Money Minute: A Third of Internet Traffic Fake? Microsoft's Upgrade Deal

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The reach of the Internet is huge, but it may not be as big as previously thought.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau claims that more than one-third of all online traffic may be fake. The trade group says those fraudulent users are really computer bots, not real people. The idea is to fool advertisers, who often make payments based on the number of "clicks" their ads receive. Who's behind this trickery? Nobody's exactly sure, even though much of it can be traced to Eastern Europe.

Microsoft (MSFT) is making one more attempt to get users of its 13-year old Windows XP operating system to make the switch to a Windows 8 computer. The company will give a $100 rebate to people who upgrade to a Windows 8 PC. Microsoft will stop providing security updates April 8, leaving XP users' computers vulnerable to viruses and hackers.

As Microsoft phases out XP, Google (GOOG) is ramping up efforts to make its Google Glass eyewear more popular. %VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%It's already achieved a geeky sort of cool status, but now Google Glass wants a more mainstream, fashionable cool. It's teaming up with Luxottica to design, make and sell frames for Google's Internet connected eyewear. It will make Google Glass frames under the Ray-Ban and Oakley labels, and sell them at Luxottica retail chains, LensCrafters and Sunglass Hut.

Here on Wall Street Monday, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 26 points, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) lost 9 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) slid 50 points.

Finally, payday loans are turning into a revolving door financial jail for many hard-pressed borrowers. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finds many people who take out these short-term loans need another and another to pay off the original debt. And the fees can be astronomical, with an effective annual percentage rate of nearly 400 percent. Do that seven times in a row and the fees will exceed the original loan amount.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

7 Most-Missed Tax Deductions and Credits
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Money Minute: A Third of Internet Traffic Fake? Microsoft's Upgrade Deal
Our lives are busy, and taxpayers may forget what donations they gave last year may get them a bigger refund. If you cleaned out your bulging closet and dropped off clothing or household goods at your favorite charity, don't forget this may be deductible on your tax return.
Taxpayers taking a full course load and working toward a degree can receive education benefits through the American Opportunity Tax Credit for college expenses, but those who took even just one class to further their career may be able to take the tuition and fees deduction. With this credit, you can deduct up to $4,000 for tuition and fees, books and educational supplies for you, your spouse or dependents. This tax deduction is especially important to remember if you qualify because the offer expires after tax year 2013.
Taxpayers can deduct state income taxes, but what about people who live in states that don't have a state income tax? The state and local sales tax deduction is useful for those who don't pay state income tax because they can deduct sales tax paid on purchases. Even people who live in states that pay state income tax can benefit if they paid more sales tax due to large purchases. This is another tax that is going away after the 2013 tax year, so don't miss out on this one.
The earned income tax credit is a refundable tax credit given to filers who earn low- to moderate- income from their jobs. The credit can be worth up to $6,044, depending on income and how many dependents you have, but one in five tax filers overlook this opportunity, according to the Internal Revenue Service. You have to file your taxes in order to get it, so even if you make less than $10,000 (the IRS' minimum income filing requirement) you should still file your taxes.
If you were looking for a job last year, you may be able to deduct costs related to your job search – even if you didn't secure a new one. Job search expenses such as preparing and sending resumes, fees to placement agencies and even travel related to searching for a new job can be included.
This credit is often overlooked and seldom talked about, but if you have an income up to $29,500 ($59,000 for married filing jointly) you can save for retirement and get an tax credit worth up to $1,000 for individuals and $2,000 for couples if you contributed to a qualifying retirement plan such as an individual retirement account or 401(k). The retirement savers tax credit is a win-win situation since contributions to your IRA may also be a deduction from income.
Taxpayers who weren't so lucky gambling last year should know that their losses can be deducted if they itemize their deductions. However, your amount of losses cannot surpass your winnings, which must be reported as taxable income. For example, if you have $2,000 in winnings and $4,000 in losses, your deduction is limited to $2,000. Make sure you have documentation such as receipts, tickets and other records to support your losses.
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