Archive for March, 2012

Tax scam rattles small Georgia town

Elberton Police Criminal Investigator Scott Marunich, who specializes in white-collar crimes, has been tracking IRS refund checks obtained by residents in a scam that has spread across Elbert County, about an hour’s drive east of Athens. Photos by Bob Andres / bandres@ajc.com

Elberton Police Criminal Investigator Scott Marunich, who specializes in white-collar crimes, has been tracking IRS refund checks obtained by residents in a scam that has spread across Elbert County. Photos by Bob Andres / bandres@ajc.com

Fraudulent tax-prep services file bogus claims, ripping off many Elberton residents

It started in mid-January: $500 checks were soaring into the town of Elberton like paper airplanes in a fifth-grade classroom.

Liquor stores and other Elberton check-cashing locations cashed between $5,000 and $8,000 in checks. Between $10,000 and $12,000 was cashed at the local superstore. And one local bank cashed at least $26,000 worth.

People in Elberton and surrounding Elbert County, about an hour’s drive east of Athens, happily collected their tax refund checks from the Internal Revenue Service. Members of the community, often relying on word of mouth, had enlisted the services of a metro Atlanta tax preparation company — and soon college-age kids …

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Restaurant discounts for Atlanta Film Festival attendees

It’s the ultimate for movie lovers.

The Atlanta Film Festival, one of the largest and longest-running festival in the country, takes place though Sunday at multiple venues in Atlanta. Started in 1976, the festival shows a diverse range of independent films, including genre films such as horror and sci-fi.

But don’t forget to eat either before or after the movie marathon. As a bonus this year, attendees who purchase tickets will also receive the following discounts at local Atlanta restaurants:

– By Lauren Davidson, Atlanta Bargain Hunter

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20 percent off antiques at Maurice Chandelier

Maurice Chandelier

Photo courtesy of Maurice Chandelier

Antiquing is truly about the thrill of the hunt. Discovering that unique diamond in the rough is what makes shopping for antiques so exciting.

Today through Saturday, scour through hundreds of beautiful chandeliers, furniture and accessories marked down at least 20 percent at Maurice Chandelier. The Miami Circle shop has never before, in its 25-year history, offered a a sale…which means you should check it out before you have to wait another 25 years.

– By Lauren Davidson, Atlanta Bargain Hunter

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Wes Moss: Advice for late-blooming savers

Certified financial planner Wes Moss provides personal finance advice and accessible investment strategies. His guest post appears here weekly.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB

We get some great questions on the Money Matters Facebook page, including this one: “I’m in my 40s. I know I’m getting a late start on saving for retirement. What should I do from here?”

Not many of us have the foresight to open up a Roth IRA at age 20 and the discipline to save 10 or 20 percent a year through our 30s. As we make more money, we typically don’t save more. Instead we spend more – bigger house, nicer car, kids, vacations, iPads – until we wake up in a cold sweat one night at 51 wondering if we’re going to be working until we’re 82.

Even if you are approaching middle age, you can turn around your retirement prospects with a few simple steps.

1. Start. Every day counts. The following advice is worthless unless you …

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‘Pay as you wish’ day at the High

It’s just the sort of offer that would allow Wesley and Buttercup to fall in love all over again.

Saturday is “pay as you wish” day at the High Museum of Art. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. select your own admission fee during regular museum hours. Don’t forget to see the Picasso to Warhol exhibition, which ends in April. Walk-up tickets only.

Last entry given at 4 p.m. 1280 Peachtree Street, N.E., Atlanta.

– By Lauren Davidson, Atlanta Bargain Hunter

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Coupon Mom: Bar S meat, John Frieda, flash drives

Laundry detergent deal

All: Walgreens has All Detergent 28 or 32 loads on sale for $3.99. Use the $1 coupon from the March 4 RedPlum circular to pay $2.99 at the register. You will also get a $1 Register Rewards coupon, so your net cost will be $1.99.

