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Scams are all around us. Fake wedding vendors; fake office supplies; and even fake grandchildren in distress. And now fake jury duty?

Most people do everything they can to avoid jury duty, and now they have to tray and avoid a jury duty scam so convincing it almost duped an experienced lawyer. Here's how it works:

When Should a Lawyer Look at Your Mortgage or Closing Documents?

Buying a house is a big deal for most people. It is a dream come true but it can turn into a nightmare, too, if you don't get help. Although state requirements vary widely and in many places you are not obligated to have an attorney for closing, you should consider hiring one anyway. It's best to have a professional look over your mortgage agreement before you sign.

Even if you trust the people you are dealing with, closing on a home is complicated. It involves numerous documents -- financial and otherwise -- and getting a careful professional review can save you money down the line, as well as minimize stress while buying a house.

Checklist for Creating a 'Living Together Contract'

You are not ready to tie the knot but you and boo want to take your relationship to the next level. You plan to move in together. Do you just go with flow or do you need a written agreement?

If you create a contract, are you undermining the romantic aspects of your evolving union? In other words, is it just too weird to turn your love into a business deal?

While getting a school loan is fairly simple, paying off that loan is another matter entirely. And discharging the loan through bankruptcy? That's rarer than a unicorn.

Or so we thought. While the prevailing wisdom has been that you are stuck with federal student loans until you pay them off, some new cases might be indicating there are ways out for debtors that can't afford their student loans. One such exit is the often overlooked "borrower defense" provision. Does it apply to you?

Will Social Security Benefits Be Cut in 2016?

There is always talk of budget cuts to social programs, but the fate of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is especially threatened this year, according to reports. The program provides workers who have paid in with coverage benefits to support them during disability, but how long it will continue to do so is unclear.

Last year, it was revealed by program trustees that Disability Insurance, which so many rely on, is at risk. The program will not be able to pay out benefits at the same rate as it has by the end of 2016, as funds are dwindling. Beneficiaries face substantial cuts in benefits checks if the fund is not fortified.

State Powerball Laws

$1.5 Billion. With a very capital B. That's a billion dollars PLUS another 500 million dollars. That's the current estimated Powerball jackpot and that is a nigh unfathomable amount of money. The kind of money that has people crossing state lines in hope for a shot at being set for life.

But not all states offer Powerball, and the ones that do may tax it a bit differently. Here's a rundown on state Powerball laws.

Can Parents Take Their Kids' Money?

Christmas was costly and now there is no money for the mortgage. Can you dip into your kids' financial gifts to pay?

Yes you can, and apparently you will be one of many parents who indulge in the practice. About one-third to one-half of parents surveyed in polls in 2014 took money from their children's piggy banks and savings accounts to pay for routine monthly expenses and even extras like vacation, according to Time magazine.

3 Tips for Legal Gift Returns

There's only one perfect gift-giver in this world, and it's Santa. The rest of us give and receive mistakes every now and then. And this is OK, since we can always return a gift. Right?

While most stores allow returns, there's no legal right to a gift return or exchange unless the product is mislabeled or broken. So here's how to return or exchange a gift legally:

Giving Money to Your Children: Kiddie Tax Basics

Times are tough and even your kids could use an extra buck. So maybe this year, rather than buying the children holiday gifts, you're thinking of giving them cash. If so, and you have a lot to spare, beware the kiddie tax.

This is a tax on a child's unearned income. It exists so that parents will not shift funds to children just so that the money will be taxed a lower rate. As such, it requires that gifts over $2,000 be reported on either the child or parent's taxes, and it can apply to children over 18. Let's look at the details.

It's not just Black Friday and Cyber Monday -- some of us will be doing our holiday shopping right up until Christmas Eve. And whether you're grabbing gifts online or IRL, you need to keep your ID secure.

Here are a few tips on avoiding identity theft during the holiday shopping season: