Watching for ‘combosquatting’

Friday, February 16, 2018

Dear Heloise: There is a new computer/cellphone attack to be leery of called “COMBOSQUATTING.”

Malicious websites creep into your computer by means of what appears to be a familiar name of a bank or business. For example:, or www.(businessname) The hyphen makes all the difference in steering you to a dangerous site. If there seems to be a sense of urgency, be careful. Think before you click on it. Can you call the business or bank first to find out if it actually sent you that link? If you can, do so! -- Henry N., Washington, D.C.



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Fax: 1-210-HELOISE



Dear Heloise: Over the course of my career, I’ve owned four businesses, and I’ve found that the most successful businesses know how to keep employees happy and reduce turnover. Try some of the following to build a solid, happy workforce:

* Give an employee his or her birthday off.

* Give small gifts for a job well done, such as a gift card or maybe tickets to a sporting event.

* Offer flexibility concerning hours, or for working from home.

* Encourage employees to discuss workplace issues with you to build trust. -- Alan D., Fresno, Calif.


Dear Heloise: There’s now a law that many travelers are not aware of, called the REAL ID Act. It requires flyers in certain states to present another valid form of identification besides a driver’s license. For the list of states that require this second form of ID, visit: As of Oct. 1, 2020, this act will apply to all states and all flyers, both domestically and internationally. The Department of Homeland Security lists all acceptable ID, including a passport, a border-crossing card and a driver’s license. For the entire list, go to: -- Elizabeth G., New York, N.Y.


Dear Heloise: While traveling overseas, my husband and I learned a lot about hand gestures that we’d thought were innocent expressions. We were wrong! To Americans, a thumbs-up sign means a job well done or approval, but in the Middle East, Greece and parts of Italy, it’s considered a vulgar sign. Never touch someone on the head in Thailand: It’s considered extremely rude. Before traveling to any foreign country, I highly recommend learning about the hand gestures of that country to avoid any misunderstandings. -- Beth and Richard F., Concord, N.H.


Dear Heloise: What happens to lost luggage? Where does it go? -- Pam A., Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Pam, most luggage is misdirected rather than lost, and the majority is eventually returned to the correct owners. However, when luggage is unclaimed for three months, and after every effort is made to locate the luggage, claims usually are paid on lost bags. The luggage at that point becomes the property of the airlines, and they sell the unclaimed bags to the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Alabama. -- Heloise

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