Personal Security

Help your credit card get read

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If your credit card doesn’t read well when it’s swiped, cover it in a plastic bag, or run a piece of cellophane tape along the stripe. It will help the card reader make the connection to the magnetic stripe.

Hot stuff

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Don’t sterilize sponges in the microwave. A study by the Journal of Environmental Health claimed that doing this killed 99.9 percent of the bacteria. But you could also catch it on fire if it’s not sufficiently damp. Just stick it in the dishwasher.

On the high wire

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Whenever you’re going to grab a bare electrical wire, (even when you’re sure the power is off), never grab it with the front of your hand. Always touch it first with the back of your hand. Why? Because if the wire is energized and you grab it with the...

Hide your valuables

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Do you have some small valuables you want to hide? Try using a tennis ball. Cut a slit in the ball and then put your valuables inside it. Who would think to look in a tennis ball? Just don’t forget and try to use it in a match!

Look ‘em up

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Want to do a criminal history search on somebody? Check out the website www.criminalsearches.com. It’s free and the website can also tell you if you have any sex offenders living near you.

In the spotlight

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Dimmers are not just for indoor lights. You can use them for your patio lights. Turn the lights down to create a romantic mood or turn them up full for security!

Use it or lose it,

Guys, if you have a problem with your wallet falling out of your back pocket, consider sewing a small strip of Velcro inside it. By pressing the Velcro closed it will keep your wallet safe and might even help with pickpockets.

Fire down below

Interestingly, most people don’t have a smoke detector in their basement. If you think about it, there are more flammable items in your basement than probably anywhere else in your house. Put one down there!

Tennis, anyone?

Do you have some small valuables you want to hide? Try using a tennis ball. Cut a slit in the ball and then put your valuables inside it. Who would think to look in a tennis ball? Just don’t forget and try to use it in a match.

On the lookout for fraud

If you lose your wallet or purse over the holidays, make sure you contact one of the credit bureaus to have them put a fraud alert on your file. The three credit bureaus are www.equifax.com, www.experian.com and www.transunion.com. If you contact one, they’ll notify the other two.

Open house and wallet

If you’re trying to sell your home, be aware of a scam that’s going around. It goes like this: Two separate people show up at the same time at an open house. One of the two people will keep the owner or agent busy while the other person steals...

Cut your credit cards

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If you’re tired of receiving pre-approved credit card or insurance offers, go to www.optoutprescreen.com.  The site is a joint effort between the three major credit reporting services and it allows you to easily opt out of these mailers. And in case you’re wondering, it doesn’t affect your credit score.