Lindsay Wise

Sick: Scams prey on ‘Obamacare’ confusion

If a stranger claiming to be from the government calls to offer you an “Obamacare card” or threatens to throw you in jail unless you buy insurance, hang up the phone. It’s a scam. | 07/12/13 18:49:05 By - By Lindsay Wise

Troops allegedly misled by car loan program to get refunds

U.S. Bank and a Kentucky-based financial services provider agreed to refund $6.5 million to 50,000 military service members after federal regulators accused both companies of misleading borrowers about fees and costs associated with an auto loans program that targeted active-duty troops. | 06/27/13 18:42:15 By - By Lindsay Wise

Contractor responsible for Snowden’s security clearance investigated for inadequate background checks

The private company responsible for vetting Edward Snowden for a security clearance is under criminal investigation for systemic failure to adequately conduct background checks. | 06/20/13 18:57:16 By - By Lindsay Wise

Government could use metadata to map your every move

If you tweet a picture from your living room using your smartphone, you’re sharing far more than your new hairdo or the color of the wallpaper. You’re potentially revealing the exact coordinates of your house to anyone on the Internet. The GPS location information embedded in a digital photo is an example of so-called metadata, a once-obscure technical term that’s become one of Washington’s hottest new buzzwords. | 06/20/13 15:09:54 By - By Lindsay Wise and Jonathan S. Landay

High hopes for more exports, from chickens to cheese, as Obama heads to Europe

As President Barack Obama prepares to go to Northern Ireland on Sunday to promote a new trade pact with the European Union, hopes are running high for many U.S. businesses eager to squeeze more cash from one of the world’s most lucrative markets. | 06/14/13 15:36:41 By - By Rob Hotakainen and Lindsay Wise

Homeowners who used short sales find their credit sunk by computer glitch

Michael Son was just weeks away from closing on a three-bedroom ranch house in New Jersey last year when his lender called with bad news. | 06/12/13 15:31:46 By - By Lindsay Wise

Banks profiting from overdraft coverage plans, federal agency says

Overdraft protection often is a better deal for banks than for consumers, a new study by a federal watchdog agency reveals. | 06/11/13 00:00:00 By - By Lindsay Wise

Few options for online users to avoid spying, experts say

What can people do to protect their privacy from massive data-mining efforts by U.S. and other intelligence services? The answer is not much, short of going off the grid completely. | 06/07/13 18:48:09 By - By Lindsay Wise

Banks’ checking account disclosures vary widely, Pew study finds

Consumers need more clear and consistent policies from their banks in order to better understand checking accounts, avoid overdraft fees and resolve disputes, according to a report that for the first time ranks the largest financial institutions in the United States for the safety and transparency of the banks’ practices. | 05/30/13 17:16:07 By - By Lindsay Wise

Medical company declines to answer Senate questions on Medicare billing

The president and chief executive officer of a medical equipment company invoked the Fifth Amendment at Senate hearing Wednesday, declining to answer questions about aggressive marketing tactics used to sell scooters, sleep apnea machines and other home medical supplies to Medicare recipients who may not need or want them. | 05/22/13 18:01:07 By - By Lindsay Wise

Despite sequester, high-level federal executives slated to get bonuses

An elite group of federal employees is set to receive cash bonuses despite this year’s automatic budget cuts, according to a report that a Senate subcommittee issued Friday. | 05/17/13 18:18:35 By - By Lindsay Wise

Senate considers: If no one’s behind the wheel, who’s driving?

Cars that steer themselves through bumper-to-bumper traffic will hit the market by the end of this year, and self-parking vehicles aren’t far behind. Fully autonomous models that don’t need human drivers at all are less than a decade from dealerships. But laws lag behind the rise of the robo-car. At a Senate hearing Wednesday, lawmakers grappled with the policy implications and risks. | 05/15/13 18:52:31 By - By Lindsay Wise

Medicare fraud targets seniors, scooters: ‘I don’t need it. I don’t want it.’

