Protecting Seniors Online from Scams, Hacks and Tax Fraud

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – The vast majority of seniors today are using the Internet at least once a week to check email, pay bills online and keep in touch via social media. But all that time online puts them at risk for scams and hacks, such as tax fraud.
In fact, a new survey by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care network, found that 67 percent of surveyed older adults have been the victim of an online scam or hack.
Encouraging seniors to practice cyber security can go a long way toward protecting their identity and sensitive financial information. Home Instead collaborated with the National Cyber Security Alliance to create Protect Seniors Online, available at www.ProtectSeniorsOnline.com, a free resource that educates older adults about cybersecurity. Here, seniors can test their cybersecurity skills with the “Can You Spot an Online Scam?” quiz.
Older adults can take the following steps now to protect themselves online:
*Password protect and secure devices, accounts. Lock all devices (including computers, tablets and smartphones) with secure passwords in case devices are lost or stolen.
*Think before clicking. When faced with an urgent request — like emails asking for money — think before clicking or get a second opinion. Clicking on links is often how scammers get personal information. When in doubt, trash an unusual message.
*Share with care. More than half (51 percent) of seniors surveyed by Home Instead use social media to stay connected. Use care when sharing personal information, adjust privacy settings to limit who can see your information, and turn off location sharing.
*Use security software. Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software and program it to run regularly. And be wary of pop-up ads or emails, many of which contain malware that can infect computers.
*Log out. Log out of apps and websites when you are finished. Leaving apps and websites open on computer screens could make you vulnerable to security and privacy risks.
*Recommend support. Older adults who live alone may need help from a trusted source — such as a family member, tech-savvy friend or professional caregiver –to serve as a second set of eyes.
To explore additional Protect Seniors Online resources, including the interactive quiz, visit www.ProtectSeniorsOnline.com
A Home Instead office near you can be found by visiting www.homeinstead.com/state.

Tax Law Changes Mean Refund Delays Will Affect Millions of Holiday Shoppers

(NewsUSA) – For many gift buyers, the tax refund is that extra paycheck that arrives just in time to pay off holiday bills. However this year, new provisions under the PATH – Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes – Act will impact early tax season refund timing. For tax returns that include the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and/or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), the IRS will issue your refund no earlier than February 15, 2017. Last year, over 26 million Americans received EITC, meaning this change could surprise many who typically plan to get their refund early in the year.Jackson Hewitt Tax Service is responding with a way to help hardworking Americans bridge the gap and get access to money. Taxpayers may prequalify for an Express Refund Advance, a no fee, 0 percent APR loan offered by Metabank available when clients file their taxes with Jackson Hewitt.Those interested should visit www.ExpressRefundAdvance.com, answer a few simple questions, and within minutes see if they prequalify for up to $1300. There’s no credit check, and visitors may prequalify with a refund as low as $500."We are committed to helping our clients get early access to money," said David Prokupek, Jackson Hewitt CEO. "With expected refund delays this year Express Refund Advance is important for millions of hard-working Americans."Starting December 15 when Jackson Hewitt offices begin to open, clients may get started using their last paystub, and receive between $200 and $400. The loan is automatically repaid when clients receive their tax refund from the IRS. Jackson Hewitt kiosks located inside of more than 3,000 Walmart stores will also offer Express Refund Advance, and will open beginning December 27.To learn more or to make an appointment with a tax pro, visit www.JacksonHewitt.com.The Express Refund Advance is a tax-related refund loan provided by MetaBank; it is not the actual tax refund. Available for a limited time and in participating locations. The amount of the advance will be deducted from tax refunds and reduce the amount that is paid directly to the taxpayer. Tax returns may be filed electronically without applying for this loan. Availability is subject to satisfaction of identity verification, eligibility criteria, application, approval, underwriting standards, and other terms and conditions. Only $200-$400 is available with a paystub (or other acceptable pre-year-end income verification), and remaining amounts are available with a W-2 and upon filing tax return with the IRS. IRS delays may affect the delivery timing of loan proceeds. Disbursement rules apply. Funds loaded onto a card within an hour and direct deposit the next business day. Ask tax pro for details. 

