5 Consumer Protection Tips to Prevent Online Identity Theft

identity theft

Almost everybody shares sensitive personal data online in one way or another. For instance, your social media profiles are likely filled with personal information. Odds are you’re sharing personal financial information to make online purchases as well.

Unfortunately, if such data falls in the wrong hands, it can be used to commit fraud. Because of this, consumer protection has become more important than ever.

Feb. 28-March 6, 2021 was National Consumer Awareness Week. Fraud runs rampant online, which is why spreading awareness about consumer protection is so important.

Consumer Protection Tips for You

Online thieves have been known to hack into accounts as well as trick users into providing personal information. Hackers will commit credit card fraud using your credit card number or personal details. That and identity fraud can have massive consequences.

The following are a few consumer protection tips to prevent identity theft online:

  • Always download software updates – Whenever your computer or phone has an update available, download it. Updates can protect against possible security breaches and prevent viruses that may expose your personal information.
  • Don’t open suspicious emails – If you get an email that seems suspicious, don’t open it. If you do open the email and still do not know what it is, then don’t download any attachments or click on any links.
  • Shop on secure sites – If you’re making an online purchase, only do so on a website that uses the HTTPS protocol. This ensures your information is encrypted.
  • Use difficult-to-guess passwords  – Use various numbers and symbols for passwords. Don’t use the same password for everything and don’t make it something that’s easy to guess (like “password” or your birthdate). 
  • Use IDShield IDShield will monitor your online identity, credit, and social media activities to ensure nothing out of the ordinary is showing up. If there are activities that indicate fraud, you will be notified immediately so you can act quickly. They also provide full-service identity restoration and other features.

Be sure to use these consumer protection tips to prevent identity theft online. For more advice about consumer protection, visit us at The Benefits Store today.

March is about Sleep Awareness

sleep awareness

A good night’s sleep is more important than you might realize. The amount of sleep you get and the quality of that sleep have an enormous impact on your wellbeing. Not only does it affect mental health, but it also affects your physical health as well.

Raising awareness about the importance of sleep is essential to general health awareness. That’s why March is National Sleep Awareness Month.

The Importance of Sleep Awareness Month

The quality and duration of your sleep play a vital part in your body’s ability to regulate metabolism. It also plays an important role in your ability to regulate:

  • Emotions
  • Learning
  • Remembering

If you don’t get enough sleep, it can cause a lot of issues.

Sleep deprivation over a period of time can impair your reaction time (more specifically, hand-eye coordination) and your judgment. For example, lack of sleep can cause driver fatigue, which leads to an estimated 83,000 car accidents a year. Additionally, prolonged sleep deprivation has been linked to depression, the increased perception of pain, and a weakened immune system.

How To Improve Your Quality Of Sleep

First, you need to understand just how much sleep is needed for a healthy lifestyle. According to the AASM (American Academy of Sleep Medicine), adults should sleep at least seven hours a night. Children between the ages of 13-18 should sleep between 8-10 hours a night. The younger children are, the more sleep they need.

To ensure you’re getting the proper amount of sleep, go to bed at the same time every night. Establish a relaxing routine that makes it easier to fall asleep. For instance, take a warm bath or shower before bed. Avoid staring at any screens, such as your TV, computer, tablet, or phone, right before going to sleep. Turn out all lights as you prepare for bed.

Get the Sleep You Need

Sleep is important, which is why March is Sleep Awareness Month. For more sleeping advice or any other health-related information, visit us at The Benefits Store.

Poisoning: Prepare, Prevent, Protect

Poison Prevention

When it comes to safety awareness, there’s one big risk that many don’t know about: poisoning. Many people assume it’s a rare occurrence here in California. Yet poisoning is the leading cause of unintentional death in the U.S., surpassing even car accident-related deaths.

In 2019, there were over 2.1 million poison exposures reported to poison control centers in the U.S. Spreading awareness about poison prevention is critical.

6 Poison Prevention Tips

You might be surprised at how many poison risks are in your household. Some of the most common poison risks include painkillers, household cleaners, and cosmetics.

