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October 2023

Sign up for Consumer Reports app to take back control of your personal data

Permission Slip by CR, a free app from Consumer Reports, helps users regain control of their personal information and requests that companies delete or stop selling their data. The app is available on iOS and Android. Users can swipe through companies that may have their data, and with a tap, send a request for changes. Read more →

Free credit reports now permanently available each week

Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – the three national credit reporting agencies – are permanently extending a program that lets you check your credit report at the agencies once a week for no cost. Visit to request free copies of your credit reports, the Federal Trade Commission advises. Other sites may charge you or be fraudulent. Read more →

Be prepared for the unexpected: Advanced health care planning

Have you thought about the medical care you’d like to receive should you become unable to speak for yourself? Who would make medical decisions on your behalf? Are you prepared for the unexpected? Advanced health care planning allows adults to state their health care preferences and identify someone to speak on their behalf if they become unable to do so. Read more →

Are you and your home as safe as they can be from fires?

Today is the last day of Fire Prevention Week. I almost didn’t write anything because it upsets me so much every time I learn about a death in a fire. I’ve been writing about it for years. And, I’m not the only one. Still, deaths keep happening. From 2012 to 2021, the 10-year trend in the fire death rate per million population increased 18 percent in the United States. Read more →

Watch out for hidden fees

Junk fees are everywhere. The fees, which cost American families tens of billions of dollars each year, can strain any family budget. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which looks for junk fees when it examines financial institutions, found the following during its reviews between February and August 2023: Read more →

Watch out for student loan debt relief companies that cheat consumers

Paying off student loans is bad enough without being ripped off by a dishonest company. Some companies pretend to be affiliated with the Department of Education, charge illegal junk fees, and lure students with repayment programs and loan forgiveness that don’t exist. The FTC is banning two student loan debt relief companies for these illegal activities Read more →

How to clean your yard waste, garbage, and recycling containers

After one of my yard work helpers scolded me for having dirty yard waste, garbage, and recycling containers, because there were ants on the lids of a couple of them, I decided I’d clean them. Here are my tips: Use the jet function on your hose nozzle to clean the inside and outside of the containers. Tip the containers over on the grass. Read more →

Two rolling liquid candies recalled after child’s death

History repeats itself as a new product causes a child’s death. It’s liquid candy sold in a container like roll-on deodorant, which children lick off the rolling ball. Cocco Candy and KGR Distribution are recalling about 145,800 Cocco Candy Rolling Candy containers. The candy’s rolling ball can detach from the container into a child’s mouth. Read more →

California bans four dangerous food additives

It’s important to be aware what’s in the food you eat for the best health. For years, I’ve been concerned about the food additive Red Dye No. 3. Banned in Europe and only banned in candied cherries in the United States, it’s finally getting some needed regulatory attention here. Red Dye No. 3 is one of four chemicals banned. Read more →

It’s time to see if you can get better rates for your savings and checking accounts

About a year ago, I got the idea that I needed to transfer my emergency fund of $20,000 from the local credit union where it was in a money market fund because the yield was low, 0.54 percent. In a year, the dividends paid were $49.32. I finally got around to it in July. After research, I selected a money market mutual fund at Vanguard. Read more →