On Your Side Investigations

  Genetic testing scams targeting seniors

A scheme targeting seniors is happening all around the country where scammers often times show up at health fairs or assisted living facilities offering free genetic DNA tests. Seniors are also receiving calls about it.

Missed Opportunity: Federal initiative meant to help poor neighborhoods benefits the rich

  The ridesharing impact on drunk driving

  Romance scams are a growing problem in Alabama

  Hidden Damage: Wrecked, flooded border patrol truck sold at dealership without damage declared

  Haunted houses are scary, but are they safe?

  Are you getting the internet speed you’re paying for?

Continued Coverage

  Your typos could put your computer at risk

  Fake Filters? Made-up addresses, strange receipts and copycat websites reveal knock-offs on the market

  Will Alabama have enough social workers?

  More banks embracing cardless ATMs

  Watching Your Wallet: Student loan debt reaches all-time high

  Etowah County’s ICE detention facility now “about jobs,” not money

  Why you should wipe your phone before selling it

An international study from Blancco Technology Group and Ontrack found that almost half of the electronics they examined still had residual data on them.

  Posting online reviews, good or bad

The Consumer Review Fairness Act gives you the right to post honest reviews about companies you do business with.

  Birmingham woman asking for help with unusual water bill

Dukes says she found a door hangar to tell her a meter reader had come back to double check the reading, but when she walked out to the meter, it was still caked in mud.

  Birmingham puts companies that illegally dump on notice

Illegal dumping is an ongoing problem in the city of Birmingham. The city is now targeting companies caught doing it.

  WBRC FOX6 On Your Side Investigation: Putting home inspectors to the test

Sipsey Valley Middle School has new, certified storm shelter inside school, state law now requires it

‘It’s a crisis under our feet’: Valley nursing homes putting the elderly at risk

  Locked Down: Inside the prison where inmates set each other on fire and gangs have more power than guards

  New safety technology to prevent hot car deaths may not go far enough

  Report: Toxic chemicals found in some popular school supplies

  FDA allowing new antidepressant on the market

UAB researchers helped get approval for this treatment, which is focused on helping the millions of Americans who do not respond to the classic antidepressants.

  Measure of Hate documentary explores the undercounting of crimes in America

InvestigateTV shows issues with undercounting hate crimes, including the FBI failing to meet a federal mandate to report. After months of reporting on this issue, this documentary also highlights results of the investigation, including police departments amending their records.

  How to (really) help your child’s teacher this school year

If you think sending an apple or even a cookie to school on the first day is all the help your teachers need - think again.

  How to turn annoying robocalls into cold, hard cash

Many people are turning robocalls into cash and making hundreds even thousands of dollars.

  Watching Your Wallet: Decade-by-decade, experts help you save for retirement

By retirement, financial experts say you should have at least eight times your annual salary saved up. NerdWallet explains how to get there, decade-by-decade.

  ADEM faces new criticism of oversight after Tyson spill

Is 7 water inspections in 16 years enough for a plant that's had 4 spills since 2011? That's one of the questions environmental activists are asking about the Alabama Department of Environmental Management's oversight in the wake of a 220,000 gallon wastewater spill from a Tyson plant in Hanceville.

  Pickens County man finds out firsthand about timeshare pitfalls

A Pickens County man finds out about the pitfalls of timeshares. He's sharing his story in hopes of warning others.

  Airsoft gun design may be too realistic for law enforcement’s taste

Airsoft guns are designed to look realistic, but a new investigation finds they may be too close for comfort to real gun appearances, and some gun manufacturers are making money off that similarity.

  Fake Filters? Companies falsely claim to have prestigious water safety certification

With water quality and safety concerns across the country, many families are turning to water filters. But there are counterfeit filters and filters carrying fake certification marks.

  JCDH: 65 health score at popular Hoover restaurant posted last month by accident

Last month, a low health score at a popular Hoover business that hasn't been open that long got our attention. Turns out, the county health department posted it by accident.

  Inside Homewood Police pursuit policy

Homewood Police put a lot of effort into making sure a high speed chase doesn't spin out of control.

