Protect your ID and your money

Dear Readers: Want to avoid SCAMMERS? Would you like to protect your identity and money? Here are a few suggestions from AARP:

¯Freeze your credit report. You can always unfreeze your report, but this is how scammers get a lot of information about you. The credit reporting bureaus are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

¯ Invest in a good shredder. Shred all bills and all financial documents. Keep scammers from fishing information out of your trash.

¯ Do not give out your Social Security number. Places like a doctor’s office don’t need your Social Security number, no matter what they say.

¯ Don’t answer phone calls from numbers you don’t know, and hang up on all robocalls. Don’t give out any information. Ever.

¯ Stop entering sweepstakes or anything for which there is a drawing. You don’t know who is looking at your information.

— Heloise

FURRY FRIENDS

Dear Heloise: With our summer heat, it’s important to remind people to make sure their pets have plenty of water, and please bring your pets indoors during the hottest part of the day. Above all, never leave a pet in your car on a hot day, even with the windows rolled down. In many states now, it’s illegal to leave a pet in a hot car. It is punishable by a stiff fine. — Shelly N., Clawson, Mich.

WATER SHUT-OFF

Dear Heloise: We went on a trip and were gone for a week. When we got home, we discovered we had a leak from an upstairs toilet that ruined all the wood floors downstairs and caused mold to grow in corners of our walls, which required replacing some of the drywall. Please warn your readers to shut off their water before taking a trip of a week or more. A valve is usually located out near the sidewalk. — Joyce M., Fayetteville, Tenn.

THANK-YOU NOTES

Dear Heloise: Please consider rethinking your response to thank-you notes for wedding gifts. It’s not the bride’s responsibility to write the thank-you notes; rather, it’s the couple’s responsibility. — Pam in Kansas

Pam, you’re absolutely right! Today, roles for people are changing. That said, women still do most of the thank-you notes, but I’d like to see more men get involved and help their new wives perform this task. — Heloise

CHARGE YOUR PHONE

Dear Heloise: If you want to charge your phone quickly, plug it into the wall, not a PC.

Think about investing in a fast charger, but check your phone’s manual or the manufacturer’s website to see what’s required for your make of phone. It’s usually not necessary to turn your phone off while charging, but be sure to check your phone’s manual, just to be certain. — John W., Middletown, Del.

IT’S IN THE BAG

Dear Heloise: I ripen bananas, tomatoes and peaches in a paper bag on the kitchen counter. This traps the natural ethylene gases that many fruits release, and that speeds up the ripening process. — Carrie W. in Ohio

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Dear Readers: We love to pamper our pooches, get their ears cleaned and nails clipped (and polished?), possibly a gland expression and a sudsy scrub, rinse, blow-dry and hair bow. But when it comes to dog grooming, how much do you know about your DOG GROOMER?

Formal training and licensure may not be required in your state; many dog groomers learn on the job only. Read online reviews, and ask for recommendations from your friends and people you trust. Research thoroughly before you hire a dog groomer.

Drop in and observe the groomers in action and ask questions. Only allow your dog to be groomed if you feel comfortable.

The majority of dog groomers are responsible and skilled professionals. Just be aware that dog groomers may have limited training and experience. — Heloise

PET PAL

Dear Readers: A.J. in Pennsylvania sent a picture of his two gorgeous boys, Jake and Jorge. They look cute sitting on the easy chair, but the question is, What happened to A.J.’s other shoe?

To see Jake and Jorge and our other Pet Pals, visit www.Heloise.com and click on “Pet of the Week.”

Do you have a funny and furry friend you’d like to share? Email a picture and description to Heloise@Heloise.com. — Heloise

TUBE NEWS

Dear Heloise: The local zoo accepts cardboard cores from toilet paper and paper towels. They use those for animal enrichment. The cores are filled with treats and sealed. The keepers give them to various animals that then have to figure out how to open them to get their treats.

Collecting and filling the cores and then watching the animals open them is a fun project for young kids and an opportunity for youth organizations for service-project hours. — Marge B., via email

IN TENNIS, LOVE MEANS NOTHING

Dear Readers: It’s tennis season! Have you wondered why the score of zero in tennis is called “love”? Theories abound.

One of the most popular originates from the popularity of tennis in France. The French word for “egg” (“l’oeuf”) means “goose egg,” which is slang for zero. The word “l’oeuf” resembles the word “love.”

It’s also been said that people who have a true passion for tennis play for the “love” of the game and nothing else. — Heloise

BIRTHDAY REGISTRY

Dear Heloise: My family has developed a “birthday registry” of sorts. Since we are scattered all over the country, it’s impossible to know what a person needs, wants, etc.

We develop a list of things we’d like to have or things we need, and we discreetly email the list to those who need it. This has worked well, and people get gifts they need and want! — Holly H. in Massachusetts

EDITOR’S NOTE: Send your great money-saving or timesaving hint to to Heloise at P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, Fax to 1-210-HELOISE, or email to Heloise@Heloise.com. She can’t answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in her column.