It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of new technology, but it can also put you at risk. Scammers are always looking for ways to trick people into giving away their personal information or money, and new apps like Venmo and PayPal make them even easier targets. As far back as 2018, Venmo reported a loss of $40 million dollars in scams. Luckily, there are ways to protect yourself from being taken advantage of by these criminals. Here are some tips we’ve learned about how not to get scammed:
Be cautious (and skeptical) of links.
Just because it’s on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true, and you should always be skeptical of links sent to you via email or text message. Just because someone is telling you something about yourself or your account does not mean that they are who they say they are. Be careful, too, with links posted to social media accounts: these can be faked and used to get access to personal information.
Don’t click on any links sent in chat messages or instant messenger apps either; if someone really wanted to get in touch with you, they’d use phone or email communications instead of trying to lure people into visiting suspicious-looking sites just by clicking a link in an IM window!
Check on the sender’s URL.
Check the sender’s URL. If you receive a Venmo or PayPal payment request, make sure that you check the URL of the sender in your browser before clicking on it. If it looks suspicious, don’t click on it! There are many ways phishing scams can be disguised as legitimate payments: they could use a fake domain name; they could have the wrong number of letters in their URLs; or they may not have any information at all (just a blank box). Just remember one thing: if something doesn’t look right to you, then don’t do it!
Don’t click on links sent to you in text messages.
People are always looking for ways to scam another person. One-way scammers try to get you is by sending you a link in a text message or email and asking you to click on it. Before clicking, be sure that you know who the sender is and if they have ever sent you anything like this before. If not, ask them questions about what they want from this link. For example: “What’s the link for?” or “Why did [sender] send me an email with this link?” If they don’t have a good reason for sending the email, then don’t click on it!
Do not send money to someone who claims they’ve been robbed or stranded and need money right away.
If you receive a request for money from someone you don’t know, do not send it. If they have not been robbed or stranded and need money right away, then they are most likely trying to scam you out of your cash.
That said, if you do receive requests for money from people who know each other (friends and family), always ask them for more details before sending any money. Some scammers will claim that someone they know has been robbed or stranded and need money immediately. Always verify!
When in doubt, ask questions and do some digging.
If something doesn’t feel right, ask questions. If you’re worried about whether to do business with a particular person or organization, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. A lot of times scammers have elaborate stories as to why they cannot give out their phone number or mailing address—but if your gut tells you something isn’t right, double check anyways!
- Ask for verification from your bank or credit card company
- Search for reviews online
- Check out the website of the organization involved before committing yourself in any way
- Community based sites like Reddit or Quora can be helpful in checking out companies and organizations that are selling merchandise or offering services online.
By following a few simple rules, you can protect yourself from fraud.
- Be careful with links. Scammers can make their emails seem legitimate by including a link to an e-commerce site that looks real. If you’re going to click on a link, check the sender’s URL first to make sure it’s legit.
- Don’t send money via text message. It may seem convenient, but it’s not worth your time or money when you have verified payment apps that have used a verification and identity process.
- Stay informed about scams happening in the news and online so that if someone tries to scam you, they’ll be met with surprise instead of success—and then maybe even anger!
- Visit the Federal Trade Commission website for great information and tips regarding consumer fraud and scams. The website for the FTC is https://consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts
We hope this post has helped you understand the importance of protecting yourself from scams and fraud. By following a few simple rules, you can protect yourself from fraud and make sure that your money stays safe. If you ever encounter anyone who seems suspicious or asks for money, it’s best to just walk away. After all, there are plenty of legitimate businesses where people make purchases online—and those places should be your first port of call when shopping!
Golf Tip of the Week
Golf Is More Than A Simple Game
It’s a great experience and adventure that may change your life
While some associate golf with retirement and others think of it as a hobby that’s quite expensive, one thing is for sure: this sport is very difficult to master and learning it can be quite a challenge. Learning how to perfectly hit the ball requires a lot of physical coordination, as well as plenty of concentration. This is why golf courses are so remote and have such a calm and relaxing atmosphere. However, there are over 55 million players in 206 countries around the world, which speaks volumes about the popularity of this great sport, despite the often-frustrating nature of grasping only the basics.
Golf is a sport that’s suitable for people of all genders and ages, although the vast majority of players are men. According to the National Golf Foundation, in 2020, nearly 25 million individuals played golf on a golf course in the United States. There are approximately 15,500 golf courses throughout the country, with Florida ranking first as the state with the largest number. Veterans are one of the diverse and numerous demographics that play this sport, and they even have their own group, by the name of Veteran Golfers Association, which consists of over 9,100 members at the moment.
