Dear Readers: Here is a hint if someone calls you and says that he or she is with the Do Not Call Registry: HANG UP immediately!

It seems that now scammers are pretending to be from the registry, calling homes and asking people to verify their personal information, or asking if they want to sign up for the registry. No one from the registry will call you — you call the registry! These folks are asking “to confirm” names, addresses and even Social Security numbers. Trust me, no one should be calling you to ask for this information. My hint: HANG UP!

Once you have signed up with the registry, it permanently restricts calls from telemarketers, so you never need to renew your registration — it never expires. Call 888-382-1222 to sign up today! -- Heloise

P.S.: Another good hint is to never give your personal information over the phone, especially if you get a call you were not expecting asking for it.


Dear Heloise: Cleaning my kitchen, I noticed all the dust and grease that had collected on my faux greenery lining the tops of my kitchen cabinets as part of the decor. I tried dusting it with a dust cloth, but the grease made the dust adhere to the leaves and impossible to remove.

I was frustrated and ready to throw the foliage in the garbage when I decided, in a last attempt, to put all the pieces in the dishwasher. I secured the pieces with clips to the racks and lost a few leaves in the process, but the greenery was cleaned and able to be displayed again. -- Gwen R., via e-mail


Dear Heloise: My husband passed away, and since then I have been receiving many credit-card offers in the mail. I had to shred and recycle most of these, as they have some numbers already filled in on the applications. It dawned on me that there is a toll-free phone number on them, too. So, I call them and ask to be removed from the mailing list. This has cut down on the amount of junk mail I am receiving. -- Jill R. in Virginia

Dear Jill: Oh honey, I’m sorry about your loss. Thank you very much for taking the time to write and share your message. I’m sure it will help others. -- Heloise

P.S.: Do check the application to see what info is listed — you might be shocked! Don’t just toss the offers in the trash.


Dear Heloise: We have several tall tube feeders, where the birds sit on perches to reach through metal holes to get at the seed. When we are going to be away for a few days, I use wine-bottle corks to plug all of the holes except one on the bottom, which usually makes the seed last until we get back home. -- A Reader in Ohio

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, or e-mail it to

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