Heloise 9.28

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Dear Heloise: There is a huge scam taking place that you and your readers need to be aware of to protect yourselves. The callers are scammers who claim to be from the Social Security Administration. They might tell you all sorts of things, such as new cards are being sent out and they just need to check your Social Security number to make certain that you get your card.

Always remember, Social Security will never:

-- Threaten you.

-- Suspend your Social Security membership.

-- Demand payment immediately.

-- Require any kind of payment by cash, wire transfer or gift card.

If you receive a call, text or email that is suspicious:

1. Hang up.

2. DO NOT return a call, text or email from unknown sources.

3. DO NOT give out any financial or personal information, no matter what.

4. Report all suspicious calls, text and emails to https://oig.ssa.gov/. This is the office of the Inspector General, where you can get even more information. -- James R., New York City


Dear Heloise: I've had my natural bristle hairbrush for about seven years and never washed it. I know that sounds gross, but it's my favorite hairbrush, and I want to finally get it sparkling clean. I tried soaking it in a gentle liquid soap, but it had little effect on my hairbrush. Can you help me? -- Lauren K., Springdale, Arkansas

Lauren, to keep your favorite hairbrush in good order, you really need to remove the hair from it daily. Use a fine-tooth comb to get the hairs out. At least once a month, wash your brush by filling a bathroom sink with warm (not hot) water and a few drops of shampoo. Get the bristles wet, but not the entire brush if it's a wooden hairbrush, for about one minute. Plastic brushes are fully immersible. Use an old toothbrush and scrub between the rows of bristles. With proper care, a hairbrush can last many years. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: My mouse pad became ruined, and I had to get a couple of projects done. I searched around to find something to run my mouse over and found I had a large piece of felt from the craft store. I cut out a big square, and it worked beautifully! If it gets dirty, I can toss it out and use another piece of felt. -- Lisa T., Bend, Oregon


Dear Heloise: Years ago I worked full time, and I kept a spotless house. I always made sure we had clean linens and the windows were shiny and bright. I took good care of my husband and three children. Now, my husband has passed away and my kids are grown and gone.

I'm no longer obsessed with a perfect home and, in fact, I only clean one room a day. The rest of the time I work on my hobbies (which I usually sell at a craft fair). If we have a family get-together, I assign my daughters and daughter-in-law various side dishes to bring. In short, I don't do it all anymore. And I'm much happier. -- Anita G., Albuquerque, N.M.