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Hints from Heloise: Guard your Medicare number
Hints from Heloise

Hints from Heloise: Guard your Medicare number

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Heloise 9.28

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Today's Sound Off is about scammers stealing Medicare numbers:

Dear Heloise: Scammers are trying to get your Medicare numbers. How? They'll contact you with an offer of free masks and other COVID-19 items by telling you that you are entitled to these items as a Medicare recipient. They want to get their hands on your personal information and Medicare number to use for fraudulent purposes. Hang up on them the moment they start their pitch. -- Norman, via email

Readers, to report anything suspicious or fraudulent to Medicare, go to or call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227). Protect yourself by never giving out personal or financial information over the phone to these scammers. -- Heloise


New uses for old wine racks:

* Roll up placemats and store in the slots.

* Use to store small stuffed toys for children.

* Store water bottles.

* Lay flat, with openings facing upward, to store kitchen condiments. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: My parents want me to get renter's insurance now that I live in an apartment. I graduated from college and now have my first job. It doesn't pay as well as I'd like, but it's a start in the field in which I enjoy working. With money being tight, why bother with renter's insurance? -- Amy H. in California

Amy, your folks are right. Renter's insurance is usually rather inexpensive, and if you have a fire or are robbed, the insurance company will cover your loss. But beware that a "cash value" policy will pay only what an item is worth after depreciation. A "replacement" policy covers whatever the cost is to replace an item at today's prices. Some insurance companies will offer "off-premises" coverage for items such as a lost cellphone. I recommend checking into renter's insurance with the same company that insures your car. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I need your help on how to remove black permanent marker from glass. I have tried many kinds of cleaners, but nothing has removed the black. -- Long time reader in California.

Long time reader, the best way to remove permanent marker stains from glass is with rubbing alcohol. First, dip a sponge or cloth in the alcohol and dab it directly on the stain, then scrub the stained area. Use a clean paper towel to remove any leftover residue. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I found a really nice cedar chest at a garage sale, but it has a strong mothball odor. Is there anything I can do to remove the smell? -- Chris via email

Chris, what a great find! The first thing to try is fresh air and sunshine. If you can, open it up and let it sit outside for a few days. If that hasn't completely removed the mothball odor, lightly sand the interior with a fine-grade sandpaper to release the fresh cedar scent. Vacuum with the brush attachment, then wipe with a microfiber cloth to remove any remaining dust. -- Heloise


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