Dr. Charlotte Kennedy first became suspicious when she received a fax from a medical supply company asking her to authorize a back brace for a 92-year-old patient. She’d recently examined the patient, who never mentioned any back problems. In fact, the woman was an avid gardener. Kennedy had stumbled on a problem that cost Medicare – and taxpayers – $27 billion over the past four years. | 05/07/13 16:14:34 By - By Lindsay Wise

Senate approves online sales tax; House support isn’t so certain

A bill that would authorize states to collect sales taxes for online purchases easily passed the Senate on Monday with bipartisan support, but it faces a tougher hurdle in the House of Representatives. | 05/06/13 19:19:44 By - By Lindsay Wise

Senate bill may require paying sales tax for more online purchases

Sarah Bagby’s 35-year-old independent bookstore so far has weathered the advent of Internet shopping and e-books. Now Bagby, the owner of Watermark Books & Cafe in Wichita, Kan., is closely following debate in Congress over a bill that she says would help her stay competitive with online retailers who are able to undercut her prices by not charging state or local sales taxes. | 04/23/13 17:25:43 By - By Lindsay Wise

Timeline of bombing suspect’s capture

Thursday | 04/19/13 21:41:19 By -

Audit criticizes USAID on power project in Afghanistan

The U.S. goal of building a self-sufficient power network in Afghanistan is threatened by an expiring subsidy and poor project management by the U.S. Agency for International Development, according to a new federal audit. | 04/18/13 18:22:48 By - By Lindsay Wise

Web is awash in advice on making bombs, killing people

Terrorists don’t have to travel to a remote training camp – or even to the neighborhood library – to learn how to make a bomb. Step-by-step instructions are easily available online. | 04/17/13 20:15:35 By - By Lindsay Wise McClatchy Newspapers

Obama calls Boston Marathon bombing “act of terrorism” as FBI sets up hotline

Authorities are investigating the bombings at the Boston Marathon as an “act of terrorism,” said President Barack Obama on Tuesday. | 04/16/13 15:05:39 By - By Lindsay Wise, Lesley Clark and Jonathan Landay

Criticism of Sen. Roy Blunt’s role in agriculture provision illustrates concerns about Congress

Late last month, the Senate was under deadline pressure. The eleventh hour was approaching and Congress had to pass a stopgap budget bill to avert a federal government shutdown. The bill passed the Senate after a flurry of last-minute amendments on March 20. The House of Representatives approved it the next day. Buried in the 587-page package, a rider nicknamed the “farmer assurance provision” drew little notice. | 04/15/13 16:40:30 By - By Lindsay Wise

Big-box stores offering loans, other financial services

Need to refinance your mortgage? Just put it on your shopping list next time you visit Costco, alongside the jumbo paper towels. Big-box retail stores offer a growing number of financial services, from check cashing and reloadable pre-paid cards to small business loans and life insurance. But they aren’t subject to the same federal oversight as banks, and they might not always provide the same consumer protections. | 04/15/13 15:50:07 By - By Lindsay Wise

Come tax time, many refunds go to identity thieves

An epidemic of tax-related identity theft continues to plague the Internal Revenue Service despite efforts by the agency and law enforcement officials to combat the fraud, witnesses told a Senate panel Wednesday. | 04/10/13 19:03:33 By - By Lindsay Wise

In federal gay-marriage case, more than 1,100 benefits at stake

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act will have implications far beyond how much same-sex couples might owe in income and estate taxes. | 03/27/13 19:15:23 By - By Lindsay Wise

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts: We must cut food stamps to save them

Once hailed as the savior of food stamps, Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts has introduced a bill to cut $36 billion from the federal aid program over 10 years. | 03/21/13 17:22:09 By - By Lindsay Wise

Congress moves to keep sequester spending cuts – while easing impact on public

Just weeks after Washington nearly went to war over automatic spending cuts, Congress scripted a peaceful ending to the clash Thursday as it backed the reductions while giving government managers flexibility to minimize the impacts on the public by finding the savings elsewhere in their budgets. | 03/21/13 11:06:41 By - By David Lightman and Lindsay Wise

Mobile wallet technology raises privacy, security concerns

Your smart phone already serves as a portable office, media player, newspaper, GPS, camera and social network hub. Now it can replace your wallet, too. | 03/18/13 16:12:15 By - By Lindsay Wise

Republicans question structure of consumer agency as they query nominee Richard Cordray

