On Your Side Investigations

On Your Side: Can’t pay your bills because of COVID-19?

Many vendors are working with their customers during this unprecedented crisis. For example, many utility companies will provide some form of forbearance. Call the companies you owe money and see how they are willing to assist you.

COVID-19 Tracker: Check out the latest on test results around the country

  Watching Your Wallet: With coronavirus causing market volatility, financial experts help you watch your nest egg

  Sanitized: Online listings for hand sanitizer, disinfectant advertise inflated prices

  Tips limited despite dozens of witnesses in Birmingham man’s murder

  Congress takes up insurance rate discrimination

Protecting personal information while job searching online

Continued Coverage

‘Without access to public records, there is no accountability’: A denial for ShotSpotter requests

  FEMA grants not affordable for many devastated by Lee County tornado

  Rate Discrimination: Some insurance companies give better rates for customers with certain jobs, education

Mother demands answers on Madison County Jail ‘IT issues’

  Who’s carrying a gun on your child’s campus?

  Patriot Penalty: Deployed service members come home to find higher auto insurance rates

  Watching Your Wallet: How to become a 401(k) millionaire

From using a specialized retirement plan to considering using a "robo advisor," experts explain how you can grow your retirement savings.

Poarch Creek casino proposal promises $1B for Alabama

Alabama lawmakers are listening but not committing to an offer from the Poarch Creek Indians. Tribe leaders say they will funnel $1 billion to Alabama if the state allows them to add two new casinos, table games like blackjack and craps and gives the Poarch Indians exclusivity.

  Costly Care: Medicare charged hundreds more than drug’s cost at cash value

A man noticed his insurance paid all of one medication, but then he discovered the federal government was billed hundreds more than market value.

  TikTok App Can Be Meeting Place for Predators and Your Kids

“I discovered it when my daughter was asleep.”

  Chief: Brookside kidnapping suspect wanted to die

  Illegal Contact: Banned drugs found in athletic performance supplements

  Drug court’s liquid loop

  Who’s really monitoring your home security system?

  Project aims to find, close gaps in protections for domestic violence victims

Nearly a year later, family still searching for answers in 23-year-old’s death

CARFAX customers say company’s incomplete vehicle reports cost them thousands of dollars

Several customers bought used cars with clean CARFAX customers but CARFAX reports run at later dates showed significant issues with the cars.

  Whistle while going through airport security? TSA is watching you closely

Taking off your shoes, belt and unpacking the laptop are common things we do when going through security at the airport. Specially trained Transportation Security Administration officers are also looking at the expression on your face and you probably don't even realize it.

  Bail: The balance between rights and public safety

The murders of Blanchard and McKinney and the criminal records of those accused prompted the court of public opinion to question why Yazeed and Brown were allowed bond.

  Recognizing Hate: FBI begins counting its own hate crime cases in federal data, inaccurate numbers remain

After years of breaking the law, the FBI has finally and quietly released its own hate crime statistics. As InvestigateTV uncovered in Measure of Hate, while the FBI published annual hate crime statistics, the agency failed to release its own numbers.

Can Good RX Save You Money?

Good RX claims it can save you potentially $100's, but an Alabama healthcare advocate says you need to be a smart consumer.

  Watching Your Wallet: Make smart money moves before 2020

From maxing out retirement contributions to checking your car insurance rates, experts say there are a few smart financial steps to take before the new year starts.

  Two years later and the Jefferson County cemetery board still hasn’t met. What’s the hold up?

Over the past three years, we've received complaint after complaint about unkempt cemeteries in Jefferson County.

  Birmingham police taking scientific approach to fight crime

We recently sat down with Birmingham police to take a more in-depth look into how the department is now taking a scientific approach to fight crime.

  Toys that can watch you: Protecting your child from hackable toys

Internet-connected toys can be great Christmas gifts, but you may need to think twice before putting them under your tree.

Most law enforcement agencies in Jefferson County using Narcan, except where deaths are highest

One person died every 45 hours in Jefferson County, on average, from an opioid overdose over a five-year period.

  New revelations about alleged sexual misconduct at Indian Springs School and Birmingham church

A former Indian Springs School teacher accused of sexual misconduct also worked at a Birmingham Church where the church is concerned he may have used opportunities there to foster relationships with students.

  Data incomplete when it comes to infant deaths

Infants die at a higher rate in Alabama from Sudden Unidentified Infant Death (SUID) than any other state in the country.

  Abuse of Power?: Power of Attorney

When someone reaches the point in life where making decisions for healthcare, finances and legal matters are beyond his or her control a power of attorney agreement can make sure everything is attended to.

