Saturday, December 26, 2009

Buy a House with New Stimulus Rules

buy house new stimulus rules
Buy a house now with the new stimulus rules, and take advantage of the rebate on taxes as well as help yourself and the American economy.

Learn the guidelines and see if you can qualify for Stimulus funds. The rules changed so that not just first-time homeowners are eligible. You may be able to qualify under the new rules, even if you could not qualify under the old Stimulus rules.

We have written an article on how to buy a house with the new Stimulus rules that you might use for guidelines. It also has links to legislation information.

Here is the URL in case the link does not work for you:

Now may be the time for you to buy a house. Check the rules before you decide.

Have a great week!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

New Credit Card Rules Take Effect Soon

new credit card rules
Credit card rules are changing, and many of the credit card companies have been making new rules and terms of service to adjust to the regulations passed by Congress last year.

Many of the new regulations take effect in February 2010, and will be to your benefit. For example, the credit card companies will be required to let the user opt out of an over limit charge to keep the credit card within the pre-set limit.

Don't play around like a puppy. Know where to find the new rules and use them to your advantage.

Much of what we are seeing recently is a lowering of the limits and an increase in the minimum payment. The credit card companies are required to give 45 days notice on any changes to rates, so you can possibly pay off the card or change companies. Any rate increase much have an option to cancel that is not a default. The companies can freeze a limit at the current rate, but you do not have to accept continuing rate increases from the credit card companies.

We have written an article on how to find the new credit card rules
with links and details to help you get a grip on your credit cards for the new year.

Here is the URL to copy and paste in case the link does not work for you.

This is new legislation enacted to help the American consumer. Take advantage of it by knowing your options.

Happy Holidays!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dispose of Prescription Drugs Safely

dispose of prescription drugs safely
When we think of disposing of prescription drugs, we usually are concerned that small children will not find them. Some drugs are more dangerous than just to kids--they are hazardous to the environment. There are guidelines for disposal of prescriptions so they will not affect the drinking water or the soil.

There are three basic groups of drugs to consider when sorting your medicine cabinet. Some drugs are disposable in the garbage, but some of the inhalers and sprays are not safe for incineration and need to be separated. The opiates are the drugs that are most dangerous to the environment, and there are guidelines from the FDA for their disposal.

You probably think you don't have any opiates, but drugs like Oxycontin, Fentanyl, and Percodan are in most medicine chests, and these need special disposal techniques.

We have written an article on how to dispose of prescription drugs safely
and are pleased to share the FDA website link and other information we have learned in researching this topic.

We hope you find this helpful, and that we can all keep the environment safe for our grandchildren. Don't let your garden grow on drugs from the garbage. Dispose of prescription drugs safely.

Here is the URL in case the link does not work for you.

See you soon. Hope you are in the holiday spirit!


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Driving an Automobile: What the Driving School Forgot

driving automobile driving school forgot
We all think we are good drivers, and that we do not need someone to tell us something we already know, but from what I see every day, there are a few concepts that are missed in the driving schools.

The double turn lane is one we see in Texas that is a constant source of near-accidents, and the dog-leg is another one that is not taught in driving school. Some states have recently changed the rules on coming up on a police officer stopped along the side of the road, and removing a vehicle after an accident.

Do you know the rules for these issues before you come upon them while driving? We have written an article about what the driving school forgot that may help you in the future. Don't wait until you need the information. You cannot read it while driving.

Here is the URL to copy and paste in case the link does not work for you.

Best wishes to you for the Holidays!

See you soon.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Find Help with your Debts, but Avoid Debt Settlement Firms

find help with debts avoid debt settlement firmsIf you owe more than you can pay, you are looking for help with your debts. Watch for chameleons in the debt settlement business, since they are always available to take some more of your money, when you do not have any to spare.

You can avoid the debt settlement firms and still make significant headway with your indebtedness if you know how. There are companies out there that will give you free advice and allow you to do the work. That is usually the better way to get your debts settled.

