Don’t Get Scammed

Don’t Get Scammed

What is a scam? A scam is a deceitful attempt to gain something of value from you, such as your personal information or funds. Scammers often pose as a genuine business or acquaintance in order to trick people into trusting them. Scam attempts are made over the phone, via text, in person, or through email. Scams target individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and income levels. Though seniors have traditionally been targets of scams, everyone is vulnerable.

It is important to protect yourself by recognizing the signs of scams. These signs can help keep you, your loved ones, and your money safe.

The Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB) has lots of resources to help you identify and stop these scams.

Here are Some Basic Signs of a Scam:

  • Scammers often pretend to be a person/place you recognize, to win your trust.
  • Scammers often tell you that there is a problem, or you have won a prize.
  • Scammers often pressure you to take action immediately (time limited).
  • Scammers often request you to pay in a specific way (store gift card or cash apps).

Tips to Protect Yourself from Scams and Identity Theft:

  • Don’t share passwords or account numbers – especially your Social Security number.
  • Change your passwords frequently. Make them complex. Store all passwords in a safe location.
  • Do not open suspicious texts or click on links or attachments in an email. DELETE THEM!
  • Don’t ever pay ahead of time for a guaranteed prize. If they request payment for taxes or other fees before you can receive a prize or prize money, it is most likely a scam.  
  • Keep your personal information safe. Lock your mailbox and shred your bills and other important documents before throwing them in the trash.
  • Sound too good to be true?  If you are skeptical, and/or something doesn’t feel right, it probably is a scam.
  • Be skeptical of deals that are “good for only today.” If you are pressured to act immediately (or else!), it probably is a scam.
  • Make sure to register your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry or call (888) 382-1222.

Do You Think You’ve Been the Victim of a Scam? Now What?

Protect yourself from scams by following a few simple guidelines for protecting your personal information online and over the phone. (Photo source: Thomas Wright)

Report the Scam. Reporting scams can help protect others. Agencies can utilize the information gathered to record patterns of behaviors that can lead to criminal charges.

Contact Your Local Law Enforcement. Consumers can report scams to their local law enforcement office, particularly if their money or identity has been stolen.

Contact Florida’s Attorney General.  Florida citizens who have been victims of a scam can contact the Florida Attorney General’s Office of Citizen Services at 1-866-966-7226 or file a report on their website.

Reach out to the FBI. The FBI site offers some personal safety resources regarding scams and fraud.

For more information about keeping you and your family safe from scams, identity theft, and fraud, please contact the UF/IFAS Extension office in your county.

Busy days. Easy dinners.

Busy days. Easy dinners.

How many of you feel like your days are go, go, go and feel tired and uninspired by the time you get home to make dinner? I am in the same boat and have decided my fast, go to dinners are now sheet pan meals. Add protein(s) (of your choice) and vegetables (of your choice) tossed in oil and spices (of your choice) and place it in the oven to cook, and you have dinner ready in less than an hour. My favorite part of these meals is that you and your family choose the foods you like and make them your own. This makes it easy to please everyone – even picky eaters – and you can mix it up with different proteins and vegetables to keep it from getting boring.

These meals are great for introducing new vegetables and proteins to children and adults. Why is it important to eat vegetables? Eating a diet rich in vegetables provides your body with important nutrients for proper health and maintenance, protects against certain types of cancers, and helps reduce your risk for heart disease, including heart attacks and stroke.

Be sure to check out the MyPlate Vegetable Group table for more information. The Vegetable Group is divided into five subgroups: Dark-Green Vegetables, Red and Orange Vegetables, Starchy Vegetables, Beans, Peas, and Lentils, and Other Vegetables. When you click on each subgroup it gives you a list of vegetables. Be sure to eat a variety of different vegetables for the most health benefit. It is recommended for us to eat many types of vegetables in a variety of colors to get the proper amount of nutrients we need.

These balanced sheet pan meals are also very easy for cleanup. You use one sheet pan for the entire meal. I highly recommend putting parchment paper down on your sheet pan before adding any ingredients. It will make the cleanup so much easier. There may still be some oil that needs to be washed off the pan, but nothing will get stuck or will need to soak before cleaning it.

As a busy, working adult I highly recommend the sheet pan meals to make your evenings easier and to diversify your meals and types of foods you enjoy at dinner. Happy Easy Meal Prep/Cleanup! Enjoy your delicious, nutritious sheet pan meal.

This sheet pan of sweet potatoes, onions, salmon, and green beans offers a simple, healthy, and delicious meal on a busy weeknight. (Photo source: Melanie Taylor)