Get Smart – Pass It On

Prepare Now for Winter

View this post in other languages: Português, Español

Columns, Get Smart - Pass It On

Prepare Now for Winter

By Catherine Blinder

It’s hard to imagine that winter will ever come when it’s ninety degrees outside – but it will be here sooner than you think and now is the time to make arrangements for all those cold-weather repairs and general maintenance! That means locking down home heating fuel contracts, weatherproofing windows and doors, cleaning chimneys, cleaning…

The Danger of Synthetic Drugs

View this post in other languages: Português, Español

Columns, Get Smart - Pass It On

The Danger of Synthetic Drugs

By Catherine Blinder

Have you noticed something new on the counters at your local gas station, bodega or convenience store – innocent-looking little foil packages, no bigger than a teabag, often with bright colors and cartoon characters? Often marketed as “incense,” they have names like K2, Spice, Pep Spice, Spice Silver, Sence, Skunk, Yucatan, Fire, Bliss, Black Mambo,…

Rent to Own or Save for the Unexpected?

View this post in other languages: Português, Español

Columns, Get Smart - Pass It On

Rent to Own or Save for the Unexpected?

By Catherine Blinder

If you’re just starting out and need furniture, or you find yourself suddenly needing to replace a broken stove, refrigerator, television or other electronics, you may be tempted by headlines that say – “No Credit Check!” or “Take it Home Today!” At many of the Rent to Own stores in the state, that’s exactly what…

Beware the Traveling Pavers

Columns, Get Smart - Pass It On

Beware the Traveling Pavers

By

As the summer heats up, you notice things about your house that need repair. Especially if you own an old house, the maintenance seems never-ending! Driveways are one of those major investments that need attention every ten years or so. As the summer advances, you may notice scammers targeting older homeowners in your neighborhood. Every…

Consumer Alert: Be Aware of Traveling Pavers’ Scams

View this post in other languages: Português, Español

Columns, Get Smart - Pass It On

Consumer Alert: Be Aware of Traveling Pavers’ Scams

By Catherine Blinder

This early summer has brought early-blooming flowers, warm weather, longer days and, unfortunately, door-to-door scammers who try to take advantage of homeowners in a variety of ways. It seems like there are more every year – chimney repairs, magazine subscriptions, alternative energy contracts, lawn mowing and landscaping, house painting, roofers and gutter installers and the…

What Is the Lemon Law?

View this post in other languages: Português, Español

Columns, Get Smart - Pass It On

What Is the Lemon Law?

By Catherine Blinder

Buying a new car is a major investment, and most of us take a long time to make that decision. And after we compare prices, safety features, options, warranties and guarantees, we agree to pay a considerable amount of money for a vehicle we hope will last years and years. With so much to consider,…

Facebook’s Reach and Your Privacy

View this post in other languages: Português, Español

Columns, Cover, Get Smart - Pass It On

Facebook’s Reach and Your Privacy

By Catherine Blinder

Recently, it was discovered that the private information of 50 million Facebook users was compromised – we don’t know exactly what that means, but we can be assured that at the very least, it means that a lot of personal information is no longer personal. But was our personal information ever personal? Facebook has become…

Funeral Home Scams to Avoid

View this post in other languages: Português, Español

Columns, Get Smart - Pass It On

Funeral Home Scams to Avoid

By Catherine Blinder

In this column, we usually discuss ways to avoid scams and make smart choices for ourselves and our families regarding day-to-day decisions. But it’s important to talk about things that are difficult too, and nothing is more difficult that losing a loved one. Most of us would rather not think about funerals, and as a…

When You Need Home Healthcare

View this post in other languages: Português, Español

Columns, Get Smart - Pass It On

When You Need Home Healthcare

By Catherine Blinder

Many of us are caring for, or helping to care for, older members of our extended families. There are over 47 million people over 65 in America today. In 2060, that number will likely double to 98 million. The responsibility can be challenging and difficult for family members caring for several generations at the same…

Online Dating

View this post in other languages: Português, Español

Get Smart - Pass It On, News

Online Dating

By Catherine Blinder

Looking for your special someone? In recent years, people have grown more comfortable with online dating as a way to meet others. In fact, 15 percent of adults in the United States have reported using online dating sites or online dating apps to meet people. Nearly 25 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds report using mobile…

