Here are three of the week's top pieces of financial advice, gathered from around the web:
Scammers swarm over Google Maps
Google Maps is being "overrun with millions of false business addresses and fake names," said Rob Copeland and Katherine Bindley at The Wall Street Journal. When you type a search query into Google, as many as six businesses that have bought ads will appear at the top of the screen, alongside a map to "pinpoint brick-and-mortar businesses in the neighborhood." But "a majority of the listings for contractors, electricians, towing and car-repair services, movers, and lawyers, among other business categories, aren't located" where they say they are. A search for plumbers in "a swath of New York City" found 13 false addresses out of the top 20 Google search results, and only two could be found at the locations shown on the map.
Lost cash often gets returned
When it comes to returning a lost wallet, "what most of us assume about human nature is wrong," said Pam Belluck at The New York Times. New research has found that people are more likely to return a wallet to its owner when there's money inside. The study involved 17,303 "lost" wallets in 40 countries around the world. The wallets had a business card with a local name and, in some cases, the equivalent of $13.45 in cash. Research assistants went to "post offices, hotels, police stations, banks, museums, or similar places," pretending they had found wallets and asking receptionists to return them. In almost every city, "more people emailed to return wallets containing money." To test this further, researchers left wallets containing $94.15 in the U.S., the U.K., and Poland. Those were returned even more often, 72 percent of the time, versus 61 percent for those containing less money and 46 percent for the empty wallets. The $600,000 study was funded by a Swiss economics think tank.
Employers pay off student debt
Twenty-three percent of employers are considering offering a loan repayment–assistance program for workers struggling with student debt, said Maurie Backman at Motley Fool. These programs, which are still rare, could make a business more attractive to new recruits while alleviating a major source of stress, to help workers "better concentrate on their jobs." But there are hurdles. Employers must decide whether the program would "be available for new hires immediately" or whether employees would "be required to commit to staying for a certain period of time."