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Dear Readers: According to AARP, the Social Security Administration estimates that scammers call thousands of people every day in an effort to get financial information or SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS. Lately, they’ve intensified their efforts, usually asking you to confirm your Social Security number, bank account numbers or requesting a fee for some service, which they do not provide.
They may say your information has been linked to criminal activity, but be assured that it’s a lie. Or they may call with good news, stating that you are entitled to a cost-of-living increase and ask you to verify your Social Security number. It’s a lie. They may sound official, and they may even threaten you with arrest, fines and prison time, but stay calm and hang up on the scammer.
DON’T return any robocalls on your voicemail or answering machine. Want to contact Social Security? Call customer service at 800-772-1213.
DON’T give out any information, no matter what the caller says.
DON’T click on links purported to be Social Security emails. They’re fake communications!
DON’T be a victim. Never give out personal or financial information.
SAFETY FOR CHILDREN
Dear Heloise: One of the first things I taught my children was to memorize their name, street address, phone number, parents’ names and grandparents’ names. They knew the name of the company I worked for and my husband’s company name -- all of this by the time they were 3 years old. If they ever got lost, separated or, God forbid, kidnapped, they could let police know where they lived, whom they belonged to and how to get hold of us. - Robin A., Fairbanks, Alaska
Not on the level
Dear Readers: Today’s SOUND OFF is about equal pay for equal work:
“Dear Heloise: Yesterday I discovered that a male co-worker was getting considerably more pay than I was for doing the very same job. He’s been with the company less than two years, while I have been here six years. We both graduated from college with bachelor’s degrees. Why and how can companies get away with this practice? Women’s work has always been undervalued, but this is clearly discrimination. What can be done about it?” - M.G. in Florida
Melinda, if you truly feel you have been the victim of discrimination at work, you can call the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at 800-669-4000 or the Equal Rights Advocates Advice and Counseling hotline at 800-839-4372. You also can go to www.pay-equity.org/info.html for additional information. - Heloise
Dear Heloise: The scammers are at it again. If anyone calls about renewing your Microsoft license or charging you a fee for any service you didn’t ask for, hang up. It’s a scam. You don’t need to renew a Microsoft license, and the fees they talk about are fictitious. The callers are liars and are fishing for your account or credit card numbers. Never hand out this kind of information to anyone over the phone. - Lana S., Troy, Mich.
Dear Heloise: To get my son to eat French toast, I cut the bread up into strips before dunking in the egg batter, then fry the strips and sprinkle powdered sugar on them just before serving. - Cathleen M., Cedar Falls, Iowa
Dear Heloise: If you have long delays while you are traveling by plane in Europe, you may be able to get some of your money refunded. According to the European Union regulation EC 261, you are eligible if:
1. You arrive at your destination three or more hours later than planned.
2. The flight took off in the European Union (from any airline) or landed in the EU, on the condition that the airline is headquartered in the EU.
3. You checked in no less than 45 minutes before your flight.
4. The airline is responsible, due to technical or operational difficulties.
The amount of compensation depends on how long you were delayed and the distance of the flight. Check online for more information. - Paul J., Troy, Mich.
GET IT IN WRITING
Dear Heloise: My wife said women routinely are given high car-repair estimates, saddled with unnecessary repairs and upsold unknowingly.
My hint is: Always get a written estimate before any work is done, and make sure it is signed by you and the shop. If you have any questions, show the estimate to a knowledgeable friend, or get a second estimate at another shop.
- Dave in Waco, Texas
Dear Heloise: To add to the hint that everything online is there forever, people need to remember that all that information can be copied. Even if you delete something you’ve posted, it could have already been copied, pasted and shared.
An age-old saying is helpful to remember, whether you are writing or speaking to someone:
T - is it true?
H - is it helpful?
I - is it inspiring?
N - is it necessary?
K - is it kind?
- A Reader in San Antonio
(c)2019 by King Features Syndicate Inc.