It’s Nearing Tax Time and That Means Protecting Your Identity

view this post in other languages: português, español

Get Smart - Pass It On, News

It’s Nearing Tax Time and That Means Protecting Your Identity

By Catherine Blinder

Many of us may have already filed our taxes, especially if we’re expecting a refund. But as the Federal Trade Commission and the Internal Revenue Service warn – be careful, this is prime time for identity theft. Identity theft is among the most common scams, and scammers prey on people especially during this time of…

Watch Out for Modeling Scams

View this post in other languages: Português, Español

Get Smart - Pass It On, News

Watch Out for Modeling Scams

By Catherine Blinder

You are at the mall and someone stops and says, “You are so pretty! You could be a model.” Or they tell you that your child could be a model, and if you let them take some photos, a glamorous and lucrative career could be just around the corner!  Now they have your attention. After all, it’s hard to resist…

Be Aware When Applying for Citizenship

View this post in other languages: Português, Español

Get Smart - Pass It On, News

Be Aware When Applying for Citizenship

By Catherine Blinder 

For several years, we have had the honor of informing Tribuna’s readers about their consumer rights, and warning about scams. Many of the scams that we write about can affect your credit, your online safety, your personal safety or your home. But none of the scams we have warned about have the potential of devastating families like notario fraud.  For many immigrants in the United States, the…

What Can You Do About Debt Collectors?

View this post in other languages: Português, Español

Columns, Get Smart - Pass It On, News

What Can You Do About Debt Collectors?

By Catherine Blinder

Last year, we wrote about your rights when debt collectors call. One of the most vulnerable times for many of us in terms of credit card usage is during the holidays, when you might have overextended credit and your budget! It’s worth reminding everyone of the rights consumers have in regard to debt collection. And…

Winter Is Coming!

View this post in other languages: Português, Español

Get Smart - Pass It On, News

Winter Is Coming!

By Catherine Blinder

It’s taken longer than usual this year– but it’s finally cold outside! And that means families need to start preparing for winter. That means things like locking down home heating fuel contracts, weatherproofing windows and doors, cleaning chimneys, doing last-minute repairs on our homes, and of course, holiday shopping. Make sure to plan ahead, make…

Be Generous, But Stay Safe

View this post In: Português, Español

Columns, Get Smart - Pass It On, News

Be Generous, But Stay Safe

By Catherine Blinder

The hurricanes that recently hit the continental United States, Puerto Rico and other island nations and territories in the Caribbean have left hundreds of thousands of people without power, jobs, housing, schooling and access to emergency health services. Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and other islands. Electric service, phone lines and fuel lines went down…

Making Halloween Safe and Fun!

View this story in: Português, Español

Columns, Get Smart - Pass It On, News

Making Halloween Safe and Fun!

By Catherine Blinder

Here in New England, the leaves and the temperatures are falling, a sure sign that Halloween is just around the corner. Halloween is celebrated by over 41 million people in America, and although children see it as an opportunity for unlimited sugar consumption, Halloween is historically a time of celebration and superstition. It is thought…

Keeping Financial Information Safe in Natural Disasters

View this post in other languages: Português, Español

Columns, Get Smart - Pass It On

Keeping Financial Information Safe in Natural Disasters

By Catherine Blinder

We are taught as young children that in case of natural disaster, our first priorities should be access to food, clean water and shelter. Keeping our personal and financial information secure is nearly as important. Natural disasters such as hurricanes, winter storms, floods and other extreme weather conditions often knock out power and limit our…

Secure Your Internet Purchase Exchanges

Columns, Get Smart - Pass It On

Secure Your Internet Purchase Exchanges

By

Many people have become accustomed to buying and selling online, and there are many benefits. On websites such as Craigslist, Oodle, eBay, Facebook Marketplace or Sell.com, you can find anything from apartments and cars to clothes and appliances. As the seller, you can reach a broad range of potential buyers. And as an online buyer,…

Building Your Financial Stability by Building Your Credit Score

View this post in other languages: Português, Español

Columns, Get Smart - Pass It On

Building Your Financial Stability by Building Your Credit Score

By Catherine Blinder

For many of us, building and maintaining a good credit score can be a challenge. The stakes are higher for people who may have little or no credit history. You can, however, take positive steps for yourself and your family by building your credit score in a way that helps you create financial stability. Before…

Columns, Get Smart - Pass It On

By Elizabeth Patino

As the new school year begins, many high school seniors and their families will begin the long and complicated process of filling out college applications. And many will also be applying for financial assistance and loans to help reach their educational goals. The majority of students applying will find themselves in financial debt after they…