Consumer Credit Counseling has a good reputation with the BBB. They will give you some ideas and help, and you can contact the creditors.

We have written an article on steps to follow to get debt reduction on your own, and how to use contacts with your creditors to your advantage.

Here is the URL in case the link does not work for you.

We hope this is helpful in your efforts to reduce indebtedness and pay your bills. Debt settlement is something you can do on your own, and save the fees the debt settlement firms charge.

See you soon!


Saturday, December 5, 2009

How to Pay Bills with Job Loss

pay bills job loss
How will you pay your bills if you lose your job? Most of us are only a few months from bankruptcy, and some of us have learned how to manage on little, but one of the things we have noticed is that people do not know how to pay the bills.

Do you know how to pay your bills if you have lost your job? What will you do with the little amount of money you have remaining? Will you pay your house payment first? Most people do, but that is not the recommended way to manage with a job loss.

Because your mortgage takes at least ninety days in default to really affect you, and because banks are more lenient than they have been in the past, do not pay the mortgage payment if you do not have enough money to pay everything.

If you rent, remember that it takes at least thirty days notice to evict you in most states, so be sure to pay the UTILITIES first so you can stay in the house or apartment as long as possible.

We have written an article on how to pay bills when sinking fast.

We hope this is helpful and that it will keep a shelter over your head and utilities on until you find a new source of income.

Here is the URL for the article if the link does not work for you. Just put this in the box at the top of the page to read the article.

See you soon!


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Keep Your Job in this Economy

keep job in economy
If you have a job and would like to keep it, there are some ways you can help yourself. Your career is more important than any short-term issue that may arise, so while the economy is down and there are employees waiting in line for your position, you really do not want to mess up.

Help yourself by being a good employee. Here are some tips to help you keep a job in this economy.

If the link does not work, here is one you can copy and put in the browser.

Best of luck in keeping your job. We hope this will help!


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Grocery Shopping on the Cheap

grocery shopping on cheapGrocery shopping is one of the large expenses in the American household, but you can be a savvy shopper and make grocery shopping less expensive while still serving great and easy meals for your family.

Shopping less often is proven to save money on groceries, and of course it also saves time to use on other worthwhile projects. If you shop every week or even more often, that is making your grocery bills higher than necessary, and you are spending lots of time and effort needlessly.

Making menus before going grocery shopping is also a waste of money. You may think that is the organized and correct way to grocery shop, but there is a better way to shop.

There are also foods that are better nutrition and more economical than others. Do you know what foods to buy? Potatoes and carrots are usually on the list of economical vegetables to buy.

We have written an article about grocery shopping on the cheap that may put a new perspective on your grocery shopping trips. This is not about coupon clipping. It is about real savings in grocery shopping so you have money and time to do other things.

With Christmas fast approaching and holiday expenses taking some of your income, this should be helpful to you, the consumer.

Here is the URL in case the link does not work in your browser.

See you again in a few days!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Holiday Season Begins with Toyota Auto Recall

holiday season begins Toyota auto recall
The turkey has been pardoned and your car has been recalled by Toyota. There isn't enough pumpkin for all the pies this year. What to do? Don't panic. You have no health plan from Washington yet, so you cannot afford to get ill.

Well, they are working on the health insurance issues and we cannot help them--or so they say. You can find something else to eat for holiday meals, but what about that auto recall?

What happens when your automobile is recalled by the manufacturer? Your immediate thought is that you will be without your vehicle for a period of time. Hopefully that will not be the case.

We have written an article detailing how to respond to an auto recall and where to get accurate information.

The best information comes from the Federal Government, so you can determine if your vehicle is one of the recalled cars, and so that you can know the safety hazard and how to avoid it. We give a link to the NHTSA that covers vehicle recall notices at the bottom of this article in Resources.

Here is the link you can copy into a new browser screen if you cannot get the link above to work.

Have a great holiday season!