  Untested Waters: Feds take small steps toward inspecting more seafood

The FDA has a new strategy for imported food safety, and Congress has increased seafood inspection funds. But the U.S. still lags behind some other countries when it comes to inspections and regulations.

  CBD products put to the test: Are you getting what you’re paying for?

CBD stores are popping up all around central Alabama. The products claim to help relieve pain, reduce stress and even help you sleep. Our On Your Side investigative team wanted to see if you are getting what you're paying for in terms of the dosages.

  Will Pickens County Sheriff get his state pension?

A look at what the law says about pension benefits after an official is convicted of a crime.

  WBRC gets firsthand look at new camera technology helping Metro Area Crime Center helicopter

The Metro Area Crime Center's new helicopter's advanced camera system is saving time, resources, and potentially lives in its first few months on patrol, we're taking you for an exclusive ride.

Watching Your Wallet: Experts say to shop around for the best deals on car insurance and cell phone plans

A NerdWallet financial expert offers tips on saving money on car insurance and cell phone bills: Watch this and don't pay for what you don't need.

  Study: Ring cameras may not be as good a crime fighting tool as advertised

Ring doorbell cameras provide great video for our newscasts and for local police departments, they’re supposed to provide a deterrent to crime.

  Cullman County woman who survived tornado believes mobile home wasn’t tied down properly

A Cullman County woman who rode out a tornado in her mobile home has questions about how it was installed.

  New warning for parents of babies on how they sleep

New Warning for Parents of Babies on How They Sleep

  You can now tell Amazon’s Alexa to delete your conversations

Amazon now allows you to delete conversations off your Alexa Echo device after privacy issues raised by consumers.

  Why are there so many unresolved car recalls?

New stats from CarFax show about 1 out of every 5 vehicles on the road are under some kind of recall and haven’t been fixed.

Surprise Medical Bills: What can you do to avoid them?

We’re looking into something you may want to check on the next time you go for a check up...surprise medical bills.

  Admissions scandal impact on local universities

How is the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal changing the way local universities conduct their admissions process?

  Watching Your Wallet: Make the most of your summer vacation

A frequent traveler and financial expert give their tips for saving money when booking flights and hotels.

  Study shows Alabama tornadoes are the deadliest in the U.S.

Research shows that Alabama tornadoes are the deadliest in the nation. The state averages 14 tornado deaths a year. From 1950 to 2016, over 630 people have died in tornadoes in Alabama compared to over 550 in Texas. A leading researcher gives us his opinion on why tornadoes are occurring more often.

Advocates for Alabama’s incarcerated oppose slowing parole

Bill would give Governor more power over paroles

  Why you can’t trust security cameras

Don't count on the cameras you see inside and outside of stores to protect you, we found plenty of reasons to be wary.

  Elderly Hoover man loses life savings in tech support scheme

An elderly Hoover man says he lost his life savings. He tells us he was tricked by someone he thought he could trust. Now he’s warning others.

ADEM & Shelby County Investigating Lay Lake Dump Site

Neighbors near Lay Lake are worried about the environmental impact of an illegal dump site and called us for help.

Watching Your Wallet: Spring housing market secrets revealed

Want to get top dollar for your home this spring? Or are you looking to buy your first home? NerdWallet gives tips for those on both sides of the equation.

  Birmingham Police working to bridge gap between youth and law enforcement

The Birmingham Police Department is working to better bridge the divide between law enforcement and youth in the community. Police Chief Patrick Smith says he's making it a priority. We’re looking into a programs that could help make a difference.

  JeffCo crews repair line, eliminate smell of human waste taking over Hoover neighborhood

A Jefferson County spokesperson said the problem was a damaged manhole that was partially blocking the line.

  DNA Detectives: Scientists combining forensics with genealogy break ‘unsolvable’ cases

Scientists are using forensic genetics to help solve decades-old cold cases.

  Failed and Forgotten

The deaths of hundreds of children because of abuse or neglect goes unnoticed every year by agencies that protect kids. Congress and a 45-year-old law are largely to blame.

  A trifecta of failures puts kids at risk

When children die because of abuse or neglect, child protection agencies are often blamed – they are underfunded and overworked. But there are many other culprits who failed children.

