<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Liz Crenshaw]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcwashington.com/feature/liz-crenshaw http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com en-us Thu, 24 Apr 2014 19:05:51 -0400 Thu, 24 Apr 2014 19:05:51 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Baby Monitor Battery Recall]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 17:55:34 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/160*160/Summer+Infant+LARGE.jpg

The Consumer Protect Safety Commission announced Wednesday the recall of about 800,000 batteries in a popular video monitor for infants.

The batteries in Summer Infant video monitors can overheat, causing burns. The company has received 22 reports of overheated and ruptured batteries. The monitors were sold nationwide between 2010 and 2012, click here for a full list of models and more information from the CPSC.

<![CDATA[Spruce Up Your Green Space for Almost Nothing]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 20:07:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Lawn+Tractor+Generic.jpg

April 22 is Earth Day, the perfect time to think about sprucing up your green space.

Kiplinger's Personal Finance shared with us inexpensive ways to get trees, mulch, seeds and gardening advice.

First, ask about free mulch from your local government. We checked Prince George's, Montgomery, and Charles counties in Maryland, as well as Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Virginia and D.C. All offer free mulch or compost while supplies last. It's made from recycled leaves, wood trimmings and tree removals.

Looking to plant a tree? You can join the Arbor Day Foundation for $10. It gives you a 33 percent discount on trees when you buy online from the foundation.

Need seeds to plant? The National Gardening Association has a free seed swap that allows people to find seeds they want or share extra seeds with others.

Need gardening tools? Kiplinger says you can get free tools at Freecycle.org. It's a nonprofit network of people offering items, like gardening tools, they no longer want -- for free.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[AOL Email "Spoofed"]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 20:00:37 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP080109164766.jpg

AOL confirmed to News4 Tuesday its email system was hacked.

AOL says it's working to resolve an issue of "account spoofing".

Spoofing is when a spammer sends out emails using your email address. The message appears to be from you in order to trick people into opening it.

AOL says it's immediately changing its policy to help mail providers reject spoofed AOL emails.

Twitter is filled with users complaining their AOL accounts were hacked.

Below is AOL's complete company statement:

"AOL takes the safety and security of consumers very seriously, and we are actively addressing consumer complaints.We are working to resolve the issue of account spoofing to keep users and their respective accounts running smoothly and securely.Users can find the latest updates on our AOL Help site, and should contact us if they believe their account is being spoofed."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Default After Death: What Can Happen With Private Student Loans]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 19:41:16 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/generic-money.gif

Tuesday the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a report that highlights an important complaint about student loans.

Most private student loans require a cosigner.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found a big area of concern is when a cosigner dies or goes bankrupt.

That’s when some lenders demand immediate full repayment.

Students often rely on parents or grandparents to cosign private loans.

The CFPB says borrowers don't realize when something happens to the cosigner the loan goes into default and has to be paid in full.

The CFPB shares ways borrowers can remove cosigners from their loans to avoid a default:


Photo Credit: Stock Image]]>
<![CDATA[Heartbleed Help]]> Mon, 21 Apr 2014 17:41:15 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/heartbleed1.jpg

If you're worried about your personal information being exposed by the Heartbleed bug, not all hope is lost.

It’s not a data breach or a computer virus. This time, a flaw in encryption software online put personal information at risk.

“Heartbleed took advantage of a vulnerability in that authentication system, encryption system,” said J.P. Auffret, technology management professor at George Mason University.

The Heartbleed bug is a serious concern when it comes to security online. Five hundred thousand websites are vulnerable. But there are steps you can take to stay safe.

“Awareness and checking out the services you use I think is a very important first step,” Auffret said.

So, how do you know if a website you use has been hit by Heartbleed? There is a way to check. Sites like McAfee Security have set up a free Heartbleed screener. Type in a site, like your bank, to see if it was affected or has been fixed.

And it's not just websites that have been exposed by Heartbleed.

“There’s one version of the Android phone operating system that’s potentially at risk,” Auffret said.

To check your operating system, go to settings on your phone. If you have the 4.1.1 version, that is the version hit by Heartbleed. So don't use that phone to visit websites that have your bank or credit card info.

Another piece of technology at risk from Heartbleed is your home router. Some Cisco and Juniper brand routers may be compromised. Check with your manufacturer to be sure.

As websites start repairing this Heartbleed issue, beware of scams. Phishing emails -- pretending to be from sites like your bank about the Heartbleed bug -- may contain links that could compromise your information. A safer bet is to go directly to websites you use and change your passwords there.

As you're changing those passwords, if you feel like you can’t keep them all straight, tech website c-net recommends a password manager like Last Pass or Robo Form. A password manager won't help protect you from bugs like Heartbleed, but it will make the cleanup a whole lot easier, storing all your usernames and passwords in the same place.

Auffret also warned against using public Wi-Fi when banking or shopping online. He advised checking your credit report periodically to make sure it’s accurate.

Photo Credit: Heartbleed.com]]>
<![CDATA[Latest Recalls ]]> Fri, 28 Mar 2014 10:21:56 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/RECALL_CONSUMER.jpg

For all the latest recalls, follow Liz Crenshaw and Consumer Watch on Twitter: @LizCrenshaw

March 27, 2013: Alli Weight Loss Pills Recalled

GlaxoSmithKline is recalling its weight loss drug Alli after learning some of the bottles have been tampered with.

The real capsule is a turquoise blue color, but consumers have reported finding tablets and capsules of other shapes and colors inside the bottles.

There are also reports the tamper-resistant seals on some bottles are not authentic.

Some bottles are even missing their labels, according to GlaxoSmithKline.

The pharmaceutical company has received about 20 complaints of tampered Alli bottles so far.

There have been no reports of serious illness.

Alli's website reads: To date, some bottles bearing the following lot numbers and expiration dates on the carton have been reported to us by consumers as containing product other than alli®:
- Carton Lot 14372, Expiration: 02/28/2016
- Carton Lot 14395, Expiration: 02/28/2016
- Carton Lot 14124, Expiration: 09/30/2015
- Carton Lot 14267, Expiration: 01/31/2016
- Carton Lot 14442, Expiration: 04/30/2016

Click here to learn more about the recall.

March 26, 2014: Nissan Recalls 1M Cars, SUVs and Vans

Nissan is recalling about a million cars, SUVs and vans because the front passenger airbags might not work in a crash. It's the company's second recall to fix the same problem. Nissan says the computer system in the vehicles may not detect an adult in the front passenger seat: when that happens, the air bags will not inflate.

The recall applies to 2013 & 2014 model year Altimas, Leafs, Pathfinders, Sentras, as well as some other vans and SUVs. A free software upgrade at the dealership should fix the problem.
If you drive one of these cars, you'll most likely hear from your dealership in mid-April about when you can bring your car in for the fix.

Click here for more.

March 17, 2014: GM Announces 3 New Recalls

General Motors announced three new recalls seperate from its ignition switch recall.

The new recalls involve more than one million vehicles for multiple reasons:

-303,000 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana from the 2009-2014 model years with gross vehicle weight under 10,000 pounds

- 63,900 Cadillac XTS full-size sedan from the 2013 and 2014 model years

- 1.18 million Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia models from the 2008-2013 model years, Chevrolet Traverse from the 2009-2013 model years, and Saturn Outlook from the 2008-2010 model years

Click here for more details of this recall.

Click here for details about the ignition switch recall.

February 17, 2014: Hot Pockets Recalled

Giant Food announced the recall of Hot Pockets Philly Steak and Cheese because they were produced without all required inspections.

There have been no reports of illness, according to Giant Food.

Click here to find more information about the recall and batch numbers affected.

February 14, 2014: Toyota Recall

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced Toyota is recalling certain model year 2012 and 2013 Toyota Tacoma and Lexus RX350 vehicles and certain model year 2012 Toyota Rav4 vehicles.

The brake system contains a brake actuator that adjusts the fluid pressure of each wheel cylinder, said, NHTSA. An electrical component within the actuator may experience an increased resistance resulting in the illumination of various warning lights, including those for the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system, Antilock Brake System (ABS), and Traction Control system, according to NHTSA.

NHTSA warns these systems could become inoperative, reducing the directional control assistance, increasing the risk of a crash.

Toyota will notify owners and the fix is free of charge.

Click here for more information about the recall.

February 13, 2014: GM Recalls Nearly 780,000 Compact Cars

General Motors is recalling nearly 780,000 older-model compact cars in North America. It says a faulty ignition switch can shut of the cars' engines without warning and cause crashes. GM says six people have been killed in 22 crashes related to the problem. All were at high speeds. The recall affects Chevrolet Cobalts from the 2005 through 2007 model years and Pontiac G5s from 2007.

General Motors is recalling nearly 780,000 compact cars in North America because the engines can shut down unexpectedly and cause crashes. The company says six people have been killed in crashes related to the problem.

The recall affects Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5s from the 2005 through 2007 model years.

U.S. safety regulators say the weight of the key ring and rough roads can move the ignition switch out of the run position, cutting the engine and electricity. If that happens, air bags may not work.

GM says there have been 22 crashes from the problem. All were off the road and happened at high speeds.

Dealers will replace the ignition switch for free. GM says owners should remove nonessential items from key rings until the problem is fixed.

February 12, 2014: Toyota Recalls 1.9 Prius Cars

Toyota is recalling 1.9 Million Prius Cars.

Toyota says the recall involves all its newest, third generation Prius cars that have been in production since 2009.

The company says the cars have a programming glitch in the hybrid system. It could shut down and cause the car to stop, possibly while the car's being driven.

This is the third recall for the five-year Prius.

Click here to look up Toyota recalls.

February 12, 2014: Graco Recalls Toddler Car Seats

Graco and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the recall of nearly 3.8 million convertible toddler and booster child seats manufactured from 2009 to July 2013.

Graco says the models affected include: Toddler Convertible Car Seats: Cozy Cline, Comfort Sport, Classic Ride 50, My Ride 65, My Ride 70, My Ride 65 with Safety Surround, Size4Me 70, My Size 70, Head Wise 70, Smart Seat. Harnessed Booster Seats: Nautilus 3-in-1, Nautilus Elite and Argos.

Click here for more information on the recall and learn how to get a replacement harness buckle.

February 09, 2014: Baby Walkers Recalled

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced BebeLove is recalling some of its baby walkers because they fail to meet federal safety standards.

For example, some walkers are not designed to stop at the edge of a step as required by the federal safety standard and some have leg openings that allow the child to slip down until the child’s head can become entrapped at the neck, according to the CPSC.

The models involved in the recall are style numbers 358 and 368.

For more information on the recall, click here.

January 24, 2014: Expanded Recall of Flushmate III Pressure-Assisted Flushing System

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced Flushmate has expanded its recall of Flushmate III Pressure-Assisted Flushing System because the system can burst. The pressure can lift the tank lid and shatter the tank, according to the CPSC.

