Gotchas / Consumer

Wells Fargo blocks customer account when she refuses to reveal details about retirement savings; bank says it’s just following the rules

Kristin Kalning called Wells Fargo bank with a simple issue last week — she wanted to change the mailing address on a small, decades-old IRA account.  Instead, she was peppered with what she felt were overly aggressive questions about her personal financial situation, and told she couldn’t do anything with [Keep reading]

Cybercrime / Privacy

Webcams involved in DDoS attack recalled; Chinese maker threatens legal action for ‘totally untrue’ accusations

It’s easy to blame dumb consumers using bad passwords when a large-scale Internet attack occurs, and that’s what happened on Friday when sites like Reddit and Twitter became unavailable during an Internet of Things-driven denial of service attack. But a developing melodrama has U.S. security firms saying passwords were hard-coded into the gadgets [Keep reading]

Cybercrime / Privacy

‘Smart’ gadgets turned against us; Internet firm suffering third wave of attack as major sites remain unreliable

An army of infected gadgets — like nanny cameras — overwhelmed a critical Internet service provider on Friday, knocking many large Internet companies offline.  The firm at the middle of the attack, New Hampshire-based Dyn, said late Friday that it is enduring a third wave of digital onslaught. It’s not clear [Keep reading]

The Red Tape Chronicles

Fighting fine print with fine print: If Thrifty can charge me a $20 no-gas-receipt fee, why can’t I charge Thrifty a $20 no-receipt fee?

I’m constantly amazed at the unfair contracts consumers are forced to sign during simple transactions with large corporations. Lawyers load up standard-form contracts with one-sided, take-it-or-leave-it terms, often called “contracts of adhesion.” I’m in a crowd that believes one-sided contracts where there’s unequal bargaining power aren’t contracts at all, and [Keep reading]