See you again in a couple of days.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Review Reverse Mortgage Implications for Consumers

review reverse mortgage implications for consumers

Senior citizens are seeing the advertisements on television about the virtues of a reverse mortgage, and what a good deal it is for seniors. A reverse mortgage is available for persons 62 or older who own their home or own equity in their home, and advertisements are that it pays you every month.

Actually, it is a very expensive way to get some equity out of your house, unless you do not care about your children or your heirs. It will leave them with little equity in the home, and may set traps for you that you never imagined.

Consider that there are costs with the reverse mortgage that you will be required to pay. This includes the usual upkeep, taxes, insurance, and a yearly FEE for the reverse mortgage.

Consider even more seriously that you MUST live in the house, and if you go to a nursing home or live elsewhere for more than twelve months, your full mortgage will probably come due.

The reverse mortgage controls your FUTURE, and the inheritance your children may receive. We have written an article on the reverse mortgage implications, and recommend that you consider all your options.

Here is the URL in case the link does not work. Just put this information in the top of your browser and read the article.

We have no affiliation with any business relating to reverse mortgages, but are concerned about the effects the reverse mortgage will have on American consumers over time. Please research this carefully if you are considering a reverse mortgage. Look for less expensive alternatives. They are out there.

We hope this is helpful to some of you!

See you next time.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Avoid FTC Blogger Endorsements Violations and Fine

If you are a blogger, you are probably hearing rumblings that there is a new law in effect on December 1, 2009 to regulate endorsements and promote honesty. This law will affect bloggers as well as many other groups.

If you are a blogger, you need to be informed about the new law and how it may impact your blogs. If you receive cash or in-kind payment for blogging about a subject, you may be impacted. This includes book reviews if you get books for free, or products or services for which you receive a benefit. This includes affiliate product recommendations by website owners, bloggers or sellers.

The eagle eye is watching you. The FTC wants to create a more honest market for the buyers, and Skip McGrath has indicated that even eBay feedback may be subject to the rules. You can see Skip's newsletter for his take on the FTC Blogger Endorsements rules here.

Read more about the FTC Blogger Endorsements rules in an article we have written here.

We have a more-detailed article about how to avoid the potential fine here.
The law requires conspicuous disclosure at the time of the endorsement, not later. You might choose to review only products that you have no connection to the maker, since this might be the best way to avoid a fine. The rules include negative reviews, too, so even if you don't like the product, you will have to disclose any connection you have with the maker.

Another requirement is to disclose typical results. It is no longer sufficient to say that these are not typical results. You must give a figure that is typical. To be safe, maybe zero or one will be typical. Avoid the potential of an FTC Blogger Endorsements fine by reading the article here.

Save yourself some hassle!


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Save Money on Utility Bills in Winter

Save money on utilities in winter by thinking ahead and planning ahead. We cannot predict how cold the season will be, but we can predict that it will be cold enough that we need to consider conservation methods. Make yourself cozy in your little home.

It is not just the expense. Many areas of the country have difficulty supplying sufficient energy if everyone uses the maximum.

Make a plan to approach the issue of high utility use and expense in the winter. You can save money and practice conservation of utilities with a plan.

Think through your particular situation and housing. Do you need insulation? Can you reasonably insulate doors, windows and wall openings? Will attic insulation really pay off? Many times, it takes years to recoup major expenses, and if it is not your intention to live in the house for many years, it may not be the best solution. BUT, consider all options, since there is some Federal funding available for weatherizing a home this year.

Consider other possibilities. Purchase weatherstripping for doors and put it in place. Maybe make draft dodgers for the doors. (These are snake-style "pillows" for the bottom of the door.)

Plan to wear warmer clothing if you get cold easily. Even a degree or two makes a difference in the heating costs of a home.

Use the oven and dryer on the coldest days and at the coldest time of day that is reasonable. This will heat the house with the oven and dryer heat, and save some use of the home heating unit.