How Mark, a Navy Veteran, Discovered Golf as the Perfect Sport for Him
Mark, a 67-year-old man from New Orleans, Louisiana, who served as a pipefitter in the U.S. Navy between 1973 and 1989, is one of the myriads of veterans who now struggle with the aftermath of asbestos exposure. He was diagnosed with asbestosis, a very serious chronic lung disease, in the spring of 2002. When James, a fellow veteran, and a victim of asbestos exposure himself, suggested playing golf to Mark in 2005 as a way to relieve his shortness of breath and chest pain, the idea sparked his interest right away. As a result, he began looking for golf courses in his area and found multiple in Lake Charles, a city very close to his home.
Naturally, the next step for the two veterans was learning as much as possible about the necessary golf equipment they had to purchase to begin playing. They first started looking for clubs, and each bought a driver, a 3-wood, a putter, a 5 iron, a wedge, a 7 iron, as well as a 9 iron, which are recommended for beginners. Furthermore, they made sure to have all the required club components, such as clubheads, shafts, and grips. Needless to say, Mark and James did not forget the tees and the golf balls. As for the golf bags, they opted for carrying bags, as they planned to move around the golf course exclusively by walking in order to get as much exercise as possible. Lastly, they invested in some good pairs of golf shoes, which are extremely important to both professional and beginner golfers.
Before embarking on this exciting adventure, which had already made Mark and James feel better mentally, they made the wise choice to take golf lessons to have a clear starting point in this journey. The duration of the golf lessons was about 6 months, at the end of which the veterans became decent players and were able to enjoy this rewarding sport by themselves. Both learned the basic golf techniques, such as the different types of shots, including approach shot, drive, chip, and pitch, how to practice and master their swing, but also more advanced tips, like holding the club from the side and not from underneath and ensuring that the clubface opens on the backswing.
Encouraging Other Sick Veterans to Try Golf
Having witnessed so many fellow veterans pass away due to the horrible disease’s asbestos exposure causes, Mark and James came up with the idea of proposing veterans in poor health from his area join the two in playing golf. They thought that it would provide these brave people with the opportunity to connect with other veterans, as well as other golfers, have fun outdoors, and ease their symptoms. Consequently, Mark went on Facebook and got in touch with 4 other veterans from Louisiana who were willing to play golf with him and James.
Soon, the two began showing their new acquaintances how to play, and it wasn’t long before a strong bond formed between the six golf buddies. The time everyone invested in striving to learn how to play golf reasonably has definitely paid off, as every member of the new team has gone from using their short irons successfully to striking through their 5 irons impressively over the course of almost one year. Right now, the goal of the six golfer veterans, who still consider themselves beginners, is to master hitting a 7 iron 170 yards down the fairway.
As the years passed, the golf buddies did not even notice that they began forming a united, inseparable team whose members relied on the company of each other to make the burden of struggling with a serious disease less heavy. In addition to meeting up to play golf in Lake Charles, they soon began gathering for other outdoor group activities, such as barbecues, hiking, and fishing. What makes the story of Mark and his fellow veteran friends even more heartwarming is that, because they would show up at Lake Charles to play golf at least once a week, other regular golf players in the area noticed their team. This led to Mark and his golf buddies expanding their circle of friends and receiving emotional support from the healthy people as well, which is essential when you have to resign to your incurable disease.
Tip adapted from golftipsmag.comi
Recipe of the Week
Lemon Glaze Scones
- 500g (3 1/3 cups) self-rising flour, plus extra, to dust
- 3 tsp finely grated lemon rind
- Pinch of salt
- 300ml thickened cream
- 200ml chilled lemonade
- 120g (2/3 cup) icing sugar mixture
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
- Preheat oven to 425F. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
- Whisk together the flour, lemon rind and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center.
- Reserve 2 tbsp cream. Add the lemonadeand remaining cream to the flour mixture. Use a flat-bladed knife in a cutting motion to mix until evenly incorporated. Use floured hands to gently bring the dough together (see notes). Turn onto a lightly floured surface and gently press into a disc about 3cm thick.
- Use a 7cm-diameter round pastry cutter dipped in flour to cut scones from the dough. Press scraps together and cut remaining scones from dough (you should have 12 in total). Place the scones, just touching, on the prepared tray. Brush with reserved cream. Bake for 18 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack.
- Make the lemon glaze. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Add the lemon juice and stir until combined. Brush half the glaze over the warm scones then sprinkle with lemon rind. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool until just warm. Drizzle remaining glaze over scones. Serve.
