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Warning about online fraud as information theft rises

Fraudsters traded 12 million pieces of personal information online between January and April this year, according to research.

The figure represents a threefold increase on 2010.

Credit-checking company Experian, which produced the figures, said the increase was partly due to consumers having a growing number of online accounts.

Consumers now have an average of 26 separate online logins but just five different passwords.

Experian said many people were unaware their identity had been stolen until they were refused credit cards or mobile phone contracts.

It advised people to change their passwords regularly and make them more complicated so they are harder for fraudsters to crack.

A selection of security devices provided by banks

Since banks brought in “two-factor” authentication, fraud has fallen significantly

Two thirds of people have accounts they no longer use but have not closed down, leaving them vulnerable, the research found.

This was borne out last week when hackers broke into Yahoo’s servers and stole 450,000 passwords, many from defunct accounts.

Those who had been victims of the growing issue of identity fraud suffered:

  • refusal of loans or credit cards (14%)
  • debts being run up in their name (9%)
  • refusal of mobile phone contracts (7%)
  • being chased by debt collectors for money they did not owe (7%)

Every week brings fresh headlines about stolen IDs. Last week, alongside the Yahoo hack, it was revealed that one million user IDs had been stolen from the Android forum and graphics hardware maker Nvidia said 400,000 passwords had been stolen from its forums.

This led Microsoft to reveal that 20% of Microsoft account logins are found on lists of compromised credentials as a result of hacks into other websites.

Writing on the Microsoft blog, Eric Doer said “These attacks shine a spotlight on the core issue – people reuse passwords between different websites.”

WHAT MAKES A GOOD PASSWORD?

  • Use a password checker, such as this one, from Microsoft, to see whether your password is strong or weak
  • Strong passwords contain a mixture of letters and numbers, the more random the better
  • Users worried about remembering obscure passwords can use random password generators
  • Online random password generators should not be used for secure services such as bank accounts
  • Using first letters of a speech from Shakespeare or a favourite poem offers one way to keep it obscure but memorable
  • It is OK to write passwords down as long as the paper copy is kept safe
  • Avoid dictionary words, words spelt backwards, sequences or repeated characters
  • Never use personal information such as date of birth

Warning about online fraud as information theft rises

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New home sales surge to 2-year high; prices rising

New home sales, prices rise

New sales of single-family homes soared to their highest point since April 2010, according to the government.

By Tiffany Hsu

New sales of single-family homes soared to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 369,000 in May, reaching their highest point since April 2010, according to the government.

Sales were 7.6% above April’s 343,000 rate and 19.8% above the 380,000 level reached in May 2011, according to the Commerce Department. The measure had dipped 1.1% last month from March.

The median sales price of new homes sold in May was $234,000, up nearly 2% from April and a 5.6% boost from last year.

Compared with last year, sales in all regions were up. From April, the Northeast enjoyed 36.7% more sales, but the Midwest slumped 10.6% while the West tumbled 3.5%.

The housing market has been squeezed by more demand than supply. Inventory of new homes for sale rose for the first time in more than a year to 145,000.

The new data add another layer to the ongoing debate over the status of the real estate recovery. Last week, research showed builders breaking ground on fewer homes in May but requesting the most permits in nearly four years. Home-builder confidence is still weak but home prices are turning around. Mortgage rates are at record lows.

RELATED:

Median home price in Southland climbs

Shortage of homes for sale creates fierce competition

Building permits at 4-year high, single-family housing starts up

 

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Guide to Credit Card Perks by Credit Score

credit card perks

Credit scores and histories play a tremendous role in determining what, if any, credit card perks are available to cardholders. Those who fall on the lowest rungs of the credit scale will typically find that merely getting a credit card is the perk, while those with good and excellent scores are faced with the somewhat daunting, high-end problem of having to ascertain which perks they can benefit from and which ones return little value.

Credit Card Perks: Poor, Bad and Miserable Credit

Credit card perks for those with credit scores that fit into the poor (580 to 619), bad (500-579) and miserable (below 500) categories have poor, bad and miserable options. This is not only confined to perks, but to the overall lack of credit cards available.

Presently, no major credit card company offers a rewards card for credit scores in this range, and the ones that do offer credit cards to this demographic charge onerous interest rates and substantial annual fees.

Consequently, consumers with credit scores of 619 and below should consider a reasonable annual fee ($49 or less) and an interest rate below 25% to be as good as perks get.

