Book Notes

Each year hundreds, if not thousands, of books are published containing advice and in-depth examinations of homebuyer issues. Consumer Action highlights the best of these resources the Book Notes section. The Editor welcomes your feedback and suggestions. Click here to e-mail the editor.

Terms of Disservice

Terms of Disservice Cover Art

Hardly a day goes by without new headlines about the dark side of digital technology. Many of those headlines concern the role of social media companies in distributing false and misleading information that inflames social and political divides and even helps sway elections. Facebook, Google, and Twitter, once seen as… More About: Terms of Disservice

Scam Me If You Can: Simple Strategies to Outsmart Today's Rip-off Artists

Scam Me If You Can: Simple Strategies to Outsmart Today's Rip-off Artists Cover Art

Maybe you're wondering how to make the scam phone calls stop. Perhaps someone has stolen your credit card number. Or you've been a victim of identity theft. Even if you haven't yet been the target of a crime, con artists are always out there, waiting for the right moment to… More About: Scam Me If You Can: Simple Strategies to Outsmart Today's Rip-off Artists

The Aisles Have Eyes

The Aisles Have Eyes Cover Art

A revealing and surprising look at the ways that aggressive consumer advertising and tracking, already pervasive online, are being used by retailers near you. By one expert’s prediction, within 20 years half of Americans will have body implants that tell retailers how they feel about specific products as they browse… More About: The Aisles Have Eyes

Everybody Lies

Everybody Lies Cover Art

All of us are touched by big data everyday, and its influence is multiplying. Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are looks at what the vast amounts of information reveal about ourselves and our world. By the end of an average… More About: Everybody Lies

Our Bodies, Our Data

Our Bodies, Our Data Cover Art

Hidden to consumers, patient medical data has become a multibillion-dollar worldwide trade industry between our health-care providers, drug companies and a complex web of middlemen. This medical-data bazaar sells copies of the prescription you recently filled, your hospital records, insurance claims, blood-test results and more—stripped of your name but possibly… More About: Our Bodies, Our Data

Weapons of Math Destruction

Weapons of Math Destruction Cover Art

In Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, a former Wall Street quant sounds an alarm on the mathematical models that pervade modern life. This is about the "dark side" of Big Data.

This is the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that… More About: Weapons of Math Destruction

All You Can Pay

All You Can Pay Cover Art

You might not care who can access your data because you have nothing to hide. But you should care, because corporations are using your data to control your decisions. As millions of consumers carry on unaware, powerful corporations race to collect more and more data about our behaviors, needs and desires. This… More About: All You Can Pay

The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It...Every Time

The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It...Every Time Cover Art

This book investigates the minds, motives and methods of con artists—and the people who fall for their cons over and over again. While cheats and swindlers may be a dime a dozen, true conmen—the Bernie Madoffs, the Jim Bakkers, the Lance Armstrongs—are elegant, outsized personalities, artists of persuasion and exploiters of trust.… More About: The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It...Every Time


Swiped Cover Art

Author Adam Levin's new book, Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves, addresses an unfortunate fact of life: identity theft here to stay. Passwords and aggressive spam folders are good but it's going to be difficult if not impossible to stop bad… More About: Swiped

The Black Box Society

The Black Box Society Cover Art

Every day, corporations are connecting the dots about our personal behavior―silently scrutinizing clues left behind by our work habits and Internet use. The data compiled and portraits created are incredibly detailed, to the point of being invasive. But who connects the dots about what firms are doing with this… More About: The Black Box Society

Spam Nation

Spam Nation Cover Art

In Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime-from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door, security expert Brian Krebs unveils a well-hidden world that few have seen up close. Against a backdrop of the long-running turf war between two of the largest sponsors of spam, this book explains how… More About: Spam Nation

Digital Disconnect

Digital Disconnect Cover Art

Digital Disconnect is a prescient examination of the relationship between the Internet and the economy. The book argues that capitalism’s colonization of the Internet has spurred the collapse of credible journalism and made the Internet an unparalleled apparatus for government and corporate surveillance. It is a comprehensive political-economic critique… More About: Digital Disconnect

Dragnet Nation

Dragnet Nation Cover Art

We are being watched. Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance is an inside look at who’s watching you, what they know and why it matters.