Use a space heater if you work in one area most of the day. Turn the central heating down, and set the space heater to a temperature that will be comfortable for your specific area. This is usually considered more acceptable than trying to close off areas of the home, and these little heaters are less than $20. They turn off automatically if tipped, but still need to be kept away from flammables.

Cut down on trips in and out the exterior doors. Plan the trips so you do more than one project while outside.

Use a fireplace and wood as supplemental heating. There are fireplace units now that are reasonably priced and easy to install. If you have a fireplace and do not use it, convert it to a gas or electric or whatever utility is in your area that is more economical than central heat.

Turn the water heater down a little. Most people have the water heater higher than recommended. 125 degrees Fahrenheit will burn a child. 120 degrees is about the lowest recommended temperature setting.

Do something for exercise if you are chilly. Get up and work a little and warm up. Drink a cup of something hot. Use a lap blanket. Suggest this for anyone else who is cold. It may even help keep you fit, lose weight, and keep muscles strong.

Learn to use the microwave for heating water or speeding your cooking on the stove. The microwave is less expensive to run than your stove because it takes less time to get to the desired temperature.

Turn off appliances not in use. This includes the iron, the oven, and the little electric heater you just bought.

Purchase energy-saving lighting and change the bulbs to the lowest wattage practical. Use individual lamps for close work or reading. Use fluorescent bulbs in the shop and garage and do not burn outdoor lighting in the daytime. Get a timer to turn these lights off automatically if you cannot remember to turn them off.

Make saving money on utilities a game if you have children. Reward them for energy saved.

You can make changes in your daily activities and save money on utility bills in winter.

If you are interested in frugal living or learning other ways to economize, read about how to cut back and reduce expenses in this article.

We hope your winter is comfortable and safe.


copyright 2009 Linda Richard

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Get Money Refunded on an Internet Purchase

Do you buy online? Have you ever lost money by purchasing online? There are ways to protect yourself and get your money refunded, but if this has not happened to you previously, you may not know what to do.

We recommend that you take action right away, and that the first action is to contact your seller and see if the item is on the way, if there is a delay or an explanation for any delay.

If your seller is not responsive or if the item is not forthcoming, start a new plan of action. Go to the source of your payment and file a complaint or claim. This includes Paypal or your credit card company, or possibly both. Do not let the seller turn his back on you or get away. You can get your money back with a little work and action.

We have written an article for the internet consumer to help you get your money back if you have made an online purchase that did not arrive.

Many consumers think that if they send a personal check or postal money order, they have no recourse. That is not true, as the US Postal Service has a Postal Inspector in every locale to check out postal fraud claims. Postal money orders can be traced, too, and this is a great service if you do not receive an item purchased with a postal money order. See details in this article about how to get your money refunded on an internet purchase.

We hope you never lose money on an online purchase, and if you take action quickly and protect yourself by not using cash transfer methods, you should be safe making purchases online.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Workplace Violence: Are You SAFE at Work?

The news continues with workplace violence, including the incidents at Harvard University, Ft. Hood, and Orlando, Florida.

Management should be doing more to control workplace violence for the safety of other employees, but it may also be time for the American worker to insist on a safer work environment.

If you work with others in an office, it is important to be sure that new employees are not thieves, do not have a criminal record, and will not appear at work with a gun. This requires that management do some investigation prior to hiring new employees, and that co-workers keep an eye out for personality issues and anger problems in the office.

OSHA has specific requirements that the workplace be safe, and some states hold the employer liable for workplace violence. It is time the American worker can feel safe in the work environment. If you do not feel safe in your work environment, tell management about it.

We have written an article about workplace violence that should be helpful to you in assessing your personal work situation.

We live near Ft. Hood and have felt close to this situation. If we can help prevent workplace violence by writing or calling attention to it, we are pleased to help. It will be up to you to discuss this at your employment. Here is the article.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pay Bills and Become Debt Free

It is a good time to consider paying your bills to become debt free. This will be easier now, since so many Americans are cutting back on expenses. You will fit right in with your neighbors and friends.

