How to protect your accounts from fraud
The internet provides endless conveniences. Unfortunately, however, it also offers fraudsters a plethora of ways to scam businesses and people. The web may have shrunk the world, but that may make it easier to bump into bad-faith actors. Account takeovers are one of the biggest threats, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself.
Step one, you should enable two-factor authentication (2FA). This way, whenever you log into an account, the website will send an email or text message with a code. Importantly, even if a fraudster has your password, they will also need access to your phone or email. While it’s somewhat common for passwords to get exposed, it’s less likely that a scammer will have both your cell phone and your account password. Likewise, someone might snatch your phone but still need the account password.
Researchers have found that 2FA can prevent up to 100 percent of bot attacks and 90 percent of targeted attacks. Bot attacks are especially dangerous. Many scammers prefer brute force attacks, meaning they try random passwords repeatedly until they gain access. Manually plugging in passwords would take a long time. But here’s the thing: Hackers can use automated bots to test passwords. They can upload a list of common passwords and then have these bots run them and see if they can gain access. Financial institutions report that over 70 percent of login attempts likely to come from malicious bots.
So, in step two, you need to use a complex, hard-to-guess password. Add in a few random numbers, symbols, and cApITaLiZE at least a few random letters.
Step three, don’t reuse passwords for different accounts. Unfortunately, your bank or favorite electronics store might someday suffer a data breach and expose your login details. Then, fraudsters can buy lists of these passwords. If your bank password provides access to your Amazon or eBay account, you can quickly lose control of them.
5 popular walkway materials
Are you thinking of creating a walkway to add elegance to your property? Here are five materials to consider.
1. Interlocking pavers. Available in a variety of designs, interlocking pavers provide a contemporary look. They’re durable and require little maintenance unless the surface is particularly porous.
2. Natural stone. Natural stone is robust and gives your yard a rustic look. Remember that the stone slabs must be carefully installed to ensure they lie flat and don’t create a tripping hazard.
3. Mulch. Wood chips and bark are ideal for creating an organic-looking walkway. However, you must reapply the mulch yearly to maintain a neat look.
4. Crushed materials. Crushed stone, concrete, and brick are some of the most popular options. Make sure the size or shape of the aggregate isn’t too bulky, making it uncomfortable to walk on.
5. Wood planks. A wooden walkway with closely spaced planks is esthetically pleasing. It’s also ideal for wheelchair accessibility.
Before installing your walkway, you must carefully prepare the surface. Remove a layer of turf, raise the middle slightly to facilitate rainwater runoff, and apply the required underlay, like geotextile fabric, rock dust, or sand.
For professional results, hire a local landscaping company to complete your walkway.
Embellish your yard with striking conifers
Do you want to add plants to your yard to make it more attractive? Flowers are an obvious choice, but conifers can add striking contrast. Whether you choose standard size, bushy or dwarf, here are some of the advantages of planting evergreens:
• They shelter your home from cold winds, reducing your heating costs
• They attract pretty birds to nest or take refuge
• Many species can be pruned into elegant shapes like cubes, spheres, and cones
• Unlike deciduous trees, which lose their foliage in winter, conifers retain their beautiful color and volume all year
• Planting several conifers together can increase privacy in your yard and block out sound
• Many types of conifers are edible and have medicinal properties
Cedars, spruces, false cypresses, junipers, and pines — visit your local nursery to find the ideal conifers to enhance your landscaping.
Tantalizing tales of yesteryears: Unraveling a lifetime through Words
There’s a familiar refrain that often echoes around family gatherings: “If only we’d asked Dad about that…”. There’s an inevitable longing for the tales untold and the sagas left unwritten. It is your mission, noble patriarch or matriarch, to gift future generations with the essence of your journey. A grand novel or an Academy Award-winning screenplay isn’t necessary, a simple account from the heart will do. Or perhaps, you might even venture into a heartfelt video memoir. After all, your chronicles don’t have to unfold in a sweeping epic but can gently unveil themselves as bite-sized anecdotes.
