💻 📬 📦 Online Shopping – Stay Safe & Keep It Simple 💻 📬 📦

 

Now that we are in the midst of the Holiday Shopping Season, we are trying to find ways to complete our gift lists while avoiding the hassle of crowded shopping centers, parking lots and all of the other external stressors that subtract from the joys of gift giving. Many people have chosen to bypass these hassles all together by doing all of their shopping online.

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While shopping online is convenient in so many ways, it also has it’s own set of precautions that we need to consider. Anything device connected to the Internet, including smartphones and tablets need to be protected – especially during heavy use periods, like the holidays. Scammers and cyber criminals can easily target shoppers.

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Being a safe and secure shopper starts with careful safeguards. Think about the consequences of your actions online before you act and enjoy the conveniences of technology with peace of mind while you shop online. 

Here are some great tips to help you find the ease of internet shopping to be a safe experience as well:

  • Use Familiar Websites rather than shopping with a search engine. Search results can be rigged to lead you astray. If you know the site, chances are it’s less likely to be a rip off. We all know Amazon.com and that it carries everything under the sun; likewise, just about every major retail outlet has an online store, from Target to Best Buy.
  • Beware of misspellings or sites using a different top-level domain (.net instead of .com, for example)—those are the oldest tricks in the book. Yes, the sales on these sites might look enticing, but that’s how they trick you into giving up your info!
  • Look for the Lock and NEVER buy anything that doesn’t have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed—at the very least. You’ll know if the site has SSL because the URL for the site will start with HTTPS:// (instead of just HTTP://). An icon of a locked padlock will appear, typically in the status bar at the bottom of your web browser, or right next to the URL in the address bar. It depends on your browser.
  • Conduct research when using a new website for purchases, read reviews and see if other consumers have had a positive or negative experience with the site.
  • Personal information is like money so value it and protect it! When making a purchase online, be alert to the kinds of information being collected to complete the transaction. Make sure you think it is necessary for the vendor to request that information. Remember, you only need to fill out required fields at checkout.
  • Be on alert for emails that might get us to act quickly and click through links and open attachments. Be wary of emails about problems with your credit cards or an account or the status of online order. Criminals know we are price sensitive when shopping online. Exercise caution when seeing and ad offer where the discount is way below normal.
  • Don’t Tell All! No online shopping store needs your social security number or your birthday to do business. However, if crooks get them, combined with your credit card number for purchases, they can do a lot of damage. The more they know, the easier it is to steal your identity. When possible, default to giving up the least amount of information.
  • Use safe payment options! Credit cards are generally the safest option because they allow buyers to seek a credit from the issuer if the product isn’t delivered or isn’t what was ordered. 
  • Read return and other polices so you know what to expect if the purchase doesn’t go as planned.
  • Limit the type of business you conduct over open public Wi-Fi connections, including logging on to key accounts, such as email and banking. Adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your phone.
  • Keep a clean machine by keeping all web-connected devices ‒ including PCs, smartphones and tablets ‒ free from malware and infections by running only the most current versions of software and apps.
  • Reinforce your online accounts by enabling the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device. Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media.
  • Make your password tough! A strong password is a sentence that is at least 12 characters long. Focus on positive sentences or phrases that you like to think about and are easy to remember (for example, “ILove2MyNewCar!”)
  • Having separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cyber-criminals. At a minimum, separate your work and personal accounts and make sure that your critical accounts have the strongest passwords. 
  • Check your statements regularly and don’t wait for your bill to come at the end of the month. Go online frequently during the holiday season and look at electronic statements for your credit card, debit card, and checking accounts. Make sure you don’t see any fraudulent charges, even originating from sites like PayPal. (After all, there’s more than one way to get to your money.) If you do see something wrong, pick up the phone to address the matter quickly. In the case of credit cards, pay the bill only once you know all your charges are accurate. You have 30 days to notify the bank or card issuer of problems, however; after that, you might be liable for the charges anyway.

packagesxmas.jpgNow that you know the safest ways to shop, you’re only concern should be what is the best gifts to give your friends and family! If your loved ones are as concerned about internet security as you are, we recommend an online security tool.

Click here to see the top 10 Antivirus Software Programs of 2016!

Click here to see the top Identity Theft Protection Services of 2016!

Have a safe and wonderful Holiday Season!

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🍗🍗How to Safely Prepare, Cook, Carve, & Store Your Thanksgiving Turkey🍗🍗

Thanksgiving dinner is a wonderful way to bring family and friends together. Even prepping & cooking the bird and other fixings with others can be a joyous, social experience. So let’s keep it that way by following some helpful tips to ensure you and your guests stay healthy and happy!

