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Ways to protect yourself from online scammers this holiday shopping season

Online scammers are using everything from emails to phone calls to rake in big bucks at your expense.

MINNEAPOLIS — You’ve probably already clicked your way through a number of pre-Black Friday deals, which health experts say is the safest way to shop this holiday season do to COVID-19. 

However, with that comes the opportunity for online scammers to rake in big bucks at your expense. They’re using everything from emails to phone calls. 

“False advertising links that you click on, or I’m calling from UPS, I have a delivery to make but there’s $300 that’s owed on the shipping, can I get a credit card number,” described Mark Lanterman, Chief Tech Officer, with Computer Forensic Services in Minneapolis. 

More than 2 billion people this time last year fell victim to online scams, according to computer security giant McAfee, which is why cybersecurity experts are urging you to use good

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  • November 26, 2020
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8 guaranteed ways to get the boundaries you need at work right now

It’s hard to separate work from home when your office is in your bedroom — or your kitchen, your living room, or even your child’s playroom. Yet setting boundaries at work is much more than making a personal office space in your shared home. Boundaries aren’t just physical; they’re personal, too. Setting work boundaries means communicating your unique boundaries with your coworkers and managers. If you don’t, the consequences can not only damage your mental health but also negatively impact your work performance. Here are 8 ways to start setting healthy boundaries that work for you — even when you’re in an unhealthy work environment.

1. Know your own boundaries

You won’t be able to set boundaries without knowing what your “healthy boundaries” look like. One person’s healthy boundaries might not be anything like someone else’s. That’s why it’s important to reflect and understand what kind of boundaries you’re looking

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  • November 25, 2020
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Local residents find ways to stay active, connected as COVID-19 winter approaches | Tri-state News

GALENA, Ill. — After switching on the music, Emily Painter checked her computer to make sure all the dancers attending the class virtually could hear the song and see her as she started to move.

Every song had different moves and a new tempo, but each was designed to ensure the dancers — either participating remotely or in person — could follow along during the morning workout.

“It’s been frustrating at times,” said Painter. “We started out with doing it from my hallways with plug-in speakers, and now, we have a Bluetooth speaker. What’s interesting is (people) keep coming back.”

In March, Painter moved her twice-weekly dance exercise class at Galena Art & Recreation Center to an all-virtual format using Zoom after the facility shut down to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Now that the center has reopened, about four of the members attend in person to shimmy to

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  • November 22, 2020
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Oregon’s exploding whale, 50 years later: 10 ways to celebrate the big blast of blubber

On Nov. 12, 1970, a sperm whale carcass was blown to pieces on the Oregon coast, sending huge chunks of blubber falling not just onto innocent bystanders, but into the history books.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 50 years. This is the same exploded whale carcass that earned national attention in the 1990s, regained fame in the early days of YouTube, and continues to captivate us to this day.

The legend of the exploding whale has been kept alive by a rotating cast of reporters, writers and at least one musician. Untold millions have watched the footage online. The r/Portland community on Reddit has paid homage with exploding-whale-themed upvote and downvote buttons.

That makes it easy to celebrate the exploding whale’s big anniversary this year.

Whether you’re watching the video for the hundredth time, reading Dave Barry’s column or listening to former KATU reporter Paul Linnman recount the tale,

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  • November 12, 2020
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Sneaky ways Disney World gets you to spend more money

Each year, Disney World releases exclusive new merchandise. Uniquely designed trinkets are made available, and larger anniversaries and holidays are commemorated with entire lines of themed products. In this way, Disney incentivizes guests to make purchases that correspond with their particular visit: A generic shirt is nice enough, but one with the year on it will remind a family of their specific visit forever. This also incentivizes collecting annual merchandise, as visitors might want to purchase multiple editions of the same mug or shirt for their varying designs.

While these yearly designs can be cute, purchasing more generic merchandise is a whole lot more frugal. You might want to make an exception for a landmark year (Disney World’s 50th anniversary, for example, in 2021), or if you’re commemorating your own personal milestone. Sets of ears that look like graduation caps are especially endearing.

