shortage that began in March shows no sign of letting up. Tommy Conougher is among the many frustrated shoppers. He needs more space in his …

We tested $2 ‘parking lot’ steaks and here’s what we discovered

John Matarese  |  December 14, 2020

Many of us love a good steak. But steak is expensive, with filet mignon selling for as much as $25 a pound in grocery stores. So, several traveling steak sales that are pulling into parking lots across the country are luring lots of budget-conscious shoppers. Their ads and signs advertise “20 ribeyes for just $40.” …

The best December sales from now until Christmas

John Matarese  |  December 6, 2020

So the seemingly endless month of Black Friday sales is finally over. But don’t worry if you haven’t found everything you need: we head into December now with more days to find deals, through Christmas Eve. Just like Black Friday stretched into a weeks of deals, Cyber Monday is now Cyber Week. And it seems …

Is new streaming service Discovery+ worth trying?

John Matarese  |  December 5, 2020

Are you a “House Hunters” addict? Or do you prefer Chip and Joanna, “Christina on the Coast” or Rachael Ray on Food Network? Your favorite HGTV and Food Network shows are going to have their own streaming service starting on Jan. 4. It’s called Discovery+ and will also feature shows from Discovery Network, TLC, Animal …

What you need to know about the tax implications of working from home

John Matarese  |  November 22, 2020

So you’ve gotten used to working from home … and you’d like to keep doing that even if the pandemic ends next spring? Watch out: cities and states are looking at new ways to tax home-based workers. Working from home means more time with family, and less time commuting. In many cases, you are now …

Thanksgiving deals announced in Walmart’s Black Friday ad

John Matarese  |  November 21, 2020

This unusual 2020 Black Friday season reaches its climax on Thanksgiving evening, with Walmart’s third and final Black Friday sale. Walmart just released its final Black Friday ad, and it includes the kind of steals that people line up hours to get each year. But during the pandemic, there will be no Thursday lines. To …

Online learning threats all parents should know about

John Matarese  |  November 21, 2020

Millions of American children are spending this fall semester taking at least some of their classes online, through Zoom, Google Meet and other platforms. And while many of the bugs, glitches and surprise Zoom “bombings” of this past spring have been fixed, experts say many threats remain. Arneesha Collins, parent of an elementary-aged boy, worries …

This scary scam claims your son or daughter is kidnapped

John Matarese  |  November 16, 2020

Police are warning about a terrifying phone scam where the person on the other end of the phone says they are holding a family member for ransom. One woman said she received one of these calls and it was the most frightening call she ever received. Natalie Bruser was heading home from work when her …

Financial Markets Virus Outbreak Winners

9 things still in short supply as the holidays approach

John Matarese  |  November 11, 2020

It was back in March when cleaning items started disappearing from grocery stores, in the initial pandemic panic. Remember the runs on toilet paper? For three months, you couldn’t find any. But here we are, six months later, and many items are still in short supply. “Sometimes bleach, and paper towels,” one grocery shopper told …

What to know about this year’s Black Friday sales

John Matarese  |  November 10, 2020

Black Friday sales will take place all throughout November 2020 to protect holiday shoppers from the COVID-19 risk of crowded stores on Thanksgiving night. It’s safer than the usual way, but it’s also more confusing. When, exactly, does each sale start? We teamed up with Jimmy Rhoades of the Scripps show The List TV to …

Best 40 Inch TV

What to buy and what to skip in November

The List  |  November 3, 2020

DontWasteYourMoney.com‘s own John Matarese shares his list of what to buy in November, and what to hold off on. Black Friday First up, you’ll want to adjust your plans this year because Black Friday is spreading out. “Walmart is actually throwing three Black Friday sales,” says Matarese. “It starts on November 4, where they’re going …

Is the iPhone 12 really worth $800?

John Matarese  |  November 1, 2020

Apple’s big announcement about the iPhone 12 is generating more buzz than other recent models since it will be the first iPhone with 5G capability. But is it worth buying? Or should you stick with an older model? Despite the lack of a flashy roll-out in stores, Apple is expected to sell tens of millions …

How to stop political calls and text messages

John Matarese  |  October 30, 2020

First, it was unwanted calls, then emails. Now, unsolicited political text messages are driving voters crazy this election year. The good news is that there are easy ways to stop them. You might be receiving political messages at all hours of the day, urging you to help turn the country red or blue and to …

These are all the best deals from Best Buy’s 2020 Black Friday ad

John Matarese  |  October 30, 2020

Best Buy is joining Walmart and Target this pandemic year and spreading its Black Friday sales through the entire month of November. The electronics retailer has just released its Black Friday ad and plans to get a jump on the competition by starting some of its big sales immediately, before the young ones have even gone …

