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DEAR HELOISE: My councilman sent out an email about some apparent fraud going on: People are representing themselves as workers for the electric company.

His email stated that the utility's employees will never call you and threaten to disconnect your service, and they won't call you to demand payment by phone. They also won't ask you to purchase a credit card or prepaid debit card.

Finally, a utility worker will not enter your home or a business unless you've initiated a service request, or you've received prior notification.

Here are some signs that an electric company call is a scam:

• The scammer tells you a payment was misapplied.

• He demands your checking account number.

• He gives you an 800 number to call to make a payment.

• He states you have 30 minutes to pay or your service will be cut off.

• He claims a worker is on the way to your home right now.

-- A Reader in San Antonio

DEAR READERS: If you have questions, get your electric company's phone number from its website and call it directly.

DEAR HELOISE: I discovered a quick and easy way to clean dirty and dusty window and door screens: I run a microfiber cloth over them. Works like magic, and sure beats hosing or vacuuming.

Ideally, I'd do both sides, but if I can't reach the outsides, even one side makes a huge difference.

-- Bachelor Bud,

Clearfield, Pa.

DEAR HELOISE: Here are a few hints your readers might like:

• A lightly inflated beach ball makes a great bath pillow.

• Dusty artificial flowers? Fill a bucket with water and add a dash of dish detergent. Slosh the flowers in the water, shake them out and hang them upside down to dry.

• Use a lipstick brush to get what's in the base of the tube. There are many applications left in the base.

-- Linda S., California

DEAR HELOISE: When moving into a new house or apartment, I put extension cords into every outlet that may wind up behind a dresser, armoire, chest or any other large furniture.

For the TV and computer, I attach a surge protector, because such items may require multiple outlets.

-- Abraham H., California

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

Weekend on 08/01/2019

Print Headline: Helpful Hints


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