School Sunscreen Policy Has Mom Seeing Red

June 26, 2012

Jesse Michener was burning mad when her two fair-skinned daughters returned home from a school field trip with severe sunburns and blisters and learned that school representatives refused to allow her children to apply sunscreen. The youngest of her two girls, 9 year old Zoe, actually suffers from a form of albinism, emphasizing her sensitivity to the sun. Click here to watch the full report by NBC’s Natalie Morales.

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Facebook Attempts to Help You Save Face With Correction Option

June 25, 2012

By: Darrin Clouse

Most of us have fallen victim to the embarrassment of rushing to post a comment on a friend’s Facebook picture, only to misspell a key word that causes nothing but confusion to the reader or announces your momentary illiteracy to the world.

For example, your friend posts a picture of her puppy, and of course you want to compliment her new pet. But instead, you end up telling her that she has a “really cute pappy.” No offense to your friend’s grandfather, but your intentions might be questioned.

Up until recently, your only option to correct the keystroke error was to publish a retraction message, clearing your name of the mistake…kind of.  The original message still existed and was fair game for mockery.

Facebook finally recognized the problem, and now they have developed an option which allows you to edit the mistake, even after posting.  Best of all, there’s no need to add  a correction message. The fix is simple. All you need to do is hover your cursor around the top right corner of your message, and a pencil symbol will appear. Click on this, and you will be free to quickly edit your words, hopefully before anyone decides to have a good laugh at your expense or praise you for your unique admiration for “pappy.”

GM Recall’s Chevy Cruze Due to Fire Safety Issue

June 25, 2012

By: Darrin Clouse

If you own a 2011 or 2012 Chevy ” Cruze,” you need to cruise it on into your local dealer/mechanic soon.

General Motors just announced a recall on 475-thousand of the Cruze model vehicles, due to what is being called a fire risk.

It’s been determined that there is a defect in the engine shield, responsible for keeping flammable liquids from becoming trapped in the engine compartment, and this poses a serious enough fire hazard to implement the recall.

The good news is, instead of the consumer being hassled with returning the vehicle altogether, the fix is simple enough to be handled by a local GM certified mechanic and is estimated to only take around 30 minutes. Of course, the repair will be free of charge.

Remember, you can’t put a price tag on safety, and when it’s free, there’s no excuse to ignore it.

Health Insurance Refunds Coming Soon

June 22, 2012

If the rising cost’s of health insurance has put your finances in an unhealthy condition, some relief could soon be on the way.   Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that 12.8 million Americans would benefit from $1.1 billion in rebates.

According to the Affordable Care Act, health insurers are required to spend on average at least 80% of premiums on actual medical care, instead of overhead and profits. Many health insurance agencies apparently have not been applying these percentages to their monthly spending.

The Department of Health and Human Services recently announced the final refund amounts that health insurers will have to hand over, with the average family receiving $151 back from their providers.

DeAnn Friedholm, Director of health reform at Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports, says “This is exciting news for families struggling with rising health insurance costs. Because of the health reform law, consumers now are actually getting money back from insurance companies who spent too much money on overhead.”

If you’d like to see a projected list of insurance companies who are expected to be handing out refunds, click here.

It’s certainly a good sign to see that health insurance companies are being kept in check,and even a better sign to see them writing checks instead of you for a change!

Poison in Your Purse? Retailers Sell Lead Tainted Handbags

June 21, 2012

Your purse could be carrying a lot more than your wallet and keys, these days.  New findings reported by a consumer watchdog group show that some of the most fashionable purses being sold contain high levels of lead.  The new study has raised questions regarding the safety of purses, an accessory that millions of Americans carry with them everyday.

Click here to learn more and watch an exclusive report by ABC Network News Correspondent Lisa Fletcher.

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Bad Sleep Habits can Increase Chance of Stroke

June 13, 2012

If you rarely get a good night’s sleep, then you’re probably aware of the side-effects: grogginess all day, difficulty concentrating, and a tendency to be moody. Now, there’s concern over a new, potential danger in keeping poor sleep habits.

The Sleep 2012 conference , held last week in Boston, revealed that individuals who get less than 6 hours of sleep, are 4 times more likely to have an increased risk of stroke, compared to those who get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night.  Click on the video above to watch a report from NBC News.

The Results are In

The study, which lasted three years, examined 5,666 adults who were aged 45 and older. They reported their sleep habits and duration and symptoms of strokes every 6 months. The investigators recorded daily health habits, risk factors for stroke, any symptoms of depression, demographic information, health related behaviors, and onset of first stroke like symptoms throughout the study period.

In the study, the elevated risk applied to those who were middle aged and older, but who also were not obese, (had a normal BMI) or had a history of more traditional risk factors for stroke.

These new statistics might be a good reason to start catching a few more zzz’s.

The Numbers are Rising

According to Forbes’ website, the National Sleep Foundation released data showing that only 28 % of adults sleep 8 hours or more per night, down from 38% in 2001.

Also, a recent CDC study published in May, 2012 showed that approximately 30% of US workers get six hours of sleep or less.

Getting plenty of sleep now joins the list of ways to decrease your chances of stroke, which also includes exercising frequently, avoiding excessive alcohol intake, not smoking and everyone’s favorite– eating a low calorie, well balanced diet.

Of course, theses are all important requirements for living a healthy life, and many times we would sleep more if we weren’t so busy. This new research just might be the deciding factor for you to begin a more healthy lifestyle.

