Three Facebook Scams

ap_facebook_dislike_kb_141212_31x13_1600Social Media scans are nothing new, but right now there are three specific Facebook scams that are spreading like wildfire!

For cyber criminals, what’s the easiest way to reach the most people with one scam? Facebook. With more than a billion users, Facebook has become an easy way for scammers to rip off as many people as possible at once — and in a variety of different ways.

Here’s how to spot some big scams that are making the rounds and how to protect yourself.

Three Facebook scams to watch out for

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Stop a Heart Attack Before it Happens

Walter Groesel (free image.com)

Walter Groesel (free image.com)

CATCHING THESE SUBTLE EARLY-WARNING SIGNS COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE!

Chest pain…shortness of breath…feeling faint…and/or discomfort in the arm—or even the neck, jaw or back. If you are overcome by such symptoms and perhaps even have an intense and sudden “sense of doom,” you’re likely to suspect a heart attack and rush to a hospital.

But wouldn’t it be better to get a heads-up beforehand that a heart attack is on the way?

What most people don’t realize: For about 60% of heart attack victims, warning symptoms do occur days or even weeks before the actual heart attack. But all too often, these signs are missed or shrugged off as something trivial.

What’s behind this early-warning system? The blockage that creates a heart attack often develops over time, and its symptoms, though they may be mild and elusive, should not be ignored.

 Knowing the early red flags—including those you might not immediately connect to a heart problem—can allow you to see a doctor before a life-threatening heart attack occurs. Women, especially, can have symptoms that do not immediately bring heart disease to mind.

Important: If these symptoms are extreme and last for more than a few minutes—especially if they are accompanied by any of the more typical symptoms such as those described above—call 911. You could be having an actual heart attack. Even if these symptoms are mild to moderate but seem unexplained, call your doctor. If he/she cannot be reached but you’re still concerned, go to the emergency room.

The following are examples of the subtle symptoms that can precede a heart attack—sometimes by days or weeks…

Fatigue. If you feel more tired than usual, it’s easy to tell yourself you’re just growing older or getting out of shape. But pay attention! It could be the early-warning sign of heart trouble.

If your usual daily activities, whether it’s walking the dog or cleaning the house, leave you feeling more tired than normal, talk to your doctor.

Flu like symptoms. If you get hit with extreme fatigue, as well as weakness and/or feelings of light-headedness, you may think you’re coming down with the flu. But people report having these same symptoms prior to a heart attack.

Call your doctor if you experience flulike symptoms but no fever (a telltale flu symptom). Another clue: The flu generally comes on quickly, while flulike symptoms associated with heart disease may develop gradually.  

Nausea and/or indigestion. These are among the most overlooked symptoms of a heart attack—perhaps because they are typically due to gastrointestinal problems.

But if you are feeling sick to your stomach and throwing up, it could be a heart attack rather than food poisoning or some other stomach problem—especially if you’re also sweating and your skin has turned an ashen color. If indigestion comes and goes, does not occur after a meal or doesn’t improve within a day or so—especially if you’re using antacids or antinausea medication—this could also mean heart problems. See a doctor.

Excessive perspiration. If you are sweating more than usual—especially during times when you’re not exerting yourself—it could mean that there are blockages. This can cause your heart to work harder, which may lead to excessive sweating. See your doctor. Clammy skin and night sweats also can be warning signs. This is likely to be a cold sweat, instead of the heat ­experienced in menopausal hot flashes. If sweating occurs with any of the classic heart attack symptoms described above, don’t think twice—call 911.

Shortness of breath. If you notice that you are beginning to feel more winded than usual, see your doctor. Shortness of breath can be a precursor to heart attack. If shortness of breath becomes stronger or lasts longer than usual, call 911. Shortness of breath may be your only symptom of a heart attack and may occur while you are resting or doing only minor physical activity.

Sexual dysfunction. Men with heart problems that can lead to heart attack often have trouble achieving and/or keeping an erection. Because poor blood flow to the penis can be a sign of possible blockages elsewhere in the body, including the heart, erectile dysfunction can be an early-warning sign to get checked for cardiovascular disease. Men should absolutely discuss this symptom with their doctors.

