What’s Actually Dangerous?

The purpose of insurance is to offer you financial protection from accidental risks and calamities that may befall you. But even when you are properly insured, it’s still in your best interests to try to manage those risks as best you can because insurance may not make you whole – particularly when the risk involves life and limb. We often don’t do a good job of managing our risks. Sometimes, what we fear the most is actually less risky than other common every day occurrences – so human nature being what it is, people often worry more about rare events and can be too casual about dangers that are more pervasive. What’s really dangerous? This graphic about danger and “20 surprising safety statistics” illustrates that point pretty well – we found it interesting so thought we’d share. Click here to view a larger version and the source.


It’s Poison Prevention Month: Take the “Pill or Candy” Challenge

Even seemingly innocuous over the counter medication can be harmful to a child – test your own ability to spot the difference in this Pills or Candy interactive quiz — and if you pass Level 1, move on to Levels 2 and 3.
The point of the game is to raise awarness about how attractive medications can appear to toddlers. March is Poison Prevention Month, which has a goal of raising awareness of the dangers lurking in our homes. More than 60,000 young children end up in emergency departments every year because they got into medicines or household products while parents or caregivers were not looking. 90% of poison incidents happen at home in kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, and laundry rooms; more than half of all incidents happen to kids under the age of 6.
Here are some household items to watch out for:

  • Medications, including over the counter drugs that seem innocuous
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Bug sprays and pesticides
  • Paint and household maintenance items
  • Antifreeze and auto supplies
  • Batteries – especially the tiny easy-to-swallow button batteries
  • Single load laundry packets – colorful, soft, attractive
  • Cosmetics and perfumes
  • Arts, crafts & school supplies
  • Alcohol

The Label It Foundation reminds us that poisonings can happen to people of all ages – they offer a sheet that breaks down age groups and the most common types of accidental poisons for that age group.
Keep the Poison Control Emergency Number in a handy place in your home and on your smartphone For a poison emergency in the U.S. call 1-800-222-1222
Here are some resources. If you have kids, these will help you keep you do a home audit to ensure your kids are safe. Even if you don’t have kids, why not help spread awareness by posting infographics, fact sheets or games on your Facebook and Twitter pages?
Poison Prevention Fact Sheets
American Association of Poison Control Centers
Up and Away Campaign
Apps for Poison Control and Drug Reference
Poisons In Your Home Infographic
Kids Act So Fast – So do poisons Infographic

Celebrate the First International Happiness Day

Sorry we didn’t give you more notice, but it has only just come to our attention that today, March 20, is the International Day of Happiness. Coincidentally, it’s also the first day of Spring, so there’s a good reason to be happy right there. Normally, Spring begins on March 31, but Joe Rao at SPACE.com explains why spring is early this year.
Getting back to happiness, an article in the International Herald Tribune tells us that the small Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan started the “happiness day” concept. The residents of Bhutan are so committed to the idea of happiness that they think that prosperity and progress should be measured by gauging its citizens’ happiness levels rather than the typical gauge of measuring the GDP.
They are on to something. Happy people not only enjoy life, they have more of it: Studies link happiness to health and to longevity.
Even if you spent the first half of International Happiness Day in a foul and grumpy mood, there’s still a good part of the day and evening left to shift gears. To get you started, we’ve supplied some mood music below, and we point you to the wonderful site called ZooBorns. Looking at 15 minutes of adorable baby animals should do the trick. In fact, we suggest a routine dose of animal cuteness as a good stress reducer every day.
Here’s another suggestion: do a random act of kindness right now. That will double the happiness quotient. If you are on the East Coast, you have 8 or more hours of potential happiness. Be a good world citizen – get started!

March Is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March Is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Every year, about 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 people die from it. It affects both men and women and the risks increase with age. More than 90% of call cases occur in people 50 years of age and older.
According to the CDC, if everyone who is 50 years old or older were screened regularly, as many as 60% of deaths from this cancer could be avoided.
Learn more about Colorectal Cancer Screening, including free screenings for low-income individuals in 25 states.
Learn more about prevention, risk factors,a nd symptoms

Brace yourself: Here come the tax time phishing scams

It’s that time of year again … it’s so predictable you could almost set your watch by it: Tax season email scams. Thieves are pretty smart and can create a convincing-looking phony email – don’t fall for their traps. Clicking on a phony or “phish” mail could result in a computer virus, lost money, or a stolen identity. And guess what? It’s not just computer newbies who fall for these scams: smart, experienced people can be tricked too.
First rule of thumb, right from the IRS:

The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels.

All unsolicited email claiming to be from either the IRS or any other IRS-related components such as the Office of Professional Responsibility or EFTPS, should be reported to phishing@irs.gov.

Here’s a guide from the IRS with more information about recognizing and reporting phishing and other fraudulent solicitations.
Second rule of thumb: Never send sensitive financial information via email – it is not secure. This includes social security numbers or PIN numbers, passwords and other access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts.
Third rule of thumb: If you get an email request to update your password or to enter an account number, password, or other identifiable information, DO NOT click on a link or reply. Instead, go directly to the site of the organization that is asking for the update and sign in to your account. If there is a request for updated information, you will find it there.
Fourth rule of thumb: Never enter any financial or account information on a site unless you are sure it is secure. How can you tell? Look for the “s” – most websites are preceded by https:// – secure websites use https:// – that one little letter makes all the difference. Most browsers will also show a little icon of a padlock right in the address bar beside the web address. You can’t always trust a web page graphic promising security since these can be faked – look for the website address and the padlock in the address bar.
For more, see our past posts:
How Can I Securely Send Sensitive Tax Docs to My Tax Preparer?
Don’t get hooked by tax-time phishing!