Recipe adapted from taste.com.auii
Health Tip of the Week
School Struggles and Your Child: Expert Tips
Not finishing homework, having trouble making friends, struggling in class. If these school concerns sound familiar, don’t be alarmed. It’s natural for all students to struggle some in school.
But if your child is consistently facing the same issues, it’s worth looking for ways to help him or her. Ellen Bartolini, Psy.D., a mental health expert with the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Medical Psychology team, answers some frequently asked questions about school struggles.
A good rule of thumb with school struggles, she says, is that although early intervention is always best, it’s never too late to get help.
Q: How can I distinguish whether a behavior is a phase or something to be more concerned about?
A: The short answer is that making this assessment is a process. You know your child best and are probably the first to notice changes in his or her behavior. Think about the following:
- Consider the degree to which your child’s struggles are getting in the way of his or her social life, academics, sports or other activities.
- Do you foresee the struggles hindering their success in these areas? For example, if your child refuses to go to school, it’s reasonable to assume that grades will drop.
Don’t hesitate to consult with the various professionals who interact with your child. Teachers, counselors, advisors, pediatricians, coaches and tutors can help you problem-solve and may be able to offer insight into your child’s experience and reactions.
Q: How can psychologists help?
A: Mental health providers such as psychologists are another group of professionals who are a resource for you to get to the root of the difficulties and help you and your child navigate difficult situations.
Psychologists can help treat a wide range of school-related concerns that your child may have:
- Learning problems: Academic struggles can be stressful for both children and families. Sometimes children are struggling in school because of an undiagnosed learning disability. Psychologists can conduct neuropsychological testing to assess learning problems and identify strategies to help meet academic demands at school.
- Behavioral, emotional, or medical conditions: About one in five children and adolescents may have emotional and behavioral difficulties at any given time. Underlying medical conditions can sometimes result in behavioral, emotional, or learning problems. In addition, diagnosable and treatable conditions such as anxiety, depression or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can hinder learning.
- Working with a psychologist can help you develop approaches to increase positive behaviors at home and school. Psychologists can also help your child perform his or her best at school by addressing the behavioral and emotional concerns that often occur in children who experience psychiatric, medical, or learning disorders.
- School refusal: Some children or teenagers have difficulty just going to school. Fears about grades, worries about interacting with peers, low mood or difficulty separating from caregivers can all present barriers to school attendance. Whatever the reasons behind it, school refusal can affect a student’s academic and social life. Psychologists can help sort through and address these issues so your child or teenager can meet his or her academic and social goals.
- Transitioning between hospital and school following a new medical diagnosis or recent treatment: When children or teenagers have a medical condition, it can be hard to transition between school and the hospital. Psychologists can teach you and your child new skills to address emotional and behavioral issues related to your child’s health condition. They can also help coordinate between the school and the hospital to be sure that your child’s educational needs are met.
Q: My child’s teacher has recommended that my child see a psychologist. What does this involve?
A: Your first appointment with a psychologist usually involves an initial evaluation to assess “What’s going on?” and “What’s our plan?” It is a starting point that usually takes 45 to 60 minutes. The psychologist will likely want to get to know you and your child, work together to come up with some goals for therapy and discuss a possible treatment plan to address therapy goals and any other follow-up. Depending on your areas of concern, a psychologist may also recommend a day of testing to assess for underlying learning disabilities or developmental problems. Your school counselor or pediatrician should be able to recommend some psychologists in your area.
Q: What can I say to my child when we are going to see a psychologist?
A: For younger children, explain that they will be doing activities with a psychologist to understand more about their thoughts and feelings. Children tend to respond with enthusiasm when adults do as well, so frame the experience positively. For example, you could say, “You are going to meet someone new and play some games!” To alleviate any worries, you may also want to let your child know that psychologists are not the kind of doctors who give shots.
For older children, including teenagers, you can explain that the psychologist is there to help them find the best way they learn and to understand who they are with the aim of helping them do well in school, in their social lives and in their community.
Q: When should I seek a second opinion or another provider for my child?
A: You know your child best. If you don’t understand or agree with a diagnosis, a second expert opinion can help clarify your child’s situation or find a different way forward. It can confirm a diagnosis, offer a better explanation, fine tune your child’s treatment plan or explore more options for your child. Seeking a second opinion is a common and reasonable way to advocate for your child. Mental health professionals provide these services routinely and a good provider does not mind that a second opinion is sought.
Dr. Bartolini encourages all parents to remember that with proper guidance and treatment, most school concerns are manageable so that children can enjoy happy and productive student years.
Tip adapted from hopkinsmedicine.org
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