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Protecting your Social Security information

Dear Readers: According to AARP, the Social Security Administration estimates that scammers call thousands of people every day in an effort to get financial information or SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS. Lately, they’ve intensified their efforts, usually asking you to confirm your Social Security number, bank account numbers or requesting a fee for some service, which they do not provide.

They may say your information has been linked to criminal activity, but be assured that it’s a lie. Or they may call with good news, stating that you are entitled to a cost-of-living increase and ask you to verify your Social Security number. It’s a lie. They may sound official, and they may even threaten you with arrest, fines and prison time, but stay calm and hang up on the scammer.

DON’T return any robocalls on your voicemail or answering machine. Want to contact Social Security? Call customer service at 800-772-1213.

DON’T give out any information, no matter what the caller says.

DON’T click on links purported to be Social Security emails. They’re fake communications!

DON’T be a victim. Never give out personal or financial information.

— Heloise

FLIGHT COMPENSATION

Dear Heloise: If you have long delays while you are traveling by plane in Europe, you may be able to get some of your money refunded. According to the European Union regulation EC 261, you are eligible if:

1. You arrive at your destination three or more hours later than planned.

2. The flight took off in the European Union (from any airline) or landed in the EU, on the condition that the airline is headquartered in the EU.

3. You checked in no less than 45 minutes before your flight.

4. The airline is responsible, due to technical or operational difficulties.

The amount of compensation depends on how long you were delayed and the distance of the flight. Check online for more information. — Paul J., Troy, Mich.

SAFETY FOR CHILDREN

Dear Heloise: One of the first things I taught my children was to memorize their name, street address, phone number, parents’ names and grandparents’ names. They knew the name of the company I worked for and my husband’s company name — all of this by the time they were 3 years old. If they ever got lost, separated or, God forbid, kidnapped, they could let police know where they lived, whom they belonged to and how to get hold of us. — Robin A., Fairbanks, Alaska

BREAKFAST HINT

Dear Heloise: To get my son to eat French toast, I cut the bread up into strips before dunking in the egg batter, then fry the strips and sprinkle powdered sugar on them just before serving. — Cathleen M., Cedar Falls, Iowa

DINGY BRASS

Dear Heloise: My brass door knocker has gotten dingy over time. How can I brighten it up so that it looks shiny again? — Viola F., Manchester, Tenn.

Viola, no doubt your door knocker was unsealed. Just grab a bottle of ketchup and gently rub the surface with a clean cloth, then remove the ketchup with a slightly damp cloth. — Heloise

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Hints from Heloise run occasionally in Lifestyles. Readers may send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE, or email: Heloise@Heloise.com. Letters won’t be answered personally.

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