Get an accidental Venmo deposit? Beware of this scam

John Matarese  |  October 13, 2021

Do you use money transfer apps like Venmo, Zelle or Cash app? If so, the Better Business Bureau is issuing an alert about a scam it first started seeing last year and is now receiving complaints about almost daily. It has to do with an “accidental” deposit into your account – which is not accidental …

Beware of DeWalt, Milwaukee power tool scams

John Matarese  |  September 15, 2021

Many shoppers will be trying to get a head start on the holiday shopping season this year, with predictions of shortages as Christmas approaches. But if you are looking to get a jump on buying someone a tool kit, beware of the power tool scam. Not sure what to buy your dad? In many cases, …

Rental scams explode in tight housing market

John Matarese  |  September 9, 2021

With homes and apartments so tough to find this year, many renters are desperate to find anything. That’s how one woman ended falling victim to a rental scam. Mariah Dates had no luck finding a rental home until a cute two-bedroom house popped up on Facebook Marketplace for just $700 a month. “I emailed the …

Get ready for toy shortages and price hikes

John Matarese  |  September 8, 2021

We’ve seen all the price hikes in stores this year and by now, we are used to product shortages. But both problems are about to hit toys just as the shopping season starts. Why? Forbes magazine blames a pandemic-related shipping container crisis, with Chinese ports backed up and shipping fees at all-time highs. Shipping containers …

Why you may find half-empty racks at clothing stores right now

John Matarese  |  August 31, 2021

Shoppers are ready to restock their closets for the fall and winter, but many are asking, “Where’s all the clothing?” Kristin Sterling was trying to do some school shopping at TJ Maxx. Inside, she found a much smaller selection than she has seen before. “I’ve been looking for baby items, as well as for a …

How to score a deal on a car, truck or SUV in 2021

John Matarese  |  August 31, 2021

This has been the toughest year in memory for buying a car, truck or SUV. New vehicles are scarce, and used cars are selling for record prices. If you are looking for a new pickup truck or SUV, be prepared to take whatever the dealer has. So, maybe you are considering a used vehicle instead? …

Money and Tax Return

Why millions of tax refunds are still delayed

John Matarese  |  August 13, 2021

Millions of taxpayers still have not received their 2021 tax refund and are growing frustrated with a lack of information from the IRS. Refunds that used to arrive in two weeks are now three months late, with no updates as to when they might go out. Mike Seidenman is among those who are frustrated. He …

Delta variant threatening fall and winter travel plans

DWYM Staff  |  August 5, 2021

Just weeks ago, Americans were preparing to travel, booking airline tickets, casino trips and winter cruises. Now, a resurgence of COVID-19 due to the delta variant is threatening the return to travel normalcy. So what should prospective travelers do now? Each day the headlines are worrisome when it comes to fall and winter travel: Mask …

Bars are now facing a liquor shortage

John Matarese  |  July 30, 2021

With all the stress of the pandemic, many got a bit of relief from an adult beverage. However, now there’s a liquor shortage. Molly Wellman is a sought-after mixologist (an expert bartender) who has noticed some popular brands are getting hard to find. “There’s shortages everywhere,” she said, while mixing a negroni. “It has gotten …

Maui is overrun by tourists right now, so you may want to reconsider travel plans

John Matarese  |  July 30, 2021

As Americans hit the road and take to the skies again this summer after the long pandemic, many are making plans to visit Hawaii. But one Hawaiian island is now asking airlines to slow down their return because they can’t handle the sudden boom in tourists. Normally, Hawaii welcomes tourists as a major source of …

Some used cars now cost more than new versions

John Matarese  |  July 26, 2021

Savvy shoppers have always purchased used cars and trucks instead of new ones to save thousands of dollars. But in this crazy year, some used cars now cost more than a new version. The price of used cars has gone up in 2021 because of soaring demand and the computer chip shortage that has been …

what affects your credit score

How to request a flexible work schedule as offices reopen

John Matarese  |  July 22, 2021

For millions of workers, this summer is bringing a return to the office after 14 months of working from home during the pandemic. But some people are not ready for it, having become comfortable working remotely and taking care of children or pets while working. Others are growing worried about catching the delta variant of …

7 common car maintenance myths AAA wants us to stop believing

DWYM Staff  |  July 15, 2021

As we head out on summer vacations, many of us check the oil and look over the car before we go. But some car maintenance tips that mom and dad taught us, that we’ve assumed for years, are actually just myths. That’s according to a new AAA report called Debunking Common Myths about Car Maintenance. …

Mercari is a popular new way to buy and sell stuff—here’s what you need to know

John Matarese  |  July 9, 2021

Watch out eBay, Etsy, and Facebook Marketplace: There’s a new kid getting a lot of interest. More and more buyers and sellers are turning to Mercari, with its lower fees and ease of selling. If you are looking to buy or sell used household items, clothing, jewelry, or crafts, Mercari has seen its popularity soar …

The lumber price bubble is finally bursting

John Matarese  |  July 9, 2021

It appears that the lumber bubble has finally burst. Lumber prices are finally coming back down to earth, following a spring that saw prices double — and then double again. Lumber futures fell more than 40% in June as consumer demand dried up for $50 and $60 sheets of plywood. Last year, those sheets of …

Bounty Paper Towels, 9/2014,

Forget inflation, now we’re dealing with something called ‘shrinkflation’

John Matarese  |  July 2, 2021

We’ve all heard about inflation this year as the price of homes, cars, steel and even things like chicken wings soar in price. But another newly relevant term, “shrinkflation,” means that not only are people paying more, but they are often getting less in return. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says year-to-year: Gas prices are …

Rental car shortage means high prices and canceled cars

John Matarese  |  July 1, 2021

Are you planning to travel this summer? If that plan involves a rental car, you may want to double or even triple-check that rental. That’s because there is a worsening rental car shortage that nearly canceled one family’s trip. Angie McIntosh and her family arrived safely at their vacation condo on Florida’s panhandle, but they …

Hotel rates are rising again as people start to travel

John Matarese  |  June 11, 2021

Planning a summer trip? With demand surging, hotels are raising rates. CNBC reports that average hotel rates in Cancun are now $205 a night, up from $45 a year ago when few people were traveling. One of the few areas where rates are still low is New York City, as many tourists have yet to …

Rent hikes are back: What can tenants do?

John Matarese  |  June 6, 2021

It’s not just home prices that are rising to wild levels in 2021. Rents are following them up, and some tenants say higher rates may force them to move. Barbara Hill-Kelley is among the many tenants hit with rent hikes this year. She opened her door the other day to find a note posted that …

Will there be another stimulus check?

John Matarese  |  June 4, 2021

Many of us have spent the last of those $1,400 stimulus checks that arrived earlier this spring. So, will there be a fourth stimulus soon? Or was that all there is? Just like a morning cup of coffee, Americans are getting used to those “stimmy checks,” as they are now fondly called. Individuals earning less …

Amazon Sidewalk opt out: How to make sure your Wi-Fi isn’t being shared with your neighbors

John Matarese  |  June 4, 2021

A new feature from Amazon is raising privacy concerns. That’s because it wants to share your Wi-Fi signal with your neighbors, and some homeowners are saying that’s one step too far. Amazon is coming into our homes more every day, like it or not. Remember the controversy two years ago over Amazon Key, where an …

Waiving home inspection and contingencies? Buyers beware

John Matarese  |  June 1, 2021

The housing market is so hot that desperate buyers are now dropping contingencies and inspections in the hopes of submitting a winning bid. When 10 people are making offers on the same home, buying it “as is” can make an offer more competitive. But one couple learned why that can be a bad idea, and …

8 jobs that are making a comeback this year

John Matarese  |  June 1, 2021

There is good news this spring for people who lost their jobs during the pandemic or are just looking for an opportunity to advance. Many companies are hiring and are offering all sorts of bonuses and incentives, as business rebounds in 2021. Morgan Baylor, like many other restaurant workers, found herself filing for unemployment last …

Parking violators are embarrassed by the ‘sticker of shame’

John Matarese  |  May 27, 2021

Ever park illegally? That usually means a ticket or a tow, but some lot owners are now switching to the “sticker of shame.” Joe Frankenhoff received one and is furious. He has a picture on his phone of a large fluorescent sticker that had been slapped on the window of his truck. “This green sticker …