Richard Cordray received polite questions – and even a few compliments – from a panel of U.S. senators at his nomination hearing Tuesday on Capitol Hill. After two hours of testimony, however, his chances for being confirmed as director of Washington’s newest consumer watchdog agency looked grim. | 03/12/13 17:37:15 By - By Lindsay Wise

Statement glosses over Vicky Hartzler's votes on Violence Against Women Act

At first glance it seemed as though Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri had broken with the majority of her fellow conservatives in the House of Representatives last week to renew an expanded version of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, which funds programs to assist survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse. | 03/06/13 16:48:07 By - By Lindsay Wise

As sequestration nears, federal workers brace for furloughs, vent anger at politicians

As a single dad with seven kids living at home, Bill Blevins is used to pinching every penny. The building engineer at the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing hasn’t had a cost-of-living pay raise in more than two years, even as his rent and insurance premiums went up. Now he and other federal workers across the country are bracing for possible unpaid furloughs as part of an $85 billion reduction in federal spending. | 02/28/13 19:30:13 By - By Lindsay Wise

Skeptics shine sunlight on tanning industry’s safety claims

A new association of tanning salon owners is trying to salvage the reputation of sun beds despite a broad consensus among doctors and researchers that the devices can cause cancer. | 02/27/13 14:36:51 By - By Lindsay Wise

Advocates work to expand 20-year-old Family and Medical Leave Act

Twenty years after the Family and Medical Leave Act became law, 4 in 10 workers aren’t eligible to take temporary, unpaid leave to recover from serious illnesses or to care for new children or sick relatives. | 02/05/13 17:49:10 By - By Lindsay Wise

Path social media app settles with FTC over privacy issue

A popular social-networking app has reached a settlement with federal regulators over allegations that it collected address book information from users’ mobile phones without their knowledge or consent, the Federal Trade Commission announced Friday. | 02/01/13 14:45:01 By - By Lindsay Wise

Court decision throws future of consumer protection agency in doubt

A cloud of uncertainty hovers over Washington’s newest consumer watchdog agency. | 01/30/13 18:05:37 By - By Lindsay Wise

Financial crisis has left 401(k)s vulnerable, so what now?

As the father of two college-age kids, Rob Harris knew that finding money to pay soaring tuition costs wasn’t going to be easy. Reluctant to saddle himself or his children with loans, the 55-year-old product development manager from Kansas City, Mo., tapped another source: his retirement savings. | 01/27/13 00:00:00 By - By Lindsay Wise

McCaskill again tries to ban earmarks

Sen. Claire McCaskill is making another run at ending earmarks after the Missouri Democrat tried but failed during her first term in Congress. McCaskill will reintroduce legislation today designed to halt the practice of earmarking, which enables lawmakers to designate funds for special projects back home without legislative scrutiny. | 01/24/13 12:15:17 By - Lindsay Wise

Sen. Claire McCaskill leaps hurdles to overhauling wartime contracting

When Claire McCaskill set out to crack down on waste and fraud in wartime contracting six years ago, the newbie Democratic senator from Missouri figured that finding ways to save taxpayer dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan would be a no-brainer project, even in the highly partisan halls of Congress. “I learned quickly that that was very naive,” she said in a recent interview. | 01/19/13 00:00:00 By - By Lindsay Wise

Kansas’ Black & Veatch, with history of problems in Afghanistan, now has another

An American contractor that came under fire several years ago for cost overruns and delays during the construction of a major U.S.-funded power plant in Afghanistan faces renewed criticism on another, much smaller project. | 01/19/13 00:00:00 By - By Lindsay Wise

Mortgage settlement will send billions to struggling homeowners

Almost 4 million homeowners might receive cash compensation and mortgage relief in a multi-billion-dollar settlement with 10 major banks, government regulators announced Monday. | 01/07/13 18:41:45 By - By Lindsay Wise and Kevin G. Hall

New rule puts cloak of privacy on children’s apps

Unbeknownst to the lucky children who unwrapped tablets or smartphones this holiday season, new rules issued in Washington to protect their privacy on those devices could have profound implications for the future of the Internet and mobile apps. | 12/28/12 16:17:12 By - By Lindsay Wise

Tice family pleads for help in return of journalist missing in Syria

The parents of missing American journalist Austin Tice made a heart-wrenching appeal for his safe return Thursday in an open letter addressed to his captors in Syria. | 12/20/12 18:54:34 By - By Lindsay Wise

