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Black Friday is right around the corner. After that? Cyber Monday. And in between? A whole lot of offers, sales, and clearances. And, sadly, a lot of deception, scams, and identity theft.

So here are some holiday shopping tips, to keep you safe (legally speaking) both online and in real life.

Department of Education on Last Leg in Student Loan Forgiveness Case

Betsy DeVos's Department of Education was dealt a severe blow for its delay in carrying out the Borrower's Defense to Repayment, which was supposed to go into effect on July 1. Attorneys general from 19 states and the District of Columbia filed suit, claiming the delay violated the Administrative Procedures Act because DeVos did not meet the standard for a delay, give proper notice, or afford adequate time for public comment.

The federal court ruled last week that the delay was "arbitrary and capricious," or in other words, not fair and illegal. The judge has given the Department until October 12th to either offer stronger justification for the delay, or else the Repayment rule will take effect immediately.

Protecting Your School Backpack From Identity Theft Risk

Identity theft is an adult's worse nightmare. Everyone has heard examples of innocent victims being held responsible for the debts of the perpetrators, leading to tax problems and even bankruptcy. Adults take so many steps to prevent this, whether it be dropping outgoing mail off at the post office, changing passwords monthly, or viciously interrogating anyone that asks for a social security number.

But what about our kids? Could they unknowingly be the chink in the armor parents have so strongly built? Perhaps! So let's batten down the hatches, starting with their backpack.

Just because you've heard "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," doesn't mean that saying no to those too-good-to-be-true opportunities is easy. After all, how does one distinguish between a really good business opportunity and one that's too good to be true?

While that can prove pretty difficult, figuring out if a business opportunity is actually a Ponzi scheme can be a little easier. Here's how to spot a Ponzi or pyramid scheme and how to report it.

Last month, Bank of America reportedly froze access to a Kansas couple after they failed to provide proof of U.S. citizenship. Josh Collins and wife Jessica Salazar Collins disregarded a form the bank mailed them in June asking whether Collins (who was born in Wichita) was a citizen, assuming it was a scam.

The couple's access was restored after Collins provided a driver's license, but the incident left many people wondering why the bank was asking for proof of citizenship in the first place, and others wondering if you need to be a U.S. citizen to open a bank account.

From applying for a job to residential leases to the security of your personal information, your credit report and credit score can impact almost all facets of your life. But many consumers don't fully understand how these reports and scores are generated, who can access them and why, and what to do to correct any harmful errors that appear in their credit history.

So here are some of the most important questions, answers, and tips regarding your credit report, and how to maintain its integrity.

How Do I 'Freeze' My Credit Report?

Identity theft isn't just super annoying; it can ruin you, financially. Each year seems to bring a new record for the amount of money stolen ($16.8 billion in 2017), and despite concerted efforts to fight it, it's still a growing problem. 

Although it seems like a drop in the bucket, Congress just made it a little cheaper for individuals to protect their identity by making credit freezes free. What's the new law and how do you go about adding a security freeze to your credit report?

Previously reserved for getting small business and creative ideas off the ground, crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe have morphed into online money pools funding everything from legal fees to medical expenses. So, for those toiling under the crushing burden of student loans, it's only natural to wonder whether you can crowdfund your way out of that debt.

But before you go asking strangers to pay back that law school loan, here are a few legal considerations to take into account.

As temperatures rise, so do the cons. Scam artists often turn up the heat on unsuspecting marks, like homeowners, the elderly, and even high-schoolers, during the summer. So it's important to know the kind of rip-offs that are going on to avoid becoming another victim. 

Here are five of the top summer scams:

You finally thought you were getting your life together, financially speaking. Paying bills on time, paying down credit card debt, and even trying to set some money aside for retirement. So, you talked to a financial advisor who put together what you thought was a great plan, but now the plan seems to have been to lose all that money you invested.

If your financial advisor screwed up, do you have any legal recourse?