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 …

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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 …

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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 …

Watch out for this COVID-19 used car scam

John Matarese  |  August 30, 2020

Have you checked out used-car prices lately? With supplies tight and demand high during the COVID-19 pandemic, used-vehicle prices are hitting an all-time high. As a result, scammers are stepping up their game and targeting people who are searching for inexpensive cars online. They’re offering phony used cars for sale online, with the pandemic as …

These are the pros and cons of renting an RV during the coronavirus pandemic

John Matarese  |  August 27, 2020

Instead of planes, trains, automobiles and hotels, more and more travelers are considering renting an RV for upcoming trips. After all, there is virtually no risk of contracting COVID-19 when you are sleeping and eating in your own home on wheels. But while it appears a great way to travel, you need to know the …

Things that have actually become cheaper because of the COVID-19 pandemic

John Matarese  |  August 24, 2020

We’re all familiar with all the items that are costing us more this year, from steak to milk to disinfecting wipes, if you can find any. But it turns out the pandemic is driving some prices lower. A few weeks back, we spoke with barbecue truck owner Tyrique Ramsey, who is struggling with the soaring …

Busiest Day for U.S. Postal Service

What you can do about mail delays

John Matarese  |  August 24, 2020

As Congress debates U.S. Postal Service funding and whether it deserves more money, postal customers everywhere are dealing with more and more delivery delays amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Small business owner Laurel Salaman checks her mailbox every morning, but has been coming up empty-handed a lot lately. “Sometimes we receive mail at 9 in the …

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What you need to know before you prepay for a funeral

John Matarese  |  August 16, 2020

If you have relatives who are getting older, they may be considering pre-paying for their funeral to make things easier for their survivors when they pass. Funeral directors will tell you prepaying for your funeral is a great way to save your loved one’s stress and hassle. But one family wants to know why they …

Whirlpool To Close Plants, Cut 3000 Jobs

Laundromats and car washes are running out of quarters

John Matarese  |  August 15, 2020

What started as an inconvenience a few weeks ago is now becoming a serious problem for some businesses: a shortage of coins. It’s hitting laundromats, car washes and other coin-based businesses especially hard. Thinking of washing the car? If it’s a coin wash, bring plenty of quarters, because the change machine may be out. Need …

Black Friday Shopping Begins On Thanksgiving Evening

Has COVID-19 killed Black Friday?

John Matarese  |  August 9, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed so many aspects of American life in 2020. The latest: Holiday shopping. Frenzied Thanksgiving-night Black Friday sales, a 20-year tradition, appear to be over, at least for 2020. Stores cannot risk large crowds with the pandemic still spreading. That means they have no choice but to end the mad rush …

Why some people are receiving mysterious masks in the mail

John Matarese  |  August 8, 2020

First came reports of unwanted seeds arriving in the mail from China. Now, people are reporting that they’ve received packages containing a face mask that they did not order or want. Angela Osborne opened her mailbox the other day and found something strange inside, with her name and address on the package. “I noticed this …

People are being scammed out of thousands of dollars using money transfer apps

John Matarese  |  August 3, 2020

Don’t want to deal with paper money and coins due to the risk of catching COVID-19? Money transfer apps like Cash, Zelle or Venmo may sound ideal, as you don’t have to handle paper cash. But scammers are preying on new users of the apps during the pandemic and it is essential that you know …

Coke Announces Its Raising Soda Prices Due To Rising Costs

Why some Coca-Cola products are hard to find right now

John Matarese  |  August 2, 2020

Coca-Cola is the No. 1 selling soft drink in America. But just as with so many other items during the pandemic, some versions of Coke are getting very difficult to find. Twitter is filled with complaints from people who can’t find their favorite Coke product, according to Business Insider. Hard-to-find brands in some stores include: …

The best and worst summer activities for the pandemic

DWYM Staff  |  July 26, 2020

With cases of COVID-19 surging again in some areas, many people are reconsidering their outside activities. And as Americans head out to summer outings and vacations, experts say it’s important to know which activities leave people the most — and the least — vulnerable for contracting the virus. Low-risk activities The CDC says the following …

Back-to-school will look very different this year

DWYM Staff  |  July 25, 2020

We’re now entering peak back-to-school shopping season, but this is turning out to be a school shopping season like none ever before. In the year of the pandemic, many parents are holding off, unsure their children will even set foot in their schools this fall. In normal years, Target, Staples and other stores would be …