WOMEN, PAY ATTENTION!

After a woman goes through menopause—when the body’s production of heart-protective estrogen declines—her risk for a heart attack dramatically increases.

Important facts for women: More women die of heart disease each year than men. Nearly two-thirds of women who died from heart attacks had no history of chest pain. The higher death rate for women is likely due to the fact that women don’t seek medical attention as promptly as men because they are afraid of being embarrassed if the symptoms turn out to be nothing serious. Don’t let this fear stop you from seeking immediate care. If the symptoms turn out to be nothing serious, the emergency medical team will be happy!

What to watch for: While most (but not all) men experience crushing or squeezing chest pain (usually under the breastbone), women are more likely to have no chest pain (or simply a feeling of “fullness” in the chest). Also, women are more likely than men to suffer dizziness, shortness of breath and/or nausea as the main symptoms of heart attack. Most women (71%) experience sudden onset of extreme weakness that feels like the flu.

Source: John A. Elefteriades, MD, the William W.L. Glenn Professor of Surgery and director of the Aortic Institute at Yale University and Yale–New Haven Hospital. He serves on the editorial boards of The American Journal of Cardiology, the Journal of Cardiac Surgery, Cardiology and The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery and is the author of several books, including Your Heart: An Owner’s Guide. HeartAuthorMD.com

Facebook Search Bar Features

funny-facebook-quotes1The search bar located near the top of the screen when you sign into your Facebook account can do more than you might realize. Not only does it let you enter keywords to locate your old Facebook posts—it’s also a good way to…

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Food Does Not Taste as Good as it Used To

mermaidofthelake.com

mermaidofthelake.com

IT’S NOT YOUR IMAGINATION.

Wondering why you can’t re-create the wonderful flavor of your mother’s chicken recipe? It isn’t your fault—it’s the chicken’s.

Most meats and vegetables and some fruits have significantly less flavor than they did decades ago. Chicken has become especially bland—it has almost no flavor now.

Agricultural companies and large-scale farms strive to produce as much food as possible as quickly and inexpensively as possible—even if that means sacrificing flavor. That has resulted in big savings for consumers—the typical five-pound supermarket chicken now costs around $7, for example, less than one-quarter of what it would have cost in 1948 after adjusting for inflation—but it also explains why today’s food lacks flavor. Modern chickens are…

Fed inexpensive but bland feed. Bland feed—typically a blend of seeds—produces bland meat.

 Butchered very young. Meat from young animals is less flavorful than meat from mature ones.

Bred to be plump, not tasty. Today’s chickens don’t even look like the chickens of the past—their breasts are much larger.

The story is similar with other animals and crops. Pigs are 25% younger when slaughtered than they were in 1948, yet also 25% larger…beef cows are 50% younger but produce 60% more meat…hens lay twice as many eggs. All of the food from these animals is bland. Meanwhile, one acre of American farmland produces three times as much rice…four times as much corn…two-and-a-half times as much wheat…and five-and-a-half times as many strawberries.

NOT AS HEALTHY

Eating bland food isn’t just less enjoyable, it’s also less healthful. There’s a reason that nutritious meat, vegetables and fruits taste so good to us—our bodies are sending us the message that these foods contain beneficial vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Today’s foods don’t taste as good largely because they contain fewer of these things.

Example: A study published in Journal of the American College of Nutrition in 2004 found that an assortment of 43 garden crops—39 vegetables, strawberries and three melons—contained 20% less vitamin A and 15% less vitamin C than the same crops grown in the 1950s.

The declining flavor and nutritional content of meats, vegetables and fruits are likely part of the reason why an increasing percentage of Americans are overweight. We must eat more of these foods to get the same nutritional
content…we often cover these bland foods in high-fat and/or high-calorie sauces to give them flavor…and we resort to eating unhealthful processed foods that feature artificial flavors to find the flavor that’s now missing from “real foods” such as meats, vegetables and fruits.

FINDING FOOD WITH FLAVOR

It is still possible to find healthful, flavorful foods. Here’s how… Read the rest of this entry »


10 Tricks to Look 10 Years Younger

9izqzG6iE  (clipartbest.com)

9izqzG6iE (clipartbest.com)

Most of us want to look as youthful and vital on the outside as we feel on the inside. But without realizing it, we may be appearing older than we need to.