Distracted Driving is Spinnning out of Control

June 12, 2012

By: Darrin Clouse

These days, if you notice a car drifting back and forth all over the road, it might not be because the driver has been drinking, they’re more likely to be texting.  What used to look like a DWI or Driving / While / Intoxicated, is probably a  DWTFSSR or Driving /While/ Texting /For/ Some/ Stupid /Reason.

Click here to watch the CBS report on the dangers of distracted driving and how we can strike a balance between technology and safety.

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More than 6 Million Passwords Stolen from LinkedIn

June 7, 2012

By Darrin Clouse:

LinkedIn confirms that  more than six-million of their user’s accounts were compromised, after a hacker posted a list of stolen user passwords on a Russian internet forum. The confirmation prompted LinkedIn to send out a mass alert , instructing all of the affected users to immediately change their passwords. Several of us here at the Consumer Warning Network received that vague email from LinkedIn, mentioning nothing more than a need to reset our password.

A dual assault?

eHarmony, an online dating site, also announced they had been victimized by the same attackers that wreaked havoc on the LinkedIn site. Investigators working on the LinkedIn breach became suspicious when they noticed a large number of the posted passwords contained the word Harmony or eHarmony, and after further inspection, their theory turned out to be true.  eHarmony estimates 1.5 million passwords were stolen from their users.

But wait, there’s more!

As with any disaster, the damage seems to feed off itself, opening up opportunities for other disreputable scams.

The increasing wave of fear generated from this recent lapse in security, most likely has spawned another hoax. A spam campaign that uses service messages pretending to be from LinkedIn. Be careful, so you don’t fall for any fakes trying to get your information. As of yet, no connection has been established between the data breach and the spam messages, but the timing seems suspicious.

How to recognize the scam

The bogus LinkedIn message, designed to represent a formal communication from the site, asks the recipient to confirm his or her e-mail address by clicking on the provided link. That click will transfer the new victim to an illegal online pharmacy,selling Viagra and other medications. That’s always the tell-tale sign of a hack job when you get sent to one of those ad sites.

The campaign couldn’t come at a worse time for LinkedIn, which has been using e-mail to communicate with its members affected by the massive breach of its systems.

How to tell if LinkedIn communication is legit

LinkedIn is using a two-step process in their attempt to clean up this mess. Users affected by the breach will first receive an e-mail without any links in it. It informs the member that they must reset their password and provides them with steps for doing so.

Lastpass, a password-management firm, is offering a free security check for anyone who thinks their password might have been stolen. Click here to visit their site, where they provide specific tools for checking either your LinkedIn, or your eHarmony password.

Knowledge is Power

On-line corruption will  always be around. In fact, hacking techniques advance at about the same pace as legitimate technology. The consumer’s best defense is to stay informed and up to date with the latest privacy control options. Keep in mind how much of your personal information sits right inside of your online device, it’s worth protecting.

Serious Concern Over Vaccine Quality

June 6, 2012

As parents, we depend on the vaccines doctors give to our children to protect them against illness and disease, but a new report indicates some serious concerns with the country’s vaccine supply.  A recent inspection of health providers who offer free vaccinations for children of low income families has the Inspector General’s Office shuddering over how vaccines are being stored and whether it might impact their effectiveness. Click here to watch an exclusive ABC News report on the findings. Read more

Facebook is Going after Your Kids

June 6, 2012

By Darrin Clouse:

Facebook is researching technology that would allow children 12 and younger to join in on its social networking phenomenon. Right now, members need to be 13 years old to join, but if you think underage kids don’t lie about their age in order to join, then you’re really going to be surprised to find out your 11 year old can probably hack into any password protected account on your laptop (remember that whenever you are making birthday gift lists).

That somewhat gullible approach to parenting is what children and teens rely on, so they can stretch their boundaries. It doesn’t mean you have a bad kid, it just means kids are very curious about all the bad things they’re told not to do, and most children aren’t famous for considering the consequences of their actions until it’s much too late.

Facebook trying to be the good guys?

I know Facebook bashing is all the rage, but before lighting the torches on them, you should be aware that their intentions here are actually on the side of safety. The Wall Street Journal reported the new technology would allow parents to decide who their kids can accept as a friend, and what applications they can use.

The hope is that kids will choose to go with the legal, parental-controlled version of Facebook, with mom or dad supervising and giving clearance on every action they take. That’s much better than what’s no doubt happening now.  Underage kids telling a little white lie about their age to gain access to the full-on version, with nobody watching what they say or do in the vast and endless virtual playground.  No rules, and no parent okay needed to add a friend or anything else.

Just an introduction course

Susan Bartell, a psychologist and author of The Top 50 Questions Kids Ask, told USA Today that she has other concerns as well. “I really worry that it comes with a false sense of safety. I think too many parents will think their kids are safe on “Baby Facebook” and now they don’t have to monitor them. And after a month or two of that, they’re going to be like, “I’m done with that” and will start a regular Facebook, and Tumblr and Twitter and just use a name their parents don’t know.”

Other concerned critics worry about the enormous privacy issues that already exist on Facebook. So if they can’t protect the flock they’re herding already, why should we trust them to keep the wolves away from our even younger, and more innocent children?

Tell us how you feel. Do you “Like” the new technology idea for Facebook, or should they “Delete” the whole idea?

Email us here at The Consumer Warning Network and let us know. Click on the video below to watch a FoxNews report on this latest Facebook controversy.

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