Some old toys and baseball cards are soaring in value right now

John Matarese  |  May 26, 2021

Do you have any old toys or dolls in your basement or closets that you haven’t checked in years? You may want to dust them off, because the toys of our youth are becoming super collectibles during this COVID-19 pandemic. It’s not just houses, lumber, used cars and groceries taking a big jump this year. …

This scary text scam claims your bank account is locked for fraud

John Matarese  |  May 21, 2021

Some call it the most dangerous bank scam ever: A text or phone call from your bank stating your account has been locked for fraud. That’s scary enough. But if you fall for this slick scam, it’s even scarier. Michelle Hoeting got a text message on her phone the other day and immediately started to …

Chicken wing shortage: Why restaurants are running out

John Matarese  |  May 19, 2021

Buffalo wings are as American as a cold beer when watching football, but suddenly these delicacies — usually served with celery and ranch or blue cheese dressing — are in short supply. Many restaurants that sell wings are now struggling with higher prices and short supplies. Restaurant owner Jason Esterkamp said the same labor shortage …

Why lumber prices are soaring

John Matarese  |  May 18, 2021

To anyone planning a home improvement project, an addition or thinking about building a new home: Buyer beware. The price of lumber is hitting all-time highs. Larry Parker just experienced it. He walked into Lowe’s the other day to buy a sheet of OSB plywood for a home project he was doing at his home. …

Buying furniture? You could have a long wait

John Matarese  |  May 17, 2021

Are you thinking of buying some new furniture for your home, perhaps with your recent tax refund or stimulus check? The COVID pandemic has caused a nationwide kitchen appliance shortage, but it turns out the furniture shortage may be even worse. Melissa Taylor showed us via Zoom her couch damaged by a water leak last …

Why thousands of new Ford pickups are sitting in a parking lot and can’t be sold

John Matarese  |  May 14, 2021

It’s getting harder every week to find new pickup trucks. Ford has just announced it built only half its normal amount of F-150 pickups in March due to parts shortages. And dealers are getting calls from people all over the region if they advertise that a new loaded F Series truck has just shown up …

Secrets for winning a house in this super-hot market, according to real estate agents

John Matarese  |  May 13, 2021

Thinking of buying or selling a home in 2021? In normal times, when you’re shopping for a home, you take your time, look at several homes, visit Sunday open houses, and decide what fits your needs. But these are not normal times. Young parents Jonathan and Tiffany Moore have been outbid on three houses this …

New car or used car? Sometimes buying new can be smarter

John Matarese  |  May 3, 2021

You probably remember your dad telling you to always buy a used car, because they are so much cheaper than new. That’s not always the case anymore in this topsy-turvy pandemic year. “We’ve all heard this: ‘Hey, you lose 20-30% of the car’s value when you drive it off the lot,'” said Karl Brauer of …

"We're hiring" sign at CVS Pharmacy

Labor shortage: Companies can’t find employees

John Matarese  |  April 30, 2021

It’s “help wanted” — everywhere. As the economy rebounds, businesses from restaurants to retailers to theme parks are finding it hard to find people to work right now. Meggan Jones, who recently found a medical job after seven months out of work, said she was stunned by how many open positions she found job hunting …

Watch out for scams offering money to take a survey about your COVID-19 vaccine

John Matarese  |  April 26, 2021

If you’ve received your COVID-19 vaccine or scheduled an appointment to get it soon, be on the lookout for scammers seeking to target you afterward. Jack and Renee Grady were thrilled to get their second vaccine shot a few weeks ago. They got an email from Pfizer the same evening. “It said ‘Pfizer Study’ on …

Toilet paper roll in bathroom

Why paper and lumber prices are soaring in 2021

John Matarese  |  April 23, 2021

What do toilet paper and lumber to build your home have in common? Wood. And prices of everything that uses wood are heading up sharply. If you think toilet paper is a bit pricey now, ever since last year’s shortage, it’s about to go up again. Kimberly Clark has just announced it will be hiking …

Why you may get a bill for your ‘free’ COVID-19 vaccine shot

John Matarese  |  April 23, 2021

The federal government is spending billions of dollars on the COVID-19 vaccines, which, in return, means the shot is supposed to be free for those who get it. So why are some people being charged? That’s what some are wondering after they received bills for their shots. Tim and Vickie Gobin were excited to receive …

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. …