  Preying on patriotism: Sham veterans and first-responder charities ousted for deception, their professional fundraisers largely left unscathed

Sham veterans and first-responder charities have been put out of business for misusing donations but their third-party, for-profit fundraisers remain in business.

  Watching Your Wallet: Don’t break your gift budget this holiday season

Americans plan to spend an average of $825 on holiday gifts this year, according to NerdWallet. Experts give you ways to stay on budget and find the best deals.

  Cashing in on Charity: Donations meant to help sick children, wounded veterans, abused animals instead benefit for-profit fundraisers

Professional fundraisers are for-profit companies that contract with charities to solicit donations by telephone or through the mail. The industry is loosely regulated and can keep as much as 100% of donated dollars.

  Is Birmingham Water Works getting a rebate, and what will they do with it?

A Birmingham Water Works Board member testified in court that his utility is due to receive "hundred of thousands of dollars" in repayment from a contractor as a result of overbilling, but the utility's General Manager says he knows nothing about it.

  Has anything changed at Birmingham Water Works?

We wanted to know what, if any, changes the BWWB has made to their internal spending controls or auditing procedures since Lewis’ arrest or conviction, so we asked General Manager Michael Johnson.

  Birmingham Water Works: “Our Billing System is Adequate”

The Birmingham Water Works Wednesday defended its billing practices amid new questions about the accuracy of some customers’ bills.

  Bogus Bills?: Birmingham Water Works Customers Seeing Strange Bills

Birmingham Water Works customers complained to us about unusually high bills, now our questions are prompting some action.

  Scientists developing ‘smart toilet’ to collect health data

The toilets of the future might be able to analyze urine samples and explain health behavior.

The Price of Air: The R-22 ban is approaching, how will it impact your air conditioner?

Turning on your air conditioner isn’t probably on your mind right now but come January, you could be paying a lot more for coolant. The coolant, R-22, will soon be phased out. Starting January 1, 2020, the Environmental Protection agency is banning the production of R-22.

  Read or Repeat: Concerns about Alabama’s new literacy law

Alabama's new literacy law is meant to solve a big problem, but could create a few others.

  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.

  Social Studies: The digital world and the toll on our children

Social media is a daily part of life for teens and their constant posts on Instagram or Snapchat could take a toll on their mental health.

Top Alabama scams: What you need to know

You might think you’re too savvy to fall for a scam, but thieves are constantly using new tactics and finding ways to fool even the most skeptical people.

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

Neighborhoods with an average income of about six-figures are labeled “distressed” by the federal government.

  The ridesharing impact on drunk driving

Are ridesharing services having an impact on drunk driving? The Center for Advanced Public Safety at the University of Alabama gives us a look at the numbers.

  Romance scams are a growing problem in Alabama

What would you do for love? If it’s true love, your answer might be ‘anything.’

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

A Virginia man bought a car from a dealership. The title and history looked clear, but it turned out the truck had a dangerous history.

  Haunted houses are scary, but are they safe?

Arachnophobia, coulrophobia, and pyropobia. Spiders and clowns are guaranteed.

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

A lot of us pay for high speed internet, but are we getting what we’re paying for? And do we really know how fast it is? A computer expert walks us through how you can test your internet speed,

  Your typos could put your computer at risk

You could end up harming your computer by accidentally misspelling websites. We speak with a cyber security expert about "typosquatting" and why its important to bookmark your favorite sites!

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

After several strange clues, a Michigan father questions whether his water filters are authentic. Experts say counterfeit filters are a growing problem in the United States.

  Will Alabama have enough social workers?

A new Bureau of Labor Statistics report predicts social work will be one of the fastest growing fields in the next decade, but convincing college students to choose it as their major will require hard work.

  More banks embracing cardless ATMs

New technology makes it easier to get your money. Banks across the country are embracing cardless ATMs. We’re looking into this growing trend and why thieves are catching onto it too.

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

College graduates now owe the most money in history; experts say it's best to pay it back sooner rather than later.

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

If you think Etowah County's contract with the federal government to house ICE detainees is a big moneymaker for the county, think again.

  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

You pay hundreds of dollars for a home inspector to tell you whether you're making a good buy, but how good is your inspection?

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

We know in Alabama, severe weather can happen in an instant, and sometimes when kids are at school.

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

Families are raising the alarm on understaffing in north Alabama's facilities.

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

Widespread concern about understaffing in Mississippi's prisons has people calling for a change. They say inmates, correctional officers and surrounding communities are in danger.

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

Some new technology designed to alert you to a child in your backseat may give some parents a false sense of security.

  Report: Toxic chemicals found in some popular school supplies

A recent report found potentially toxic chemicals 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.