Spring Clean Your Identity Theft Risks

Spring cleaning should include more than decluttering your garage and closets. Take these simple steps to reduce your risks of identity theft: Shred — don’t just trash — unnecessary documents with your name, birth date, address, and account or Social Security numbers. Typically, bank deposit slips and ATM and credit card receipts should be shredded as soon as the transactions appear on statements, credit card statements within 45 days, and pay stubs and medical bills after one year. Never simply discard …

What’s in Your Wallet? A Whole Lot of Germs

Open your wallet. Pull out a dollar bill. You’ve just touched more than 3,000 bacteria that have been linked to stomach ulcers, acne, pneumonia and staph infections. (Thinking about using that plastic credit card more often now?) These kinds of microbes, which are found on many surfaces, are transferred when we touch things. Money, in particular, gets handed around a lot, say researchers with New York University’s aptly named Dirty Money Project. >> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter …

Miss Those Paper Social Security Statements? They’re Back

For those of you who liked getting your estimated Social Security benefits statements by mail, you’re in luck. The Social Security Administration says it’s planning to send out paper statements once again, beginning in September. Not everyone will get one, however. Only workers who haven’t signed up to review their statements online will be getting the paper version – and those will be mailed out only every five years rather than annually, says SSA spokeswoman Dorothy Clark. Related: When Should You …

Don’t Flush That! ‘Flushable’ Wipes Can Wreck Pipes

What should be flushed down the toilet? Only toilet paper and, well, you know. What shouldn’t? Those new, so-called flushable personal wipes, say a growing number of city sewer managers, who are dealing with humongous clumps of these wipes clogging up pipes and sewers across the country. Unlike toilet paper, which quickly breaks down in water, these other products – despite their claims of being “septic safe” and “breaking down like toilet paper” – tend to stay intact, gumming up …