This recall is for Series 503 Flushmate III Pressure Assist flushing systems installed inside toilet tanks that were manufactured from March 2008 through June 2009..

You can find more details of the recall here.

January 23, 2014: Pacifier Holder Recall

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the recall of a popular brand of pacifier holder. About 1.25 million Platex pacifier holders are being recalled because the holder clips can crack and a small part can break off, which poses a choking hazard to small children.

Visit the CPSC's website for more information.

December 31, 2013: Ford Recalls Lincoln MKZ Hybrid Vehicles

Ford Motor Company is recalling certain model year 2013-2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid vehicles because the transmission range sensor may not function properly.

Without requiring the brake to be pressed, the vehicle may be unintentionally shifted out of Park, allowing it to roll which may result in a crash, said The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA).

For more information about this recall click here.

December 17, 2013: Google & HP Recall HP Chromebook 11 Chargers

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the recall of about 145,000 HP Chromebook 11 power supply/chargers.

Google has received nine reports of chargers overheating and melting during use, according to the CPSC.

The recall involves chargers that were sold with the HP Chromebook 11, said the CPSC. They were sold at Best Buy stores nationwide and online at Amazon.com, bestbuy.com, Google Play at play.google.com, and HP Shopping at shopping.hp.com from October 2013 through November 2013 and included with the Chromebook 11 which sold for about $280.

For more information and pictures of the product, click here.


December 11, 2013: IKEA Recalls Children's Wall-Mounted Lamps After Death Reported

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with IKEA North America, of Conshohocken, Pa., recalled children’s wall-mounted lamps due to a strangulation hazard. A 16-month-old child in a crib died after getting entangled in the lamp’s cord, according to the CPSC. In a separate incident, the CPSC reports a 15-month-old child in a crib became entangled in the lamp’s cord and nearly strangled. In both incidents, which occurred in Europe, the lamp cord was pulled into the crib by the infants. There were 2.9 million of the recalled lamps sold in the United States.

The recalled IKEA children’s SMILA-series wall-mounted lamps were sold in eight designs, including a blue star, yellow moon, pink flower, white flower, red heart, green bug, blue seashell and an orange seahorse.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled lamp and contact IKEA for a free repair kit.

For pictures of the product and more information on this recall click here.


November 21, 2013: Cuisinart Recalls Food Processors

Cuisinart is recalling 7-cup food processors due to a laceration hazard. About 25,000 food processors are a part of this recall.

Click here to see if your Cuisinart was affected.

November 21, 2013: Baby Monitor Recall After Two Deaths

About 600,000 Angelcare Movement and Sound Baby Monitors are being recalled after two babies were strangled by the monitors' cords.

The recall involves the Movement and Sound Monitor which includes a sensor pad that is placed under the crib mattress. That pad is connected to an electrical cord, which is in reach of a baby inside the crib. The cord can be pulled up into the crib and can wrap around the baby's neck.

The recalled monitors were sold nationwide at stores like Babies R Us, Walmart, and Amazon.com from 1999 up until September 2013.

For more information from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, click here.

November 19, 2013: Toy Wagons Sold at Toys R Us Recalled

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced Step2 Whisper Ride Touring Wagons are being recalled because the removable blue seat backs can detach and allow the child in the wagon to fall out, posing a fall hazard.

Step2 has received 29 reports of the seat back detaching, 28 of which resulted in children falling out of the wagon, according to the CPSC. Fourteen of these resulted in bumped heads and nine resulted in bruises, scratches or lacerations.

The wagons are sold exclusively at Toys R Us.

To learn more about the recall Click Here.

October 31, 2013: Porch Light Recall

Now to a recall of hundreds of thousands of those motion-activated outdoor lights.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is reporting multiple Heath/Zenith porch lights can pose an electrical shock hazard due to a problem with the internal wiring. About 210,000 light fixtures are affected and were sold nation wide since 2006. No injuries have been reported.

Click here to find out if your light is part of this recall.

October 31, 2013: Expanded Dehumidifier Recall

An expanded dehumidifier recall now involves 2.2 million units that can overheat and catch fire, posing a serious safety hazard.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says four more models of dehumidifiers have been added to the recall after reports of at least 25 additional fires and millions of dollars in damage. We first reported the humidifier recall back in September.

Twelve brand names of dehumidifiers including Kenmore and Frigidaire are part of this recall.  CPSC says that in total more than 300 incidents have been reported because of these dehumidifiers including 71 fires more than $2.7 million in property damage.

October 29, 2013: Kraft Recalls String Cheese

Kraft Foods Group is voluntarily recalling some varieties of Kraft and Polly-O String Cheese and String Cheese Twists products. These products may spoil before their "Best When Used By" code dates, leading to product discoloration, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USDA).

The affected products all have code dates from October 25, 2013 through February 11, 2014.

Approximately 735,000 cases of the affected product were shipped to customers across the United States, according to the USDA.

Click here to see the varieties of cheese involved in the recall.


October 24, 2013: Crate and Barrel Recalls Finley Hanging Pendant Lamps

Crate and Barrel is recalling Hanging pendant lamps since the wires can be connected incorrectly because the wires’ polarity labels can fall off or be mislabeled, posing fire and shock hazards to consumers.

This recall includes Crate and Barrel Finley Collection pendant lamps with a white or wheat (off-white) linen large, small drum or rectangular lamp shades. They have a 9-inch long silver electrical wire with tandem metal support cables and chrome-plated steel ceiling plate.

Crate and Barrel has received four reports of lamps shorting out, including minor property damage and a minor burn, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

For more details on the recall click here.

October 24, 2013: Tommy Bahama Outdoor Ceiling Fans Recalled

This recall involves Tommy Bahama brand 52-inch outdoor ceiling fans sold under the “The Copa Breeze” style name.

Emerson Air Comfort Products is recalling the fans because the brackets holding the fan blades can break and cause the blades to fall, posing a risk of injury to bystanders, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The fan has model number TB311DBZ and a distressed bronze color. Each of the five oval-shaped paddles/blades has a metal accent in the shape of an oval with a figure-8 inside the oval. The lower part of the motor housing has “Tommy Bahama” embossed on it. A date code is represented by three letters printed on the lower right corner of a label on the top of the motor housing.

Click here to learn more about the recall and for a complete list of the date codes (letter combinations).

October 18, 2013: Toyota Recalls 885,000 Camrys, Avalons & Venzas

Toyota is recalling 885,000 vehicles worldwide because of safety problems related to the airbags. The vast majority of the vehicles were sold in the United States.

The company has said the problem is due to water leaking out of the air conditioner condenser unit onto the airbag control module. In some cases, this disables the airbags themselves so that they might not deploy in an accident.

For more information about the recall, visit the Toyota website.

October 3, 2013: 15 Million Surge Protectors Recalled

The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning that about 15 million surge protectors are being recalled due to a fire hazard.

There have been about 700 reports of the surge protectors overheating and melting, including 55 claims of property damage from smoke and fire.

Thirteen injuries have also been reported.

To get more information and see if your surge protector is on the list, click here.

September 27, 2013: Toyota Recalls Sienna Minivans

Toyota is recalling 615,000 Sienna minivans in the U.S. because they can inadvertently shift out of park and roll away.

The recall involves Siennas from the 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009 models years.

Toyota said the shift locking device can potentially be damaged. If that happens, the minivans can shift out of park even if the driver isn't depressing the brake pedal.

Toyota said it has gotten reports of 21 accidents and 2 injuries related to the problem.

Owners will be notified of the recall by mail. Dealers will replace the shift-lock device for free.

September 25, 2013: Bagged Salad Recall

The Food and Drug Administration announced a recall of dozens of types of Garden Fresh bagged salads due to possible listeria contamination. For a list of the affected products, click here.

September 19, 2013: Honda Recalls 374,000 Vehicles

Honda is recalling Hundreds of thousands of vehicles in the U.S. because of an airbag problem. 374,000 vehicles are affected.

The recall includes 2003 -2004 Honda Odyssey minivans and 2003 Acura MDX.

Honda says it has received an increasing number of complaints in recent months of airbags opening unnecessarily. It says the computer chip for airbag deployment was responding to electrical interference.

Honda says dealerships will repair the airbag defect for free.

September 10, 2013: Toyota Recall Redo

Toyota announced a recall redo.
The automaker is re-recalling more 780,584 vehicles in the U.S. because the safety problem in the suspension it tried to fix last year didn't work.
The recall includes Rav4 SUVs 2006 through 2011and 2010 Lexus HS 250H sedans.
Toyota says if rear suspension nuts aren't tightened properly, the arms can rust and separate from the vehicle.
At least nine crashes and three injuries have been reported as related to the problem.
You can find more information on the recall here.

September 6, 2013: Johnson & Johnson Recalls Motrin Infants Formula

Johnson & Johnson is recalling 200,000 bottles of Motrin Infants formula due to the risk that they contain tiny plastic particles, the Associated Press reported.

You can find more information about the recall here.

September 3, 2013: Target Recalls Threshold Floor Lamps

Target is recalling its Threshold floor lamps because the lamp can short when a standard one-way bulb is fully tightened in the lamp’s three-way socket, posing a fire and shock hazard to consumers, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The CPSC says consumers should stop using the White 2-bulb floor lamp and return it to any Target store for a full refund.

This recall includes white plastic, turned-spindle design floor lamps with white fabric drum lamp shades and two 3-way pull-chain switches. Lamp is illuminated by two 3-way 100-watt or 29-watt CFL bulbs and stands approximately 60 inches tall. The model number PL1071 is located on a sticker on the bottom of the lamp.

Target has received six reports of short circuiting which have resulted in fires, minor property damage and two consumers being shocked.

You can find more information on the recall here.

September 3, 2013: Ford Recalls Hundreds of Thousands of Cars

Ford is recalling 370,000 cars because of possible corrosion to their steering shaft that could cause the driver to lose control of the wheel.
The recall includes model years 2005 to 201 Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Cars.
Owners can take the cars to the dealership where they will be inspected.

August 29, 2013: Vitamix Recalls 64-ounce Low-Profile Blender Container

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced Vitamix is recalling its 64-ounce Low Profile Container because the blade can break.
The CPSC says it received 18 reports of blades breaking. No injuries have been reported.
The recall involves Vitamix 64-ounce Low-Profile containers with blade part number 103208 A and blade date codes 03-12 (March 2012) through 07-13 (July 2013). The blade part number and date code are laser etched onto the top of the blade at the bottom of the container. The clear, plastic, 64-ounce container with black plastic handle and lid was sold with Vitamix blender models 7500, Professional Series 300, Professional Series 750 and individually. Replacement blades with part number 104602 A are not affected.

The CPSC says consumers should stop using the recalled container immediately and contact Vitamix for instructions on how to send back the container (without the lid or any accessories) to the firm for a free repair.
You can find more details of the recall here.