The following are a few tips for poison prevention around your home:

  1. Always put poisonous products away after use – Put potentially poisonous products away immediately after use.
  2. Discard poisonous products safely – When throwing away used products that are potentially poisonous, make sure to discard them in a sealed, outdoor container.
  3. Keep poisonous products separate from food – You don’t want your food to become contaminated by accident. Don’t store cleaning products in cabinets along with dry foods. Always keep these items separate.
  4. Keep poisonous products stored – Household cleaners and medications should never be left out in the open where children or pets can reach them. Always store them in a safe place, such as a medicine cabinet or an under-the-sink cabinet. If you have kids, consider childproof locks.
  5. Use original containers when storing poisonous products – Don’t move products to a different container. Keep them in their original containers so everyone knows exactly what they are and what’s in them.
  6. Ventilate areas in which you use cleaning products – Using household cleaners full of chemicals in a small room can cause issues if you don’t ventilate it properly. Run fans, open doors, and open windows to make sure the space is properly ventilated.

These are just a few poison prevention tips you can follow at home. For more safety awareness advice, be sure to visit us at The Benefits Store.

Pet Safety: Poison Sources and Prevention

pet poison prevention

Anyone who has a pet will agree that they are family members. If you have a pet living in your home, then you’re responsible for pet safety.

Unfortunately, there are more than 100,000 cases of pet poisoning in the U.S. every year, many of which are the result of common household substances. To ensure California pet owners are aware of these potential dangers, March has been designated Pet Poison Prevention Month.

Improve Pet Safety by Understanding Poison Risks

The odds are that you do everything possible to keep your pets safe. However, there are many common household items and foods that can poison your pet if you’re not careful.

The following are a few of those items that you should be aware of:

  • Flea and tick products – The anti-flea and tick products you spray on your pet’s coat may protect them against flea and tick bites, but they can also be poisonous if your pets ingest them.
  • Herbal products – Any type of herbal supplements you’re taking can prove deadly for your pets.
  • Household products – Many common household products contain chemicals that can poison your pets. These include products such as bleach and paint thinners.
  • Human food – Certain foods cause severe allergic reactions in different types of pets. Some of the more toxic foods for pets include:
    • Alcohol
    • Avocados
    • Chocolate
    • Grapes
    • Macadamia nuts
    • Raisins
  • Medications – Any medications you take can poison your pet, including over-the-counter medicines, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and cold relievers. Almost all prescription medications, including antidepressants, can poison your pets as well.
  • Plants – Certain plants can be toxic to your pets if ingested. Such plants can include azaleas, daffodils, lilies, sago palms, and tulips.

Keep Your Pets Safe from Poisonous Products

As you can see, there are many household products that are a risk to pet safety. Understand the poison dangers of the products around your home and make sure that you keep them away from your pet.

For more safety awareness tips for the California home, be sure to visit us at The Benefits Store.

The ROI of Pediatric Dental Care

pediatric dental care

Dental care is an incredibly important part of childcare. Parents should begin paying attention to pediatric dental care as soon as possible to ensure their child grows up with healthy teeth. This is especially important when you understand how much children are affected by tooth decay.

According to the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, decay is one of the most common chronic conditions experienced by children in the U.S., with almost 50% experiencing tooth decay by the age of five.

Why Is Pediatric Dental Care So Important?

Children who don’t receive regular pediatric dental care are more vulnerable to tooth decay as they grow older. It’s estimated about 20 percent of children between the ages of 5-11 have at least one decayed tooth that hasn’t been treated. Around 13% of adolescents between the ages of 12-19 have at least one decayed tooth that hasn’t been treated.

Tooth decay results when plaque builds up on the teeth. This produces an acid that erodes teeth. Plaque buildup can lead to many other issues as well, such as dental abscesses and gum disease. Children who have tooth decay can experience a variety of symptoms, including bad breath, aesthetic blemishes on their teeth (such as black spots), tooth sensitivity, and toothaches.

Preventing Tooth Decay

Fluoride can help to prevent tooth decay, which is why it’s important to teach children to brush their teeth every day using fluoride toothpaste. If you have children, don’t just tell them to brush their teeth. Show them how to do it by brushing yourself. Showing by example will make it easier for them to learn how to do it correctly.

Dental sealants are another option. They can be applied to back teeth and will help reduce decay by 81% for upwards of two years.

Finally, it’s essential that children receive pediatric dental care on a routine basis. Take them to the dentist at least twice a year.

For more dental health tips for children or for health advice in general, be sure to visit us at The Benefits Store.