How to Safely Thaw a Turkey

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  • Thaw turkeys in the refrigerator, in a sink of cold water that is changed every 30 minutes, or in the microwave.
  • A frozen turkey is safe indefinitely, but a thawing turkey must defrost at a safe temperature. When the turkey is left out at room temperature for more than two hours, its temperature can creep into the danger zone between 40°F and 140°F, where bacteria can grow rapidly.

How to Safely Handle a Turkey

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Bacteria from raw poultry can contaminate anything that it touches. Thoroughly wash your hands, utensils, and work surfaces to prevent the spread of bacteria to your food and family.

How to Safely Cook a Turkey

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  • Set the oven temperature to at least 325°. Place the completely thawed turkey with the breast side up in a roasting pan that is 2 to 2-1/2 inches deep. Cooking times will vary depending on the weight of the bird.
  • To make sure the turkey has reached a safe internal temperature of 165°F, check by using a food thermometer inserted into the center of the stuffing and the thickest portions of the breast, thigh, and wing joint.
  • Let the turkey stand 20 minutes before removing all stuffing from the cavity and carving the meat.

Learn more about safe minimum cooking temperatures and how to use and calibrate a food thermometer for turkey and other foods.

How to Carve a Turkey

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  • Never cut toward yourself. Your free hand should be placed opposite the side you are carving toward. Don’t place your hand underneath the blade to catch the slice of meat.
  • Keep your knife handles and cutting area dry to avoid slips. Good lighting around the cutting area is also important.
  • Keep all cutting utensils sharp. Having a sharp knife will avoid the need to use a lot of force when cutting, which can be dangerous. Dull knives are more likely to cause slips and are still sharp enough to cause an injury. If possible, use an electric knife.
  • Use kitchen shears to tackle the job of cutting bones.

If you cut your finger or hand, bleeding from minor cuts will often stop by applying direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth.

How to Store Your Leftovers

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  • Discard any turkey, stuffing, and gravy left out at room temperature longer than 2 hours; 1 hour in temperatures above 90 °F.
  • Divide leftovers into smaller portions. Refrigerate or freeze in covered shallow containers for quicker cooling.
  • Use refrigerated turkey, stuffing, and gravy within 3 to 4 days.
  • If freezing leftovers, use within 2 to 6 months for best quality.

For more information about food safety (in English and Spanish), call:

USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, 1-888-MPHotline or email  mphotline.fsis@usda.gov

❄😔Holiday Blues got You Down? Try These Prevention & Survival Tips for a Happier & Healthier Winter Season😔❄

Holiday blues are a pretty common problem despite the fact that as a society, we see the holidays as a joyous time,” says Rakesh Jain, MD, director of psychiatric drug research at the R/D Clinical Research Center in Lake Jackson, Texas. “Many people feel depressed, which can be due to the increased stress that comes with the need to shop and the decreased time to exercise which gets put on the back burner during the holidays.”

While people with clinical depression should seek professional help, those with a touch of the holiday blues can try these strategies recommended by experts to assure a merry holiday and a happy new year:

  • Avoid setting up unrealistic expectations for yourself such as taking on hosting responsibilities for events or trying to be the peace keeper in family conflicts.
  • Plan ahead by creating prevention routines for yourself and doing your best to follow your schedule. Set up a calendar of to do lists for positive actions for yourself.
  • Remember it’s ok to grieve. If you’ve suffered a loss and this season is a painful reminder of that, don’t be ashamed to grieve that loss. Feelings are a sign that you’re human and reflect where you are in your healing process.
  • Don’t rob yourself of proper rest! Sleep and rest are important to everyone. Studies have proven that sleep deprivation is directly connected to depression. Do not cut back on your sleep in order to get more done during this busy season. Create a sleep schedule and stick to it.
  • Avoid binging on food and alcohol. What feels good at the moment will have you facing regrets later on. Know your limits and stick to them at all times. In the moment binging may seem like a solution, but in actuality it creates more problems.

If your feelings of sadness during the holidays are accompanied by suicidal thoughts, do one of the following immediately: 1. Call 911  2. Go immediately to a hospital emergency room. 3. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).


Could I be Suffering from Depression?