August 21, 2013: Halo SleepSack Wearable Blankets Recalled

About 27,000 Halo SleepSack Wearable Blankets sold exclusively at Babies R US are being recalled because the petals from a pink satin flower on the garment can detach, posing a choking hazard to infants, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
The CPSC has received six reports of the petals detaching from the blankets including an infant found gagging on a detached petal.
The recalled HALO SleepSack wearable blankets are 100% white cotton with pink-edged ruffles and a pink satin rose embellishment on the front. These sack-shaped wearable blankets have cut-outs for the baby’s arms, a zipper down the center, a sewn bottom and were sold in small and medium sizes. Only SleepSack products with GPU numbers 2701, 2781, 2886, 2887, 3007, 3035 and 3142 printed on a neck label under the primary neck label are included in the recall.
Consumers should immediately stop using the wearable blankets and contact HALO Innovations for a pre-paid envelope containing instructions to remove and return the flower and order a free replacement product, said the CPSC.
You can find pictures and more details of the recall here.

August 9, 2013: Playmat Sets Sold At Wegmans Recalled

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced Holgate Toys is recalling Playmat Sets because of a chocking hazard. The Playmat Set is sold exclusively at Wegmans Food Stores and includes a 24-inch by 30-inch cotton canvas playmat and four toy wooden vehicles. The CPSC warns the wheels on the wooden vehicles can detach. Consumers should immediately take the wooden vehicles away from young children and return them to Wegmans Food Stores for a full refund.

UPC Code 0 7789028735 4 is printed on the back of the box.

You can find more information about the recall here.

August 8, 2013: Toyota Recalls 342,000 Tacoma Pickup Trucks

Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. announced that it will conduct a voluntary safety recall involving approximately 342,000 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab vehicles, produced from 2004 to 2011.

Toyota said there is a seatbelt flaw. The screws that attach the seat belt pre-tensioner to the seat belt retractor within the seat belt assembly for the driver and front passenger can become loose over time due to repeatedly and forcefully closing the access door. Toyota warns if the screws loosen completely, the seat belt pre-tensioner and the retractor spring cover could detach from the seat belt retractor, which can affect retractor and pre-tensioner performance.

Owners of vehicles subject to this recall will receive a notification by first class mail.
You can find more information about the recall here.

August 1, 2013: Kansas Firm Recalls 50,000 Pounds of Ground Beef

A Kansas based company is recalling more than 50,000 pounds of ground beef that could be contaminated with E-coli.

The National Beef Packing Company issued the voluntary recall after a sample of its product tested positive for the bacteria.

The ground beef was shipped to retailers, wholesalers and food service distributors nationwide.

The recalled beef products all have the establishment number "Est. 208-A" inside the USDA mark of inspection.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers more details of the recall here.

July 31, 2013: Water-Absorbing Polymer Balls Recalled

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced Monster Science and Super Star Science Colossal Water Balls are being recalled because the soft and colorful product can be easily mistaken by a child for candy. The toys absorb water and grow up to 400 times their original size, according to the CPSC.

If the marble-sized toy is ingested, it can expand inside a child’s body and cause intestinal obstructions, resulting in severe discomfort, vomiting, dehydration and could be life threatening, said the CPSC.

CPSC is aware of one incident with a similar water-absorbing polymer ball product in which an 8-month-old girl ingested the ball and it had to be surgically removed.

You can find details of the recall here.

July 29, 2013 Ford Recalls C-Max Hybrids

Ford is recalling more than 33,000 C-Max Hybrids because the vehicle may not protect your head in the event of a crash.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) discovered the issue during safety tests.
The recall covers cars made between January 19, 2012 and June 25, 2013.
Ford will notify affected owners, and dealers will install additional energy absorbing material between the car’s headliner and roof.
Cars with a panoramic roof is not included in the recall.

July 25, 2013: Refrigerator Recall Expanded

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced an expanded recall of Viking built-in refrigerators with bottom freezers because the refrigerator's doors can detach. The refrigerators were previously recalled in 2009. Since then, Viking has received nearly 100 reports of injuries including broken bones.

This recall involves Viking built-in 36-inch wide refrigerators with bottom freezers with models and serial numbers/date codes listed below. The model and serial numbers are located on the ceiling of the interior of the refrigerators. The first six numbers in the serial number range are the manufacture date of the unit in (mm)(dd)(yy).


Model numbers starting with: Serial number/Date codes starting with:

Designer Series

DDBB363, DDBB536, DTBB363, 110105 - 081012

DFBB363, DFBB536, FDBB5361


Professional Series

VCBB363, VCBB536, VCBB5361, 110105 – 080512

VIBB363, VIBB536

You can find more information about the recall here.

July 24, 2013: Salsa Recall

The maker of salsas sold at Dollar Tree and Deals, Dollar Express and Dollar Bills stores nationwide is recalling its salsa after large glass pieces were found in some jars.

The recall includes Mild Chunky Salsa with best-by dates of June 2015 and October 2015, and Medium Chunky Salsa with a best by date of July 2015.

The company says the glass pieces got into the salsa during the beginning of the manufacturing process, when some of the glass jars were damaged.

The Fresno, California-based company says there have been no reports of injury.

July 23, 2013: Popular Baby Product Recalled

Hundreds of thousands of Einstein baby activity jumpers are being recalled.
More than 60 babies have been injured, including a seven-month-old who suffered a fractured skull.

The Consumer Financial Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says the recall involves about 400,000 baby Einstein Musical Motion Activity Jumpers in the U.S. and about 8,500 in Canada.
The CPSC says one of the toys attached to the jumper can rebound with force and injure a child.
The model number involved in the recall is 90564.
The following manufacture date codes include:
OD0, OE0, OF0, OG0, OH0, OI0, OJ0, OK0, OL0, OA1, OB1, OC1, OD1, OE1, OF1, OG1, OH1, OI1, OJ1 and OK1.

The jumpers were sold at Target, Toys-R-Us and other stores nationwide.
You can find more information about the recall here.

July 17, 2013: Sears Re-announces Recall of Kenmore Dehumidifiers

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says Sears has received additional reports of shorting and fires associated with certain Kenmore dehumidifiers. The dehumidifiers can overheat, smoke, melt and catch on fire, posing fire and burn hazards to consumers, said the CPSC. There has been on report of a consumer severely burned, according to the CPSC.

This recall involves Kenmore brand 35, 50- and 70-pint dehumidifiers made by LG and sold exclusively at Sears and Kmart stores nationwide and Sears.com and Kmart.com from 2003 to 2009.

Consumers should immediately turn off and unplug the dehumidifiers and contact the Recall Fulfillment Center to receive a Sears gift card for either $75, $80, $90 or $100, which may be used at any Sears or Kmart store or at Sears.com or Kmart.com.

You can find details of the recall here.

July 16, 2013: Chrysler Recalls 2013 RAM Trucks

Chrysler is recalling certain model year 2013 RAM 1500 4x4 trucks because of a software issue with the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) module, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
A disabled ESC system may result in loss of directional control, increasing the risk of a crash, says NHTSA.
Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will update the ESC module software, free of charge.

You can find more details of the recall here.

July 8, 2013: Chrysler Recalls Vehicles For Potential Airbag Flaw

Chrysler is recalling certain model year 2013 Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan, and RAM C/V Tradesman vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA says a software error may cause  the wrong side airbag to deploy in a crash, leaving a person with no airbag protection at the point of impact. (a left side impact would deploy the right side airbags and vice versa).

Owners may contact Chrysler at 1-800-247-9753 for a free fix. Chrysler's recall campaign number is N44.

You can find details about the the recall here.

July 8, 2013: Whole Foods Market Recalls Cheese Following One Death

Whole Foods Market announced it is recalling Crave Brothers Les Frères cheese.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says the cheese is being recalled because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

To date, one illness and one death have been reported, according to the FDA. The FDA says the company immediately ceased the production and distribution of the products.

The recalled Crave Brothers Les Frères cheese was cut and packaged in clear plastic wrap and sold with Whole Foods Market scale labels.

You can find the states where the cheese has been recalled and how the cheese was labeled including the PLU code here.

July 4, 2013: Toys R Us Recalls Remote-Controlled Helicopters

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced Toys R Us is recalling its remote-controlled 3 channel helicopters.

The CPSC says the rechargeable battery inside the helicopters can overheat, posing fire and burn hazards to consumers or anything nearby.

The recall involves the Fast Lane FA-005 Radio Control 3-Channel Helicopter with Gyro Stabilizer and Charger, model number 5F5F2F5.

Consumers should immediately stop using the remote-controlled helicopter and return all components to a Toys R Us store for a full refund or store credit.

You can find more information about the recall here.

July 2, 2013: Emergency Recall of Portable Propane Tanks

There is an emergency recall involving commonly used portable propane tanks.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued the emergency recall of 55,000 propane tanks manufactured by the Lite Cylinder Company.
The recall was issued after a PHMSA investigation revealed the product was unsafe.
PHMSA says the cylinders may leak flammable gas or suddenly rupture and explode.
PHMSA has ordered the two-piece, fully wrapped fire composite cylinders be removed from service.
The propane tanks are often used with recreational vehicles, propane grills and other outdoor equipment.
You can find details of the recall here.

June 21, 2013: Light Chandeliers Sold Exclusively at Lowe's Recalled

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall of Aztec nine-light chandeliers sold at Lowe’s stores under the PORTFOLIO brand name.

The recall comes after the manufacturer received six reports of the chandeliers falling from the ceiling. No injuries have been reported.

CPSC says the chandeliers are metal with an olde bronze finish. They come with etched amber glass shades and a decorative faux marble ball in the center. The upper arms of the fixture are single long curves and the lower arms of the fixture are “S” shaped. “Aztec” and model number 34330 are printed on a sticker located inside the ceiling canopy at the top of the chandelier.
Consumers can contact Kitchler for information on how to receive a free repair kit.

You can find more information about the recall here.

June 20, 2013: Nearly 100,000 Strollers Recalled

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced Kolcraft is recalling certain Jeep Liberty branded strollers.
The CPSC says the inner tube of the tire on the three-wheeled strollers can rupture and cause the wheel rim to break and fly off.
The strollers involved in the recall were manufactured between June 2010 and September 2011.
The manufacturer and the CPSC have received 39 reports of inner tube ruptures which resulted in more than a dozen injuries.
Consumers should contact the company for a free replacement wheels.
You can find more information about the recall here.

June 18, 2013: Three Types of Baby Bath Seats Recalled Due to Drowning Risk

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says that more than 41,000 baby bath seats have been recalled under the names Buy Buy Baby Idea Baby Brand infant bath seats, One Step Ahead Idea Baby infant bath seats and BeBe Love E-Zee Bath Seats.
All three of the seat brands failed to meet federal safety standards and can tip over, posing a drowning risk for babies.
Consumers should stop using these recalled bath seats immediately and contact the manufacturer for a full refund.

