(Information on government issued prepaid debit cards and the $7.2 billion Madoff settlement updated in today's Hot Trends article.)NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- "Debit cards" is a popular search topic today after the U.S. Treasury Department launched a pilot program that will give low-income taxpayers a chance to get their federal tax refunds on prepaid debit cards. "This pilot program will provide low- and moderate-income Americans with a low-cost option for faster delivery of their federal tax refund," Treasury deputy secretary Neal Wolin said. "This innovative card can be used for everyday financial transactions, such as receiving wages by direct deposit, withdrawing cash, making purchases, paying bills and building savings safely and conveniently, giving users more control over their financial futures." The Treasury will mail out letters next week to 600,000 households nationwide, offering to put their tax refunds directly on a prepaid debit card from Visa ( V).
"Madoff settlement" is a trending search topic today after a federal court approved a $7.2 billion settlement to resolve claims that one of Bernard Madoff's clients, Jeffry Picower, made money off the financier's Ponzi scheme.
Jeffry Picower's widow, Barbara Picower, has agreed to pay $7.2 billion to settle a lawsuit claiming her husband, who died in October, 2009 from a heart attack, profited from the fraud. Barbara Picower has denied all allegations that he knew Madoff was committing fraud. This settlement is the largest amount recovered so far in the search for money lost in Madoff's scheme.
"Acetaminophen" is a trending search topic today after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it will limit the amount of acetaminophen in medications to 325 milligrams per capsule.
"Home foreclosures" is a heavily searched topic today after real estate data tracking firm RealtyTrac released its 2010 report on Thursday.
The data showed that foreclosure levels reached new highs in 2010. The firm reported 3.8 million foreclosure filings on 2.9 million properties, a 2% increase from 2009. RealtyTrac said that one in every 45 houses received a foreclosure notice in 2010. The foreclosure rate slowed during the fourth quarter, as banks faced a pushback from regulators. In December, one in every 501 homes received a filing.
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