We see online ads from websites we’ve visited, long after we’ve moved on to other… More About: Dragnet Nation


Trillions Cover Art

There are already many more computing devices in the world than there are people. In a few more years, their number will climb into the trillions. We put microprocessors into nearly every significant thing that we manufacture, and the cost of routine computing and storage is rapidly becoming negligible. … More About: Trillions

The End of Privacy

The End of Privacy Cover Art

Now in paperback, Reg Whitaker's book provides a sobering look at the threats to privacy posed by the new information technologies. The End of Privacy shows how a vast amount of personal information—much of it information people don't even recognize as being personally vulnerable—is moving into corporate hands. Once… More About: The End of Privacy


Scammed Cover ArtOnce upon a time store prices were simple and fair, businesses stood behind their products with guarantees free of fine print and loopholes, and companies genuinely seemed to care about their valued customers—but those days are long gone. In his new exposé, consumer advocate Christopher Elliot details the broken relationship… More About: Scammed

The Filter Bubble

The Filter Bubble Cover Art

Eli Pariser sees personalization as the most significant shift to take place on the Web in recent years. In this investigation of the new "hidden" Web, Pariser uncovers how this growing trend threatens to control how we as a society consume and share information.

Though the phenomenon has… More About: The Filter Bubble

Join the Club

Join the Club Cover ArtYou have the power to change the world. In Join the Club, Tina Rosenberg identifies a brewing social revolution that is changing the way people live, based on harnessing the positive force of peer pressure. Her stories of peer power in action show how it has reduced teen smoking in… More About: Join the Club

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Recovering from Identity Theft

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Recovering from Identity Theft Cover Art

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States and in many cases the victim has no knowledge of the theft until the situation is dire. Even then, most people have no idea what to do to get their lives back or how to regain… More About: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Recovering from Identity Theft


Shoptimism Cover Art

Shoptimism is a guided tour through the parallel worlds of selling and buying. Part I, “Them Versus You,” explores “the Sell Side,” where marketing, retailing, advertising, and consumer-research forces take aim on the American buyer. Part II, “You Versus You,” looks at buyers and examines what people are looking… More About: Shoptimism

Stopping Identity Theft

Stopping Identity Theft Cover Art

This book outlines 10 steps you can take to protect yourself or your family from ID theft and medical identity theft, the fastest growing crime in America.

By reading this book, you will learn what to do now to safeguard your bank accounts, online presence, credit record and… More About: Stopping Identity Theft

You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man

You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man Cover Art

Since the Bernard Madoff "Ponzi scheme" scandal broke, shocking investors and the Wall Street community, this insider's guide to investment rip-offs, scams and con artists has been in demand. The book, published in the late '90s, is designed to educate consumers and make them aware of how scams work.

… More About: You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man


Ponzi Cover Art

Who was Ponzi, the man whose name is synonymous with the classic “rob-Peter-to-pay-Paul” scam where money from new investors goes to reward earlier ones? (It's the kind of scheme that Bernard Madoff recently used to rake in $50 billion from gullible folks all over the world.) In December 1919,… More About: Ponzi

The Privacy Advocates

The Privacy Advocates Cover Art

Today, personal information is captured, processed, and disseminated in a bewildering variety of ways, and through increasingly sophisticated, miniaturized, and distributed technologies: identity cards, biometrics, video surveillance, the use of cookies and spyware by Web sites, data mining and profiling, and many others.

In The Privacy Advocates, Colin… More About: The Privacy Advocates

Privacy Wars

Privacy Wars Cover Art

Exploring the conflict between civil liberties and national security, this book sounds the alarm about the current state of surveillance in the United States. Addressing the ease with which the federal government can monitor the telephone calls, e-mail, credit card purchases, money transfers, and even medical prescriptions of ordinary… More About: Privacy Wars

Understanding Privacy

Understanding Privacy Cover Art

Privacy is one of the most important concepts of our time, yet it is also one of the most elusive. As rapidly changing technology makes information increasingly available, scholars, activists, and policymakers have struggled to define privacy, with many conceding that the task is virtually impossible.

Daniel J.… More About: Understanding Privacy


Buyology Cover ArtHow much do we know about why we buy? What truly influences our decisions in today’s message-cluttered world? An eye-grabbing advertisement, a catchy slogan, an infectious jingle? Or do our buying decisions take place below the surface, so deep within our subconscious minds, we’re barely aware of them? In Buyology,… More About: Buyology

Stop Debt Collectors

Stop Debt Collectors Cover Art

Record numbers of people are falling behind on their financial obligations and their debts are being sent to collections. If you're one of them, you know that being contacted by debt collectors can be stressful, especially if they are harassing you, threatening you, and/or using abusive language.