Find more information on each individual recall by clicking the links above.

June 18, 2013: Honda Recalls Vehicles Because Of Brake Problem

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says Honda is recalling 18,352 vehicles from 2006 - 2007 for potential loss of braking power. The recall includes certain model year 2006 Acura RSX vehicles and model year 2006-2007 Honda S2000 vehicles.

NHTSA says with reduced braking assistance, the vehicle may require additional brake pedal force, increasing the risk of a crash.

NHTSA says Honda will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the brake booster assembly. If necessary, the dealers will replace the booster assembly free of charge.

You can find more information on the recall here.

June 17, 2013: GM Recalls Nearly 200,000 Vehicles Because Of Fire Risk

General Motors (GM) has expanded a recall to include certain model year 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer EXT and GMC Envoy XL and 2006-2007 Chevrolet Trailblazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, SAAB 9-7x, and Isuzu Ascender vehicles. The recall involves 193,652 vehicles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says a short in the circuit board could lead to a fire. NHTSA says a fire could occur even while the vehicle is not in use. As a precaution, owners are advised to park the vehicle outside.
Owners will be contacted and repairs will be done free of charge. GM will notify Buick, Chevrolet, and GMC owners, Isuzu and Saab will contact their respective owners.

You can find more information on the recall here.

June 14, 2013: Nap Nanny & Chill Infant Recliners Recalled Following Five Infant Deaths

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says Baby Matters LLC of Berwyn, Pa., is voluntarily recalling all models of its Nap Nanny and Nap Nanny Chill infant recliners and covers. The recall is announced as part of the settlement of an administrative case filed by CPSC in December 2012, which sought a mandatory recall of the Nap Nanny and Chill products.

From 2009 to the present, the Commission staff has received at least 92 incident reports involving the Nap Nanny and Nap Nanny Chill products, including five infant deaths. CPSC is aware of four infants who died in Nap Nanny Generation Two recliners and a fifth death involved in the Chill model. In the incident reports received by CPSC, there were 92 reports of infants hanging or falling over the side of the products, including some infants who were restrained in the product’s harness.

CPSC urges consumers to immediately stop using all Nap Nanny and Nap Nanny Chill recliners. Baby Matters LLC is no longer in business and is not accepting returns. In December 2012, four major retailers—Amazon.com, Buy Buy Baby, Diapers.com, and Toys R Us/Babies R Us—announced a voluntary recall of Nap Nanny and Chill models sold in their stores. Consumers who purchased a Nap Nanny from one of these retailers should contact the retailer for instructions on how to obtain a refund for the product.

CPSC alleged that the products contain a design defect, their use presents a risk of injury to infants, and the instructions and warnings are inadequate. Baby Matters disputed these allegations but has agreed to the recall in consideration for dismissal of the CPSC lawsuit.

You can find more information about the recall here.

June 5, 2013: Yakima Recalls Certain Whispbar Racks

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the recall of 1,369 Yakima Whispbar rack systems used for various vehicles, including the Toyota Matrix and Mitsubishi Outlander.

The racks are being recalled for not properly fitting the roofline or raised rail on vehicles, causing it to detach from the roof while in transit which could result in a crash.

Yamika will notify owners and instruct them to return the parts for a replacement.

You can find more information about the recall here.

June 5, 2013:Toyota recalls 242,000 Prius, Lexus hybrid cars

Toyota Motor Corp. says it is recalling about 242,000 of its Prius and Lexus hybrid vehicles due to problems with their braking systems.

The company says the recall applies to about 233,000 Prius vehicles made between March and October 2009 and about 9,000 Lexus HS250h models made between June and October 2009.

Toyota says the Prius vehicles affected are sold worldwide. The Lexus sedans are sold in the U.S. and Japan.

The automaker says brake pressure parts in the vehicles could crack due to vibration, slowing response times. It says there've been no accidents or injuries caused by the problem so far.

June 4, 2013: Ford Recalls Certain 2013 Vehicles

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the recall includes certain 2013 Ford Explorer, Taurus, Flex, Fusion, Police Interceptor Sedan and Police Interceptor Utility vehicles; and certain model year 2013 Lincoln MKS, MKT, and MKZ vehicles.

NHTSA says the fuel delivery module may develop a crack, and allow fuel to leak.
A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source may result in a fire.
NHTSA says Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace the fuel delivery module, free of charge.

You can find more information about the recall here.

June 3, 2013: Pottery Barn Kids Recalls Sweet Lambie Crib Bumpers

This recall involves Pottery Barn Kids Sweet Lambie Bumpers manufactured from April 2009 through July 2012. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says the thread in the decorative stitching on the bumper can loosen, posing an entanglement hazard to infants. Lambs in grass and lambs with trees are embroidered on the interior and exterior of the bumpers. They were available in the colors pink, blue and ivory/oatmeal. Model number “708859,” “708917” or “7988348” and “Sweet Lambie Bumper” appear on a tag fastened to the bottom edge of the bumpers. The date of manufacture in MM/YYYY format is printed on a tag attached to the bumper near the model number tag.

The CPSC says there have been two reports of the decorative stitching coming loose and entangling children, including reports of the thread wrapping around a child’s neck. No serious injuries have been reported.

You can find more information about the recall here.


May 31, 2013: Teavana Glass Tea Tumblers Recalled

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is reporting that Teavana glass tea tumblers are being recalled as they can break or shatter unexpectedly. CPSC says Teavana has received 302 reports of the glass breaking or shattering, and injuries have been reported. Consumers are told to immediately stop using the glass tea tumblers and return them to a Teavana store location for a free replacement tumbler and a complimentary 2 oz. package of Opus Rouge Rooibos Tea.

More information on this recall here.

May 24, 2013: NHTSA Announces Recall of Cadillac SRX Vehicles

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the recall of 18,871 Cadillac SRX vehicles from 2013 equipped with 18 inch wheels. NHTSA says the recall was issued for possible loosening of the wheel lug nuts, causing the wheel to separate from the vehicle and increasing the risk of a crash.

You can see details of the recall here.

May 23, 2013: Area Rug Sold Exclusively at Home Depot Recalled

This recall involves Nourison-branded I-CANDI collection polyester shag rugs.

The rugs are being recalled because they failed to meet federal flammability standards, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

The rugs were sold in one color, denim, consisting of a mix of dark blue, light blue and gray shades. The rugs measure 5-by 7-feet and 7-feet 6-inches by 9-feet 6-inches. “ICANDI COLLECTION” and “Nourison” are printed in black on a label affixed to the back of the rug.

You can find more information about the recall here.

May 3, 2013: Certain California Pizza Kitchen & DiGiorno Frozen Pizzas Recalled

Nestlé USA announced its recalling select varieties/production codes of California Pizza Kitchen and DiGiorno Frozen Pizzas because the pizza may contain fragments of clear plastic.

Here is a list of pizzas included in the recall:

California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) Crispy Thin Crust White, UPC 71921 98745; production codes are 3062525951, 3062525952 and 3063525951.
California Pizza Kitchen Limited Edition Grilled Chicken with Cabernet Sauce, UPC 71921 00781; production code is 3059525952.
DiGiorno Crispy Flatbread Pizza Tuscan Style Chicken, UPC 71921 02663; production codes are 3057525922 and 3058525921.
DiGiorno pizzeria!™ Bianca/White Pizza, UPC 71921 91484; production code is 3068525951.

Nestle USA says the voluntary recall is limited to frozen pizzas with these specific production codes, which were distributed nationwide. No other production codes/dates, sizes or varieties of CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN or DIGIORNO pizzas are affected by this recall.

Nestle says since it delivers directly to retailer freezer cases, it has instructed stores to remove the pizzas.

You can find more information here.

Apr. 29, 2013: Certain 2013 BMW motorcycles recalled

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the recall of certain 2013 BMW R1200 GS motorcycles. NHTSA says a front fork tube may loosen due to insufficient torque of a locking bolt. This could reduce the ability to control the motorcycle and possibly cause a crash.

BMW will notify owners and dealers and fix the problem free of charge.

You can find details of the recall here.


Apr. 12, 2013: Retailers recall desktop magnets after reports of children swallowing them

Six retailers have agreed to recall a brand of potentially dangerous high-powered magnet sets after the manufacturer refused to participate.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said Friday that Barnes & Noble, Bed Bath & Beyond and four other stores are recalling "Buckyballs'' and "Buckycubes'' after the CPSC received 54 reports of children and teens ingesting the product.

The tiny, powerful magnets are sold as a desktop toy that can be molded into different shapes. They can be dangerous or deadly if accidentally swallowed or inhaled.

The CPSC filed a rare legal complaint against the company that manufactured the sets, New York-based Maxfield & Oberton, in July after recall negotiations failed. The company has since gone out of business but the products are likely still in homes and offices.

More information & pictures here

Apr. 12, 2013: Wegmans recalls fruit juice because of a potential byproduct of mold

Wegmans Food Markets says it's recalling two fruit juice products because they may contain unacceptable levels of a byproduct of mold.

The grocery chain says some 64 oz. containers of Wegmans Food You Feel Good About Organic Apple Juice and Wegmans Food You Feel Good About Organic Cranberry Juice Blend may contain patulin. It says the substance is unlikely to cause illness, but shouldn't be consumed.

The apple juice has expiration dates of Jan. 28, 2014 through March 19, 2014. The blend has an expiration date of Nov. 5, 2013.

It says consumers should dump the juice and return the containers to stores for refunds.

Wegmans has 81 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts.

Apr. 11, 2013: Toyota, Honda and Nissan recall 3 million vehicles for air bag problems

Toyota, Honda and Nissan are recalling more than 3 million vehicles globally for an identical problem with air bags on the passenger side whose inflator may burst, sending plastic pieces flying.

No injuries have been reported related to the problem.

Toyota Motor Corp. is recalling 1.7 million vehicles, with some 580,000 in North America, another 490,000 in Europe and 320,000 in Japan. Affected models include the Corolla, Tundra, Lexus SC, produced between November 2000 and March 2004.

Toyota said it had received five reports of air bag problems, three in the U.S. and two in Japan, but there have been no injuries.

Honda Motor Co. is recalling 1.1 million vehicles. About 680,000 are in North America, 270,000 in Japan and 64,000 in Europe. The models include the Civic, CR-V and Odyssey.

The recall extends to Latin America, China, other Asian nations, the Middle East and Africa.

Nissan Motor Co. recalled 480,000 vehicles globally, some 137,000 of them in Japan, for the air bag problem.

The Yokohama-based automaker said vehicles in North America and Europe are affected, but did not immediately have other details on its 343,000 overseas recalls.

Recalled models in Japan include the Cube, X-Trail, Maxima and Teana, made from August 2000 to January 2004, spokesman Chris Keeffe said.