Credit Card Perks: Fair/Average Credit

A credit score in the 620-679 range provides a few more options, but that isn’t saying much. Very few credit card companies offer products to consumers in this category and, like cards for those with the lowest scores, most carry some type of annual fee and inflated interest rate.

Two exceptions to the broadly perk-less options available to consumers with average credit are the Capital One Cash Rewards and Barclays Rewards MasterCard. Capital One’s average credit rewards entry provides 1% cash back on all purchases, but carries a $39 annual fee. Barclay’s offering provides rewards points and does lack an annual fee. However, it carries an interest rate of 24.99% — nearly 10 full percentage points above the national average.

Despite the drawbacks of these cards, the rates and fees they charge aren’t dissimilar from what other companies presently levy on cards to consumers with average credit that lack any type of perks.

Credit Card Perks: Good and Excellent Credit

A consumer with a credit score above 680 is considered to have good credit, while one with a score of 720 or higher qualifies as excellent. Ninety-nine percent of all credit card perks are focused on consumers in this credit score range.

Consequently, the primary issue confronting consumers in search of credit card perks with good to excellent credit scores is narrowing down options to isolate cards that offer the best value.

Best Credit Card Perks

The first step in winnowing down options is deciding which type of reward offering is best. The primary options include:

  • Cash Back Perks
  • Proprietary Reward Points
  • Airline and Hotel Branded Rewards
  • General Travel Reward Miles/Points

Once a determination has been made regarding rewards type, high credit score consumers will generally find that cards matching their rewards interest have varying layers of extra value added perks. These non-reward perks are available on all American Express cards as well as on high end Visa Signature and World MasterCard products.

While the list of extra perks available is somewhat extensive, a few notable benefits available on high end rewards cards include:

  • Enhanced auto rental insurance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • 24/7 personal concierge access

Ultimately, credit card perks are best viewed as a reward for consumers who have built up good credit scores as, unlike with just about anything else, money can’t buy these features. Thus, those who have good credit should actively take advantage of the perks available to them while those with less than pristine credit should focus on improving their credit scores so they too can enjoy the benefits available to consumers with good credit scores.

Guide to Credit Card Perks by Credit Score

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Steps to boost credit score when a mortgage is the goal

By 

Q:   Dear Credit Care,
Help! I’m getting mixed information about having multiple “store” credit cards that have a zero balance most of the time. Over the years I’ve accumulated cards for various stores to get their deals. I’d like to pay all these off to a $0 balance but am planning to buy a home in a year and need my credit score to go up by at least 50 points. I was told to use these small cards on occasion then pay them right off. Also, what about larger cards — is it going to hurt my score to pay them off and let them “sit on ice” as they say? I really need help and I feel like I need a Ph.D. to understand the way scores work. Thank you! — Katalina

 A:   Dear Katalina,
Credit scoring can be confusing, but you don’t need a doctoral degree to use them to your advantage. Your credit score is based on the information contained in your credit reports available through the three major credit reporting bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. To fully understand what can affect your credit score, I recommend you obtain free copies of your credit reports. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to access your credit reports online, or you can request copies by phone at 877-322-8228.

The first thing I recommend you do when you receive your credit reports is to review them for errors. With billions of pieces of information reported each month to the credit bureaus, mistakes do happen. You do not want to be penalized for someone else’s credit missteps that are erroneously reported on your credit report. Dispute any inaccurate information with the credit bureau reporting the error.

While there are many types of credit scores, lenders and other interested parties most often use two source, FICO and VantageScore. You might consider checking with the lender where you hope to secure a mortgage to learn which score they use in their lending decision process.

The widely used FICO score is calculated based on these categories and percentages:

Payment history: 35 percent
Amounts owed: 30 percent
Length of credit history: 15 percent
New credit: 10 percent
Types of credit used: 10 percent

Your VantageScore is calculated based on these categories and percentages:

Recent credit: 30 percent
Payment history: 28 percent
Percentage of credit limit used: 23 percent
Age and type of credit: 9 percent
Total of balances: 9 percent
Available credit: 1 percent

Each of your credit reports will have a section at the end that explains what actions could be taken to improve your credit score. Review your reports and follow the advice based on the contents of your credit reports to boost your score.