The… More About: Stop Debt Collectors

Zero Day Threat

Zero Day Threat Cover Art

Zero Day Threat: The Shocking Truth of How Banks and Credit Bureaus Help Cyber Crooks Steal Your Money and Identity is a white-collar true-crime story—an investigative expose on bank and lending policies that actually facilitate ID theft and fraud.

The authors, USA Today reporters, reveal the ways that… More About: Zero Day Threat

The Truth About Avoiding Scams

The Truth About Avoiding Scams Cover Art

Scams have always been with us, and they always will be - except now, technology makes scammers' jobs even easier, enabling them to reach out from anywhere around the world, and take advantage of more people than ever before. No matter how smart you think you are, you can… More About: The Truth About Avoiding Scams

Your Credit Score

Your Credit Score Cover Art

Liz Pulliam Weston is a personal finance columnist whose twice-weekly columns for MSN Money reach more than six million people each month. In her new book she provides a complete action plan for improving your credit score. Credit scores—numbers that sum up your credit history based on information in… More About: Your Credit Score

Greetings in Jesus Name

Greetings in Jesus Name Cover Art

Watch out, spammers! Michael Berry's revenges against the purveyors of e-mail pollution are funny, savage and inventive.

"With warm hearts I offer my friendship, and my greetings, and I hope this letter meets you in good time. It will be surprising to you to receive this proposal from… More About: Greetings in Jesus Name

Digital Destiny

Digital Destiny Cover Art

With the explosive growth of the Internet and broadband communications, our society now has the potential for a truly democratic media system offering a wide variety of independent sources of news, information, and culture, with control over content in the hands of the many rather than a few giant… More About: Digital Destiny


Spychips Cover ArtSpychips, the eye-opening work about the downsides of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), is available in paperback. The book has already shaken the industry and prompted legislative initiatives worldwide.

RFID is a controversial technology that uses tiny microchips to track everyday objects, animals, and even people from a distance.… More About: Spychips

Stolen Lives: Identity Theft Prevention Made Simple

Stolen Lives: Identity Theft Prevention Made Simple Cover Art

Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America, affecting 10 million Americans every year. Stolen Lives is a privacy wakeup call, with how-to methods to protect your greatest financial asset - your identity. Prevention is not difficult, but it takes organization and discipline. Stolen Lives helps you with an… More About: Stolen Lives: Identity Theft Prevention Made Simple

Scam-Proof Your Life

Scam-Proof Your Life Cover Art

Get inside information on how to protect your money, your rights and your health with this complete and practical collection of consumer tips by Sid Kirchheimer, AARP scam specialist.

More than 100 experts reveal specific tips, techniques, and tactics that anyone can use to avoid being victimized financially, physically, or… More About: Scam-Proof Your Life

No Place to Hide

No Place to Hide Cover ArtIn In No Place to Hide, award-winning Washington Post reporter Robert O'Harrow, Jr., pulls back the curtain on an unsettling trend: the emergence of a data-driven surveillance society intent on giving us the conveniences and services we crave, like cell phones, discount cards, and electronic toll passes, while watching us… More About: No Place to Hide

Credit Scores & Credit Reports

Credit Scores & Credit Reports Cover Art

The U.S. credit reporting system keeps detailed financial histories on more than 200 million Americans. Evan Hendricks' Credit Scores & Credit Reports is a well-informed, informative, and well-written guide to a subject of great and growing importance to consumers. Hendricks, a foremost privacy expert, examines in detail the credit… More About: Credit Scores & Credit Reports

Your Evil Twin: Beyond the Identity Theft Epidemic

Your Evil Twin: Beyond the Identity Theft Epidemic Cover Art

Bob Sullivan, author and identity theft expert, probes this exploding crime. ID theft has hit ordinary citizens and celebrities alike, from Oprah Winfrey to Steven Spielberg, and costs the economy $50 billion a year. "Your Evil Twin" covers the topic from every angle, from mastermind identity thieves who have… More About: Your Evil Twin: Beyond the Identity Theft Epidemic


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