Also affected under the same recall were the RX-8 and Mazda 6 at Mazda Motor Corp.

The Hiroshima-based automaker said 45,000 vehicles were recalled, including 4,000 in Japan. It did not give numbers for other regions, but said recalls will be announced in North America, Europe, China and other nations.

April 2, 2013: Haier America recalls chest freezers

Haier America has expanded its recall of some chest freezers. A capacitor in the freezer’s circuitry can overheat, posing a fire hazard. Consumers should stop using the products immediately.

The recall involves the Haier® models HNCM070E with 7.0 cubic foot capacity and ESNCM053E with 5.3 cubic foot capacity, and Black & Decker® model BFE53 with 5.3 cubic foot capacity white chest freezers. “Haier” is printed on the upper-left corner of the freezer, or “Black & Decker” is printed on the front upper-right corner of the freezer.

More information: Contact Haier America toll-free at (877) 878-7579 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. or online at www.haieramerica.com and click on Product Recalls.


April 2, 2013: Midwest Trading Group recalls remote-controlled helicopters

Midwest Trading said the rechargeable battery inside the helicopters can overheat and ignite the helicopter, posing fire and burn hazards to consumers or nearby items.

The recall involves the Radio Controlled Banshee Helicopter with lights, series 3CH-777. The plastic helicopters were sold in black and red or black and yellow color combinations and measure about 19 inches long and 6 inches high.  The helicopters have a rounded front yellow cockpit with bee decals and a narrow black plastic tail assembly. They were sold with a remote-control unit and a separate charger. "Fly Dragonfly" and SKU #51727 are printed on the product packaging.

More information: Contact Midwest Trading Group toll-free at (866) 815-4714 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. central time Monday through Friday, or go online to www.mtradinggroup.com and click on the recall page for more information.



<![CDATA[It's Tax Day And Time Is Running Out]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:39:29 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/110786789.jpg

Time to file your taxes is running out.

People who wait until the last minute to file their tax returns likely owe money.

The Internal Revenue Service expects about 12 million people to request extensions.

Penalties for late filing apply only to people who owe money. The penalty for failing to file will cost a taxpayer about five percent of the person’s tax bill for every month late. The maximum penalty is 25 percent of a person’s original tax bill.

If you need more time, you can file an extension. An extension gives taxpayers until Oct. 15 to file a return, but remember, it's an extension to file, not to pay if you owe money. If you owe money, you must send a check or pay online by April 15, Tax Day.

Learn more on how to file for an extension by clicking here.

If you have a big tax bill, the IRS accepts credit and debit cards, but there is a processing fee charged by the payment processor, not the IRS.

Learn more about paying by credit or debit card by clicking here.

Can't afford to pay all at once? The IRS offers payment plans. The government accepts monthly payments through an installment agreement online for anyone who owes $50,000 or less. Fees for setting up an installment agreement range from $43 to $120.

Learn more about setting up a payment plan by clicking here.

Some good news for taxpayers this year, you’re chances of getting audited are the lowest in years because budget cuts and new responsibilities are straining the IRS's ability to police tax returns.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New Car Frenzy]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 16:55:39 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/160*120/KNTV_Bay_Area_Car_Dealerships_Feel_D_022409_76_mezzn_448x336.jpg

For a complete buying guide from Consumer Reports, click here.

<![CDATA[New Crash Test Video]]> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 17:40:42 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/iihscrashtestsuv.jpg

New crash test results out Tuesday show many midsized SUVs are failing to perform.

In crash tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, only two out of nine midsize SUVs rated "good" in small overlap front crash tests. The test simulates what happens when the front corner of an SUV going 40 miles an hour crashes into an object.

The two top performers were the Chevy Equinox and the GMC Terrain. Both earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2014. The Toyota Highlander game in third, rating "acceptable" in the small overlap crash test. The Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota 4Runner and Ford Explorer all performed marginally overall: not good enough to get a top safety rating from the institute. Poor performers were the Kia Sorento, Mazda C-X-9 and in last place, the Honda Pilot.

These new test results from the Insurance Institute have caused Consumer Reports to change its ratings. The magazine has decided to pull its recommendations of the three S-U-Vs that performed poorly in these crash tests.

Click here for the full ratings from IIHS.

Click here for more information about recommendations from Consumer Reports.

<![CDATA[Couponing Apps]]> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 07:57:14 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/160*120/Coupons_Generic_640x480.jpg

We heard from dozens of you about the different apps you use to save money when you shop. Here are just the few mentioned in the story.

Coupons.com App: This app was recommended by Consumer Reports. Jennifer DeVore of Falls Church, VA tried the Coupons.com app and got big savings off items like yogurt, pasta sauce and lunch meat. Click here to see other Consumer Reports’ recommended apps.

RetailMeNot App: Maria Peterson in Olney, Maryland uses the Retail Me Not app when she shops at places like Michaels, Kohls, Boston Market, and more. She estimated she’s saved $150 in 4 months while using the app.

Safeway Just For U App: Michael Scott in Alexandria, VA uses Safeway’s Just for U app to save at the grocery store.

All of these apps are free to download, and work for both Apple and Android devices. Some do require a username and password, or to link the app with a loyalty card.

If you use a couponing app that has saved you money, tell us about it in the comments.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Ask Liz: Car Insurance, Recalls and Cherry Blossoms]]> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 19:25:39 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000006019363_1200x675_216641091850.jpg

News4 consumer reporter Liz Crenshaw took on everything from cameras to cherry blossoms in Friday's Ask Liz segment.

Q: What should you do if your camera or photos are still at the closed Calumet Camera shop?

A: Calumet Camera, formerly Penn Camera, has filed for bankruptcy. If you have a camera in the shop for repair, the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection advises that you file a complaint with its office. At this point, there is no eviction order, so the office cannot enter the store to reclaim customers' goods.

If you have an unused store credit, contact a bankruptcy attorney to see if you can file a claim as a creditor.

Q: Can your car insurance rate go up if you're involved in an accident that's not your fault?

A: Turns out the answer depends on where you live. The D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking says that an insurer cannot raise rates because of an accident unless the accident was caused by the insured party.

The Virginia Bureau of Insurance also says insurance companies can only increase your rates if you or a member of your household was at least partially at fault for an accident.

But the Maryland Insurance Administration does allow a tiered rating structure for drivers, including higher rates for drivers who have made claims. So your policy can go up simply if you are involved in an accident.

Q: How did the Cherry Blossom tradition begin here in Washington?

A: The National Park Service says the cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin came here in 1912. They were originally given as a gift of friendship to the United States from the people of Japan.

The blossoming trees proved to be a popular sight, and 23 years later that grew into the annual Cherry Blossom Festival.

Today, that tradition continues, as more than a million people are expected to make their way down to the Mall to see the nearly 4,000 trees in bloom.

Q: How is it determined that a car recall is needed?

A: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that since 1966, more than 390 million cars, trucks, buses, and other vehicles have been recalled to correct safety defects. Most of the time, manufacturers voluntarily initiate these recalls, while others are ordered by NHTSA after an investigation.

Recalls are deemed necessary when a vehicle does not comply with a federal motor safety standard or when there is a safety-related defect in the vehicle or equipment.

Q: How do you check to see if the car you’re driving has ever been recalled?

There is an easy way to check this, and you should -- CarFax estimates that in 2013 in the D.C. metro area more than 150,000 used cars for sale online had an unfixed safety recall.

Go to SaferCar.gov and click on the tab called "Vehicle Owners" and search safety issues for the make and model of car you're currently driving.

That will show any recalls, investigations and complaints NHTSA has received about that particular vehicle.

<![CDATA[GM Recalls Top 6 Million Since February]]> Tue, 01 Apr 2014 17:21:55 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/103360191.jpg

General Motors announced on Monday that it will recall more than 1.3 million vehicles due to issues with power steering. With this announcement, the list of recalled vehicles now tops 6 million since just February of this year. Here is the full list of recalled vehicles, listed by problem contributing to the recall in order of greatest number of vehicles impacted:

More than 2.6 million vehicles were recalled due to an ignition switch problem. This recall is also linked to at least 13 deaths, and was the focal point of the General Motors hearing on Capitol Hill this Tuesday. Here are the vehicles associated with this recall, including model years:

  • Chevrolet Cobalt 2005-2010
  • Pontiac G5 2005-2010
  • Saturn Ion 2003-2007
  • Chevrolet HHR 2006-2011
  • Pontiac Solstice 2006-2010
  • Saturn Sky 2007-2010

About 1.5 million vehicles were recalled due to power steering issues. These vehicles could experience a sudden loss of electric power steering assist. Some makes and models were also part of previous General Motors recalls, involving ignition switch problems. Recalled models are:

  • Chevrolet Malibu: 2004-2006 & 2008-2009
  • Chevrolet Malibu Maxx: 2004-2006
  • Chevrolet HHR (Non-Turbo): 2009-2010
  • Chevrolet Cobalt: 2010
  • Saturn Aura: 2008-2009
  • Saturn ION: 2004-2007
  • Pontiac G6: 2005-2006, 2008-2009
  • Service parts installed into certain vehicles before May 31, 2010 under a previous safety recall

 Another roughly 1.2 million vehicles were recalled due to airbag problems:

  • Buick Enclave 2008-2013
  • GMC Acadia 2008-2013
  • Chevrolet Traverse 2009-2013
  • Saturn Outlook 2008-2010

Nearly 500,000 vehicles were also recalled due to a transmission oil cooler line that is not securely "seated in its fitting." These vehicles include:

  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup truck 2014
  • GMC Sierra 1500 pickup truck 2014
  • Chevrolet Suburban 2015
  • Chevy Tahoe 2015
  • GMC Yukon 2015
  • Yukon XL 2015

About 303,000 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana from the 2009-2014 model years were recalled to get reworked instrument panel material to meet compliance for unbelted passengers.

63,900 Cadillac XTS full-size sedan from the 2013 and 2014 model years to be repaired to prevent possible brake booster corrosion that may result in overheating.

Click here for more on the General Motors recall from NBCNews.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Get Help With High Heating Bills]]> Mon, 31 Mar 2014 19:39:12 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000005957005_1200x675_212677699641.jpg

This winter's freezing temperatures have many people frantic now that the heating bills are coming in.

Below you will find contact information for energy assistance around the D.C. Metro area.


District of Columbia:


Baltimore Gas and Electric:


Dominion Virginia Power:

Wasington Gas:




<![CDATA[Over-The-Counter Diet Pill Recalled]]> Fri, 28 Mar 2014 14:20:27 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20140328+Alli.jpg

GlaxoSmithKline is recalling its weight loss drug Alli after learning some of the bottles have been tampered with.

The real capsule is a turquoise blue color, but consumers have reported finding tablets and capsules of other shapes and colors inside the bottles.