Take this bank-approved quiz to see if you could spot a scam

John Matarese  |  October 16, 2020

Think you could spot a banking scam? Don’t be so sure. Thousands of people are falling for fake phone calls, texts and emails that appear to come from their bank. Now, the nation’s banks are rolling out a new tool help you spot a scam. “I got a phone call from my bank, and I …

Watch out for these fake DMV and BMV websites

John Matarese  |  October 16, 2020

Need to renew your license plates, driver’s license or registration soon, but don’t want stand in a long line with other drivers during this pandemic? Millions of drivers this year have decided to renew online. But beware. Facing long lines when DMV and BMV offices reopened this summer, many drivers decided to opt for online …

A Cash App Scam Is Making the Rounds

John Matarese  |  October 11, 2020

Money transfer apps are rapidly replacing checking accounts these days, especially for people who don’t want to handle cash during this pandemic. Unfortunately, as one woman just learned, these apps are easy targets for scammers. Corinthia, who asked that we not use her last name, just saw her rent payment and more disappear in a …

A new cable or satellite TV upgrade scam is making the rounds

John Matarese  |  October 4, 2020

If your cable or satellite bill is pushing $200 or more a month, you’ll probably be interested in any way to lower it. That’s why many are perking up after getting calls this month about lowering their cable or satellite TV bill. The only problem: in most cases, it is not a legitimate offer. For …

Best Frigidaire Refrigerator

Appliances are the latest COVID-19 pandemic shortage

John Matarese  |  October 3, 2020

Need a washing machine or refrigerator? You might want to plan ahead if you can, because delivery dates are getting pushed further and further back this fall. It’s the latest shortage this pandemic year, which has seen everything from hand sanitizer to chicken in short supply at some point. To many homeowners, this appliance shortage …

Census worker or scammer: How to know the difference

DWYM Staff  |  September 27, 2020

The census workers are on the streets and may be coming to your home. After a 4-month pandemic delay, U.S. Census takers are now going door to door, canvassing neighborhoods and visiting homes that have not responded to their mailings. But these days, when consumers are targeted by so many scams, it is understandable that …

Spring 2021 travel plans in limbo for millions of Americans

DWYM Staff  |  September 26, 2020

Back during the initial COVID-19 shutdown in March, most of us assumed thought things would be back to normal by the start of next year. It was our pandemic travel dream: the virus disappearing and travel to Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean and Europe returning by New Year’s. But now, it’s not looking that way. Carnival …

Laptop shortage leads to online rip-offs

DWYM Staff  |  September 26, 2020

The latest item in short supply during the pandemic is laptop computers. Millions of American children need laptops for online learning this fall, and that’s leaving store shelves thin. If your child needs a basic laptop or Chromebook for school, or you just need one for work and home, you may need to shop online …

Why woman’s bank account was frozen after she got her coronavirus loan

John Matarese  |  September 21, 2020

Paycheck Protection Program funds helped keep more than 5 million American small businesses alive through the first half of 2020, but one woman has a warning for anyone applying for aid. Kelleye Thomas, who runs a home daycare, had to shut down for three months due to the pandemic. Her income dropped to zero during …

A slick package delivery scam is making the rounds

John Matarese  |  September 13, 2020

People across the country have been receiving a strange text message the past few weeks. It claims a package is waiting for you to pick up. David Landeen was tossing wood on his fire pit the other evening when his phone buzzed with a text message. “It came from this phone number that I did …

Best TV For Netflix

These are the most and least popular TV streaming services

John Matarese  |  September 12, 2020

TV streaming services have exploded this pandemic year, with people hunkered down and not going out to movie theaters. So, which services were the winners these past six months and which may not be ready for prime time? A new survey claims Netflix is the clear winner, with Apple’s recent entry still far behind. The …

IKEA To Raise Minimum Wage At US Stores By An Average Of 17 Percent

People are experiencing long delays for Ikea deliveries

John Matarese  |  September 7, 2020

For millions of people, Ikea is the go-to place for home furnishings, kitchenware and so much more. But many are now wondering if this well-run Scandinavian retailer stumbled this year during the COVID-19 shutdown. Complaints are piling up from all around the U.S. and Canada of missed delivery dates, month-long waits for simple deliveries and …

Netflix ‘verification failure’ email is targeting millions of people

John Matarese  |  September 7, 2020

Netflix has helped get many of us through the pandemic, giving us great shows to binge-watch instead heading out to bars at night. That’s why you might perk up if Netflix says there’s a problem with your account. “Ozark,” “The Crown,” Michael Jordan’s “The Last Dance,” “Sherlock,” “Stranger Things” and more shows helped us through …