If you’re really torn over a particular

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  • November 9, 2020
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Election overload? Fun ways to escape politics at home | Tech Talk & Innovation

(BPT) – The election season is a lot to handle no matter where you land on the political spectrum. It can be draining on many levels, which is why now is the perfect time to escape the political drama and make up your own political fun at home.

Idea 1: Embrace the household monarchy

Forget democratic decisions at home! Do your kids and roommates really deserve an equal vote anyway? Have fun and announce the start of the household monarchy, in which you will rule as king or queen.

For example, wondering what to have for dinner? No need to argue, your decision is what counts. Will it be pizza, spaghetti or that new recipe? Disagreements on music are instantly cast aside when the king and queen decide. Will ears delight to country, pop or alternative? From what movie to watch to who is stuck folding the socks, the monarchy

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  • November 9, 2020
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Practically Painless Ways to Spend Less Right Now

“You guys have the worst hold music.”

I’ve uttered that phrase countless times since last spring. Banks. Airlines. Insurance companies. Car dealerships. I’ve heard enough Muzak to fill a lifetime of elevator rides.

Everyone at Consumer Reports began working from home when the coronavirus pandemic swept our area. First, I went on a cooking spree, whipping up confit tomatoes and a Peruvian stir-fry called lomo saltado. Then I began to tackle the pile of bills and mail on my dining room buffet. You know, the credit card come-ons, the offers of a lower mortgage rate.

Financial matters have always overwhelmed me, so I put them off—a bad strategy. But I decided I could now do my regular work while on hold with customer service using my landline, taking work calls on my cell.

It was as boring as it sounds. But so far I’ve saved or recovered thousands of dollars,

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  • November 5, 2020
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11 Ways Warren Buffett Lives Frugally

Warren Buffet makes hand gesture on chair
Warren Buffet makes hand gesture on chair

Trying to build your savings, pay off debt and make the most of your money? You might want to try living like a billionaire — but only if that billionaire is Warren Buffett.

The investor — known as the Oracle of Omaha — is the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. But there’s more to this American business magnate than just his job. Despite his roughly $78 billion net worth, according to Forbes, the sixth-wealthiest man in the world enjoys a life of simple taste, frugal living and generous philanthropy. Here’s a look at Warren Buffett’s tips for living frugally.

Last updated: Nov. 4, 2020

Warren Buffett house.
Warren Buffett house.

1. Warren Buffett?s House Is the Same One He Bought in 1958

Billionaires live in mansions, right? Not Buffett.

He lives in the same residence in Omaha, Neb., that he bought in 1958 for $31,500, the equivalent

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  • November 5, 2020
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Ways People Use Personal Loans

Few Americans have the cash they need on hand to pay for big-ticket items upfront. That’s why it’s not unusual for people to take out mortgages, car loans and student loans, so they can pay for these costly expenses over time.

But when it comes to other major purchases — like home renovations, engagement rings, medical bills — an increasing number of Americans are turning to personal loans to help manage the cost.

Personal loans are the fastest-growing debt category, according to a 2019 Experian study. While mortgages still made up the largest portion of consumer debt (71.7%), in 2019, Americans reportedly took out personal loans at a faster rate than auto loans, mortgages, credit cards and student loans.

A form of installment credit, personal loans are sometimes used as an affordable alternative to credit cards because they generally charge lower interest rates. Personal loan APR averages 9.34% according to

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  • November 4, 2020
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Top last-minute ways to save on your next trip

FILE-In this Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 file photo, park guests relax and cool off with a water mist under the globe at Universal Studios City Walk in Orlando, Fla. ourism officials announced Monday, May 2, 2016, that the number of visitors coming to Orlando last year jumped 5.5 percent to more than 66 million visitors. That figure sets a record for tourists in Orlando and helps the central Florida city hang onto its bragging rights as the top tourist destination in the United States for the second year in a row. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Check for deals on attractions

Sites like Groupon and CityPASS can help cut the price of popular attractions if you’re visiting a major city. Groupon offers deals on individual attractions (or even trips) and CityPass groups tickets for several iconic spots in the same city into one deal.

Ask for better rates

When you book a

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  • November 4, 2020