10 Tips to Avoid Rental Scams

Counting the days until summer vacation, downsizing, or are the kids heading off to college? Count on attempted rental rip-offs, which have earned perennial placement on many Top Scam lists throughout this decade. In the classic ruse, fraudsters simply steal photos and descriptions of properties from real estate, hotel or vacation rental websites and clone those ads — but with a bargain rental price. These phony ads are usually found on Craigslist, but also on newspaper websites, online chat boards …

Spice Up Your Life!!!

Poet and civil rights leader Maya Angelou once said, “Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” With that anecdote in mind, imagine how enlightening, educational and inspiring it could be to experience the richness of other cultures — especially with all the racial unrest that we experience in America. In fact, I …

Hit the Road with Tom Cruise and the Griswolds

This weekend, one of the summer’s best action flicks and a big, loud comedic disappointment share the multiplex with a brilliantly understated study of writers and the perils of genius.    Designates a Movies for Grownups Critic’s Choice   Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation After parsing the title’s tricky punctuation, taking down an international terror group should be easy for Tom Cruise & Co. We’ve seen this nonstop whirl of double agents, impossible stunts and (literally) breathtaking challenges before, but nobody does it like …

Planning a Trip? 6 Tips to Avoid Health Problems

You’re having a great trip and then, boom, you fall off your bicycle and break your leg. Just ask Secretary of State John Kerry, who did just that in France recently and had to cancel the rest of his European diplomatic trip. On the advice of his physicians, Kerry, 71, was flown back to Boston for medical treatment. But what happens if you have an accident or fall ill while abroad and you’re not an important government official? How can …

Family Reunions: Different Strokes for Different Folks

I’m always surprised when I hear friends or colleagues say that their families rarely get together for reunions. That’s because between me and my husband, there are at least a couple to choose from every year. So we usually pick one and set aside some vacation time for it. Many of my friends do the same thing. And it’s fun to hear about what relatives do when they get together for a few days. It can run the gamut. I …

Fa La La or Fraud? Sneakiest Holiday Scams

The toppers to scams that prey on holiday shoppers: Watch out for these sneaky seasonal ploys that continue to prove their success at getting a quick buck or sneaking malware onto devices for longer-lasting fraud. Bogus Charities The season of giving is a peak time for taking. Top cons aimed at older donors allege help for police, firefighters, veterans and children, so be on guard for phone calls with heartstring-pulling scripts. Also beware of sound-alike organizations of well-recognized legitimate charities, such as …