News Bulletin: Unemployment Claims Fall, Mortgage Rates Rise, Scams Abound, And More


Unemployment Claims Fall, But There Are Blind Spots | CNBC

 

  • The number of claims for unemployment benefits has fallen from almost 33 million at the end of June to around 21 million at the end of October.1 This is partly due to people retuning to work, but there are certain so called “blind spots” that skew the data. These include the fact that many workers have exhausted their ability to receive unemployment benefits, such as those who were eligible through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. Some workers are also transitioning from one unemployment program to another, which could lead to temporary drops in claims.

 

The Time to Refinance Is Coming to an End as Mortgage Rates Rise | Yahoo! Finance

 

  • Mortgage rates dropped to record lows during the pandemic, leading experts to recommend that homeowners who were considering refinancing take advantage of the lower rates.2 Although mortgage rates are still almost an entire percentage point lower than they were a year ago, averaging 2.84% for a 30-year fixed-rate loan,3it appears that they are starting to rise, which could be due to the market reacting to announcements of an upcoming COVID-19 vaccine. As mortgage rates rise with the recovery of the economy, experts are suggesting that the prime window to refinance is closing.

 

Scammers Target People Waiting for Pandemic Relief Money | Washington Post

 

  • While the federal government continues to negotiate plans for a second stimulus package, scammers are targeting people with false claims about a second stimulus payment. Scammers are sending fraudulent text messages claiming that people have received a direct deposit of $1,200 and asking them to click a link to accept the payment. The IRS has warned people about this scam, asking anyone who receives the text to screenshot it and email it to phishing@irs.gov.2 If you are eligible and still waiting on your first stimulus payment, the IRS has set a new deadline of Nov. 21st for people to use its non-filers tool on their website to request their funds.3

 

BBB Warns of Secret Sister Gift Exchange Scam | USA Today

 

  • Each year there is a new version of a “secret sister” gift exchange campaign that promises anyone who participates the option to send one gift and receive up to 36 gifts in return. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has released a warning telling people that this program is an illegal scam.4 The scam started appearing on social media in 2015 and usually targets women. The BBB advises people who see this scam or similar scams on social media to report it and to never give out your personal information to strangers.

Sources:

  1. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/11/13/unemployment-benefit-claims-are-lower-but-not-due-to-returning-to-work.html
  2. https://moneywise.com/a/mortgage-rates-are-at-record-lows-refinance-now-to-save-thousands?utm_source=syndication&utm_medium=yahoo_finance&utm_campaign=14245&utm_content=refinance+and+cut+their+monthly+payments
  3. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/mortgage-rates-risincg-refinance-youre-183100238.html
  4. https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-issues-warning-about-coronavirus-related-scams-watch-out-for-schemes-tied-to-economic-impact-payments
  5. https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here
  6. https://www.bbb.org/article/scams/18854-bbb-warning-secret-sister-gift-exchange-is-illegal