As for your question about balances, in general terms, it is better to have your revolving accounts at a zero balance, than to carry a balance from month to month. It should not hurt your score to pay down your bank credit cards to a zero balance.

Mortgage lenders will review your credit report(s), not just your credit score. You might consider making an appointment with your lender and take copies of your credit reports with you. Request that the lender point out to you any areas that may be of concern. One area may be the amount of credit that you have access to because of the large number of store cards and bank cards that you have open. When granting a large loan like a mortgage, you may be considered a greater risk if you have existing credit accounts that, if used, could amass debt beyond what your income will support. A remedy may be to close some of your revolving accounts.

Handle your credit with care!

Read more: 
Compare credit cards here – CreditCards.com

See related: VantageScores: What they are, why they matter

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5 steps to lose debt, get credit fit

By Dawn Papandrea

Getting in shape for bathing suit season can be just as daunting as paying off outstanding credit card debt. If you adopt a regular exercise routine and reduce your calorie intake, however, you can walk into a dressing room with confidence. That same determination can help you get your finances in shape.

Here’s how to start a healthy financial fitness routine that will help you shed some of that unwanted debt and learn to use credit wisely.

1. Set small goals. As much as you would like to, you can’t lose 20 pounds in a week — or years of debt in one month. Don’t be intimidated, though.  tart by Your best chance of getting all the way out of debt starts with taking a realistic picture. “Before you even set up goals, see where you stand,” says Scott Gamm, personal finance expert and founder of HelpSaveMyDollars.com, a consumer education site. Tally up the balances on each of your credit cards, your student loans and any other debt you have, and then figure out how much you can reasonably afford to throw toward this debt, he says.

Once you’ve done your number crunching, take a page out of weight loss plans that incorporate a jump-start period designed to shed a few pounds early on and encourage you to move forward. “Work to pay your smallest debt off first for a boost in your financial morale,” suggests Jennifer Streaks, financial columnist and pundit on MSNBC and Fox. “It can get your motor running by seeing that sense of accomplishment.”

2. Change your mindset. Some people turn to ice cream, others to online shopping. If you’re an emotional spender or simply like hitting the mall out of boredom, you need to find a replacement for your retail therapy, stat. “You have to look at credit differently, especially in this economy,” says Streaks. “It’s not just buying a pair of shoes on sale. You’re still going to have that interest payment long after the shoes are in the back of the closet,” she says. In other words, learn this mantra: “Credit is not my excuse to have a good time going shopping.”

Gamm’s advice is similar to how some dieters post a photo of their leaner days on their refrigerator. “Write down whatever amount of debt you’re in and put that on top of your credit card in your wallet to remind you of your goal when taking your card out,” he says.

3. Avoid “empty” spending. Just as empty calories do nothing for you, neither does empty spending. Financially vulnerable people should avoid automatic bill payments for optional spending such as cable, phone and gym memberships, says Streaks. “Every month, have that bill come to you and touch it. If you’re seeing what you are paying, you’ll think about it,” she says. You might realize you haven’t even been to the gym in four months or that your platinum movie channel package is a waste of money.

Gamm agrees, adding that it pays to get on the phone and try to lower your bills whenever possible. “If you’ve been a good customer, call up and ask about loyalty credits, or consider canceling and going to a different provider,” he says. Another option when it comes to your credit payoff plan is to look into balance transfers that can save you money on interest. The key is that you must reach your payoff goal before the zero- or low-interest period is up.

4. Learn to use credit in moderation. One cannot live on celery sticks alone forever and in our online spending age, credit cards are practically a given, says Gamm. “And if you’re a young person, you have to use credit cards to build credit,” he adds. Resisting the urge to go on a credit binge is vital. “Your goal should be to pay it off in full at the end of the month,” he says.

Streaks says you have to find a method that works for your lifestyle, pointing out that some people are better served by adopting a cash-only policy. No matter your preference, however, she notes that it’s important to learn to live without instant gratification. “If you know you need a big purchase, you need to plan for that. Do the research and find the best price,” she says. And then save up!

“Write down whatever amount of debt you’re in and put that on top of your credit card in your wallet to remind you of your goal when taking your card out.”

5. Create a support system. Everyone likes to go out and have fun, but if you have friends with expensive tastes, you may have to sacrifice a few events here and there. “It’s a tough balance because you don’t want to seem a cheapskate, but something’s got to go if you’re really serious about getting out of debt,” says Gamm. It’s also likely that your friends have their own financial issues, and might even be grateful if you suggest keeping entertainment costs to a minimum.