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Here are some symptoms to help identify depression in yourself or in a loved one:

  • Prolonged sadness or unexplained crying spells
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Struggling with concentrating
  • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
  • Overwhelming and uncontrollable negative thoughts
  • Loss of appetite or significant increase in appetite
  • Escalating irritability, aggression, or anger
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities previously enjoyed
  • Developing an increase in alcohol consumption or reckless (acting out) behavior
  • Thoughts that your life is not worth living or thoughts of death or suicide
  • Fatigue, exhaustion, lack of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Inability to concentrate or make decisions
  • Pessimism, indifference
  • Unexplained aches and pains

If you are experiencing these symptoms you should seek professional help immediately. If you observe these symptoms in a loved one, gently encourage them to consider professional help.

For a listing of depression support groups, please visit the DBSA online


For Family and Friends

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Keep in mind that a mood disorder such as Depression is a physical, treatable illness that effects a person’s brain. It is a real illness, as real as diabetes or asthma. It is not a character flaw or personal weakness, and it is not caused by anything you or your loved one did.

A “tough love” approach is widely considered  unhelpful in terms of aiding someone with depression.


What to do in Crisis Situation

If you believe your loved one is at an immediate risk for suicide, do NOT leave the person alone.

In the U.S., dial 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK

🇺🇸 Veterans, Today We Salute You 🇺🇸

Veterans Day is a time for us to pay our respects to those who have served. Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans–living or dead–but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime. Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. For more on the history of Veterans Day, visit: https://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp

National Veterans Day Ceremony

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The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery . The ceremony commences precisely at 11:00 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations and remarks from dignitaries. The ceremony is intended to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces.

U.S. Veteran Stats

There are approximately 21 million military veterans in the United States.

16.1 million living veterans served during at least one war.

5.2 million veterans served in peacetime.

2 million veterans are women.

7 million veterans served during the Vietnam War era (1964-1975).

5.5 million veterans served during the Gulf War (representing service from Aug. 2, 1990, to present).

Of the 16 million Americans who served during World War II (1941-1945), about 620,000 are still alive.

2 million veterans served during the Korean War (1950-1953).

6 million veterans served in peacetime.

As of 2014, 2.9 million veterans received compensation for service-connected disabilities.

As of 2014, 3 states have more than 1 million veterans in among their population: California (1.8 million), Florida (1.6 million), Texas (1.7 million).

 

Are You a Veteran?

You can find a list of national chains and restaurants offering freebies and deals here:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2016/11/10/veterans-day-deals-and-freebies/93552734/

Keep in mind that most businesses require proof of military service, which can include a VA Universal Access Card, Military I.D., DD-214 (Discharge Papers), Veterans Service Organization Card (VSO’s include groups like the VFW, DAV, AmVets, MOAA, FRA, and the American Legion), or in some cases businesses will accept a picture of the veteran in uniform.

Want to Help

To volunteer to help our Veterans, please visit http://www.volunteer.va.gov

From all of us at Close Range Safety Training Academy, we thank you Veterans for helping afford us our freedom and for the sacrifices you have made to aid in our safety. 

The Private Security Industry is Growing, Fast! There’s No Better Time to Become a Guard and Here’s Why…

There are many types of security guards ranging from unarmed and armed guards, armored truck guards, and estate guards, to private protection agents, bodyguards, PPSO’s, school security officers, and many more. Wherever your specific area of interest may lie in the security field, the need for qualified personnel is rising.

In California, initial training to become a security guard is extremely inexpensive and all-inclusive fees generally range from $170.00 to $200.00. Becoming an armed guard will only set you back about $400.00. Not bad for a profession with so many ways to move up the ladder!

The private security industry is a crucial component of security and safety in the United States and abroad. Today, private security is responsible not only for protecting many of the nation‘s institutions and critical infrastructure systems, but also for protecting intellectual property and sensitive corporate information. U.S. companies also rely heavily on private security for a wide range of functions, including protecting employees and property, conducting investigations, performing pre-employment screening, providing information technology security, and many other functions.

These services are used in a wide range of markets, from commercial to residential. Some companies hire their own security personnel, whereas others contract with security firms for these services or use a mix of services—both proprietary and contract staff.

Many roles traditionally held by police officers are being filled by private security professionals. With many cities and communities seeing cutbacks to their law enforcement personnel, positions like event security and residential patrol have fallen under the realm of private security and for-hire security guards.

Here are the Stats…

The private security industry has been booming since 2010 and is only expected to continue on that path through 2020. Specific occupations within security, like private detectives, investigators and security guards, are all expected to see growth of around 20 percent through the end of the decade, far outpacing the average for all other jobs. 

California has the highest security guard employment level in the United States, with almost 10 security professionals per 1000 working professionals employed in security.

