How to protect yourself against online scams
Dear Heloise: It’s always nice to use social media to stay in touch with friends and family, but beware of shopping online at social media sites. You might see an ad that has a product you’d love to have, and they may even say they give a portion of their profits to a charity. So, you place your order, giving them your credit card or debit card number, but the product never arrives. Worse, they have your financial information, name and address. Here’s how to protect yourself:
•Do some research on social media scams by going to BBB.org/AvoidScams or BBB.org/ShoppingOnline. There is also Give.org, where you can check out an organization’s reputation.
• Look online for complaints from previous customers.
• If you’ve been taken advantage of by a scammer, share your concerns at BBB.org/ScamTracker.
— J.B. in Wisconsin
Declutter this year
Dear Heloise: Please ask your readers to make an effort to declutter their homes. Once a year, we go through the house, and everything we don’t need, don’t use, don’t like or is broken gets thrown out or given away. I don’t want my kids to go through what my husband and I went through when my in-laws passed away. They lived in a large, three-story house with an attic and basement, and they hated to part with anything. It took us two months and two commercial trash bins to get everything out of the house.
Over the years, we offered to help them sort through things and get rid of items that were broken or that they no longer used or needed, but they declined the offer each time.
— June and Chester K., Port Huron, Michigan
Writing in response
Dear Heloise: I’m writing in response to a reader in a previous column. If her son’s fiancee is such a problem with not picking up after herself, never offering to help with anything around the house and other habits she had, then talk to the son about it — not in an accusatory manner, but respectfully.
My own mother-in-law used to rearrange my furniture, rearrange my linen closet, tell me what to fix for her son for dinner, tell me how to raise my kids, was critical of my weight and much more. I never said a word and kept the peace.
— Lois D. in Dallas Lois, there is a fine line between “keeping the peace” and the refusal to be ordered about in your own home. Most people try to accommodate the needs of a guest, but if a guest wants to be invited back, it’s important to remember that they are a “visitor” in the home, not the owner.