Support in your own household is imperative, too. Just as going to the gym is much more successful when you have a friend to keep you accountable, the same is true for sticking to a financial plan when you have a family. “You don’t want to portray a lifestyle to your kids or spouse that’s not possible,” says Gamm. “It’s important for everyone to be on board with family’s goals.”

Once you put your financial fitness plan into action, you’ll watch your debt shrink and be on your way to the best financial shape of your life.

Read more: 
Compare credit cards here – CreditCards.com

See related: 8 steps to reducing credit card debtHow to shape up your finances in 12 months

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American Express: Cardmembers Keep Spending, EPS Up 10%

By Steve Schaefer

The first quarter of 2012 was a friendly one for American Express, which reported better than expected results for the January-March period Wednesday.

American Express booked net income of $1.3 billion, up from $1.2 billion a year ago, and earnings per share of $1.07 that were up 10% from 2011 and better than the Street’s consensus call for $1.00

Revenue, net of interest expense, was up 8% to $7.6 billion, in line with estimates and reflecting “strong cardmember spending and higher net interest income driven by moderate growth in the loan portfolio,” according to the Dow Jones industrial average component.

Chairman and CEO Ken Chenault said the increased spending and tight management of expenses led to the record first-quarter results.

“Spending on the American Express network rose 12 percent, remaining strong throughout the quarter, both in the U.S. and internationally. Credit quality continues to be among the best we have ever experienced, and our lending portfolio continued to grow at moderate levels,” he said.

American Express raised its quarterly dividend 11% to 20 cents per share, and is moving forward with up to $4 billion of share repurchases in 2012 and another $1 billion through the first quarter of 2013 after easily passing the Federal Reserve’s stress test on the largest U.S. financial firms.

As to the global breakdown, the company’s U.S. card services unit recorded a 35% jump in net income to $752 million. Provisions for losses in the unit were much higher — $301 million from $47 million a year ago – but attributed to a larger reserve release in the 2011 first quarter. On the international card services side, net income was up just 4% to $197 million.

Chenault highlighted the firm’s “spend-centric business model,” in describing the results. “We knew we wouldn’t have the same benefit from reserve releases and settlement payments from Visa orMasterCard that we had received last year,” he said, and the company was also “concerned about the uneven recovery in the U.S. and a European environment that posed challenges to the global economy.”

The solution for American Express was tight discipline on spending, or as Chenault put it, “we maintained our focus on containing costs and kept the growth rate in total expenses well below that of our revenues.”

That recipe for success and the solid quarter drew little enthusiasm from the market though, as shares fell 0.8% to $57.56 in after-hours trading.

American Express: Cardmembers Keep Spending, EPS Up 10%

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Why Doesn’t the IRS Do Your Taxes For You?

It’s Tax Day, and many of you are probably rushing to complete your returns before the filing deadline. At Slate, Matt Yglesiaspoints out that this process doesn’t have to be so difficult. The IRS has much of the information they need to fill out your tax return, so why don’t they just send you a partly or fully completed return for your review? Indeed, such a system has been proposed federally and adopted in at least one state (in California, it’s called ReadyReturn) but Congress has refused to move forward.

Yglesias focuses on a public choice problem—tax filers are made a little bit better off by this policy, but tax preparers are made a lot worse off, so they lobby to block ReadyReturn and similar programs. He also notes that some conservatives oppose pre-filled returns on the grounds that they might reduce public opposition to income taxes.

But I have a separate concern about ReadyReturn—what if it undermines tax compliance?

The key feature of the income tax that encourages compliance is two-party reporting. You send the IRS a Form 1040, and the people who paid you during the year send Forms 1099, W-2 and the like. If you lie about your income, the figures reported by your employers and clients will expose you.
But what if, when filing your return, you already know that one of your clients has failed to report what he paid you? In a ReadyReturn system, the government has to lay its cards on the table—before the taxpayer files, he knows exactly what the government knows about his earnings, and what it doesn’t know.

Today, if a taxpayer doesn’t get a 1099 form that he’s expecting, he probably asks his client where it is—he doesn’t want the IRS to get a copy of a form that he doesn’t have.  But with the knowledge that the IRS never got a copy, either, he might just go ahead and underreport his income. An “oopsie” defense would likely work just fine for omitted 1099s that later came to light, so long as they did not amount to a substantial underreporting of income (that is, 10 percent or $5,000, whichever is less). After all, you didn’t prepare your taxes—the IRS did.