There are also reports the tamper-resistant seals on some bottles are not authentic.

Some bottles are even missing their labels, according to GlaxoSmithKline.

The pharmaceutical company has received about 20 complaints of tampered Alli bottles so far.

There have been no reports of serious illness.

Alli's website reads: "To date, some bottles bearing the following lot numbers and expiration dates on the carton have been reported to us by consumers as containing product other than alli:"

  • Carton Lot 14372, Expiration: 02/28/2016
  • Carton Lot 14395, Expiration: 02/28/2016
  • Carton Lot 14124, Expiration: 09/30/2015
  • Carton Lot 14267, Expiration: 01/31/2016
  • Carton Lot 14442, Expiration: 04/30/2016

Click here to learn more about the recall.

<![CDATA[No Contract Cell]]> Mon, 24 Mar 2014 17:55:29 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/CR-smart-phone-050913.jpg

If you have a two-year contract on your cell phone, you're probably dishing out more than a hundred dollars a month for service.

Now, Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, has us looking at no-contract cell phone options in a new way. If you’re considering making the switch, here are some things to consider:

  • PRO TO SWITCHING: No more termination fees. Since you’re not in a contract, there shouldn’t be a fee if you try to get a new phone or move to another service. Also, if you’re stuck in a two-year contract, some carriers like T-Mobile say they’ll pay early termination fees, up to $350 per line.
  • CON TO SWITCHING: You might have to pay full price for a new smartphone. For example, a 16-gig iPhone 5S will set you back $649. Most contract carriers subsidize the cost of new phones. For some consumers, that alone is reason to stick to a contract plan, according to Consumers Union.
  • PRO TO SWITCHING: You could save more money over time. Consumer Reports tracked the cost of 4 different wireless carriers over the course of two years. While the two no-contract carriers, Straight Talk and Cricket, charged hundreds of dollars more up front for the phone, after two years they cost about $1,000 less than contract phone plans from Verizon and AT&T.
  • (POTENTIAL) CON TO SWITCHING: Quality of coverage and service. Some no-contract companies buy space on the same networks as the biggest wireless providers. Yet, some base coverage on the type of phone you have.

BOTTOM LINE: There’s no guarantee you’ll save money unless you sit down and crunch numbers for your individual needs when it comes to a cell phone carrier.


<![CDATA[RECALL: Nearly 3 Million Children's Bed Canopies]]> Thu, 20 Mar 2014 17:55:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/160*370/ikea11.jpg

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced today the recall of nearly 3 million children's bed canopies from Ikea.  An infant or child can get entangled at the neck in the canopy’s fabric.. posing a strangulation hazard. There have been nine reports of children getting entangled in the bed canopies. The canopies have been sold at Ikea stores nationwide and online since 1996.

Click here to see the names of the affected bed canopies.

<![CDATA[Top Uses for Tax Refunds]]> Wed, 19 Mar 2014 18:15:47 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/taxes3.jpg

That April 15 tax deadline is looming, and if you're planning to get a refund, there's a decent chance you'll spend it on a car. According to a new CarMax survey, one in six people expecting a tax refund plan to use the money toward buying a car.

That number goes up for people under the age of 35 (29 percent) and parents (26 percent).

About half of those surveyed say they plan to save the money or pay back debt. About 30 percent of people are not expecting a refund at all this year.


<![CDATA[The Perfect Bacon Bowl: Does It Really Do That?]]> Sat, 22 Mar 2014 09:41:42 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20140317+Perfect+Bacon+Bowl.jpg

Many of us are addicted to bacon -- so addicted that we want to turn it into a dish: A bacon bowl.

The commercials for the Perfect Bacon Bowl say that it is the "easy way to make delicious edible bowls out of bacon" in "just minutes," and that "the unique design allows the bacon to crisp up evenly, while grease collects in the channel so you can pour it out of your diet."

But does the Perfect Bacon Bowl, which is widely advertised on TV, really do that?

Viewers asked News4 Consumer Reporter Liz Crenshaw to find out.

"I love crisp bacon. I thought it would be really fun to make this bowl that they show on TV," said Cliff Gilbert of Bethesda, Md.

News4 bought the Perfect Bacon Bowl for $23. It came with four bacon bowl molds -- or pans -- and a recipe guide.

Gilbert gave it a try. He followed the directions, using three strips of bacon to construct each of his bacon bowls. After building several, he put the first batch in the oven, and meanwhile cooked two other bacon bowls, one at a time, in the microwave.

In the microwave, he first cooked the bacon bowls for the initially recommended time of two minutes and thirty seconds. The directions indicate you might need to add more time.

"I hope it's ready," Gilbert said as he took the bowls out of the microwave -- and then, he said, "Oh no, that's not crispy enough."

After a total of four minutes in the microwave, checking every 30 seconds, Gilbert was satisfied with the bacon's crispiness. And as the Perfect Bacon Bowl claimed, it collected a lot of grease.

In the meantime, the bowls in the oven cooked for 35 minutes and looked done enough to take out of the oven. But once they were out, Gilbert said, "That is definitely undercooked."

As directed, Cliff put them back in for additional time, for a total of 44 minutes. Even then, Gilbert said, "This bacon bowl is still undercooked."

In the end, after lots of trial and error with timing, one out of five bacon bowls turned out crispy enough for Gilbert. "In the microwave we got one winner and it was excellent," Gilbert said.

But Gilbert called the process "time consuming."

News4 reached out to the makers of the Perfect Bacon Bowl. They said:

"Complete customer satisfaction is our goal. Perfect Bacon Bowl product went under extensive testing, and has gotten high marks from consumers across the U.S.


"Our testing found that the type of bacon used affects cooking time and as demonstrated through that research and noted in the instruction booklet that comes in every package, size and structure of the bacon bowl may vary depending on the type of bacon or cooking method used. Also worth noting are that cook time may vary depending on the specific appliance model used and elevation.
We have millions of satisfied Perfect Bacon Bowl consumers, with more than two million units sold to date."

So the Perfect Bacon Bowl: does it really do that? "We had no perfect bacon bowls," Gilbert said. "There was one pretty close, and I was very happy with that."

For $23, would Gilbert buy them? "No," he said. "If they were ten dollars, yes I'd give it a shot."

<![CDATA[GM Announces New Recalls]]> Mon, 17 Mar 2014 14:30:35 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/175*120/97618442.jpg

General Motors announced Monday that it's recalling nearly 1.2 million SUVs for defective side airbags.

The automaker also issued less widespread recalls involving about 364,000 commercial vans and Cadillac sedans for separate problems.

Here is a list of the recalled vehicles:

  • 2009-2014 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans, to get reworked instrument panel material to meet compliance for unbelted passengers
  • 2013 and some 2014 Cadillac XTS models, to be repaired to prevent possible brake booster corrosion that may result in overheating
  • Some 2008-2009 and all 2010-2013 Buick Enclaves and GMC Acadias, some 2009 and all 2010-2013 Chevrolet Traverse SUVs, and some 2008-2009 and all 2010 Saturn Outlooks, to repair the wiring harness of seat-mounted side airbags

Monday's recall comes as GM faces multiple investigations over its handling of an ignition switch recall involving more than 1.6 million compact cars.

Click here to learn more about the latest recalls.

Click here to learn more about the ignition switch recall.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ask Liz: GM's Recall and D.C. Mailboxes]]> Sat, 15 Mar 2014 02:56:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20140314+Ask+Liz.jpg

If it's Friday, it must be time for Ask Liz! In this weekly feature, News4 Consumer Reporter Liz Crenshaw answers your questions.

If you'd like to submit a question to Ask Liz, send it to her email address, or Tweet her, or connect with her on Facebook.

Tonight's Ask Liz questions:

What's going on with mailboxes being taken out of certain intersections in D.C.?

The U.S. Postal Service says that they have noticed a sharp drop in mail being collected at about 15 public mailboxes in D.C., and they have put signs on those boxes indicating that they will be removed.

The USPS says the locations have other boxes nearby that people can use.

What do you do if you have made a mistake on your tax refund?

Math errors are likely to be caught in the processing of your return, the IRS says. But if you have not claimed all the tax credits you are eligible for, or if you have not acknowledged all your income, you should file a corrected return using form 1040X. All corrections must be made within three years of filing your initial return.

What is the defect that led GM to recall some cars after reports of deadly accidents?

The defect has to do with the ignition switch. The switch could turn from on to off or the accessory position while driving. This can make the car stall, turns off the power steering and makes the air bags inoperable.

The recall includes 1.5 million cars:

  • 2005-2007 Chevy Cobalt, Pontiac G5 and Pontiac Pursuit
  • 2003-2007 Saturn Ion
  • 2006-2007: Chevrolet HHR & Pontiac Solstice
  • 2007: Saturn Sky

What should I do to get my recall-affected car fixed?

Wait until you get your recall notice -- that means your dealership has the parts it needs to get your car fixed. While you are waiting, take all other keys, fobs and key chains off your key ring; GM suspects that overloaded or heavy key rings may be more susceptible to the ignition problem.

GM does allow consumers affected to get a loaner car from their dealer, but ask for it. Dealers won't offer a loaner unless the consumer asks.

GM is also offering affected drivers a $500 discount on the purchase or lease of a new GM car.

<![CDATA['Most Overlooked' Cars List Released]]> Fri, 14 Mar 2014 14:16:57 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/11am-liz-crenshaw.jpg Mike Quincy from Consumer Reports shared five cars that are often under-hyped, but great buys for their money.]]> <![CDATA[Keep Up With 2013 Tax Changes]]> Mon, 10 Mar 2014 17:40:24 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000005712875_1200x675_190390339657.jpg

Changes are part of life, and with changes come new taxes.

The government shutdown, same-sex marriages, a home office -- each will change how much you owe the goverment.

<![CDATA[Ask Liz: Daylight Saving, Water Bills, Identity Theft]]> Fri, 07 Mar 2014 19:55:29 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WEB+Safe+water.jpg Consumer Reporter Liz Crenshaw answers who makes the decisions about daylight saving time, why our water bills are so high this month and how can we protect our identity.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Credit Freeze]]> Fri, 07 Mar 2014 17:15:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/data-breach-011514_1200x675_117634627691.jpg

If you'd like to place a security/credit freeze on your credit report, visit the Federal Trade Commission's website for more information.

<![CDATA[Disappointing Dozen: Consumer Reports]]> Tue, 04 Mar 2014 18:45:38 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/edt-AP863206324288_4.jpg

To get the full list of disappointing cars from Consumer Reports, click here.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Ask Liz: Data Breaches and Car Seats]]> Sat, 01 Mar 2014 00:35:25 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20140228+Ask+Liz.jpg

News4 Consumer Reporter Liz Crenshaw answers your questions about data breaches and car seats.