Here are 10 simple things you can do that will make you look younger…

CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES

• Cut back on the black. Wearing all black is certainly stylish, but as you age, it can make dark circles under the eyes and facial wrinkles appear even more pronounced. It’s better to wear bright colors, which instead convey a sense of youth and vibrancy. You don’t have to cover yourself from head to toe in loud colors to accomplish this. Just add a dash of color, ideally near the face or neck where it will draw people’s attention up toward your eyes. People are more likely to consider you as an individual—and less likely to judge you based on your age—if they make eye contact with you. A brightly colored scarf or necklace is a good choice for women…a brightly colored tie, pocket square or polo shirt for men.

Alternative: If you prefer to wear muted colors, not bright ones, at least replace black garments with navy, cranberry, charcoal, brown and olive.

 • Stop wearing worn garments. Teens and 20-somethings can get away with wearing threadbare or vintage clothing. But when older people wear past-its-prime clothing, it makes them seem old and past their prime, too. Once an item of clothing goes out of style or starts to show wear, it’s time to stop wearing it, at least in public.

• Buy clothes that fit the body you have today. Some people are so used to wearing clothes of a certain size that they go right on purchasing that size even as they age and their bodies change shape. Other people intentionally buy baggy clothing because they think it will hide the physical imperfections that inevitably come with age. In reality, wearing clothes that do not fit properly only calls additional attention to physical imperfections.

When you try on clothes in a store, take your usual size along with one size larger and one size smaller into the fitting room, then purchase whichever fits best, regardless of what size you thought you were. If you’re not great at gauging fit, shop with a friend who knows a lot about clothes…or ask a store employee for assistance.

Also: Women should get a bra fitting—and purchase new bras if necessary—at least once a year. Women’s bra sizes often change as they age.

• Take a look at your eyeglasses. These days, wire-frame glasses seem old and dated, which can make their wearers seem old and dated, too. Consider switching to more fashionable ­plastic frames, either black or colored. If that doesn’t fit your personality, switch to rimless glasses.

Also: If you wear bifocals (or ­trifocals), try switching to progressive lenses. These serve the same purpose but without that line across the lens that often is associated with old age.

• Avoid being too “matchy.” Carrying a handbag that matches one’s shoes was once considered stylish. These days it is associated with older women—young women tend to prefer a more casual, unmatched look. If you own sweater sets, break them up.

• Skip the turtleneck. Some people think wearing a turtleneck will hide the sagging neck that often comes with age. But turtlenecks actually call attention to the portion of the saggy neck and jowls that still can be seen.

Instead, women should consider wearing V-necked or scoop-necked shirts that visually extend the length of the neck—then add a brightly colored necklace, scarf or high-collared jacket. Men should opt for collared shirts.

SKIN AND BODY

• Apply sunscreen to your hands. You probably already know that using sunscreen regularly on your face can help you look younger. The moisture in the sunscreen gives older, dry skin a moist, younger look, and the UV protection limits age spots and other skin damage that is associated with age.

Also, sunscreen prevents a deep-tan look, which appears old and out-of-touch in today’s skin cancer–conscious society—a light tan is fine…too dark is dated.

What many people do not consider is that sunscreen should be applied to the backs of the hands in addition to the face. Wrinkled, dry, heavily tanned or age-spotted hands can make people appear old even if the skin on their faces still looks young. Spots on the hands are one of the first signs of aging.

Men who are losing their hair or are already bald should apply sunscreen to the scalp…or they can wear a baseball cap or a straw fedora, which are stylish and youthful options. Sunburn, flaking or overall redness will draw attention to your head and make you look old.

Helpful: Recent research suggests that “broad spectrum” sunscreens that protect against UVA light, in addition to the UVB associated with sunburns, are particularly effective in combating the aging effects of the sun.

Also: Stay hydrated. Drinking eight eight-ounce glasses of water each day can help your skin maintain the moist, dewy glow that is associated with youth.

• Strong arm yourself. Toned arm muscles can help you look younger—but which muscles you should target varies by gender. Consider working with a trainer to learn the best exercises for you.

