Dear Heloise: Please warn your readers about romance scams, which are growing rapidly, especially among people over 40 years of age. The scammers often use dating websites but will also use email or social media sites. They post fake profiles, use fictional names and declare their feelings for you too early in the relationship. It’s not uncommon for a scammer to create several fake profiles on one website.
Once they’ve gained your trust, they’ll start asking for money, loans or credit/banking information. Never send financial information, gifts or money, no matter what they tell you. Never honor a request for intimate photographs of yourself. These can be used for blackmail. The moment anyone asks or hints for these things, drop them immediately.
Countless people have been scammed out of thousands of dollars that they’ll never get back. I would know, after having lost $16,000 to a scammer on a website! — Sophie in Massachusetts
Dear Readers: For those of you who are planning on traveling overseas, it’s recommended that Americans enroll in the Smart Travelers Enrollment Program at STEP.STATE.GOV to receive security alerts and to make it easier to locate you in case of an emergency. You also can contact the U.S. embassy or consulate by phoning 1-888-407-4747, which is toll free in the U.S. and Canada. For calls from other countries the number is 202-501-4444. For additional information, please go to the website travel.state.gov. — Heloise
Keep Employees Happy
Dear Heloise: Too many employers forget that when you have happy employees you have less turnover, more loyalty and fewer sick days. To build a solid rapport with my staff, I do three things that seem to make each person feel valued and appreciated. First, I allow flexibility to come in a little late or leave a little early. Second, we celebrate birthdays with cake and a small gift, such as movie tickets, coffee shop gift cards, etc. Third, when our company has met a goal or we’ve added a new client, I will have lunch catered for the staff. This is my way of letting them know they are appreciated. It must be working, because I haven’t had an employee leave in six years. — Howard in Indiana
King Features Syndicate