<![CDATA[Getting Rid of Gift Cards]]> Mon, 24 Feb 2014 18:51:58 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/CR+Gift+Cards+120513.jpg

Want to sell that unused gift card? CardHub has an online forum where your gift card can be sold.

Photo Credit: Consumer Reports]]>
<![CDATA[What to Do If You've Been Affected by the U.Md. Data Breach]]> Fri, 21 Feb 2014 20:38:54 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20140221+Maryland.jpg

The University of Maryland issued another statement Friday about the data breach that exposed the personal information of more than 300,000 faculty members and students dating back to 1998.

And they explained how people who had been affected could get help.

Here is the university's statement:

The University of Maryland continues to work around the clock to the address the data breach. Law enforcement authorities including the U.S. Secret Service are investigating and we have partnered with an outside cybersecurity firm to assist our computer forensic analysis. We are doing everything possible to discover how this happened so we can prevent further attacks.

UMD is offering free credit protection services for all affected persons.  Beginning Tuesday, February 25, individuals may call 1-866-274-3891 to verify if their records were compromised and immediately activate this service. 

We understand this breach is causing concern and consternation.  Please know that we are doing everything possible to ensure the protection of our community’s personal information as we move forward.

<![CDATA[UMD Data Breach: What You Need to Know]]> Thu, 20 Feb 2014 20:26:45 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/212*120/umdbreach.jpg

Hackers broke into the University of Maryland database system this week, stealing full names, Social Security numbers and birthdays (among other personal information) of hundreds of thousands of students and staff. This data breach is very different from other recent hacks, such as the Target breach, as a compromised Social Security number puts your identity at greater risk for problems down the road.

In the Target breach, credit card companies were able to issue new cards to affected customers, but it’s not as easy to issue someone a new Social Security number. In fact, the only way to be considered for a new Social Security number is if there is proof that yours has been repeatedly misused. In addition, your Social Security number is linked to more than just your personal identity: your finances, health records, tax records and employment can all be compromised. Click here for more information from the Social Security Administration.

Ways to protect yourself:

  • Monitor all your accounts. Your credit card, bank statements, health records, taxes: all of these are at risk when your Social Security number is compromised.
  • In his letter, President Loh says the University will offer free credit monitoring for those affected for one year. That’s a great place to start, but the reality is that you’ll have to keep monitoring your accounts for a lot longer than the next 365 days. Watch here for updates on when it will become available.
  • If you find out someone has used your Social Security number or other personal information, you’ll have to report the fraud. Click here for more on where to report identity theft.

If you have additional questions about the data breach for the University of Maryland, call 301-405-4440 or email datasecurity@umd.edu.

<![CDATA[Listeria Risk Linked to Certain Cheeses]]> Wed, 19 Feb 2014 19:05:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/160*120/Generic-Health-11.jpg

Maryland, Virginia and the District are all warning of a possible health risk associated with certain types of cheese.

Both Maryland and D.C. warn of a possible listeria risk connected with Roos Foods. Both jurisdictions warn consumers not to buy the follow brands of cheese (all under the Roos Foods company): Santa Rosa de Lima, Amigo, Mexicana, Suyapa, La Chapina and La Purisima Crema Nica.

In Virginia, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says listeria was found in a sample of  Cuajada en Terron (Fresh Cheese Curd) cheese in Northern Virginia, particularly at the Mega Mart located in Shopper's Square in Manassas. The product was sold in clear, unlabeled plastic bags held in the retail cheese display cooler.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Don't Fall Victim to Tax Fraud]]> Wed, 19 Feb 2014 18:52:15 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/%5BNECN%5D060213_irs_5pm-E_NECN1500kMP4_640x360_2388999620.jpg

Washington D.C. has the highest number of tax-related identity thefts per person in the country, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The IRS says it’s seen a significant increase in refund fraud because of identity theft. So, how is it done?

Thieves steal someone's social security number and then file a fake return in order to get that person's tax refund.

The IRS says it opened 1,492 identity theft related criminal investigations in fiscal year 2013 compared to 898 the year before. That's a 66 percent increase.

The IRS says it’s assigned more than 3,000 employees to work on identity theft-related tax fraud cases.

The IRS offers these tips to protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft:

  • Don’t carry your Social Security card or any documents that include your Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
  • Don’t give a business your SSN or ITIN just because they ask. Give it only when required.
  • Protect your financial information.
  • Check your credit report every 12 months.
  • Secure personal information in your home.
  • Protect your personal computers by using firewalls and anti-spam/virus software, updating security patches and changing passwords for Internet accounts.
  • Don’t give personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you have initiated the contact or you are sure you know who you are dealing with.

If you believe you’re a victim of identity theft:

Be alert to possible identity theft if you receive a notice from the IRS or learn from your tax professional that:

  • More than one tax return for you was filed;
  • You have a balance due, refund offset or have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return;
  • IRS records indicate you received more wages than you actually earned or
  • Your state or federal benefits were reduced or cancelled because the agency received information reporting an income change.

If you receive a notice from the IRS and you suspect your identity has been used fraudulently, respond immediately by calling the number on the notice.

If you did not receive an IRS notice but believe you’ve been the victim of identity theft, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490, extension 245 right away so we can take steps to secure your tax account and match your SSN or ITIN.

<![CDATA[Winter Weather Questions Answered]]> Fri, 14 Feb 2014 12:40:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000005442169_1200x675_152478787673.jpg Liz Crenshaw reports on what you need to know when it comes to Valentine's deliveries and taking care of your home during the winter weather.]]> <![CDATA[Snow Safety Tips]]> Thu, 13 Feb 2014 19:31:04 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000005431609_1200x675_151155779969.jpg Liz Crenshaw with important safety information about snow.]]> <![CDATA[25 Winter Weather Tips for Your Home, Car and Pets]]> Thu, 13 Feb 2014 17:46:27 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/461410385.jpg

Here are some helpful tips to help you cope with the snow and the cold at home, in your car or when caring for your pets.


  1. Limit your time outside as much as possible. If you must go outdoors, dress warmly and wear loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothing. Wear a scarf over your mouth to protect your lungs.
  2. Watch for signs of hypothermia, including uncontrollable shivering, weak pulse, disorientation, incoherence and drowsiness, and frostbite, including gray, white or yellow skin discoloration, numbness and waxy feeling skin.
  3. Watch for ice, and wear sturdy snow boots.
  4. Salt and shovel your sidewalks as the snow is still falling, if possible, and help neighbors unable to clear their own walkways. See tips on safely shoveling snow here.


  1. Have safe emergency heating equipment in your home, as well as a flashlight, portable radio and three days' worth of food in case the power goes out.
  2. To prevent frozen pipes, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission recommends letting your hot and cold faucets drip overnight, and opening cabinet doors to allow heat to reach uninsulated pipes under sinks on exterior walls.
  3. Locate the water shut-off valve in your home in advance of a water emergency, so you know where to go if a pipe bursts, DC Water spokesperson Pamela Mooring advised.
  4. Disconnect garden hoses and, if practical, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets.
  5. If you're going away for an extended period of time, be sure to maintain adequate heat inside your home at no lower than 55 degrees.
  6. Don't place a space heater within three feet of anything combustible.
  7. Program your local utility contact information into your cell phone now, before you need them.

    Important Utility Numbers include:
    -- Dominion Virginia: 1-866-366-4357
    -- Baltimore Gas and Electric (BG&E): 1-877-778-2222 or 1-800-685-0123
    -- Pepco: 1-877-737-2662
    -- SMECO: 1-877-747-6326 or 1-888-440-3311
    -- Washington Gas: 1-800-752-7520
    -- Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC): 1-800-828-4002


  1. Bad weather is the cause of more than 1.5 million vehicle crashes in the country each year, according to study by the Federal Highway Administration. Stay home when possible and be extremely careful if you have to drive during adverse conditions.
  2. If your car battery is three years old or older, it is more likely to fail as temperatures drops, according to AAA. Never attempt to charge or jump-start a battery that's frozen -- it may rupture or explode.
  3. Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
  4. Don't leave your car unattended while you warm it up -- authorities say that's a common cause of car thefts in the winter.
  5. Make certain your tires are properly inflated. Cold weather will often reduce tire pressure.
  6. Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid freezing your car's gas lines.
  7. If possible, avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.
  8. Wintry weather can contribute to the deterioration of your windshield wipers. Worn blades streak and impair vision, critical during winter months. AAA says wiper blades should be replaced every year.
  9. Keep your washer fluid topped off with winter formula fluid so it won’t freeze. Many of your car’s fluids should be checked once a month.


  1. Keep your pets inside. Dogs and cats left outside can freeze, get injured or become lost.
  2. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang on the hood of your car before starting the engine to give them a chance to escape.
  3. The ASPCA suggests wiping your dog's legs and stomach down when he or she comes in from snowy or icy conditions. Dogs can ingest salt, antifreeze and other chemicals when licking their paws.
  4. Never leave your pet inside a car unattended.


  1. If you see someone in the D.C. area who needs shelter or warmer clothing, call the following numbers:
         -- The District: 202-535-7252
         -- Arlington County, Va.: 703-527-4077
         -- Prince George's County, Md.: 888-731-0999
         -- Maryland Crisis Hotline: 301-662-2255
         -- Montgomery County, Md.: 240-777-4000
         -- Fairfax County: 703-691-2131

    Find more hypothermia hotlines and ways to help the homeless here.  

Get the latest weather from NBCWashington.com:

Download our NEW free weather apps for iPad and iPhone. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for our e-mail newsletters.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[How Long Do You Have to Clear Snow?]]> Thu, 13 Feb 2014 16:09:01 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/snow-generic-ny-2.jpg Jurisdictions have different timelines for residents to remove snow. Liz Crenshaw reports.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Tips for Snow Removal Around Your Home]]> Thu, 13 Feb 2014 14:07:53 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/snow+removal1.jpg

As you head outside to dig out of your driveway and clear your sidewalks, there are some other places around your home you may have to clear.

Snow drifts may have built up against your house during the winter weather and could block important vents.

To start, clear your dryer vent. If it's blocked, you can cause a fire in your dryer.

If you have a gas fire place or high efficiency gas furnace, be sure the vent outside is cleared.

When it comes to heat pumps, make sure they're clear of ice and snow. Homeowners should clear the top, sides, bottom and around the heat pump. If you cannot get to the unit to clear it off, heating contractors say turn your thermostat to emergency heat or off.

And one other thing you may not realize -- do not leave your gas meter covered in snow. Gas meters have vents and if they're blocked, they can cause gas to leak outside your home.
They have vents and if they're blocked can cause gas to leak outside your house.

But don't use a shovel. You can damage the meter. Washington Gas suggests using your hands or a broom.

If you're headed outside to warm up your car, be sure to clear the tail pipe first. With the amount of snow we've received, covered tailpipes pose a carbon monoxide poisoning risk.

