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Local students learn how to combat scams, fraud

Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2018 @ 1:08 PM

Students in the Miami Valley are learning to recognize fraud and scams, and finding out how they can protect themselves from these potential money pitfalls.

Several schools in our area teach a free consumer life skills and financial literacy curriculum called FoolProof. 

The goal of the web-based, interactive coursework is to teach a healthy dose of skepticism in a scam-filled world.

Related: "Shimming” is the latest threat to shoppers

Kettering, Xenia, Franklin, Stebbins, Greenville and Lebanon high schools offer FoolProof classes.

News Center 7 consumer reporter Rachel Murray will find out more about what the students learn and what they can teach us about avoiding scams and fraud. 

Watch tonight on WHIO-TV at 5pm.

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Avoid the biggest mistake in estate planning 

Published: Thursday, May 17, 2018 @ 10:16 AM
Updated: Thursday, May 17, 2018 @ 7:00 PM

When it comes to finalizing your plans for what happens to your assets after you die, there is one simple mistake many people make - which could put your plans in jeopardy, according to a Centerville C.P.A. A will is the key first step, but only about half of adults between the ages of 50 and 64 have one, according to Mark Bradstreet, C.P.A. with Bradstreet and Co. 

For those that do have their wishes planned out, the biggest mistake they make is not communicating those wishes to family members. “To not let anyone know where your will and documents are - if you don’t do that, then for all intents and purposes, you never had a will,” said Bradstreet. “If you die without one, the state uses their own rules to effectively come up with a will for you.”

RELATED: Planning for your pets after you die 

Having a will is clearing the first hurdle, but what comes next is what really helps your heirs after you're gone, according to News Center 7's Rachel Murray. A will lays out who gets what when you're gone - your home, cash, vehicle, and heirlooms - and not having one can be a disaster. "There was a lot of legal difficulties associated with the estate - one lost her home and you can't access bank accounts, things like that," said Don Cook from Mechanicsburg who has many children and grandchildren. 

To avoid any confusion after you're gone, Bradstreet recommends writing a letter to hand-out to trusted family members that include, "where your will is at, who has got it, who is your attorney, safe deposit keys - a lot of people will go ahead and list out their different assets, and their different account numbers."

OTHER NEWS: This app may stop robocalls for good

Sharing your wishes with family can be tough. "Most people, including my wife, doesn't like to talk about it and I don't like to talk about it either mortality, but I want to make sure that my kids are taken care of," said John Noyen of West Chester. 

There are many online forms to create a will yourself, but Bradstreet recommends consulting with an attorney who will help you make sure your wishes are carried out when the time comes.

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This app may stop robocalls for good 

Published: Wednesday, May 16, 2018 @ 12:19 PM

At home, at work, on your smartphone- robocalls are targeting people at all hours of the day and night.

Michael McCann is fed up with all the robocalls especially the sneaky ones with “spoofed” phone numbers. 

“The local ones make you feel like it’s somebody you know within the area,” said McCann in an interview with our sister station WPXI. 

Now, there’s a way to fight back. 

An app called RoboKiller claims to stop the scammers in their tracks and even allows you to exact some revenge. 

RELATED: Who’s behind robocalls? 

The app won a contest sponsored by the F.T.C. and is billed as a highly intelligent and constantly-growing database which blocks hundreds of thousands of phony numbers. 

If a scammer calls you from a new phone number RoboKiller remembers the scammers voice and can add that new number to their blocked calls list, according to RoboKiller V.P. Ethan Garr.

You can also have a little fun with the scammers with a feature called Answerbot.

You choose from a list of sarcastic, interactive recordings which answer the call and have long conversations with scammers to waste their time.

“They think they are talking to a human and it drives them insane,” said Garr.

ROBOCALLS: Local man copes with a new twist on the problem 

Some Answerbot conversations have lasted 40 minutes, Garr said, and that’s 40 fewer minutes for the scammer to try to steal other people’s money. 

McCann tested RoboKiller for a week and he was impressed.

“So far so good. I’ve had no robocalls,” said McCann, “I think it’s very important to have something like this if you want to make sure your privacy is protected.” 

The RoboKiller app costs $24.99 a year. 

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Millennials bypass starter homes, new studies show

Published: Thursday, May 10, 2018 @ 11:42 AM
Updated: Thursday, May 10, 2018 @ 6:12 PM

Millennials bypass starter homes, new studies show

A growing trend among millennials is expected to have a wider impact on the real estate market.

Studies and stats show that millennials are putting off buying a home. In fact, many are skipping a starter house altogether and saving up for a home they will live in into retirement, according to USA Today.  

RELATED: Why homes are selling lightning fast

Seventy-five percent of first-time home buyers would rather skip a starter home, according to a 2016 survey by Bank of America. 

Millennials lived longer at home or rented for a longer period of time, allowing them to save a larger down payment to purchase the home of their dreams, analysts said. They also purchased more homes last year than any other generation, according to the National Association of Realtors. 

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Gas prices could rise due to Trump’s withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal

Published: Tuesday, May 08, 2018 @ 10:55 AM
Updated: Tuesday, May 08, 2018 @ 6:40 PM

(image: Pexels)
(image: Pexels)

UPDATED @ 6:35 p.m.:

Gas prices could spike now that President Trump announced withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.

“It a double negative to not have the deal and also have those prices go up,” said Tom Tudar of Dayton. 

Analysts say the move could remove a million barrels of oil a day from the global supply, according to News Center 7's Rachel Murray. 

Right now, the lowest gas prices in the Miami Valley can be found at a few stations in Springfield at $2.46 a gallon. 

To find the cheapest gas prices near you, go to whio.com and click on "Pump Patrol".

Many motorists in the U.S. are already paying three dollars or more for a gallon of gas, but the Miami Valley might be spared from hitting that benchmark.  

Right now, the national average price of $2.81 a gallon is 45 cents higher than a year ago, and prices are expected to increase, according to AAA.

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Motorists on the west coast and Idaho, Utah, and Pennsylvania are already paying three dollars a gallon for regular unleaded, with California drivers paying the highest amount, $3.63. 

The current average for the Dayton Metro area for regular gas is $2.61 up from $2.14 a year ago, and up four cents from last month, according to AAA stats.  

News Center 7 consumer reporter Rachel Murray will talk to a local AAA expert to find out why gas prices are rising and whether we can expect them to level off or decrease any time soon. 

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