Protect your tax refund
Q. Last year, identity thieves stole my cousin’s tax refund. How can I keep that from happening to me?
A. Thieves need only your name and Social Security number to file a false tax return in your name and get your refund. It’s so easy, the IRS pays out billions of dollars to thieves every year. Your safest option is to file your tax return as early as possible, before they can file a fake one. If that isn’t an option, learn more ways to protect your tax return and refund. Then read on to the bonus Q&A to learn how to file your taxes for free this year.
Smart gadgets you won’t believe
Q. I heard something on your national radio show about a smart fridge. What’s that?
A. Several manufacturers were showing off smart refrigerators at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. LG’s model included SmartDiagnosis to help LG’s techs pinpoint and fix any problems. Samsung’s Family Hub fridge has cameras inside so you can check what food you’re out of when you aren’t home. Learn more about smart fridges and four other smart gadgets you won’t believe.
Buying a smart gun
Q. I’m thinking of buying a gun and my wife wants it to be a “smart” gun. Are there any good ones?
A. Most smart guns, such as the Armatix iP1, haven’t done well on the market because they’re a lot more expensive than non-smart models. There’s also concern about whether they’ll work correctly in high-stress situations. You might be better off with a smart gun lock or smart safe. Get more details on available smart guns, smart safes and more technology for gun safety.
Future cars that stay connected
Q. I’m looking for a new family car and I’d like it to have a Wi-Fi hotspot for everyone’s gadgets. What are my options?
A. The 2016 BMW 7 Series is going to feature BMW Car Hotspot that can support up to eight gadgets. You will need to pay for a cellular data plan, however. You can also find something similar on GM cars like the Corvette, Volt and Impala. These use OnStar 4G for Internet access. Learn about more high-tech gear that could be in your next car.
Computers could steal your job
Q. I’m training as a paralegal, and a colleague joked that soon we’ll be replaced by robots. Is that possible?
A. Some law offices are employing “e-discovery software” that uses artificial intelligence to find and analyze documents at lightning speeds. It can even find concepts relevant to a case, not just specific words. So, yes, you could have some tech-based competition in the future. Learn about four more careers that tech could surprisingly replace in the coming years.
Bonus: File your taxes for free
Q. I’d like the convenience of filing my taxes electronically, but isn’t it expensive?
A. If you make less than $62,000 a year, you can file your federal tax return for free. Some states have free filing as well for certain income levels or other circumstances. Get more details on free tax filing and what sites and programs can help.
On the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show, Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com. Kim also posts breaking tech news 24/7 at News.Komando.com.