Women: Sagging biceps and triceps in the upper arm can make women look old. Exercising with dumbbells is the best way to tone these. Start with very light dumbbells if necessary—even two-pound weights can make a difference. Do bicep curls, hammer curls and tricep exercises several times a week.

Men: Broad shoulders help men continue to look young and powerful as they age. Bench presses and/or push-ups help here.

• Stand up straight. Hunching over makes people seem old and wizened. Sitting or standing with your back straight and your shoulders back conveys an air of youthful strength and confidence.
Tip: If you find it difficult to maintain proper posture, take a Pilates class. Pilates is an exercise regimen that ­focuses on core strength, which is crucial for good posture.

• Trim facial hair. Women should be on the lookout for long, stray hairs and pluck them.

Having a beard doesn’t make a man look old—even if the beard is gray—but having an unkempt beard does. Trim your beard at least once a week, and shave your neck and around the other edges of the beard every day.

Also: Trim nose hair, ear hair and bushy eyebrows frequently. Excess hair in these areas doesn’t just look sloppy, it is associated with old age. Ask your barber to trim your eyebrows when you get a haircut if you’re not confident in your ability to trim your own brows properly.

Source: Lauren ­Rothman, style and trend expert who has appeared on Entertainment Tonight, CNN, E! News and ABC News, among other news outlets. She is a style consultant for individuals and corporations in the greater Washington, DC, area and author of Style Bible: What to Wear to Work.  StyleAuter.com

Hack-Proofing Apps on Smartphones and Tablets

leovdworp  (freeimages.com)

leovdworp (freeimages.com)

Did you know that your smartphone and tablet can be infected with viruses and malware—just like desktop and laptop computers? This typically happens when you download a malicious app.

Once it is on your device, hackers can steal sensitive material such as account details, passwords and photos. They can cause your operating system to crash, rendering your device useless. They even can hijack your contacts list and send spam texts to your friends, family and associates. From 2013 to 2014, mobile app malware targeting Android phones rose by 600% globally to more than 650,000 different varieties.

How to protect your devices…

Get apps only from official websites. The official Apple iOS and Android app stores each offer more than a million apps to choose from. They do an excellent job of scrutinizing new apps and quickly weeding out malicious or infected ones. Nonofficial sites that offer unique apps or free versions of popular paid apps often have low security ­standards, and some may even be fronts for hacker groups. This is especially true for Android, which is installed on more than half of all mobile devices in the US. Unlike iOS, Android has an “open” operating system—smartphone and tablet manufacturers can alter the software to work on their devices. These altered systems can be more susceptible to hackers.

 Helpful: If you have an Android device, make sure you don’t accidentally install unofficial apps. Go to the Settings menu, tap “Security,” then uncheck the “Unknown Sources” option. Also, avoid clicking on any link to an app that you receive in a text or an e-mail.

Install an antivirus/malware app. The Apple and Android app stores offer Lookout and other antivirus apps for free.

Source: Kim Komando, who has been providing technology tips for more than 20 years. She hosts the Kim Komando Show, a weekly national radio program, and she writes a technology column for USA Today.   Komando.com 

How Some Everyday Drugs Can Mess With Your Mind

mspurity (freeimages.com)

mspurity (freeimages.com)

YOU WON’T BELIEVE HOW THESE MEDICATIONS CAN MESS WITH YOUR MIND…

You wouldn’t be surprised if a narcotic painkiller made you feel a little sleepy or you developed an upset stomach after taking an aspirin-like painkiller for a few days.

What most people don’t know—and their doctors don’t talk about—is that popular prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs can affect your body and your mind.

A hidden risk: Let’s say that you start taking a new drug. Weeks or even months later, you begin to feel depressed or suffer some other psychiatric symptom. You might assume that something’s wrong with you when, in fact, the drug could be to blame. Common offenders you need to know about—psychiatric side effects can occur with any dose, but the greater the drug amount, the greater the risk…

PAINKILLERS

Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn and others). It’s one of the most popular pain relievers because it’s less likely to cause stomach upset than other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin or ibuprofen (Motrin). But it’s more likely than other OTC painkillers to cause depression.

