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Romance Scams and new ways to pay off student loans

Valentine’s Day came and went, and so did some of your online dating information. Coffee Meets Bagel
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Romance Scams and new ways to pay off student loans
By Hipsternomics  • Issue #62 • View online
Valentine’s Day came and went, and so did some of your online dating information. Coffee Meets Bagel announced on Valentine’s day that hackers had gained access to a set of its user accounts as part of a previous hack, and OkCupid had some account hack issues of its own. While you’re fighting for roses, flower workers in Kenya (world’s 4th biggest exporter of flowers) are earning $100/month to barely sustain their livelihoods in an industry that charges up to $10/stem of rose on Valentine’s day. Meanwhile, David’s Bridal bounces back from bankruptcy with new plans to help millennials plan for their weddings.

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Got Love? No, but credit cards are accepted While you were either scrambling to get last-minute flowers delivered or you were expecting to receive a delivery that didn’t show up, be thankful you weren’t a victim of “romance-scam”. This week, the FTC said it received a record of 21,000 reports of romance scams in 2018, which cost victims total of $143 million, or an average of $2,600 per victim. People ages 40 to 69 lost more money compared to folks in their 20s and 30s. But the elderly, (70 years +) lost average of $10,000 in 2018. Romance scams were 7x higher than any other type of fraud, according to the report.
So how does one get scammed? According to the report, “romance scammers will create fake online profiles using photos taken off the internet to lure people. Then portray those made-up personas on various dating apps and social networks…often dodging video chats or in-person visits by saying they’re stationed abroad in the military.” Once you’ve established your relationship status with your new scam-bae, they will then tell victims of a medical emergency or misfortune and request money for help to cover those expenses, in most cases, they even ask for money to help them pay to come and visit their victim. Stay woke on those dating apps, my friends.
Creative ways to tackle your student loan payments Most adults are struggling with mounds of student loan debt and waiting to win a lottery so they can pay it all off. There are now newer options to help chip away at those lifetime loans. If you’re in the health services field, the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) has launched a new loan repayment program to provide eligible health care clinicians with student loan repayment assistance, in exchange for their service combating the opioid crisis in underserved communities. Clinicians accepted to the program could receive up to $75,000 for three years of full-time service at a health care facility or you could earn an award up to $37,500 for a part-time service option.
Volunteering for dollars: If you have spare time during your weeks and enjoy doing good deeds, consider volunteering through Shared Harvest Fund, where you’ll work on projects for nonprofits and businesses and receive a monthly stipend of $250 and up. Before you get too excited about all this “free” money, just remember that these funds are also taxable “income”.
Companies are also offering employees creative options to reduce their student debt as a perk for working there, including Hewlett Packard, Fidelity, and more.
  • Are you into art? work for Sotheby’s, they’ll pay $150 a month toward your debt.
  • Abbott Laboratories will help any employee who contributes more than 2% of their salary to pay their student loans, by matching 5% to their 401(k) retirement savings plan.
  • Aetna will match student loan payments up to $2,000/year, and up to $10,000 in total, for full-time employees. For part-time employees, it will match up to $1,000/year with a lifetime maximum of $5,000.
  • Millennium Trust employees will receive a $167 monthly contribution to their outstanding student loan balance.
  • Like books? Penguin Random House publisher is contributing $1,200/year for a maximum of $9,000, to its employees’ student debt. Part-time employees get $75/month, and max of $6,750.
  • Unum employees can trade up to 5 days (out of their 28 vacation days), or 40 hours, of unused vacation time for payment towards their student loan. This is a great option for people who simply forget to use their PTO days.
Chart of the week
It's NBA All Star Weekend! Who's really securing the bag? 💰
It's NBA All Star Weekend! Who's really securing the bag? 💰
In Case You Missed It
Payless shoes to shut down stores, plans for bankruptcy Remember when Payless played a prank on Instagram influencers? Yeah, well Karma sucks because those “Paylenciagas” ain’t selling. According to Reuters, Payless ShoeSource plans to file bankruptcy for the second time and close all of its 2,300 stores later this month.
Amazon cancels plans for an NYC headquarters After a short-lived celebration for Amazon, it has decided to cancel its plans to build a new HQ in NYC and hopes of bringing about 25,000 jobs to the city, due to strong oppositions from local residents and few politicians who feared that tech-bros would raise the cost of living for the new Amazon neighborhood.
Uber releases 2018 financial report - Uber reported that its full-year revenue for 2018 was $11.3 billion, which is 43% higher than in 2017. It earned a “Gross bookings” of $50 billion (the amount collected before payouts to drivers). UberEats is now considered a part of Uber’s core business, and made up 17% of its business in Q3 of 2018, while it plans to expand its food-delivery business to cover 70% of the U.S. The company is still not profitable but reported lower losses than 2017.
Companies Mentioned (52-week performance)
Kroger (2%), Amazon (+10%), Unum (-30%), Abbott Laboratories (+26%)
Resources
Book: Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah.
Thank you for taking the time to read through today’s news brief! Got a crazy online dating story to share, send me a note. This brief was written while listening to “Love & Death” a great album by Ghanian legend, Ebo Taylor. Enjoy!
Have a great week ahead!
Valentine (@vtineike)
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