This is a goal you can accomplish in little steps, with periodic review of your status and accomplishment. You can pay bills and become debt free in just a matter of years if you follow a plan and have the desire to accomplish the goal of becoming debt free. Consider it just over the horizon.

Money that is uncommitted is your road to freedom, so it is much less stressful to be debt free. That alone could be a goal--live your life with less stress by being debt free. We have written a step-by-step procedure to share to help you pay bills and become debt free.

We hope this article is of help.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Is H1N1 Swine Flu Worrying You?

If H1N1 Swine Flu is on your mind, you will want to know what to do to prevent getting this one or the seasonal flu. You are also probably concerned about what to do if someone in your family gets the Swine Flu or H1N1 virus, and particularly a child, since children seem to be particularly susceptible to the Swine Flu.

We have written several articles for the consumer with information to help prevent getting the Swine Flu, and how to take care of a child or an adult with the Swine Flu. It is important to know if you need to go to the doctor, particularly since it is anticipated that the clinics and offices will be full. If you don't have the Swine Flu virus, you may get it there.

Here is an article about prevention--how to keep from getting the Swine Flu.

Knowing how to survive the Swine Flu virus is the next one. We have studied the CDC websites for you to get concise information and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control. They are the best information available.

Know how to care for a child with the Swine Flu virus. It is important to know the warning signs for taking a child to the Emergency Room.

The last information is about how to treat the Swine Flu virus if you or someone you know gets it.

These articles also have Resources with links to the CDC information, and we update the articles as the CDC makes new discoveries about the Swine Flu H1N1 virus.

We hope you find this information helpful, and that you can avoid the Swine Flu. If you are unable to avoid getting the Swine Flu, you have some guidelines and help in language for the consumer.


The photo is of an Arkansas sunset taken by my daughter.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Choose Window Treatments to Save Energy and Money

The choice of window treatments--curtains, drapes, or shades--can make a difference in your utility bills in both summer and winter.

If you are at the crossroads of choosing window treatments for your house, try to choose coverings that will be energy efficient and save you some money. Consider also that bedroom window treatments may need to be able to block the light.

Save on your utility bills in both summer and winter with your curtains, drapes, or shades. Read more about how to choose your window treatments with energy savings here.

See you soon!


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Prescription Drug Assistance is Available

With the prevalence of the H1N1 Virus or Swine Flu, many of us will need a prescription for Tamiflu or Relenza, or maybe some other drug to speed recovery and get us on the go again. If you are no longer employed, you may not have any health insurance coverage or may need help with your prescription drugs.

There is help available, and sometimes it requires a search in your local area or on the internet. We have written an article to help you locate prescription drug assistance, or to give you some ideas as to where to look.

As consumer advocates, we want you to find opportunities for help, particularly if you are having a difficult time financially.

Feel free to contact us if you have questions. Here is the link to the prescription drug assistance article again.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Save Money and Energy with a Washer and Dryer

Washing and drying clothing seems to be a large part of the energy costs in most homes. Even if the utility bills have no breakdown as to what portion is used with a washer and dryer, it is usually significant.

This is not necessary, and if you want to be energy efficient and practice frugal living, you can improve your energy consumption in the laundry room.

Using cold water when possible, and using cold water for all rinse cycles will save money and energy. So will drying your clothing only as much as it needs. Many dryers are set for far longer than it takes to dry the clothing, and the result is wrinkles and static electricity. You can do better than this.

We have written an article with tips for saving money and energy with a washer and dryer.

This article is particularly relevant if you are planning on the purchase of a new appliance when the Cash for Appliances rebate becomes available, but it may give you a few tips for reducing your energy bills with the washer and dryer you currently own.

You can also run the dryer evenings or early mornings when the weather is coldest to warm that area of the house if your dryer is located where the heat might be meaningful. We often run heated appliances only in the evening when it gets colder. Here is the article: tips for reducing your washer and dryer energy expenses.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

How to Buy Appliances

There may be some Federal stimulus money available by the end of the year for cash for appliances rebate that will be handled by the different states. If you think you will need a new appliance soon, it is already time to start thinking about what you will buy.