Too Much Stuff? Give Kids Experiential Gifts This Holiday Season

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – If, like many parents, you struggle with what to get your kids for the holidays, consider thinking outside the box and giving them gifts that will expand their horizons.
Underscoring the importance of combining adventure and education, experts say that school is much easier when kids can draw upon skills they’ve learned through outside experiences.
“Experiential gifts can teach a new, lifelong skill, provide a fun, new way to spend family time, and build memories together in a way that no toy or gadget could,” says Emily Levitt, vice president of Education for Sylvan Learning.
To this point, Levitt encourages parents to get creative this holiday season, and give the gift of learning.
“These kinds of gifts are special not just for your child, but for everyone who participates. And I can’t think of a better way to spend the holidays.”
To that end, here are a few holiday suggestions for parents that kids will not only love, but learn from as well:
* The Science of Cooking. Your little chef will not only get to make and eat delicious food that they’ll be able to recreate at home, but will learn how to incorporate math, since this intrinsic skill is necessary for making flavorful dishes. Following a recipe requires learning how to measure and getting familiar with fractions. If they want to double a recipe, they’ll have to use multiplication and addition skills.
* Getting an EDGE on the competition. For a gift that encompasses science, technology, engineering AND math, look no further than Sylvan Learning. A package of Sylvan EDGE classes will empower kids to lay the groundwork for future success and have fun while doing it. The combination of fun and academic mastery is unique. Whether it’s designing a video game from scratch after school, programming a LEGO robot on Saturdays, or engineering seriously cool super structures, your child will be learning something new every time and will be delighted to try the next series of courses as soon as they finish!
* Giving the gift of music. Music lessons are a great way to uncover a talent and passion that is both creative and math-based. From guitar to piano or maybe even the sax, you can give kids the option to choose which instrument to explore. Both music and math go hand-in-hand because they both involve patterns, ratios, fractions, proportions, and memorization.
* Getting moving. Kids with a ton of energy will enjoy classes such as gymnastics or rock climbing. These activities not only teach kids about the human body, but are developmental sports, which require a progression of steps. The skills needed in these activities can stimulate problem solving, math, and reading in school.
For more information, please visit www.getsylvanedge.com.

How to Build Better, Stronger Bones in Kids

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – It’s been ingrained in our heads since we were little: building strong bones is important. The problem is that these days many children aren’t getting the daily recommended diet and exercise needed to do so. And, with technology use at an all-time high, children are spending less time playing outdoors, which increases the risk of obesity.
Today, approximately 32 percent of American children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 are considered overweight or obese. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) wants to help empower families to get up, get out and get moving to ensure optimal bone growth and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and other diseases later in life.
“Building your child’s bone bank is like a college savings plan: the earlier you start investing, the better,” says AAOS spokesperson Dr. Jennifer Weiss, a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles. “Parents should ensure that kids are getting adequate calcium to keep their bones strong as well as appropriate levels of vitamins D and C to allow the body to absorb the calcium.”
So what’s a parent to do? The following tips from the AAOS will help get your kids (and you) moving while building better, stronger bones:
* Move it. Make physical activity a part of a child’s schedule for at least 30 to 60 minutes per day. Make it fun. With fall weather coming in, walking around the block to see the colors, throwing a football in the yard, or riding a bike is a perfect way to engage with your kids and still get in some exercise. Bonus? Being outside gets you and the kids some much-needed vitamin D, which also helps build strong bones.
* Watch what you eat. Life is busy. Which makes on-the-run snacks and meals an easy fix for harried parents. Unfortunately, most of this kind of food does not have the nutrients to ensure good bone health. Adolescents should consume a healthy diet with calcium to maintain strong bones and lower the risk of excessive weight gain.
* Lift things up, and put them down. Studies show that strength training is key to healthy bones. During resistance training, muscles have to work harder and, over time, become stronger. Although resistance exercises focus on increasing muscle mass, they also put stress on bones and have bone-building capacity.
* Set limits. It’s understandable that kids’ whims change with the seasons, as do the number of teams they want to play on. However, try to limit the number of teams a child plays on in one season to avoid overuse injuries. In addition, if your child tells you that something hurts, discourage him or her from playing through the pain.
For more information, visit orthoinfo.org.