Why some stores are running out of change

DWYM Staff  |  July 24, 2020

The next time you go to a convenience store or fast-food restaurant, you might want to bring exact change. A nationwide coin shortage has grocery and convenience stores, as well as fast food restaurants, running out of coins. We all understood the shortage of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes during the COVID-19 pandemic, since everyone …

Backyard pools are hard to find during the coronavirus pandemic

John Matarese  |  July 19, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has left so many things in short supply this year, and each month brings a new shortage — from Lysol wipes to chicken breasts and even bicycles. The latest? Backyard pools. Meghan and Nick Newton are dreaming of a new backyard pool for their staycation this summer with their young children. “We’d …

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Frontier Airlines’ COVID-19 flight vouchers already expiring

John Matarese  |  July 18, 2020

If you had to cancel a flight earlier this year, chances are you have a voucher that you need to use in the next year or two. But check it carefully. Some customers of Frontier, a popular discount airline, are learning their vouchers have already expired. Eula Williams and her niece, Lanee Dailey, have been …

The IRS is open again, but millions of people still don’t have their tax refunds

John Matarese  |  July 18, 2020

Good news and bad news from the IRS this July. The good: the agency reopened for business as of July 13, which means it is now taking phone calls and processing tax filings as quickly as possible. The bad: during a year when every dime counts, the agency says as many as 4.7 million tax …

Things you can’t find on store shelves because of the coronavirus pandemic

John Matarese  |  July 12, 2020

For a few months, finding disinfecting wipes, toilet paper or hand sanitizer was like striking gold because stores were sold out. But as toilet paper returns to shelves, many other items are missing. In many cases, they are less popular brands that people nevertheless love. Libby Turpin couldn’t find her favorite brand of hot dogs, …

These are the best and worst face masks to protect from COVID-19

John Matarese  |  July 11, 2020

We may not love wearing them, but Americans are masking up more and more. An increasing number of states, businesses and cities are requiring face masks to try to stop the spread of COVID-19. But are you getting the proper protection? You may have seen Instagram photos of drinking masks with a straw hole, or …

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Beware these boat and camper scams during pandemic

John Matarese  |  June 27, 2020

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are looking for ways to avoid crowds. So buying a boat or camper might sound like a great option to keep your family safe on vacation — as long as you avoid getting scammed. Tracey Beers is a single mom and watercolor artist who wanted a way to spend …

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Prepare to pay high prices for meat ahead of Fourth of July

John Matarese  |  June 26, 2020

Are you looking for some steaks to throw on the grill this weekend or on the Fourth of July? You may want to bring extra money — the pandemic is sending meat prices up sharply this month. High prices are starting to impact consumers, restaurants and anyone who cooks meat for their business. Tyrique Ramsey …

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Parents are having a hard time getting refunds for kids’ spring sports leagues

John Matarese  |  June 21, 2020

Thousands of youth sporting events were canceled this spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s tough enough that kids are missing a whole season of baseball or soccer. But now, soccer moms and dads everywhere are growing frustrated. Many paid hundreds of dollars for their kids to participate in spring soccer leagues that ended up …

10 items that are still hard to come by because of COVID-19 pandemic

John Matarese  |  June 13, 2020

Just when stores started filling their toilet paper shelves again, other items are suddenly in short supply. Most of them have nothing to do with cleaning. You’ll recall that first, it was hand sanitizer and Lysol wipes that became impossible to find back in February — which feels like it was three years ago in …

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Amazon Prime members are complaining about delays during the pandemic

John Matarese  |  June 13, 2020

The products and services mentioned below were selected independent of sales and advertising. However, Don't Waste Your Money may receive a small commission from the purchase of any products or services through an affiliate link to the retailer's website.If you are an Amazon Prime member, you may have noticed something different during the COVID pandemic. …

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Is HBO Max worth the $14.99 cost per month?