New USDA rule would speed poultry-processing lines, worrying inspectors

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is poised to finalize major changes to the poultry slaughter-inspection process that critics warn could threaten food safety and harm workers. | 12/17/12 17:55:38 By - By Lindsay Wise

New poultry rule could harm workers, advocates say

Workplace safety experts say a U.S. Department of Agriculture proposal to increase line speeds at poultry plants could endanger the low-wage workers who are tasked with sorting and trimming inedible carcasses, a job that used to belong to federal inspectors. | 12/17/12 17:54:58 By - By Lindsay Wise

Federal budget cuts would hit consumer protection agencies

Automatic spending cuts triggered by the so-called fiscal cliff would slash a total of about $69 million from the annual budgets of three federal agencies tasked with protecting consumers. | 12/06/12 16:48:54 By - By Lindsay Wise

Dole watches vote on UN treaty on disabled

Former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, his 89-year old body now weakened by age, illness and war injuries, sat quietly in a wheelchair on the Senate floor Tuesday, watching the debate over a United Nations treaty on the rights of the disabled. | 12/05/12 10:59:36 By - Linsey Wise and Dave Helling

Holiday bargain-shopping online can be a confusing deal

Browsing for the best deal on the Internet during this holiday season can make even the savviest shopper feel like a high-stakes gambler. | 11/30/12 12:54:18 By - By Lindsay Wise

Regulators go after deceptive mortgage advertising

Federal regulators on Monday announced investigations into possible violations of the law by mortgage lenders and brokers suspected of false or deceptive advertising. | 11/19/12 17:54:48 By - By Lindsay Wise

McCaskill pushes tax increase for wealthy to avoid ‘fiscal cliff’

Republicans will have to accept some sort of tax increase in order to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said in her first interview since Election Day. | 11/14/12 19:48:34 By - By Lindsay Wise

Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran chosen to bring Senate back to GOP

Republican Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas ascended to the chairmanship of the National Republican Senatorial Committee on Wednesday in a unanimous vote by his colleagues on Capitol Hill. | 11/14/12 16:54:03 By - By Lindsay Wise

Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran eager to be national player for 2014

Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran is angling for a key leadership role in the Republican Party, a move that could catapult the 58-year-old politician from Plainville into the national spotlight. | 11/13/12 17:50:33 By - By Lindsay Wise

Parents of missing journalist Austin Tice speak to press in Beirut

The parents of missing American journalist Austin Tice appealed for information about their son Monday at a news conference in Beirut. | 11/12/12 15:20:04 By - By Lindsay Wise

Romney was unable to translate economic argument into a win

Mitt Romney staked his campaign on the economy, and the economy let him down. | 11/07/12 14:55:57 By - By David Lightman and Lindsay Wise

Who will pay the big bill that Sandy left?

Hurricane Sandy’s costs could run into the tens of billions of dollars, leaving state and local governments, federal agencies, utility providers and insurance companies to figure out how to split the bill. | 10/31/12 19:51:54 By - By Curtis Tate, Maria Recio and Lindsay Wise

Online-data companies try to pick your vote out of a crowd

Political campaigns are taking advantage of the same data-mining and consumer-profiling techniques that retailers commonly use to customize ads for certain audiences. | 10/31/12 18:15:14 By - By Lindsay Wise

Campaigns debate ‘binders full of women’

The women’s group that gave Mitt Romney binders of women’s resumes contested his version of the story on Wednesday, while Democrats worked to criticize his record, although Romney apparently named a comparable percentage of women to top spots as President Barack Obama. | 10/17/12 19:02:22 By - By Lindsay Wise

Conviction of Osama bin Laden’s driver tossed out, raising questions about other cases

A federal appeals court’s decision to toss the conviction of Osama bin Laden’s former driver could have implications for future prosecutions of terrorism suspects. | 10/16/12 18:29:59 By - By Lindsay Wise and Carol Rosenberg

Romney, Obama offer differing visions on financial consumer protection

Just 15 months into its existence, the federal government’s newest consumer watchdog agency faces an uncertain future. | 10/15/12 15:51:33 By - By Lindsay Wise

