Consumer Catch-up: Wildfire tax relief, scam celebrities, best cars for college

Tax relief for wildfire victims

The state of California is offering property tax relief for wildfire victims.

The State Board of Equalization says damaged property can be appraised in its current condition, with some taxes refunded.

After the property is rebuilt, its previous value can be restored.

Anyone who wants to qualify for the property tax relief must file a claim with your local county within one year of the date of damage.

Wildfire victims can also choose to defer their property tax payments without penalty, if the home is in an emergency area declared by the Governor.

Celebrity scammers

The Federal Trade Commission is warning about scammers posing as celebrities online.

The FTC says they've received reports of the fake celebrities asking for money from fans. The reasons vary - claiming a prize, donating to charity, or giving help.

Some celebrities do fund-raise online, but be sure the person and the cause are real before sending your money.

The FTC says you should search online for both the celebrity's name and the charity to make sure it's not a scam.

Never send money, gift cards, or prepaid debit cards to someone you don't know - even if it is a celebrity.

Best cars for college students

Value, performance, and features - all important when choosing a car, but particularly when choosing a car for a college student.

Edmunds put together its latest list of best used cars for college students. Its top four picks: 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid, 2013 Volkswagen GTI, 2014 Mazda 3, and 2016 Toyota RAV4.

The Honda Accord Hybrid has great gas mileage at 47mpg, plus plenty of room inside. As for safety, the Honda ranked highly for its exterior cameras and collision warning systems.

Edmunds says the Volkswagen GTI is both fun and sensible, with a nice turbocharged engine and quality interior.

The Mazda 3 comes in as the least expensive choice, with an average price of $12,770. Edmunds says it also has a quality interior, with lots of tech and safety gadgets inside; plus, it's fun to drive.

Finally, the Toyota RAV4 ranked highly for students who are moving cross-country or transporting large items. It's the most expensive pick, but Edmunds liked its comfortable ride, lots of interior space, and reliability.

Click here for a look at more stories by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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