It’s a lot like when you check out of a hotel and review your bill. If you notice the hotel charged you for an extra night of parking, you’ll complain and get the charge taken off. But let’s say you notice that they’ve accidentally omitted to charge you for one night of parking. Do you call the clerk’s attention and ask for a parking charge to be added? Be honest.

Maybe this wouldn’t be that big a problem because there aren’t that many payer-side reporting errors. Or maybe the reduction in tax compliance costs from ReadyReturn would outweigh any increase in tax evasion. But I do worry that ReadyReturn would, at least to some degree, undermine the advantages of two-party reporting and increase the tax gap.

Why Doesn’t the IRS Do Your Taxes For You?

Newton Credit Card Blog

Global Payments credit card hack: What do I do?

By Julianne Pepitone

credit-cards-2.jc.top.jpg

A credit card hack attack on Global Payments is hitting the headlines. Here are answers to some of the key questions it raises.

What happened in the Global Payments breach?

Global Payments, a company that processes card transactions, discovered an an unauthorized intrusion into its servers in early March. The company says it “promptly” notified others in the industry. It didn’t publicly announce the breach until Friday.

The breach affects all major credit and debit card brands, because Global Payments is one link in the long chain involved in card transactions.

When a customer swipes a credit card, the data is sent to a payment processor like Global Payments, which coordinates the steps involved in authorizing the charge and submitting the transaction details to card networks like Visa (VFortune 500) and MasterCard (MAFortune 500). It’s a quick but complicated process, with lots of players in the mix.

What kind of information was stolen? What can the hackers do with it?

Global Payments (GPN) released a statement late Sunday saying thataround 1.5 million card numbers may have been compromised. That’s a big breach, but the odds are good that your card wasn’t among them. There are more than 1 billion credit and debit cards currently in circulation in the U.S., according to the Nilson Report, an industry trade publication.

Card numbers were stolen, but that’s all the thieves got. Cardholder names, addresses and Social Security numbers were not affected, according to Global Payments.

That’s good news. Stolen numbers can be used create to fraudulent cards, but they’re not enough for full-fledged identity theft.

Global Payments is still investigating how the breach happened. The U.S. Secret Service has launched its own inquiry.

What does this mean for me? Should I be worried?

While the threat of a compromised card is upsetting, customers should sit tight. If your card issuer thinks your account may have been compromised, they’ll contact you. Some may need to reissue credit cards or take other steps to contain the damage.

No matter what, you’re not liable for unauthorized charges made on your account.

As Visa (VFortune 500) put it in a response to the Global Payments debacle: “It’s important for U.S. Visa consumer cardholders to know they are protected against fraudulent purchases with Visa’s zero liability fraud protection policy, which exceeds federal safeguards. As always, Visa encourages cardholders to regularly monitor their accounts and to notify their issuing financial institution promptly of any unusual activity.”

How they’ve hacked you

Keeping your online accounts safe

Global Payments credit card hack: What do I do?

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UK students turn human billboards to pay off debts

The duo plan to launch the business on the international market in May

By Katy Lee

In their scruffy jeans and trainers, Ross Harper and Ed Moyselook just like any other British 22-year-olds — except for the words “Buy My Face” and “Sold” emblazoned brightly on their faces.

Standing in the middle of London’s shopping mecca Oxford Circus, the two Cambridge University graduates attract more than a few curious glances from the hordes of passers-by.

“How much?” a young man calls out from a gaggle of Spanish tourists, to which Harper, a former neuroscience student, replies that it’s £100 ($160, 120 euros) to hire the two faces as advertising space for the day.

“A hundred pounds?” The tourists throw up their hands in mock outrage before bursting into laughter.

There may be no customers here, but others are queuing to hire the two human billboards. Harper and Moyse have made over £30,000 since setting up Buy My Face in October in a bid to pay off their student debts.

The enterprising duo plan to launch the business, which works by directing online traffic to advertisers’ websites through their own entertaining site, on the international market in May.

“We’ve had interest from places like Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, the United States, and all over Europe,” Harper told AFP.

