Stories written by Al Sunshine

Are foreclosure victims getting their fair share?

foreclosure

Checks earmarked for thousands of Florida foreclosure victims are finally in the process of being sent out and hundreds of millions of additional dollars more are being earmarked for new housing programs statewide. Yet there is a growing debate about where most of the money is going and if foreclosure victims are really getting their […]

Cyber-thieves increasingly use the Internet to target victims

We rely on them more and more every day, whether we use a smart phone, laptop or a tablet computer. And we’re not alone. The latest cyber-crime figures from the U.S. Department of Justices’ I-C-3, Internet-Computer Crime’s Task Force shows cyber-thieves are increasingly turning to the Internet and computer and looking for new victims to […]

Increased use of smart phones, tablets leading to higher identity-theft rates

There’s a perfect storm that could cause problems for South Florida consumers. Our accelerated use of smart phones and mobile computers (tablets) has led to some of the highest identity-theft rates in the country. As it turns out, some of the most popular mobile apps that could be in your phone or portable devices could […]

Congressman proposes law to help stop identity theft

For years, Congressman Joe Garcia had all his financial information publicly posted as part of his campaign filings. Now he said that as a result he has been a multiple victim of identity theft. “You have to understand this can happen to anyone,” the Miami Democrat explained. “It happened to me.” Garcia announced on Apr. […]

The economy can be like rollercoaster ride

In our consumer-based economy, when shoppers feel like spending, business gets a boost. But when they worry about rising prices and stagnant salaries, business usually slows down. And as is usually the case, Wall Street reacts accordingly. Brickell investor Herman Valerius is happy that Wall Street has been setting new records recently. But he also […]

There’s good reason to have suspicions about Citizens

If you are a South Florida homeowner, you’re likely in the state’s Citizens Insurance program. If you are, you should be aware of an exclusive CBS4 Investigation that found hundreds of thousands of policyholders might have been overcharged by the state-run company. Some Insurance Industry insiders believe the consumer losses could be in the millions […]

Rising gas prices could put brakes on economy

Miami salesman Miguel Rodriguez couldn’t find gas for much less than about $3.99 a gallon on Presidents Day. “It’s not easy,” he admits. “Four dollars a gallon is very difficult to work with.” As it turns out, South Florida consumers increasingly are feeling the effects of more than a month’s worth of rising gas prices. […]

IRS promises to crack down on tax scammers

Here’s some rare good news for taxpayers. The acting head of the IRS has announced a massive national crackdown to prevent billions of dollars in taxpayer refunds from being stolen by scammers nationwide. And the agency also is apologizing to identity theft victims over how long it is taking for scammed taxpayers to get their […]

Consumers suffer from backlash of holiday bill

Retailers agree that this past holiday shopping season was better than the previous year. However, as the U.S. economy improved, the influx of post holiday bills also may be a lot worse than past years. The main question for a lot of consumers now is: “How can you pay them off as painlessly as possible?” […]

Computer crooks now have ways to target us on search engines

These days, most people have enough common sense to be cautious about opening emails from someone we don’t know and know enough not to open suspicious attachments. But now computer crooks have found a way to target us on search engines. Jim McGrath’s computer recently was held for ransom. While searching online, his PC froze, […]

How you can generously spread Christmas cheer on a budget in 2013

Although spending during the holiday season is expected to increase, your debt doesn’t have to. Even if you took advantage of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, I have some helpful tips to help you get the most bang for your buck next Christmas season: • Shop after 6 p.m. the evening before a […]

Florida’s restaurant inspections: Major changes coming on Jan. 1

Florida restaurant inspectors recently announced some major changes in how they will start checking out kitchens. These changes are meant to improve food safety statewide and do a better job guaranteeing safer food. Starting Jan. 1, changes will be made in the way restaurants are inspected and how consumers are warned about possible allergens in […]

How you can generously spread Christmas cheer on a budget

Now that we’ve enjoyed our Thanksgiving turkey and pumpkin pie, Christmas is just weeks away. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), if the Christmas projections are accurate, total sales for the year will be $586.1 billion — about $23 billion more than last year’s sales. Although spending this holiday season is expected to increase, […]

Here are some hints to protect yourself from tax refund scams

According to United States Attorney Wifredo Ferre, tax refund fraud has been keeping federal prosecutors busy around South Florida. “Identity theft and tax refund scams are like a tsunami that is barreling towards us,” Ferre told me. For scam victims like South Dade’s Lauri King, waiting for help from the IRS is getting harder and […]