How to Plan the Perfect Buddy Golf Getaway

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – Customization is trending in the world of golf-buddy trips and resorts are upping their game to accommodate groups who want to put their own unique stamp on an outing. While the pursuit of extraordinary golf remains at the core of this annual trek, the golf-buddy trip is expanding beyond tee times to include adventure-based activities, elevated culinary experiences, personalized amenities and more.
Not sure where to start when creating that special buddy trip? The team at central Florida’s Streamsong Resort — home to two nationally-ranked courses with a third, designed by Rio Olympic course architect Gil Hanse, on the way — has some tips to make your next getaway memorable:
* Location: Select a place that offers “memory makers” for everyone in your group. For example, Streamsong will up its “bucket list” status in 2017 with the addition of Streamsong Black, making it the only place in the world where guests can enjoy courses designed by the industry’s top minimalist architects — Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, Tom Doak and Gil Hanse.
* Engage with the Destination Early and Often: Communicate and build rapport with the golf pros and your event planner; nobody knows the destination and all that’s possible like these folks do. Challenge the staff to come up with new and creative ideas — they love to personalize.
* Dining: Nothing pleases, delights and unites a golf-buddy trip like food. Most resorts have multiple restaurant options, so don’t dine in the same place every day — mix it up, but be sure to make reservations in advance. Based on the size of the group, a private banquet room can be ideal for creating a memorable dining experience that’s complete with a customized menu and your favorite wines.
* Recreation: The time between rounds can be filled by more than pool time or a sports massage. For example, at Streamsong, groups can enjoy a variety of adventure-based experiences, including guided bass fishing excursions, sporting clays challenges and even archery. These signature experiences keep groups talking long after the last putts drop on the final round.
For more information, visit www.streamsongresort.com or call 1-844-330-1676.

Florida Remains Launch Pad to Space Thanks to Private Firms

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – Since the first U.S. moon landing in 1969, we have been fascinated with the mystery of space. Fast forward to 2016, when we’re celebrating the 5th-year anniversary since NASA launched JUNO and the August 19 ULA Delta IV launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Despite the current U.S. space program weathering some storms, the aerospace industry is enjoying a renaissance, thanks to private firms in Florida and its recognition as the next high-tech utopia.
The High-Tech Corridor, located in Central Florida, is home to a plethora of companies such as Craig Technologies, Northrup Grumman, United Launch Alliance (ULA), Blue Origin and Space Florida, among others.
These companies are shaping the future, which holds a generous helping of manned space travel. ULA — a partnership between Lockheed Martin and The Boeing Company — has been working on a crew launch vehicle to fly the first Operation Test Flight (OFT) in late 2017. Blue Origin is building its new 750,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, set to open in December 2017.
“Today’s Florida space industry is a far cry from what it was six years ago,” says Frank DiBello, president and CEO of Space Florida, an economic development organization for the aerospace business. “We have revitalized the industry and today, we’re not only the busiest space port, but we’re now building and landing rockets, next-generation spacecraft, in state-of-the-art facilities.”
In order to feed the contractors who are flooding the Sunshine State, Florida’s colleges and universities are preparing a new workforce for the opportunities that a new space program will offer.
Colleges such as Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach and Florida Institute of Technology are producing some of the world’s most elite and sought-after engineers and the next generation of rocket scientists. At the University of Central Florida, students are leading the world in simulation and nanotechnology sciences, as demand for these sciences continues to grow in both the public and private sector.
In addition to the presence of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), there are two spaceports in Jacksonville and on Florida’s Space Coast, Brevard County’s Cape Canaveral. An aerospace manufacturing powerhouse, Florida houses companies such as L-3 Crestview Aerospace in Florida’s Panhandle, B/E Aerospace in Palm Beach County, and HEICO in Broward County.
“Florida’s in a very unique position with a longstanding history, NASA, the various military bases, as well as some of the commercial aerospace industry that’s been here,” says Anish Patel, President of Radiant Power Corp. “We’ve got a strong foundation for technology, great universities, and good high schools that are feeding those universities.”
For more information, visit www.enterpriseflorida.com.

Why Encryption Is Important to You

Mobile security or protection concept. Smartphone with padlock. 3d

Much has been made about encryption lately. And on some level, you probably have a vague idea about what it means. Maybe.

You might recall, for instance, that the FBI and Apple have tangled over it. (Apple won.) Most large companies such as Google and Facebook support Apple’s position. And that encryption keeps your “stuff” safe from unwanted eyes.

The problem is that the idea of privacy is just that these days — an idea.

Are You Eating Enough Vegetables a Day?