John Matarese  |  June 3, 2020

If you are someone who doesn’t get enough shows from Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Apple TV Plus and Hulu, now you have another option for TV programming. The already crowded streaming wars have a new challenger: HBO Max, which costs $14.99 a month. But why would you need it, especially if you already subscribe to …

Stores that won’t be reopening after the pandemic

John Matarese  |  June 1, 2020

After a two-month COVID-19 lockdown, stores all across the country are starting to reopen. But local malls may never look the same, because some stores that closed may never come back. Kelly Stevens runs an independent toy store. She plans to reopen in June, and hopes that shoppers come back quickly. “It’s a very tough …

The IRS wants people to return stimulus funds accidentally sent to dead people

John Matarese  |  May 24, 2020

Bruce Bachlor is coping with a lot these days after his beloved wife recently died from an illness. With money tight, Bachlor was looking forward to receiving a $1,200 stimulus check. “I was expecting a stimulus check to help with the bills,” Bachlor said. So he was thrilled to discover a deposit in his bank …

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What you need to know about the meat shortage

John Matarese  |  May 23, 2020

First, it was hand sanitizer. Then toilet paper and cleaning products. Now, some of the biggest staples of American dinner tables — beef, pork and chicken — are suddenly in short supply. Shoppers say they have found meat coolers more empty in recent days, despite signs limiting customers to two packs of meat or chicken …

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Stuck in limbo: Why some young adults and students aren’t getting stimulus checks

John Matarese  |  May 17, 2020

By now, nearly 100 million Americans have received or will soon get a stimulus check. But millions of other people who desperately need money will not be able to participate in this part of the rebound. Daniel Barnes is among them. He is doing odd jobs right now, a month after being laid off from …

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Don’t be scammed into buying fake ‘coronavirus treatments’

John Matarese  |  May 16, 2020

While standing in long lines at grocery stores in recent weeks, shoppers may have seen the National Enquirer headline shouting, “Coronavirus Cures Finally Found!” If that’s true, why is everyone fighting over toilet paper and staying home? The reality is that doctors say there is no known cure for COVID-19 yet. Dr. Carl Fichtenbaum, infectious …

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How to avoid being duped into buying fake Charmin toilet paper

John Matarese  |  May 8, 2020

If you are struggling to find hand sanitizer, face masks or toilet paper, ads on Facebook and Instagram can be very tempting during the COVID-19 pandemic. But one man has a cautionary tale. Ben Hart thought it was his lucky day when he spotted a pop-up Facebook ad for 30 rolls of Charmin for $40. …

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Here’s what you need to know about getting Ticketmaster concert refunds

John Matarese  |  May 8, 2020

People everywhere are looking at tickets for upcoming concerts and wondering if their favorite artist’s scheduled show will actually happen. Some tours have been canceled outright. Others have postponed to a fall date. Many music fans, looking at the hundreds of dollars they have spent on shows in limbo, would just like a refund. But …

What to do if you can’t pay your bills because of the coronavirus pandemic

John Matarese  |  May 6, 2020

For many of us, rent, mortgage, car payment and other bills are coming due again. But what about those who are out of work amid the coronavirus pandemic and can’t pay those bills? Many families have yet to receive their stimulus check or have not yet received an unemployment check, leaving their bank accounts on …

What you need to know about getting a refund from VRBO

John Matarese  |  May 4, 2020

Millions of Americans are now canceling their spring and summer travel plans. Most are getting refunds. But if you booked through Vrbo — Vacation Rentals By Owner — it’s complicated. Kathy Saalfeld is one such frustrated renter. She spends her days now tending to her spring flowers at her home. Until COVID-19 hit, she was …

How to clean your workstation to kill germs

John Matarese  |  April 26, 2020

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, doctors advised everyone to wash their hands more and try not to touch things that other people have touched. But workspaces — even home workspaces — can pose a problem. Any desk can be full of mucky items. Luckily, there are simple steps to sanitize the area around home workspaces. Diamond …

What to know about getting a haircut or color during the pandemic

John Matarese  |  April 24, 2020

Need a haircut soon? Or maybe your roots are getting dark and not looking great on all those Zoom chats? Weeks into a mandatory salon shutdown in most states, some clients are wondering if they can get a cut and color. And stylists, who are going into their fourth week with no income, are grappling …

You might notice higher prices for beef and pork during your next grocery run

John Matarese  |  April 24, 2020

Grocery store supplies remain tight, with items from Tylenol to chicken in short supply. And it appears beef and pork could soon be added to the list. But at the same time we are finding less on the shelves, prices keep creeping up and we are paying a lot more for less. Remember when eggs …

How to check the status of your stimulus check

John Matarese  |  April 24, 2020

Still waiting for your stimulus check? If you you haven’t found the funds waiting in your bank account, you could be waiting a while for that $1,200 in stimulus money. Individuals without direct deposit of their tax refunds will have to wait for a paper check in the mail, which could take as long as …