Everyone knows the real purpose of the Internet is for cute and funny cat and dog videos – and in the holiday season, pet videos abound. We’re posting a few of our favorites, but first, a serious reminder: In all the celebrations and gala, take particular precautions to avoid pet hazards and look after your pet’s safety – the average cost of surgery is a whopping $1,803 per pet. For tips, see: Pet dangers increase during holidays, insurance claims skyrocket.
Busy this season? You probably are – everyone gets caught up in the year-end holiday madness. But no matter how busy you may be, there’s one group of people that never rest: online thieves, crooks and scammers. With just a few weeks left in peak shopping season, scammers are pulling out all stops to try to separate you from your money. Don’t let any fake, scam Santas ruin your holidays. The Better Business Bureau keeps an eye on active swindle schemes and offers an updated list for this season: 12 Scams of Christmas: What to Look For and How to Avoid Them.
Here’s a brief summary – click through the link above to learn more and to find out ways to prevent being a con victim.
1. Look-Alike Websites – these usually come by email offers so buyer beware of what you click! 2. Social Media Gift Exchange – a new twist on the old pyramid scheme. 3. Grandparent Scams – emergency calls for cash help from crooks posing as relatives or friends. Hint: elderly are particularly vulnerable, but hardly the only victims. 4. Temporary Holiday Jobs – fake employers trying to get personal information from unwary applicants. 5. Free Gift Cards – a common phishing scam bait. 6. E-Cards – More people rely on electronic versus traditional cards. So do more phishers – be careful what you click in emails. 7. Fake Shipping Notifications – Phishers know that most people are ordering or getting holiday gifts and you might get tricked by a phony mail alert. 8. Phony Charities – Giving is great, but check with BBB or with sites like Charity Navigator. 9. Letters From Santa – great when they are legit but use a trusted source. 10. Unusual Forms of Payments – If the seller wants prepaid debit or gift cards, wire transfers or payments through third parties, that is a scam alert! 11. Travel Scams – Phony email offers and scam sites are common all year, but especially in this heavy travel season. 12. Puppy Scams – These play on your emotion, but at the heartstrings and wallet. Get your puppies from trusted sources!
We recommend this age-old advice: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be suspicious of emails. Hover over links before you click, or better yet, go directly to the site by typing in the URL. Rely on trusted vendors and be wary of email or online offers from companies you don’t know. BBB says that if you come across any of these scams this holiday season help protect yourself and others by:
Keeping a close eye on your financial statements and quickly dispute any unrecognized charges.
Home fires can happen any time of the year, but there are special risks over the holidays. Two very common activities that are popular at the holidays are often the source of fires: Holiday decorating and holiday cooking. For example, the top three days of the year for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve. The National Fire Protection Association and the United States Fire Administration urge people to Put a freeze on winter fires. In this post, we focus on holiday fore prevention. We’ve included a video and infographic from the “Put a freeze…” campaign, as well as holiday decorating tips that they suggest.
Decorating for the holidays
Only use decorations that are flame-retardant or not flammable.
Check holiday lights each year for frayed wires or excessive wear.
Don’t link more than three strands of holiday lights.
Never leave a burning candle unattended. Consider using battery-operated flameless candles.
Christmas tree safety
Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2” from the base of the trunk.
Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.
Use lights that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.
Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect.
Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going
Get rid of the tree after Christmas or when it is dry.
Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home.
Check with your local community to find a recycling program.
Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer