Hints from Heloise: Tips to ferret out scammers

DEAR HELOISE >> First, let me thank you for all the scam alerts you’ve sent out to the public in your column. You have saved me and countless others from losing their life savings to scammers. There are ways people can protect themselves from scammers who try to take advantage of trusting individuals.

There are precautions to take, and here are a few of them:

• As we have all been warned, never give out any personal or financial information over the phone to people who call, text or email you.

• Never let anyone force you into making a quick financial decision. Scammers love to use phrases such as “one time offer,” “exclusive offer” or any language that makes it seem as though you need to act right then. Hang up the phone.

• Change your passwords at least every three or four months. Bothersome as it may be, it can save you from fraud.  Never tell anyone what your passwords are.

• Never pay any bill with gift cards or crypto-currency.

• If someone calls and says they are collecting for a charity, tell them that you do not take solicitations by phone and hang up.  Most are scams.

• Ignore calls, text messages and emails about odd activity on your account from a bank or corporation. Instead, call that corporation or bank directly and ask to talk to someone in the fraud prevention department.

Remember, people have lost their life savings to scammers, and their money was never returned. Don’t become a victim of a scammer’s greed.

— James H., Fairfax, Virginia

DEAR HELOISE >> I am a nurse who specializes in nutritional health, and I’m seeing some alarming trends among teenage girls. There’s nothing new about anorexia, but in our clinic we’re getting teen girls who are taking this to extremes. The drive to be thin in all too many cases has young women starving themselves. A growing girl needs to eat healthy food. She can’t skip breakfast and lunch and then have only a salad for dinner.

Parents need to keep an eye on their children to make certain they don’t fall for the “thin bodies are the only acceptable bodies” thinking.

— California Nurse, Los Angeles

DEAR CALIFORNIA NURSE >> I agree. We must learn to accept ourselves, love the skin we’re in and never let social pressure dictate how we look. While being overweight is not healthy, so is being too thin.

DEAR HELOISE >> Please tell your readers that when women get new high heel shoes to do two things before wearing them outside. First, take sandpaper and wipe it across the bottom a few times to scuff the under-side of their shoe. Next, have a shoe repairman replace those plastic tips on your shoe heel with rubber ones. This way you’re far less likely to fall.

— Paul F., Las Vegas 

Write to Heloise

P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000

Fax: 210-HELOISE

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