New scam targets loving parents

Dear Readers: Today’s SOUND OFF is about a new scam — a serious attempt to get money from parents:

“Dear Heloise: A man phoned my husband and said my husband’s son, Kelly, was in jail in another country because of a car accident in which his son was critically injured. His injuries included a ‘broken eye, broken left arm and face abrasions.’ Also, his friend, who was a passenger in the car, was dead. Since Kelly was impaired at the time of the accident, he would not be released from jail to return to the U.S. until his medical bills were paid. The police were holding his passport and cellphone. We were instructed to go to our bank and get $780 in cash, and were told where to send it.

“Suspecting a scam, I phoned our son’s cellphone and talked to him. He was in Dallas! When we told the man on the phone that we were talking to our son and knew he was a scammer, the man hung up!” — Richard and Charlotte S. in San Antonio

Richard and Charlotte, you did the right thing by calling your son before sending any money. This is actually an old scam that has been revived to steal money from caring parents. Never believe a stranger who calls out of the blue demanding money for the release of a loved one without first calling that loved one or alerting the police. — Heloise


Dear Readers: Here are some other uses for a potato masher:

* Make designs on peanut butter cookies.

* Break up feta cheese.

* Crush fruit for jams and jellies.

* Mash eggs for deviled eggs.

* Break up ground beef or sausage.

— Heloise


Dear Heloise: My neighbor has cats and doesn’t want to get them fixed, so there are kittens born.

I never had any dogs or cats, but this mother cat came under my little barn and stayed there, giving birth. I called my neighbor and told her that her cat was here, but she didn’t take any responsibility to come get the mother and kittens. What should I do? I put a radio inside the barn, hoping they would leave. They’re still there. I never fed them, so I don’t know how that mother cat can feed those kittens. — A Reader, Fort Wayne, Ind.

First, call 311 and ask who you should report this to, and you can file a report citing animal abuse, which this may be because your neighbor isn’t taking care of her pets. If the pets aren’t neutered or spayed, then chances are they aren’t vaccinated or licensed, either. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: How do I clean the surface of a nonstick clothes iron? — Connie B., Elizabeth City, N.C.

Connie, wipe off the bottom of the iron with a clean, wet cloth, and dry it well. Turn the iron on low and place a piece of waxed paper on the ironing board. Run the iron over the waxed paper several times. Then run the iron over an old towel or cloth to remove the wax. Never use steel wool. — Heloise


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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