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A Week's Worth

Wall Street continues to wrestle with the question of how the Federal Reserve will act later this month as it seeks to hold back inflation. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.63 last week.

The IRS sent 12,500 old tax bills to three private collection companies last Thursday, marking the first time private collectors will be used to get people to pay back taxes. The amount of overdue federal taxes is piling up. For example, some $290 billion is still due for the 2001 tax year, most of that amount is owed by individuals.

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Payday is a time most Americans look forward to, but when it comes to pay stubs, we hardly notice. Less than 10 percent of workers even look at their paychecks, according to a survey by QuickBooks in San Francisco. The company, which helps businesses manage payrolls, recommends that employees check their stubs regularly to make sure they are withholding the proper amount for taxes and use direct deposit to fund a savings account or an IRA.

Check your e-mail recently? About 70 percent of those messages were spam, according to the spring "Spamometer" survey just released by Ipswitch Inc., a technology firm in Lexington, Mass. A little over one-third of these unsolicited messages dealt with various forms of medication, followed financial "phishing" scams (19 percent), pornography (14 percent), electronics (10 percent), and mortgage offers (9 percent).