Brooks & Crowley - February 2021

Here Are 3 Ways to Protect Yourself Right Now Money Scams Are Skyrocketing

For the past year, scammers have been working full time to fleece people. As a result of COVID-19, federal financial relief efforts, and state-level relief efforts, scammers have found a new way to get into their victims’ pockets. Now, they’re using COVID-19 again, this time with the “vaccine scam.” Through this scam, they’ll sign you up for the COVID-19 vaccine in exchange for a fee. They are also using variations of the grandparent scam, in which scammers pretend to be a family member in trouble (this time, they have COVID-19 or have lost their job) and they need money. Scammers make phone calls, send text messages, and craft phishing emails, hoping you’ll take the bait. How can you protect yourself from these financial scams and more? Try these three different ways! 1. Shut them down. If you get a call from a scammer, hang up immediately (better yet, don’t answer unknown callers at all). At the same time, delete scam texts or emails the second you see them. If you get a call, text, or email from someone claiming to be with the government or a government agency, it’s a scammer. No one from any federal agency will ever call you out of the blue. Anyone claiming to have a cure or

pretending to be in desperate need of money is also trying to scam you. Never say a word back to them. Cut them off and go about your day. 2. Sign up for Informed Delivery by USPS. This free service is a great way to monitor your incoming mail. Every morning, USPS sends you an

email with scanned images of the day’s mail (this doesn’t usually include larger parcels). When you pick up your mail later in the day, you can verify if anything is missing. Scammers may prefer phone calls, but mail thieves are still very much on the prowl. 3. Sign up for an identity protection and fraud detection service. You never know who might end up with your personal information, but you can take steps to keep it safe. There are several services, like LifeLock, Identity Guard, and Intelius Identity Project, that offer comprehensive identify protection. They monitor credit cards, addresses, phone numbers, bank accounts, and more with the purpose of scoping out unusual or fraudulent behavior. Many services can be customized to fit your specific needs.

Warm Up to These Small Projects For Better Home Insulation

Install thick curtains over your windows.

Are you feeling a draft, even when you’re nestled on the couch? Even though good home insulation is important every part of the year, chances are you notice its absence much more in the winter months. But before you call in a construction crew to tear down your walls and fix your insulation, try these simple, budget- friendly ways to keep heat inside your home.

If you have drafty windows, invest in some thick curtains. Light curtains are great when the weather is warmer, but a good set of heavy curtains will keep the heat from escaping. For added insulation, you can also find curtains with thermal backs. However, if saving money is more important than aesthetics for you, you can also insulate your windows by blow- drying some plastic wrap onto the windows to fill any holes.

Weatherproof your doors.

If you can feel chilly air coming through the crack between the bottom of your door and your hardwood floors, putting foam or rubber weatherstripping under your doors can stop the cold air from getting into your home and circulating through every room. Even if the crack between your floor and your door is extra large, you can double up on weatherstripping. Plus, it can be easily removed when necessary!

Keep up with your HVAC maintenance.

system by simply moving furniture out of the way of vents so it can disperse heat more equally throughout your home. The cold may be sticking around for a while longer. But with some proper insulation, you won’t have to be reminded of that when you’re indoors, all while saving a pretty penny.

Maintaining your HVAC system means changing out filters once a month, cleaning ducts regularly, and watching for leaks in the air duct system. (Some key indicators of leaks are higher energy bills during the summer or dust accumulating more in one room than in others.) You can also maintain your HVAC


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