Mad for savings

Kmart’s Game Day Meal Deal: Buy five Bar S items for $5 to get free side items. Participating Bar S items include Bar S Smoked Sausage (8 ounce), jumbo franks (16 ounce), bologna or salami (12 ounce). When you buy any five of these items, you’ll get a free can of Van Camp’s pork and beans (15 ounce, valued at $1.29) and a free bag of Smart Sense chips (5.5 ounce to 8 ounce, valued at $1.99).

Care for your hair

John Frieda: Kmart has John Frieda hair care products (2.4 ounce to 10 ounce) on sale two for $10. You will get a $5 coupon off your next order when you spend $20 or more on John Frieda items (before coupons are deducted). Reach that goal by buying four John Frieda items, and use four $2 coupons from …

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50 percent off Jersey Mike’s

Satisfy your stomach this month — and your desire to create a few more smiles in the world.

Through March 31, sandwich lovers can purchase a pre-paid Jersey Mike’s loyalty card for three regular subs for $10 through Bert’s Big Adventure – approximately a 50 percent savings and good at any Jersey Mike’s location. The card can only be purchased online through the Bert’s Big Adventure website, and $5 of that $10 will be donated directly to the organization, which supports children with chronic or terminal illnesses.

In addition to the loyalty card (which is good all year, so there’s no reason not to stock up), all Atlanta-area Jersey Mike’s shops will donate 50 percent of proceeds earned on March 28 to Bert’s Big Adventure.

– By Lauren Davidson, Atlanta Bargain Hunter

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B98.5 radio deals: Medieval Times, frozen yogurt and travel

These deals were originally shared on B98.5 this week and are posted here for your convenience.

Medieval Times: The Atlanta “castle” has special pricing through April 30 for students. Use code SBGC by phone or online (select child admission and enter the code) to pay $24.95 (regularly $51.95). Show your student ID at the door. Non-students can pay $39.95 with the code. Restrictions apply and tax and gratuity are additional. Medieval Times, 5900 Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville. 1-888-935-6878.

Menchies Frozen Yogurt: Welcome the spring weather with a discounted treat at Menchies in Roswell or Marietta. Find a coupon at Northfultonshops.com for a half off a second yogurt of equal or lesser value when you buy one at regular price. The coupon cannot be combined with other offers, limited to one per person. It expires March. 31. Menchies Frozen Yogurt, 12030 Etris Road, Suite 120, Roswell; or 4475 Roswell Road, Suite 205, Marietta.

Aska Lodge Bed & Breakfast: See …

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Clark Howard: Expect Chrysler to rank higher in surveys

Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

ClarkHowardSpring is just around the corner and car buying season is about to start again. Most of the action in the car market is for used vehicles, not new vehicles. And with cars being the second largest expense that most people face after housing, you don’t want to waste your money in this arena.

J.D. Power has announced the results of its 2012 Vehicle Dependability Study, which looks at reliability after three years of ownership among 2009 models.
Overwhelmingly, cars are so much more reliable than they used to be. That’s the good news. Yet there are some big differences and gaps in reliability still to be found. For example, the Chrysler brand didn’t have it together in 2009. As a result, Ram, Jeep, Dodge and Chrysler were the four worst nameplates.

Today, by contrast, Chrysler has its act together. So I can promise …

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Spring break domestic travel deals

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.: 15 percent off three-night stay

The “Sometimes More is Less” package offers 15 percent off three-night stays or 20 percent off when you stay four nights or more. Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa is Fort Lauderdale’s premier resort, sitting on 16 oceanfront acres, including a quarter mile of private beach. Located just 10 minutes from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, Harbor Beach Marriott Resort offers guests tropical seclusion with all the exciting dining, shopping, entertainment and cultural options of the city at its doorstep. Book by May 1 for vacations from March 25 – June 30. Use promo code D3Q.

Destin, Fl.: Multiple deals

2400 acres of accommodations, restaurants, shopping, nightlife, beach activities, pool, tennis courts, a variety of golf courses, bikes, and transportation are right at your fingertips at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. Offers include:

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