The Embarrassing Anatomy of a Phishing Scam

You’ve got to hand it to scam artists. They often succeed in spite of themselves.

If I had a nickel for every time I retrieved a message from my inbox warning me that my PayPal account has been limited, or that my credit card has been suspended, well, I’d have at least $100 bucks in my pocket right now.

Don’t scoff. That’s 2000 nickels!

This afternoon it happened again. I got an “urgent”

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True Story: How to Cope When Your Spouse Skips Out with All the Cash

(Readers: In February 2012, I received a heart-breaking message in my inbox from Spedie, a long-time reader and frequent commenter here at Len Penzo dot Com. Her husband abandoned her and their marriage — but not before he callously drained the household checking and savings accounts of every last penny. This is her story.)

I’d always considered myself pretty street smart. You know, the kind of girl that didn’t have an

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How to Avoid Paying a Mandatory Gratuity for Bad Service

Like most people, I have very strong opinions when it comes to tipping rates for various services that expect them. For example, I staunchly believe that 15% is completely acceptable for good restaurant service.

It used to be that tipping was meant to reward and encourage your server for exemplary service. Unfortunately, with the advent of tipping pools, mandatory gratuities and general tip inflation, that seems to be the exception rather

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Gee, Thanks: 4 Presumptuous Gifts That Can Strain A Budget

Merry Christmas my a$$. If this means I'm going to be coughing up $750 per month for the next 7 years, I would rather have gotten a nice tie … or some underwear and socks.

I remember the worst gift I ever received. It was a vacation to the Bahamas that an old girlfriend of mine gave to me. It was one of those too-good-to-be-true ultra-low-cost package “deals” that was

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15 Reasons Why Waterbeds Are For Suckers

Sometimes people buy things that they eventually end up regretting. I know I’ve got a long list.

I’ve already explained why corner lots and whirlpool tubs are for suckers.

Today, I’ve got two words for anybody out there who is currently considering spending $1000 or more of their hard-earned money on a waterbed: buyer beware. That’s because, when you add it all up, there are far more disadvantages than advantages.

Believe me. After

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4 Smart Reasons Why College Isn't for Everyone

Don't laugh; after running the numbers he most likely decided it made little sense to attend a traditional American college.

Some things in life are painfully overrated.

Take camping, for instance. Or iPhones.

I’ve never understood the allure of luxury cars or the Baby Boomer generation’s collective fascination with Bob Dylan either.

And although it pains me to say this — because it will probably ruin any chance I’ll ever have of scoring

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Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Guess My Rental Car Bill.

It seems like every time I go to Hawaii, I always learn a valuable financial lesson.

I already shared how, during my recent summer vacation there, I was reminded of why folks should always be on their toes when shopping, as illustrated by two sizes of the same detergent being sold at a local supermarket — and the jaw-dropping price-difference between them.

And although you’d think I’d know better, that wasn’t the

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100 Words On: Why You Don't Always Get What You Pay For

One of the most popular financial tips that people routinely dispense to others is, “You get what you pay for.” Perhaps that’s why many folks erroneously believe they can’t go wrong by paying more for something — whether it’s a fancy meal, designer jeans, bottled water, or a host of other products and services. That’s not always true. There are plenty of examples — education and gasoline are two of

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100 Words On: Why You Should Never Cosign A Loan for Anyone

Cosigning for a loan is one of the dumbest financial moves you could ever make. By cosigning, you not only assume liability for the borrowed money, but you also make it tougher on yourself to qualify for large loans — regardless of your payment history — because lenders still include cosigned loans as part of your overall debt load.

The bottom line: If a lender refuses to loan money to somebody

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What Does 'Flare' Taste Like? When Swanky Marketing Goes Too Far.

Last week my boss and I were sitting in a conference room when he spied a pack of gum that someone had left on the table.

“Hey, Len! You want some gum?”

“Well, that depends,” I said. “What flavor is it?”

“Five.”

Five? What the heck does that mean?”

“Beats me, but that’s what it says!”

The whole thing was so odd, I took this picture of the package for posterity:

Anyway, after looking at the box

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