December 23, 2012
Regarding "Looking Good" by Christopher Reynolds, Dec. 9: We have skied at Mammoth for more than 35 years and have never had a disappointing experience. The town has reasonable accommodations and restaurants. The beautiful desert drive from L.A. is six to seven hours, but it gives your body a chance to acclimate to the high elevation, and even in a winter storm the roads are snow-free, most of the time. Mammoth built its reputation on a great mountain with state-of-the-art lifts, superb grooming, great runs for beginners to experts and an attitude that if it makes the ski experience exceptional, people will come.
December 9, 2012 |
If you have the money to travel, you'll want to spend it the way you want to spend it. That means making sure rip-off artists keep their mitts off your dough. With this in mind, the members and editors of travel website VirtualTourist have compiled a list of the worst travel scams and schemes and how to avoid them. Pickpockets: Pickpockets no longer limit themselves to the simple "bump and grab. " VirtualTourist members mentioned that in many instances, pickpockets are working in teams: While one shows you a gold ring or points out mustard on your shirt, another cohort is stealing your wallet.
December 3, 2012 |
A very kind woman in her 80s I knew was once persuaded to part with a towering sago palm growing in her yard for $300 -- maybe 10 times less than it was worth -- by some men who knocked on her door. The men were busy digging a trench around the plant when relatives returned and halted the transaction. She had trusted the strangers and was nearly bilked by them -- a perfect example of the kind of thing that happens disproportionately to older people, be it via charity scams, "utility workers" who are actually burglars or bogus travel package deals.
December 2, 2012 |
If someone comes to your door selling home security systems, be wary: They could be breaking the law and they could be trying to scam you, according to the state Department of Consumer Affairs. Key things to know: • Anyone selling home alarm systems door-to-door in California is required to have passed a criminal background check and have been licensed by the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services. But in reality, warned the consumer agency, many sellers have done neither.
November 20, 2012 |
Were you suspicious? Were you not just a tad nervous about hedge-fund billionaire Steven Cohen buying the Dodgers? There were certainly reasons to be, even after local extravagantly rich guy Patrick Soon-Shiong joined the Cohen bid. Some were disappointed Cohen was swept aside at the last minute by an aggressive $2.15-billion bid by the Guggenheim Baseball Group, a initially misnamed the “Magic Johnson-led group.” Cohen's hedge...
November 18, 2012 |
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. In addition to good times with family and friends, the holiday season brings a number of potential threats for consumers. Here is some advice, provided by the Better Business Bureau. Watch your wallet - Don't become so distracted when making purchases that you leave your purse, wallet or shiny new iPhone unattended; it takes just a moment for a thief to swoop in and ruin your day. Also, do not leave your credit cards in open view for too long.
November 15, 2012 |
It's a small matter, I know, compared with the historic issues now obsessing the commentariat, such as the fiscal cliff and how many mistresses and admirers David H. Petraeus could keep in the air simultaneously. But before we say goodbye to Campaign 2012, I would just like to point out that the entire drama of a close election, as played out in the media on election night, is basically fake. Like broadcasters presenting baseball games in the early days of radio, the television networks know who's going to win the game and more or less how it's going to play out, inning by inning.
November 4, 2012 |
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Hurricane Sandy -- The Justice Department and FBI are warning consumers to be careful when making donations intended to help victims of Sandy. Here are some other tips: --Do not respond to spam emails or click on any links in the emails and instead seek out reputable organizations on their websites. Most reputable charities have websites that end with “.org” instead of “.com.” --Do not respond to high-pressure solicitations; reputable organizations do not use coercive tactics.
October 28, 2012 |
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Grandparent scam -- This scheme has been highlighted before in this space, but it's so common it's worth sounding the alarm again. There have been numerous reports about bad people trying to trick older Americans into giving them money by calling and pretending to be relatives, often grandchildren, who are in desperate need of money because of a fabricated emergency. In some cases, it can be for bail or to repair a car. Consumer advocates caution that anyone who receives such a call should ask questions that an imposter would not be able to answer correctly -- the date of their mother's birthday or the city they were born in, for instance.
October 21, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - No one wants to take the blame for the housing bust in this political season, but scammers and rip-off artists in the hundreds are working overtime to siphon dollars out of the wreckage of the crash and its still-vulnerable victims. You've probably heard about the loan-modification predators who promise financially ailing homeowners that they'll prevent or forestall foreclosures - but are really after thousands of dollars in fees, for which they do nothing. Now the second-largest source of mortgage money in the country - Freddie Mac - is warning about a troubling wave of post-crash fraud: scammers who illegally rent out foreclosed and for-sale homes to unsuspecting consumers.