Los Angeles–Long Beach–Glendale–California Metropolitan Division is ranked #2 in the United States for Metropolitan areas with the highest employment level in the security field.

US demand for private contracted security services is expected to rise 4.2 percent annually through 2019 to $66.9 billion.

For more information about the requirements to get started in this booming field, visit the B.S.I.S. website.

If you live in the Los Angeles area, please visit Close Range Safety Training Academy to view our schedule of BSIS Security Training Classes.

🍗🍩🌰🍻8 Thanksgiving Day Foods That Can Kill Your Dog🍻🌰🍩🍗

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Turkey Skin

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High fat foods, like delicious turkey skin, can be hazardous to your dog’s health. The skin holds marinades, spices, butter, and oils, and is difficult to digest. High fat foods lead to pancreatitis. Symptoms include vomiting, abdominal pain, and lethargy.

Cooked Bones

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Cooked turkey and ham bones are NOT safe for dogs. They can SPLINTER in the dog’s digestive tract and your holiday may include a pricey and unexpected trip to the emergency and WORSE. Dispose of bones carefully so that your pup isn’t tempted to eat them.

Onions and Garlic

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Onions and garlic contain sulfides, which are TOXIC to dogs, and can lead to anemia. Onions are more toxic than garlic and cooking them does not reduce their toxicity.

Alcohol

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Many dogs love the taste of beer, but that doesn’t mean you should share your frosty brew with your best bud. Any alcohol, and particularly the hops in beer, is toxic, and in some cases, can cause DEATH in dogs.

Nuts

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Specifically WALNUTS and MACADAMIA nuts are VERY dangerous for your dog. They can cause a toxic reaction called “macadamia nut toxicosis”. Within twelve (12) hours of eating them, dogs are unable to stand, vomiting, having tremors, fever, weakness, and elevated heart rate. Usually symptoms go away, but this can lead to DEADLY shock.

Nutmeg

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Used to spice sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, and other holiday foods, nutmeg can cause SEIZURES and CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM PROBLEMS if your dog ingests it. In extreme cases, it can even cause DEATH. Both sweet potatoes and pumpkin, in moderation, are good for your dog – just make sure they don’t have any nutmeg on or in them before you give them any.

Sage

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Sage contains essential oils that can cause stomach upset. Best to this herb out of reach from your pup’s paws!

Chocolate, Dough and Batter

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We all know that chocolate is a NO-NO, but did you know that dough can actually RISE INSIDE your dog’s stomach, causing severe pain and bloating? Additionally, dough and batter contain raw eggs, which may contain Salmonella. Keep you pup out of the kitchen while you bake and clean up any spills right away.

If you thing your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

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November is American Diabetes Month: Prevention & Awareness Matters

Did you know that 1 in 11 Americans today has diabetes?

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Despite its prevalence, diabetes is an invisible disease. It affects men and women, people young and old, and people of all races, shapes and sizes. Often there are no outward signs from the 29 million Americans who fight this chronic illness every day. That’s why there is a critical need to foster awareness and education while breaking down stereotypes, myths and misunderstandings about this growing public health crisis that affects so many of us.

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Diabetes is more than the medications and devices used to manage it. For many, diabetes dictates how they organize their day, what they eat at every meal, how they choose to be physically active and how they spend their money. People with diabetes can have health care costs that are 2.3 times higher than someone without diabetes, as type 1 and type 2 require very specific forms of treatment.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and there is no known way to prevent it. Approximately 5 percent of people with diabetes have type 1, which means their body does not produce any insulin. Insulin is critical in order for the body to transport glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream into cells for energy. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day to live.

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Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 90 to 95 percent of cases in the United States, and is caused when the body does not produce or use insulin properly. Risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include being overweight, having a family history of diabetes and having diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes). Some people with type 2 diabetes can control their blood glucose (sugar) with healthy eating and being active; other may require oral medications or insulin, especially as the disease progresses. Type 2 diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, as well as older adults.

Some women develop gestational diabetes, high blood glucose (sugar) levels during pregnancy, which requires treatment to protect the health of the mother and the baby. Gestational diabetes affects approximately 9.2 percent of pregnant women.


There’s a way for everybody to participate during American Diabetes Month in November:

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Share your story, or encourage a friend or family member to share theirs using #ThisIsDiabetes. You can also update your Facebook profile picture to help raise awareness, sign up to become an advocate and donate to help the American Diabetes Association continue their critical work. To learn more and view #ThisIsDiabetes stories from around the country, check out diabetes.org/adm.

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