Best of Our Blogs: Super Bowl TV buying; Tips to avoid tax fraud


Retail experts say many football fans are looking for a larger television set with the latest features — including 4K technology — especially if they plan to host a Super Bowl party.

This year’s Super Bowl sales will offer deep discounts on higher-end 50” and larger 4K TVs, according to FatWallet.com.

Roughly 30 percent of television users stream the majority of their programming, according to FatWallet. The number is higher for millennials — 7 in 10.

That is driving demand for 4K television sets, which has grown more than 400 percent over last year, the deal hunting website said.

The 4K TVs allow cord-cutters to stream free and paid content using services like Roku, Netflix and Amazon.

More than 76 million Americans plan to buy a TV this year, according to BestBlackFriday.com. Of those, just over 9 percent will make the purchase in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl.

FatWallet said shoppers can expect to save between $200 and 400 on name brand 40-55” 4K TVs, with basic models starting ranging from $300 to $600. The website said 1080p sets will be priced under $300.

For 60-65” 4K OLED models, prices should start around $1,200.

— Jennifer Sorentrue, Malled!

Tax season is here. File early to try to beat the tax refund thieves

Tax season is here, and as you gather and receive information to prepare to file, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation warns that scammers are ramping up as well.

To avoid becoming a victim of criminals who file fraudulent tax returns using stolen identities, remain vigilant and file as early as possible, the OFR advises.

The IRS will begin accepting returns Jan. 23, and individual returns are due by April 18.

Many thieves see tax refunds as an easy target because they only require a name, Social Security Number and date of birth to file. Anyone who holds a Social Security Number may be at risk. Still, there are some simple, effective steps to reduce your risk of becoming a victim.

OFR’s advice:

  • Filing your taxes early in the season. Fraudsters typically file false returns as early as possible so that the IRS receives the false return before the legitimate one. Your risk for identity theft drastically decreases when you collect and file your information early.
  • Using a secure internet connection, if you file your taxes online. Also use an electronic device that you trust.
  • Taking your tax return directly to the post office if you plan to send it through the mail. Leaving your return in your mailbox can be risky and make you more vulnerable to identity thieves.
  • Doing your research before handing over your personal information to a tax preparer. Make certain that you are using someone credible and trustworthy.
  • Being wary of IRS phone and email scams. The IRS will never contact you by phone or email if they need information. Never provide personal information over the phone to a so called “IRS agent.”

— Susan Salisbury, Protecting Your Pocket



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