 How it hurts: The exact mechanism isn’t clear, but naproxen affects the central nervous system in ways that other NSAIDs do not. Some people who take naproxen every day—for chronic arthritis, for example—have reported drowsiness, reduced concentration and/or depression.

My advice: Be aware of your mood when using naproxen. Even though this drug is less likely to cause stomach upset than other NSAIDs, you should watch for signs of depression while taking naproxen. If depression develops, ask your doctor for advice.

BLOOD PRESSURE DRUGS

Beta-blockers, such as propranolol (Inderal) and sotalol (Betapace), work by blocking the effects of epinephrine (also known as adrenaline), thus slowing the heart rate.

How they hurt: Damping down the heart’s action can cause fatigue and depression. Because these drugs affect many different body systems, including the brain, they’ve also been linked to mania and other mood problems in some people.

My advice: Beta-blockers are typically used to treat serious conditions such as high blood pressure and cardiac arrhythmias, so never stop taking this medication without consulting your physician. You may be able to switch to a different drug (such as a calcium channel blocker) for high blood pressure.

If you must take a beta-blocker, use nondrug approaches to improve your energy levels and mood. Be sure to exercise regularly, rely on positive thinking and get enough sunlight, which the body uses to produce vitamin D (low levels have been linked to depression).

COLD REMEDIES

Guaifenesin. This is one of the most common ingredients in OTC decongestants and cold remedies, such as Robitussin and Mucinex. As an expectorant, guaifenesin thins mucus, making it easier to cough it up.

How it hurts: Guaifenesin has wide-ranging effects on the central nervous system. In some people, these changes can lead to fatigue and/or depression. When guaifenesin is combined with other ingredients such as pseudoephedrine (a common decongestant), side effects can also include anxiety.

My advice: For most people, drinking water helps to thin mucus about as well as a pharmaceutical expectorant does. When you’re stuffed up, drink a few more glasses of water—or tea or juice—than you usually consume during an average day.

ALLERGY DRUGS

Nonsedating antihistamines. Don’t believe the labels—so-called “nonsedating” allergy drugs may have less noticeable side effects than older antihistamines (such as Benadryl), but they are sedating.

Some people with seasonal or year-round allergies who use drugs such as loratadine (Claritin) or cetirizine (Zyrtec) complain about drowsiness—and depression.

How they hurt: All antihistamines have anticholinergic effects (caused by blocking a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system). While some people have no side effects, others notice that they’re agitated and/or confused. For some people, these antihistamines also may lead to depression or concentration problems.

My advice: Since unwanted sedation is the most common side effect, take antihistamines at bedtime. Pollen counts and allergy symptoms tend to be worse in the morning, so taking an antihistamine at night will also help you feel better when you wake up.

Worth a try: Break the tablets in half (assuming that the medication isn’t timed-release). Many people get the same allergy relief with fewer side effects from a lower dose.

HEARTBURN MEDICATIONS

H2 blockers. Some patients who take these heartburn drugs, including cimetidine (Tagamet) and ranitidine (Zantac), have reported suffering from depression, confusion and even hallucinations. These and other side effects usually occur in older adults, who tend to accumulate higher drug levels in the body.

How they hurt: Ironically, the psychiatric side effects of H2 blockers are probably related to lower stomach acidity—the effect that these drugs provide to fight heartburn. Too much stomach acid (or a weak esophageal muscle that allows acid reflux) is obviously a problem, but reduced acid may have its own risks. For example, people who take these drugs every day tend to absorb smaller amounts of folate and other nutrients—an effect that can lead to mood problems.

My advice: Most people can reduce—or even eliminate—heartburn without the daily use of potent drugs. Simple approaches that work include not eating within a few hours of bedtime…and avoiding “trigger” foods such as chocolate or alcohol. If you need more relief, you may be able to get by with the occasional OTC antacid, such as Mylanta or Maalox.

Source: Jack E. Fincham, PhD, RPh, professor of pharmacy administration at Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy in Clinton, South Carolina. He serves as a panel member of the FDA Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee and is a former special emphasis panel member who evaluated proposals for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Centers for Education and Research on Therapeutics. Dr. Fincham also serves as a consultant to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.