Biden comment on Libya feeds 2nd day of debate

Republicans on Friday seized on a debate remark by Vice President Joe Biden that seemed to contradict the Obama administration’s own position about last month’s fatal attack on U.S. diplomats in Libya. | 10/12/12 18:35:13 By - By Anita Kumar and Lindsay Wise

Equifax settles charges of improperly selling consumer data

One of the nation’s largest credit reporting agencies has agreed to pay $393,000 to settle charges that it improperly sold lists of consumers who were late on their mortgage payments, government regulators announced Wednesday. | 10/10/12 15:28:07 By - By Lindsay Wise

Romney foreign-policy speech takes tough tone but proposes few changes

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney slammed his rival’s international strategy as weak Monday in a speech at Virginia Military Institute. But many of the remarks in his critique didn’t pass the truth test, and despite his tough tone, the foreign-policy positions he outlined hewed close to those already held by President Barack Obama. | 10/08/12 18:38:08 By - By Lindsay Wise and Jonathan S. Landay

Five pre-9/11 al Qaida suspects are headed to United States

A British court on Friday agreed to send five accused terrorists to the United States to stand trial for a wide range of alleged crimes, including the 1998 bombings of two American embassies in East Africa that killed more than 220 people. | 10/05/12 19:04:59 By - By Lindsay Wise and Hannah Allam

JPMorgan Chase is sued in 2008 Bear Stearns mortgage case

A civil lawsuit against investment giant JPMorgan Chase, announced Tuesday in Washington by New York’s top prosecutor, is aimed at the root of the nation’s brutal 2008 financial crisis. Consumer advocates, however, questioned why it took so long and why prosecutors didn’t bring a criminal case. | 10/02/12 17:48:48 By - By Kevin G. Hall and Lindsay Wise

FTC cracks down on energy-efficiency ads, including some by firms Obama touted

The Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on what officials say is deceptive advertising by energy-efficient window manufacturers, including two companies that President Barack Obama lauded as part of his administration’s “green stimulus” initiative. | 10/02/12 14:34:23 By - By Lindsay Wise

American Express, accused of wrongdoing, to refund customers

American Express has agreed to refund $85 million to 250,000 customers after an investigation uncovered numerous violations of consumer protection laws, ranging from illegal late fees to age discrimination against credit card applicants, federal regulators said Monday. | 10/01/12 18:21:20 By - By Lindsay Wise

Study: Lenders may see a different credit score than you do

About one in five consumers are likely to receive credit scores that differ substantially from those used by lenders, according to a government study released Tuesday. | 09/25/12 17:07:10 By - By Lindsay Wise

Discover will refund $200 million to settle charges it tricked customers

Discover Bank will refund $200 million to more than 3.5 million cardholders to settle charges that its telemarketers used deceptive tactics to sell credit card “add-on” products, such as credit score tracking and identity theft protection. | 09/24/12 17:52:36 By - By Lindsay Wise

Coptic Christian who promoted anti-Muslim video drops from sight

An anti-Muslim activist who tipped an Egyptian newspaper reporter to the existence of an incendiary anti-Islam video, setting off a chain reaction that climaxed in the storming of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo last week, has dropped from sight. | 09/17/12 20:12:44 By - By Lindsay Wise

Bizarre YouTube clip ‘Innocence of Muslims’ infuriated faithful, baffled media

The mysterious movie that sparked furious protests at U.S. embassies across the Middle East this week might not even exist. | 09/13/12 19:52:01 By - By Lindsay Wise

Death of Sean Smith at Benghazi consulate brings reality to online gaming world

State Department official Sean Smith was chatting on the computer with a fellow online gamer Tuesday when attackers began gathering outside the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. | 09/12/12 19:18:46 By - By Lindsay Wise

Critics offer caution on consumer layaway programs

For cash-strapped parents determined to snag that trendy Furby robot or iPad Mini this Christmas, holiday layaways seem like a godsend: Reserve the toy now and pay later. | 09/11/12 14:57:59 By - By Lindsay Wise

Isaac, still dangerous, lumbers up Mississippi Valley

A weakened Isaac continued to wreak havoc along the Gulf Coast on Thursday as the slow-moving storm crept northward toward drought-parched states at just 9 mph. | 08/30/12 18:45:06 By - By Lindsay Wise

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