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – Only nine percent of Americans are meeting their daily recommended consumption of vegetables, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This May, National Salad Month, make an extra effort to get your greens and meet the 2016 USDA Dietary Guidelines, which recommend that you consume between two and three cups of vegetables per day.
While this may sound like an impossible feat, it’s easy enough to accomplish with one simple dish, a salad. Not only can you make a dent in your daily consumption of vegetables, but you can also work your way towards achieving some of the other USDA Dietary Guidelines recommendations.
Here’s how:
* Add meats such as steak or chicken and nuts such as pecans, walnuts and almonds to get a protein boost. It is recommended that an adult get anywhere from five to six-and-a-half ounces of lean and varied proteins per day.
* Add fruits such as oranges or strawberries to try and hit the two cups of recommended fruit serving per day.
* Crackers or quinoa can help you reach your allotment of three to four ounces of grains, half of which should be whole grains per day.
* A little cheese can go a long way in helping you to meet the three recommended cups of dairy per day.
* Salad dressings count towards the five to seven teaspoons of oils that you should be consuming each day and the oils in dressings, such as canola and soybean, help your body to absorb nutrients from vegetables.
Salads provide a healthy and easy avenue to gather several of the recommended nutrients. Here’s a simple recipe for Baby Greens with Roasted Pears, Feta and Walnuts to show you how easy it is to make a healthy and delicious salad.
All you need are pears, olive oil, baby greens, feta cheese, toasted walnuts, salt, pepper and your choice of salad dressings.
First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with wax paper and drizzle four pears, peeled, cored and cut into eighths, with one teaspoon of olive oil. Roast in the oven until the edges turn golden brown.
Once the pears have cooled, toss with eight cups of baby greens and your choice of salad dressings (champagne vinaigrette is one recommendation). Sprinkle half-a-cup of feta and half-a-cup of walnuts over the greens, and season with salt and pepper. Now you’re ready to start enjoying National Salad Month like a pro!
For more recipes and ideas, visit The Association for Dressings and Sauces at www.dressings-sauces.org.

3 Reasons Why You Should Consider an IRA

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Even some Sunday school teachers are subject to it. So why are Uber and Lyft so averse to having their drivers fingerprinted that they just suspended service in a major U.S. city?
Fingerprints are widely considered the best way to weed out criminals, but checking them costs more than the simple name-based background reviews the app-based ride-hailing companies have fought hard to continue using across the country.
So a few months after the City Council in Austin, Texas, voted last December to require them anyway for public safety reasons, Uber and Lyft spent $8.6 million on a campaign blitz — described as full of “dicey misdirections” in the city’s largest newspaper — to get voters to overturn the regulations.
It wasn’t even close.
By a margin of 56 percent to 44 percent, voters said: Hell, yes, we want your drivers fingerprinted, just like cabbies and limousine drivers are.
And why wouldn’t they? Consider the following:
* Ride-hailing drivers have been accused of a string of rapes, murders and other crimes across the nation.
* Uber agreed in April to pay as much as $25 million to settle a lawsuit in California that accused it of misleading customers about the strength of its background checks on drivers. “Laws designed to protect consumers cannot be ignored,” San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon declared.
What makes the Austin vote all the more amazing is that people went to the polls knowing that Uber and Lyft had threatened to pull out if the rules weren’t loosened.
“The threat brings to mind what was, for my generation, a famous (humor) magazine image,” an Austin American-Statesman reporter wrote, referring to a 1973 National Lampoon cover of a man pointing a gun at a cute little dog’s head. “‘If You Don’t Buy This Magazine, We’ll Kill This Dog,'” the headline said.
“Lyft and Uber told Austin, essentially, pass our (favored) regulations or we’ll kill your dog.”
The “dog,” in Austin’s case, the reporter went on to clarify, being their customers and as many as 15,000 (at least temporarily out-of-work) drivers.
Public safety advocates are hoping the Austin vote marks a turning point in the ongoing effort to get the Ubers of the world to play by the same rules as everyone else.
“Until all municipalities require suitable background checks for drivers of these ride-hailing services, we fear continued disastrous consequences as a result of digital hitchhiking,” said Scott Solombrino, co-founder of the National Limousine Association (Limo.org).
Meanwhile, Austin Mayor Steve Adler has offered to return to the bargaining table to negotiate a compromise, and both Uber and Lyft are urging Austinites to contact their City Council members if they want the services to resume.
And, oh, yes, at least one small, start-up ride-hailing company named GetMe — apparently sensing an exploitable opening — has said it has no problem complying with the fingerprinting requirement.

More Seen As Favoring Chiropractic Care: Gallup-Palmer College Report

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – A new report makes clear that more Americans than previously estimated are turning away from traditional methods of dealing with back and neck pain. Their favored alternative? Chiropractic care.

Watch the video at: https://youtu.be/xXBAl1jh7kI