Things to consider before making a charitable donation

Michael left a horrible scene of destruction in its path. We see the devastation and we want to help. For most of us that means making a charitable donation. Unfortunately, tragedies like this not only bring forth heroes, but scoundrels, as well. These are the scammers with phony charities trying, literally, to cash in on someone’s sorrow.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has published a list of clues that could indicate a scam charity:

  • High-pressure tactics.
  • No details about how contributions will be used.
  • No written information about the charity, its mission, or how it operates.
  • Requests for payment to an individual, rather than an organization.
  • Someone who offers to pick up donations immediately.
  • Requests for donations via cash or gift card.
  • Callers who ask for donations but don’t identify themselves and won’t provide written information about the cause.

And even if you have determined the charity is legitimate, find out before donating just how the money will be used. You may want your donation to go to a different cause.

And, if donating online, remember to ask how the website will use your personal information.

Here are a couple of resources for you.  Ohio Attorney GeneralBetter Business Bureau.

Can anything be done about robocalls?

Does this scene ring true for you as it does for the Mitchells? It is supper time and the phone rings. Another aggravating robocall! And if misery loves company, we are not alone. During the first five months of this year, we Americans received no less than four billion robocalls!

Why is it that this pesky business cannot be curtailed?  Simply stated, the telemarketers have a lot going in their favor. As an article in Stateline points out, “the combined hurdles of technology, economics and geography make the job difficult.”

Geography? Yes! Many of the robocalls originate from overseas, making enforcement incredibly problematic.

And the Federal Communication Commission concedes the “Do Not Call” list does not work. That’s because so many of the robocallers do not follow the law.

Many states are increasing fines. But, the profit margin is so huge, the risks are apparently worth taking.

Is there nothing that can be done? Right now, the best defense would be to install blocking software such as nomorobo?   It may be, that in time technology will be our savior, much as it is with the floods of spam email.

In the meantime, the robocallers have our numbers.

Explore the Greater Toledo History Trail. I am.

If you know me, then you know my interest in nostalgia and my passion for Toledo history. So,  you can imagine how my interest was piqued when I heard about the a new project promoted by the Toledo History Museum – the Greater Toledo History Trail.

Ted Long from the Toledo History Museum took some time with me to discuss the Trail, which he calls an adventure, “People will have a real blast as they explore our area’s historic sites and museums but they’ll also gain a new appreciation for the Toledo story. ”

There are nine stops along the History Trail that offer”amazing history journeys.” The first step is to go online and print your history travel passport. Then hit the trail to the Toledo Police Museum, the Toledo Firefighters Museum, the Wolcott Heritage Center, the Local History Department at the Toledo Lucas County Public Library, Spafford House Museum, Sylvania Historical Village, Brandville School & Museum Complex, the National Museum of the Great Lakes and the Toledo History Museum.

While you may start the Trail at any of the nine locations, Ted suggests starting with the Toledo History Museum at 2001 Collingwood at the corner of Woodruff. I’ve been to most of the locations already. My favorite? I think I might be leaning toward the Toledo Firefighters Museum.


How do we find out what Facebook knows?

There are few things in life that are certain, but I feel fairly certain you will be surprised by what you learn Facebook has archived about you.  And it all dates back to the very first day you opened your Facebook account. All the posts. All the photos. The books you like to read. And who on Facebook has identified  you as a family member. And wait until you see all the phone numbers collected in your archive!

Want to see for yourself? Here’s what to do.

  • On your Facebook page, click on the  downward-pointing arrow at the top right corner. Select Settings.
  • Click on the link that says “Download a copy of your Facebook data.”
  • Click the Start My Archive link.
  • Facebook will then send you an email to let you know when the zip file with your archive is ready. Make sure that when you extract the files they all go into the same folder. Click on the “Index” page and your web browser will open with a mini website with all your stuff as links under your profile photo.

Just remember, your entire life on Facebook is there! So if there were any embarrassing posts or visits you would rather not share again I might suggest doing your browsing through the archive in private.

Close it! Snap it! Zip it!

Safety caps on our medicine bottles are child resistant, not child proof.

That fact was hammered home multiple times in an interview I recently had with Lori Dixon, the president of Great Lakes Marketing in Toledo. She is also, this year, chairing the national Poison Prevention Week campaign. And I might also mention, in the interest of full disclosure, she is my sister.

Her firm has been testing safety caps for years. The goal is to deter.

Child resistant means the safety cap has been tested with 80 percent of the children tested between the ages of 3 1/2 and 4 1/4 years of age could not open it in ten minutes, she told me. “It’s designed to give parents ten minutes to find your child, take away whatever your child has, and put it where the child cannot get it.”

But, for that safety cap to be child resistant,  she reminds us it must be used correctly to engage the safety feature. So that brings us to the slogan this year for Poison Prevention Week:  Close it! Snap it! Zip it!