It appears that the Energy Star appliances will be the ones that will have the potential rebates, so of course that will be a primary consideration. If you are a frugal shopper, you will be planning ahead (and hoping that your appliance does not give out yet) to get any rebate you can. You also want to get the best appliances for the money, too.

We have written an article to help the frugal consumer consider the possibilities when purchasing appliances. You may want to take a peek at it if you will be in the market for a new washer or dryer, air conditioner or heat pump, refrigerator or microwave. How to Buy Appliances

We hope this is helpful to you. Let us know if you have comments. We are here to help you, the American consumer.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Pay your Bills in a Bad Economy

Many are looking at ways to pay the bills in this economy, and there is lots of advice out there. Not all of it is good advice, particularly the information about refinancing the house to consolidate debt. Bad advice also relates to using one credit card to pay another.

There is some good practical advice available, and it does not finance your life for thirty years. Here are some suggestions that may help:

Sell items you do not need, or sell flowers, plants, seeds, rocks, naturally occurring products that you own or can obtain.

Work extra at your current job, or at another job, or work on the internet to make extra money.

Live on less. Revise your lifestyle. Learn about conservation and frugal living. Make frugal living fun for your family.

We have an article about paying bills in a bad economy that you might enjoy. We also have other articles we will be referring to during the next week that may be helpful.

Here is the article. See also Resources below the article for more information about paying the bills, including one about enjoying Christmas debt free. Start now!

Have a great week!


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Prevent and Report Internet Fraud or Crime

Internet fraud and crime comes in many forms, including non-delivery of purchases made online. The internet is such a large lake that many people who have been victims feel that there is nothing they can do. There is.

Inaction lets the bad guys win, so act quickly once you believe your item will not be delivered, or if you credit card has been charged for a purchase you did not make--or for any number of other internet crimes, like identity theft or invasion of your computer by hackers. An internet criminal is just like a chameleon--difficult to find.

Protect yourself from the bad guys by not opening spam mail or clicking on links. If you need to enter information online, go to the website directly by putting the URL in the box at the top. Give only the information required, and no extra.

If you fall victim to internet fraud or crime, know what you can do about it. You can usually get your money back, if it is for a purchase and if you paid by any method other than wire transfer.

We have more information about this subject in an article on reporting and prevention of internet fraud or crime.

Did you know that your telephone number can be traced online? Or that your nine-digit zipcode goes only to your house? Read more here.

Stay safe on the internet until next time!


Monday, October 5, 2009

US Postal Service Mailing and Shipping Regulations

The USPS or Postal Service changes the cost of the First Class postage stamp about every year, and everyone groans until they get used to the new pricing. This seems to be a cover for the real changes they make that many Americans only feel at Christmas time.

The cost of shipping a package, and the rules regulating the shipping of parcels slips by most of us until we have an occasion to need them. That occasion usually strikes from about the middle of November to the end of the year. That is when "parcel shock" sets in.

You take the little package to the post office to send off to another state, with a $5 in hand, knowing that will more than cover the shipping. You wait in line with ten other people with larger packages than yours. You finally get to the counter, and plop that little package right in the clerk's face. She wants to know if it has anything liquid, fragile or perishable.

Shall you take a chance? Tell her it is fragile? If she marks it "fragile" it will probably get invited to the basketball game in the back. Make a fast choice. She is about to tell you the COST of shipping this little bugger to your favorite relative. Hang on! It went up from last year. LOTS. Are you ready?

You might want to consider a flat-rate box. If the item is small but heavy, and not fragile, that may work for you.

Are you interested in the USPS Rules? They are found in the DMM or Domestic Mail Manual provided by the Postal Service. We have a review of what you might need to know in an article about the USPS shipping and mailing regulations. That way, you don't have to read the DMM unless you have additional questions. You can quickly read the difference in a flat and a parcel, and find the size of a letter, according to the postal service. You may find some information you did not know that will help you make decisions before you go to stand in line at your local post office. We hope so.

