Let Joe Know

September/October 2021 Newsletter

As housing and rental prices rise through Arizona, more people are desperate to find an affordable place and they're getting scammed. We're hearing from owners who agree to sell to a business at a certain price only to see the business dramatically lower the sales price and owners can't get out of the contract. For renters, scammers are posing as landlords by copying legitimate sales or rental postings and attaching their contact information. They ask for a large upfront deposit and desperate renters send it through a payment app, never to be seen again. To avoid this happening to you, demand the landlord meet you in person and show you the unit or move on.

Has this happened to you? While we may not be able to help with every issue, if there's a problem you'd like to tell us about, please get in touch: joe@abc15.com.

VENMO TAX: One proposal from the Biden administration is the possibility of starting to track payments made through digital platforms like Venmo, PayPal and Cashapp. It would happen to payment above a certain dollar amount and is meant to collect taxes on money not reported by employers. Understandably, there is a lot of concern about what could be taxed. Right now, it's just a proposal, but it could change things, especially for gig workers.

CHEAPER RENTAL CARS: The average rental car price rose to $124 per day this summer. So, it's no surprise more people are turning to lower costs through car-sharing businesses where you rent another owner's vehicle. One local woman rented from Turo and found the rules are different than traditional car rentals. When she needed a battery jump and called roadside assistance, she got billed for it. Make sure you read the details, especially concerning mileage costs and emergency help.

CATALYTIC CONVERTER THEFTS: It's a part of your car you've likely never seen. The catalytic converter is one component of your vehicle's exhaust system and, importantly to criminals, contains materials that are very valuable. Thieves are stealing them from parking lots across the Valley in a matter of minutes. We took a look at the best ways to decrease the risk of having your vehicle become a target.

JOE LETS YOU KNOW: It's called the '609 loophole' and online it looks like a cheap and easy way to raise your credit score. In short, it's contesting debt tied to old addresses and then trying to get that debt removed from your credit report. But your debt is also tied to you with your Social Security number. So the best way to raise your credit score remains to pay your bills on time and wait!

CHECK THIS OUT: A lot of us rely on reviews before buying a product or hiring for a service. How do you spot the fake reviews? We recently took a look at several apps and websites that can help, such as Fakespot, The Review Index and ReviewMeta.

Our Let Joe Know volunteer team is working from home and still helping you with consumer issues. Email them at joe@abc15.com.