When Something Really Is Too Good To Be True

Get Smart - Pass It On

When Something Really Is Too Good To Be True

By

We all want to protect ourselves and our families against fraud and scam, but there are so many out there! In just one year, fraud cost older Americans $2.9 billion. Many scams target our seniors, especially those who live alone. It’s important to educate yourself and older members of your family to recognize the signs…

Babysitters and Caregivers are Main Target of Scams on Job Sites

View this post In: Português, Español

Get Smart - Pass It On, News

Babysitters and Caregivers are Main Target of Scams on Job Sites

By Mariana Silva

A job search is often a moment of distress and apprehension. People desire and dream about the moment they will find a job that fits their professional profile. Nevertheless, during that pursuit, it is possible to fall into traps and, if you are not alert, to become a victim. Being aware is paramount because there…

Servicemembers and Identity Theft

Get Smart - Pass It On

Servicemembers and Identity Theft

By

When members of the military go off to serve their country, they leave family and friends and all that is familiar. When they return, especially if they were away on a long deployment, they are often expected to just take up where they left off. But everything is different. Daily life seems more complicated, and…

It’s Home Improvement Season!

Get Smart - Pass It On

It’s Home Improvement Season!

By

As summer approaches and the weather warms, you start to see what needs fixing, what needs paint and what might need replacement. If construction, repairs, electrical work or plumbing are beyond the ability of the handyman or handywoman in your house, you may be looking for a reliable skilled contractor. Sometimes, that person has done…

Public Safety Announcement

View this post In: Português, Español

Get Smart - Pass It On, Mail, Public Service Announcements, What You Should Know

Public Safety Announcement

By Danbury Police Department

The Danbury Police Department has received several reports of a person posing as a “health inspector” for the City of Danbury and charging businesses for inspections. The male caller will call unsuspecting businesses and identify himself as a city of Danbury Health Inspector and demand credit card prepayments over the phone for an inspection that…

The Role of Prescription in the Opioid Crisis

View this Post in Português, Español

Get Smart - Pass It On

The Role of Prescription in the Opioid Crisis

By Jonathan A. Harris

  Several years ago, we wrote a column for “Get Smart – Pass It On” addressing the importance of safely disposing of expired or unused prescription drugs. At that time, the primary concern was that unused drugs, especially opioids, could fall into the hands of young, curious children who could be accidentally poisoned, or in…

More Old Scams for the New Year

View this post In: Português, Español

Get Smart - Pass It On

More Old Scams for the New Year

By Catherine Blinder

In this issue, we are going to review another common scam from the past year. Every year, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) surveys all 50 states and publishes the top 10 scams. For the last year, debt collection complaints topped the list. How to Deal With Debt Collection Sometimes, even the most responsible person can…

Be Aware: Self Help Scams

View This Post In: Español, Português

Get Smart - Pass It On

Be Aware: Self Help Scams

By Catherine Blinder

As the old year ends, and the new one approaches, many of us look at it as an opportunity to work on improving our financial or personal situation. New Year’s resolutions are easy to talk about and not always that easy to accomplish! We can be inspired by advertising, websites, self-help books and magazines, but…

Staying Safe Online this Holiday Season

View This Post In Español, Português

Get Smart - Pass It On

Staying Safe Online this Holiday Season

By Catherine Blinder

Happy Holidays from your friends at the Department of Consumer Protection! With the holiday season fast approaching, many of us will be doing some of our shopping online. While it’s important to support our local businesses, sometimes the item we’re looking for isn’t available, or we don’t have transportation, or it is more affordable online….

Rental Car Billing Surprises

View This Post In Espanol, Portuguese

Get Smart - Pass It On

Rental Car Billing Surprises

By Catherine Blinder

  Whether we need to drive to or from the airport, to an event or when our own car is in the shop for repairs, we trust rental car agencies to put us in a car that will bring us where we need to go, and do so safely and legally. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as smoothly as we want them…

Terms and Conditions May Apply

View This Post In Espanol, Portuguese

Get Smart - Pass It On

Terms and Conditions May Apply

By Catherine Blinder

Last week, as I was walking down a busy street, I was nearly knocked over by a young woman making a ninety-degree turn while staring at her phone. Rather than ignore me and keep walking, which is what usually happens when one is a victim of “text distraction,” she looked up with a smile and said, “I’m so sorry! I just saw a Rattata behind that pole!”…