Here is the article.

Hope you have an uneventful trip to the post office next time around!


Friday, October 2, 2009

Property Taxes are Still too High? You can DO Something.

Property values in the USA have tanked in most areas of the country, but many taxing entities have not reduced the property taxes since they all need money, too. Most states require that the taxing entity keep the appraisal on property within ten percent or so of the actual value based on comparable homes sold in the area.

If your taxes have continued to rise, or have not gone down, you may want to watch for the window of opportunity to PROTEST your taxes. We have done this a few times, and it has a long-term effect on the taxes, since it lowers the taxes for years to come.

You may find it well worth your while to protest your real estate taxes this year when the opportunity is available. There is usually information provided with your appraisal or tax bill that tells when you can protest, and where.

We have written about this subject and have a couple of articles that may help. One article covers the Protest. Another covers the appeal process if you lose the first round.

Here is the protest information.
This gives you the basics for what to expect if you Protest your property taxes.

This explains how to APPEAL the protest if you do not get your taxes reduced as much as they should be.

YOU can do this yourself. You do not need an attorney, an appraiser, or an ombudsman.

Let us know if we can help. We are in Texas, and of course the laws vary from State to State.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Protect yourself from Internet Fraud and Crime

Some of us get too familiar with using the internet and let our guard down. Others realize the hazards and become more cautious over time. Hopefully, you can find somewhere in the middle to use your computer and the internet with some degree of safety because you are aware of the potential for identity theft and fraud.

You must be your own watchdog to protect yourself. One of the ways to protect yourself is to never be tempted by SPAM. If you get offers in your email and do not know the person, do not even open them--no matter how great the offer looks. Buying from spammers is one of the common ways to be defrauded. If you want to shop, go to your favorite search engine and find a website on your own.

Watch for internet fraud and potential identity theft in your online activities. Here is some more information to help you protect yourself as a savvy consumer on the internet. This link also gives information on reporting internet fraud.

Be savvy, be safe on the internet.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Lead Poisoning Should Concern Consumers

Lead poisoning often causes brain damage in small children and is a hazard to pregnant women, and it is totally preventable. The lead does not leave the body, but builds up over a lifetime, so it should be of concern to all of us.

Consumers should be on the lookout for lead poisoning dangers in homes built prior to 1978, but lead is also in older children's toys, in dust around older homes, and in the soil around older homes or in older neighborhoods.

If you see a child chewing on paint on the porch or window sills of an older home, remove the child from the area or cover the window sill with a fabric. There are other cautionary measures to take and other areas to watch out for. It is not worth the long-term effects to permit lead to infiltrate your child's system. We have more information available in an article on lead poisoning.

We encourage you to be a smart consumer and watch for potential lead poisoning causes around your house, or grandma's house. Never underestimate the danger. Read more about the dust and soil hazard by clicking on the link above.

Stay safe!


Friday, September 25, 2009

Get a Refund on an Internet Purchase

Did you know you can get a refund on an internet purchase if you have paid with a method that will permit a refund? Many online users do not know that they are entitled to a refund if the item does not arrive or if it is not what they ordered. Don't sleep on it, but act quickly.

Of course, your first action is to deal with the seller, particularly if it is an individual on a marketplace like eBay, iOffer, blujay, etsy or one of those. Most of the sellers will make good on their sale, but every now and then there is one who thinks it won't be necessary. Here's how it can work for you.

  • Pay with a USPS money order and send it through the mail.
  • Pay with credit card
  • Pay with credit card through Google Checkout or PayPal
  • Pay with personal check and send it through the mail
All these methods have recourse for you. You can read more about your rights as a consumer and getting a refund on an internet purchase here.

Do not be afraid to purchase online, but buy from reputable sellers, use Google Checkout or PayPal and your credit card, or send a USPS money order or personal check through the mail.

Until next time!