  Digital rollbacks: Millions of cars have false mileage on odometers

Carfax experts say there are potentially more than one million cars on the roads with false odometer readings - meaning their mileage has been rolled back to make the vehicles look like they have less wear and tear.

  Has your child’s identity been stolen? Find out how to protect their personal information

In 2017, more than a million children were identity theft fraud victims. Two thirds of those kids were under the age of 8 according to new research from the firm Javelin.

  Will proposed new vaping regulations in Alabama actually work?

A bill would ban stores and shops from selling vaping devices and limit the flavors stores can sell.

Watching Your Wallet: Experts give advice on reining in your tax refund

Rather than taking a tax refund check and splurging on a quick shopping spree, NerdWallet advises people make smart spending – or saving - plans.

  Essential oils: Medicine or myth?

Is there any clinical evidence that one essential oil can ease a migraine or stress?

  Birmingham City Schools making significant progress on state report cards

A five-year strategic plan seems to be paying off, according to school leaders.

  Undercounting hate: FBI will not report its hate crime numbers again this year as required by law

The Uniform Crime Reporting Act of 1988 requires federal law enforcement agencies to submit information about their cases to a federal database maintained by the FBI; however, those agencies are currently not submitting data, including information about hate crimes.

  Effective or Inefficient: The debate over School Resource Officers

Experts in criminal justice, law enforcement, and education split on the role of school resource officers.

  How to land an Amazon Fulfillment Center job

Amazon delaying the opening of their fulfillment center in Bessemer may not be all bad news, here's how to use this extra time to make yourself an even better candidate for 1 of those 1,500 new jobs.

  Multiple jurisdictions not reporting hate crimes to the FBI

None of these suspected hate crimes were counted in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s year end tallies by jurisdiction, despite the 2009 Hate Crime Statistics Act mandating data collection.

  What’s being done to prevent ‘Poop train’ stink from returning to Alabama?

The town of Parrish is trying to move forward after "Poop train" stink.

  WBRC analysis: Every school on “failing” list has more than half of students on free/reduced lunch

There are 76 schools on this year’s list of so-called “failing schools” and they’re spread all over the state, in both rural and urban areas, some are very diverse, others hardly at all.

  Study: Half of Americans do not have $400 to survive a financial emergency

Managing money is a constant struggle for most families, but it’s worse for the average American than many might think.

  Watching Your Wallet: Thousands of consumer complaints hidden in federal watchdog database

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides information about financial institutions, including complaints. But NerdWallet and InvestigateTV have found examples of complaints that don't show up in the database.

  Sex offender ruling could mean less information for police

A federal court ruling could strike down parts of Alabama’s sex offender law. A recent federal ruling says convicted sex offenders may not have to give internet provider information, instant messages or email addresses to law enforcement.

  Samford study may unlock secrets to improving your workout

A group of college-age males can bench press better if they’re listening to Drake than they could if they heard a Dierks Bentley ballad.

  Birmingham woman wants roof she paid for three years ago to stop leaking

Three years ago, a Birmingham woman paid over $4,000 for a new roof. Three years later, it's still leaking. She called the On Your Side Investigators for help.

  Is Alabama’s new anti-bullying law working?

Alabama's new anti-bullying law was supposed to make it easier for schools to track and prevent bullying---but it's just now going into effect almost a year after passage.

  Watching Your Wallet: Experts explain the new tax code in simple terms

With sweeping tax code changes affecting this year's filings, experts from NerdWallet help explain how the changes will work for different people.

  Research shows more Americans are leaving their personal information open to thieves

Identity theft is a growing problem. New research shows 9 in 10 people took at least one big data security risk last year.

  Lifesaving devices often locked away in public places

AEDs save lives in cardiac arrests, but we had a hard time finding easily accessible AEDs in several of Birmingham's biggest or busiest public places.

  Untested water: 99.9 percent of foreign fish goes without testing for unsafe drugs

According to government reports, there is evidence that the main oversight agency for seafood, the Food and Drug Administration, has failed to meet new mandates to increase inspections at foreign food facilities.

  Delaying school start times could help your student

New research shows shifting school start times back could help students achieve more academically, but most local school systems seem resistant to the idea.