"We've had interest from places like Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, the United States, and all over Europe," Harper said

With record youth unemployment of 22 percent in Britain, and even graduates from prestigious universities such as Cambridge struggling to find work as the economy stalls, theirs is an unusual success story.

“We were coming up with ideas for what we wanted to do after we left university,” said economics graduate Moyse. “And we thought, ‘The job market’s really tough at the moment. Why don’t we try a creative project for a year?'”

The pair, who each borrowed £25,000 from the government to fund their studies, came up with Buy My Face over a pot of instant noodles last year while brainstorming business ideas that required only minimal investment.

“We’re £50,000 in debt — we didn’t want to invest thousands more into a business,” said Moyse, adding that they spent just £100 on face-paint.

Since October 1, he and Harper have managed to “sell” their faces every single day — to large companies such as Irish bookmaker Paddy Power and accountants Ernst & Young, as well as smaller firms.

“On the very first day we sold them for £1,” Moyse recalled, turning to Harper and adding: “Not a very good graduate wage, was it?”

But as word has spread about the scheme, with website traffic now peaking at around 7,000 visits a day, they have been able to command higher rates.

They currently rent their faces for up to £400 a day to advertisers, who can pay for them to complete eye-catching stunts, from skydiving to plunging into icy rivers. And they may raise prices again as their online following grows.

“The idea isn’t about seeing us in the real world,” Moyse explained. “It’s about getting good photos and funny videos on our website, and that’s seen by thousands of people every day.”

In a world where successful viral advertising campaigns spread rapidly online through social networking websites, humour and creativity are crucial, explains Patrick Barwise, professor of marketing at London Business School.

“All you need to do is create something which other people will want to pass on,” he told AFP.

“They’re obviously very enterprising,” he said of Harper and Moyse, “but I’d be surprised if it’s that sustainable. Marketing is enormously faddish.”

The graduates happily admit this.

“What we’re doing now is a gimmicky thing,” says Harper, adding that whatever its success abroad, their own face-painting days will end in September.

At that point the double act intend to set up another business, while also managing newly recruited face-painters in Britain and abroad.

“We sometimes refer to it as an entrepreneurial gap year,” Harper says.

“The reason we started with Buy My Face was that it didn’t require any investment. But now we’ve got some money to invest into another idea.”

Their success may be of some comfort to other British students battling huge debts, particularly those starting university later this year, who face a controversial tripling of tuition fees.

Students who begin degrees in England in 2012 will graduate with £59,100 debt on average, according to the Push university guide.

“Students going to university now — the fees have just risen, so they’ll be coming out with about three times as much debt as we had,” says Moyse. “Hopefully they can take inspiration from our story.”

But the pair’s parting words suggest they have a way to go before becoming dotcom millionaires.

“Could we get expenses on our train tickets?” Moyse asks hopefully.

UK students turn human billboards to pay off debts

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Gas prices up 18 percent in past month

Gas prices are up double-digit percentages in Dayton and the rest of Ohio in the past month, as consumers across the country are increasingly facing the likely challenge of having to pay record price at the pump, according to a AAA report.


Gas prices are up double-digit percentages in Dayton and throughout the rest of Ohio during the past month as consumers increasingly are approaching record high fuel prices, according to the AAA.

Gas prices in Dayton top the $3.80 per gallon mark at some fuel stations, and the AAA Fuel Gauge report shows the average price per gallon of regular unleaded gas is $3.77 locally. The Dayton average gas price is up 18 percent from $3.18 per gallon one month ago.

In Ohio, gas prices average $3.79 per gallon, up from $3.26 one month ago.

Both the Dayton and statewide average prices are below the national average, which is $3.83 per gallon this weekend, according to AAA. The national average price one month ago was $3.52 per gallon.

The record high prices for one gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $4.11 nationwide on July 17, 2008; $4.15 in Ohio on May 4, 2011; and $4.17 per gallon in Dayton on May 4, 2011, according to AAA.

Economists say big spikes in gas prices can damage the nation’s economy, and some speculate that prices will pass the $5 mark this summer. Currently, there are at least seven states with average gas prices at more than $4 per gallon.

Trucking firms are especially sensitive to the spikes in fuel prices, and the Dayton region has a booming trucking hub because of its location near the intersection of Interstates 75 and 70. This causes many local companies to pay close attention to the prices at the pump and new record high fuel prices could slow job growth in the Dayton region. …
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