<![CDATA[Toyota Recalls 1.9 Million Prius Cars]]> Wed, 12 Feb 2014 19:05:20 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/Toyota+Prius+Most+Fuel+Efficent+Ranking.jpg

Toyota is recalling 1.9 Million Prius Cars.

Toyota says the recall involves all its newest, third generation Prius cars that have been in production since 2009.

The company says the cars have a programming glitch in the hybrid system. It could shut down and cause the car to stop, possibly while the car's being driven.
This is the third recall for the five-year Prius.

Click here to look up Toyota recalls.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Car Culture]]>
<![CDATA[Graco Recalls Almost 3.8 Million Toddler Car Seats]]> Wed, 12 Feb 2014 14:09:37 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Grayco+car+seat+recall+021214.jpg

Graco and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the recall of almost 3.8 million convertible toddler and booster child seats manufactured from 2009 to July 2013.

Graco says the models affected include:

  • Toddler Convertible Car Seats: Cozy Cline, Comfort Sport, Classic Ride 50, My Ride 65, My Ride 70, My Ride 65 with Safety Surround, Size4Me 70, My Size 70, Head Wise 70, Smart Seat.
  • Harnessed Booster Seats: Nautilus 3-in-1, Nautilus Elite and Argos.

Click here for more information on the recall and learn how to get a replacement harness buckle.

Photo Credit: Grayco]]>
<![CDATA[Safety Tips for Window Cords]]> Mon, 10 Feb 2014 00:20:21 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/160*120/window+blinds.jpg

Prince George’s County police are investing the death of a six-year-old girl after she was found entangled in cords attached to window coverings.

And Saturday’s death is a reminder to parents and anyone who looks after children to keep window cords and strings out of the reach of children.

Also, move all furniture like cribs, beds and toys away from windows.

If you live in an apartment building or home where you are not allowed to replace blinds or shades with cordless ones, contact the Window Covering Safety Council for a free retrofit.

You can find more safety information at the following links:

Safe Kids Worldwide

Consumer Product Safety Commission

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[How to Report a Pothole]]> Mon, 17 Feb 2014 05:31:34 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/160*120/Pothole.jpg

Potholes: they seem to be popping up everywhere right about now. We've got a roundup of your most frequently asked pothole-related questions:.

How do potholes form, and why are we seeing so many right now?
The Virginia Department of Transportation answered this question for us. VDOT says potholes are created when moisture from rain and snow seeps into the pavement. That moisture freezes and expands and then thaws out, which loosens the pavement. Combined with our winter of snow and ice, along with lots of freeze-thaw cycles mean more potholes than usual.

Who should you call to report pot holes that need to be repaired?

D.C.: Call 311 or complete this form.

Montgomery County: Call 311 or complete this form.

Prince George's County: Call 311 or contact the Department of Public Works & Transportation.

Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William Counties: Contact the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Arlington: Contact the Department of Environmental Services.

Will a jurisdiction reimburse you for pothole damage to your car?

All jurisdictions told us that claims are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

In D.C., you file a claim with the City’s Office of Risk Management.

In Maryland you file a claim with the State Treasurer's Office.

In Virginia you file a claim with your local VDOT office.

If your car suffers serious damage, you may still want to file an insurance claim in case you are denied any reimbursement.

<![CDATA[Phony Service Dogs]]> Mon, 03 Feb 2014 20:02:35 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000005306793_1200x675_136307267878.jpg

As much as you love your dog, he or she is not welcome everywhere. But some dog owners have found a way to trick the system.

<![CDATA[Liz Crenshaw Leaving News4 at End of May]]> Mon, 03 Feb 2014 11:20:22 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20131203+Liz+Crenshaw.jpg

Liz Crenshaw, News4's Consumer Reporter, has announced her plans to leave News4 at the end of May.

Liz has been with NBC4 since 1980, spending several years as an assignment editor before becoming a star producer in the Consumer Unit. She transitioned into her role in front of the camera in 1993, where she's been ever since.

“It’s been a great privilege and a pleasure to be a part of the NBC4 family for more than 30 years. My commitment to consumer reporting and looking out for the people of DC, Maryland and Virginia has been – not just a job – but a passion. Now it’s time for new explorations and time away from the camera," Liz said.

Liz plans to spend more time with her family and looks "forward with great excitement to what lies ahead."

<![CDATA[3 Baby Pacifiers Recalled Due to Choking Hazard]]> Sun, 02 Feb 2014 19:40:29 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/baby+pacifier+recall.jpg

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is recalling three baby pacifiers due to a choking hazard.

The pacifiers are manufactured by Fred & Friends and have elements that can detach and create a problem. The CPSC also said the ventilation holes to two of the pacifier guards are too small.

The pacifiers recalled are the Artiste, Volume, and Panic pacifiers. The Artiste has a fake mustache on it while the Volume and Panic pacifiers have knobs on the front.

There has been one report of a knob detaching. No injuries have been reported.

Consumers should immediately take the recalled pacifiers away from young children and return them to Fred & Friends for a $12 refund. Fred & Friends is providing a postage paid envelope for consumers to return the recalled pacifiers.

People can call Fred & Friends toll-free at (855) 346-6372 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, email the firm at pacifiersconsumer@fredandfriends.com or online at www.fredandfriends.com and click on Pacifier Recall for more information.



<![CDATA[Facebook Photo Surprise]]> Fri, 31 Jan 2014 00:38:44 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/crest.jpg

Like many moms, one Frederick, Maryland mom posts pictures of her baby on Facebook.
But imagine her surprise when her photo popped up in a pitch for tooth-whitening.
NBC4's Liz Crenshaw shares a warning about reading the fine print before you post.

You can read Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities here or log in to Facebook and search "Statement of Rights and Responsibilities".

Here is Facebook's full response to our story:

Statement 1:
The image in question was the result of an isolated bug that we are now fixing. No one else saw the image beyond the individual that viewed it. This was a result of an image in the person's News Feed being shown in the wrong place and not a result of anyone using that image improperly.

We do not share or sell people's personal information to advertisers, and we do not use people's photos in ads. Everything on Facebook is social including the ads you see so you may see that your friend has like a business on Facebook when they run an ad. But we do not use your personal photos in the ads themselves.

Statement 2:
In our terms we are required to have the necessary license so that we can show your photos to your friends, something people do a lot of on Facebook. This doesn't change the ownership of the photos. People always own their own photos and other content they post.

Here is Crest's full response to our story:

"Crest did not develop, commission, nor approve this advertisement. Facebook has reassured us the source of the issue has been identified, and they are working to quickly resolve it."

<![CDATA[Home Warranty Woes]]> Mon, 27 Jan 2014 18:40:29 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000005218660_1200x675_128192067624.jpg

When you buy a home, you hope all the systems will work perfectly, but some people turn to home warranties for peace of mind.

NBC4's Liz Crenshaw has a warning about home warranties.

<![CDATA[Neiman Marcus: 1.1 Million Cards Compromised]]> Thu, 23 Jan 2014 18:10:22 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Neiman+Marcus+011714.jpg

Neiman Marcus is revealing more information about its recent data hack. The retailer now says 1.1 million debit and credit cards may have been compromised in a security breach from July 16-October 30 last year. Moreover, it says 2,400 credit and debit cards used at Neiman Marcus and Last Call have already been hacked. Neiman Marcus says it is notifying all customers who shopped in its stores in 2013 and offering them a free year of credit monitoring and identity-theft protection.

For more information from Neiman Marcus, including directions for enrolling in Neiman Marcus' free identity theft protection, click here.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Pet Crash Tests]]> Mon, 20 Jan 2014 20:52:42 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/cps_dynamic_test_015_D6H4703h%5B1%5D.jpg

For more information about the Center for Pet Safety's Study:

  • Click here to visit the Center for Pet Safety's website.
  • Click here for the PDF of the study.
  • Click here to visit the website of the top performer: the Sleepypod Clickit.

We reached out to the American Pet Products Association. It tells us:

"... There are no current standards in place (for pet travel harnesses), which is why APPA continues to work to connect our members with the Center for Pet Safety. APPA would prefer not to comment on the study itself, only to say that our organization had the Center for Pet Safety speak at our annual tradeshow in 2013 and our Association members continue to work with them in addressing concerns with pet harnesses and restraints."

<![CDATA[Target Breach FAQ]]> Fri, 17 Jan 2014 19:13:22 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/target-card-charge.jpg

Questions have been pouring in to our mailbox regarding the Target data breach. Here are your most frequently asked questions, answered.

Target is using one credit bureau, Experian, for its free credit monitoring service-- does this mean you also need to get a copy of your credit reports from Equifax and TransUnion as well?

The Federal Trade Commission says, it's really up to you. All three nationwide credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) get their information from different sources, so what you get from one company may not be the same information in the other two reports. Remember: you can get a free copy of your credit report from all three credit bureaus once a year. The only government-authorized place to get that report is www.annualcreditreport.com.

Experian requires that you give your social security number to enroll. Is this a good idea?

Experian says it asks for personal information, such as your social security number, so that your identity can be verified during the registration process. Since Experian is a credit bureau, it does already have your social security number on file. Therefore, providing it for identity verification shouldn't make you alarmed. Experian says asking for your social security number is strictly a security measure to ensure no one else has access to your information.

Why is Experian asking me to pay for a credit score or to buy additional reports?

Target says that it will pay for a free copy of your Experian credit report, plus daily credit monitoring for one year. Any other products or services on Experian's website, such as a copy of your credit score, you'll have to pay for. It's not necessary to give Experian any payment information unless you want to purchase something extra.

With more than 100 *million* people's identities at risk... What should people be looking out for?

Target says that the primary risk from this security breach is increased exposure to consumer scams, such as phishing and web scams. Of course, there is also an increased risk of identity theft and having your credit or debit card compromised. The best way to protect yourself: monitor your bank statements, your credit card statements and your credit reports.

Are the protections against fraud for both credit and debit cards the same?

The Federal Trade Commission says the truth is, the protections are NOT the same. You are  covered if fraud hits your credit card. All liability tops out at $50.00 but most often, consumers pay nothing if someone uses their card fraudulently. If fraud hits your debit card, on the other hand, act fast if you don't want to be held responsible. Your liability for fraudulent use of your debit card goes up the longer it takes you to inform your bank of an unauthorized charge in your account. If you wait two days, you will be responsible for 50 dollars, then 500 dollars after three days, then the entire amount if you let more than two months go by.

If you are concerned about your card getting compromised, what happens if your card gets denied while you're checking out at a store?

The good news: the chances that your card will be denied while you're checking out can happen, but is unlikely. That's because most big credit card issuers will warn you if they have spotted unauthorized charges and are shutting down your card.  By the way, if you're a Citibank customer,  Citibank told News4 that it will be re-issuing debit cards of affected customers in the coming weeks. In the off chance that your card is denied, call your bank right away.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>