Bill Brooks

You’re a winner! (No, you aren’t)

September 17, 2018 at 5:00 am

Every year, just like the swallows returning to the old mission at San Juan Capistrano, in the late summer and early fall Publishers Clearing House deluges consumers with TV ads and email spam attempting to lure them into entering their swe...

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When financial pressure squeezes your brain

September 13, 2018 at 5:00 am

Debts and liens are not the same! This week I had a consumer call me with a real problem. The consumer had gone through filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, then tried selling their home to cash out the equity and start over. Not so fast: There w...

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Consumer advice: Beware of hinky credit card settings and check scams

September 10, 2018 at 5:00 am

ABU & COF COULD COST YOU: A consumer called me recently with a new wrinkle that every credit or debit card user needs to be aware of. The story is this: The consumer spotted a couple of charges on his credit card that were fraudulent. H...

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Consumer advice: Small businesses make big targets

September 06, 2018 at 5:00 am

A local business got a decent-sized order for its product from a company in a Middle Eastern country. The name of the country is not important. What IS important is that orders from any foreign country, particularly if your firm hasn’t done...

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As scams go, this is one of the breast

September 03, 2018 at 5:00 am

Katherine called me the other day from an outfit named the American Breast Cancer Support Association. She was soliciting donations. They were calling using a 208 area code. When I asked her where she was really calling from, she admitted s...

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Consumer advice: Getting sick over prescription recalls

August 30, 2018 at 5:00 am

Some “lots” of a commonly prescribed medicine, effective in treating high blood pressure, are being recalled by the FDA. This recall is for the drug Hydrochorothiazide, in 12.5 mg tablets. The problem is, a small number of “lots” have been ...

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If it walks like a scam and talks like a scam ...

August 27, 2018 at 5:00 am

There are many ways you can tell communication is a scam. Here are a few of them, in no particular order: 1. If the offer sounds too good to be true. Some consumer advocates say “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” I replace ...

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Consumer advice: Area under scam assault with false arrest calls

August 23, 2018 at 5:00 am

I’ve had more than 40 calls this week from consumers who have received calls — some robo calls and some in person — from individuals claiming to be from various agencies of the federal government. These people are attempting to scare the da...

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Left out in the cold (water)

August 20, 2018 at 5:00 am

About three years ago, a consumer, not a member of Kootenai County Electric co-op, bought a super duper brand new water heater from Kootenai Electric Cooperative. Because he was not a member (he lives in the Silver Valley), he had to pay mo...

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Left out in the cold (water)

August 20, 2018 at 5:00 am

About three years ago, a consumer, not a member of Kootenai County Electric co-op, bought a super duper brand new water heater from Kootenai Electric Cooperative. Because he was not a member (he lives in the Silver Valley), he had to pay mo...

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