Hints From Heloise: Security in numbers

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dear Readers: Can you list what is IN YOUR WALLET right now? Is your Social Security card in there? The Social Security Administration recommends carrying your card ONLY when you start a job with a new employer or for certain dealings with a financial institution where it would require the number for tax purposes.

Some states still require this number on driver's licenses, and it may be listed on some medical-insurance cards. This is just plain wrong! You should ask to change this; it might not be possible, but give it a try. You have the right, when asked for your number, to ask why it is required, how it is to be used and what could happen if you refuse to give it.

With identity theft a major worldwide problem, you need to take charge of your information. For more information, contact the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I read your article about pulling the stems out of watches to save battery life. I am a master horologist (one who studies timekeeping devices -- Heloise) in Houston, and your recommendations are correct.

One thing you didn't mention was battery-acid leakage. Once a battery stops operating, the quartz motor in the power cell starts to degrade, and acid inside the cell leaks out! Use the calendar to mark when the battery was changed, and follow up 12 months later. -- Marc Foster in Houston

Marc, the horologist from Houston, thanks for the confirmation and added advice. -- Hugs, Heloise


Dear Heloise: Newspapers can be donated to veterinarian offices (remove the slick, glossy pages), animal shelters, nursing homes and even art classes for papier-mch projects. As a courtesy, it is recommended that a call is made to the business first. -- Margaret Matten, via e-mail


Dear Heloise: I wore a perfume that unfortunately became discontinued, and I was not looking forward to finding a new perfume. I went to the mall and explained what scent I wanted (not too strong, too flowery, subtle but feminine). The sales associate recommended a scent that, as soon as I smelled it from the bottle, I felt was too strong. She asked me to trust her, advised me to spray it on one arm and come back after shopping. I did and was amazed at how different the scent smelled after a short time on the skin. -- Laura, San Antonio

Some other hints when looking for a new perfume are: Don't try too many at once, don't smell the bottle directly, don't smell it on your skin right away, and don't spray it and walk through! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: Whenever I open a new bar of good-smelling soap, I save the wrapper. You can put it with your shoes or in a drawer that you want to smell good. It is a virtually free air freshener! -- Francis L., via e-mail

Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Heloise@Heloise.com. Please include your city and state.

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