Let’s plunge into the realm of yesteryears with these thoughtful themes that may ignite your memory and creativity:
- Familial Tapestry: Embark on a nostalgic journey through the lanes of your childhood, your kin, the elders who bestowed wisdom, and the siblings who partook in your earliest adventures. Paint the colors of your lineage, the laughter that rang through your house, the frightful instances that brought you closer. Remember those traditions that evolved over time? Yes, they’re important too!
- Professional Chronicles: Unearth the gems from your career journey. Relive those moments of triumph, and grapple once again with the challenges that led to growth. Unfurl your aspirations and lessons learned along the way.
- Chronicles of the Heart: Travel back to the time when Cupid struck for the first time. What stirred within you? Recall your relationships, the lessons they imparted, and the mirror they held up to your own self.
- Voyages and Ventures: Travel isn’t always about exotic vacations, sometimes, it’s about unexpected detours or even life-changing relocations. Recall those road trips, no matter how brief, each journey has a story.
- Wisdom Well Earned: Unravel your philosophy and life lessons – the ones learned through joyous victories and the ones that came wearing the cloak of challenges. What advice would you bequeath to the young ones today?
4 signs you need to replace your soffit and fascia
Your home’s soffits and fascia boards protect your attic and roof from water infiltration and keep pests out. Here are four signs it’s time to have yours repaired or replaced.
1. The paint is peeling or flaking. Once the paint on your soffits and fascia begins to deteriorate, it creates an opening for moisture to permeate the boards. This can result in water damage to the roof, interior walls, and siding.
2. The gutters are loose. The soffit and fascia boards act as the support system for your gutters. Consequently, if you notice your gutters are wobbly and unsteady, the fascia or soffits likely require repair.
3. Pests are hanging around your home. Your soffits and fascia boards are designed to keep rodents, bugs, and other small critters from entering your home. Therefore, bite marks, nesting materials, or droppings in your attic often indicate that your soffits and fascia must be repaired.
4. There’s little to no ventilation. Soffits provide ventilation and prevent condensation in your attic. If you notice that your home seems stuffy, your soffits are probably blocked or damaged.
Contact a local roofing contractor to inspect your soffits and fascia and make any necessary repairs.
Why you should let your tulips wither
Blooming tulips are a telltale sign that spring has sprung! Although it can be tempting to cut the entire plant back once the blooms fade, it can affect the following year’s performance.
Tulips use their stems and foliage to gather energy for the bulb as they die off. Cutting them back too early robs the bulb of the energy it needs for the next growing season.
Instead, once the blooms wilt, clip off only the flower head. It keeps the tulip from creating a seed head but allows the greenery to remain. After a week or two, the remaining foliage will die back and slowly turn brown. This is a sign that cutting the tulip down to the ground is safe.
Allowing your tulips to wither slowly goes a long way to keeping them healthy and robust for the following spring.
Guidelines for creating a visual impact in your garden
Want to make your flowerbeds the talk of the town? Here are a few tips to make the outside of your home visually stunning.
• Pick a focal point. Draw the eye and create a lasting impression. You can use a small fountain, statue, or bench as a focal point or simply a cluster of eye-catching flowers or shrubs.
• Vary the height of your plants. Combine plants of varying sizes to add dimension to your flowerbed. For example, tall, ornamental grasses near the back of your border will give your garden visual balance and texture.
• Define boundaries. Create distinct borders to demarcate the perimeter of your garden. For example, great features are poured concrete, wooden trellises, and hedges.
• Make paths. Paths and walkways can drastically alter the look of your garden and invite people in. You can use woodchips, pallets, decorative stone, or poured concrete to attain the desired visual effect. Mulch around the paths to give your flowerbeds a clean, crisp look.
Finally, make sure you plant a wide variety of flowers, shrubs, bulbs, and other plants that complement each other for the most striking appeal.
Wind: 3mph NW
UV index: 8