Wednesday, July 18, 2018

New Scam.

Shopping Woman Girl Shop Woman Shopping Pe Just the other morning, I received another text on my phone, offering me the job of mystery shopper.  I didn't ask for the information to be sent as i have a regular job, so this tells me it is another scam.

There are real companies who hire people mystery shoppers but they do not send unsolicited emails or texts looking for people.

These scams work in several different ways.  One way is to create a web site where you have to pay money to access it in order to find out more about the job, a directory of the companies, and the certifications that are required.  Of course the jobs require you pay more to obtain their certification which is worthless.  Lists of legitimate companies are available for free on the internet.

A second way is that you are hired to evaluate a local money transfer service.  The idea is that you are sent a check which you deposit into your account.  Of course the check is for more than you need, so you are to keep a fee, take the rest and wire it to a third party.  By the time you find out the check is fake, it is too late.

Although the bank gives you access to the monies, it can take up to several weeks for the lack of funds to become known.  Unfortunately, the person who has to make sure the bank gets its money is the one who deposited it.  This means you could be out a couple of thousand.  This is a variation of the fake check scam, similar to the car wrap scheme.

Ways to tell its a scam:
1.  The email is via gmail or AOL.
2.  If its a text, the phone number is not a normal one.  The phone number on this text showed up as 141-020-0500 which has been identified as a scam phone number.
3.  You are offered good pay for doing very little.
4. They tell you to deposit a check, take a small amount out before wiring it to someone.
5. The 'employers' set a deadline of say two days from receiving the check to deposit it, withdraw the money, and sending it on.  There is pressure to do it in a very short time because they want to get it done before the bank discovers the check is fake.

In the past scammers used mail, then moved to e-mail before heading off to texting.  Be suspicious of any offer which sounds too good to be true.  I had someone receive the car wrap text and asked me about it.  I promptly checked the internet for more info to verify it was a scam.  Thankfully, the person listened to me and did not follow through.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Chef Sean Walklin's Grilled Kale Recipe

Vegetables Vitamins Diet Food Eat Cooking I promised you the delicious kale recipe I tasted last week at the Farmer's Market.  I had planned on sharing it with you yesterday but I thought the information on the scam was much more important.

The chef made a minor change to the recipe.  Since the kale was so tender and sweet, he omitted the apple and he grilled some shrimp, cut it up before tossing it on top of the kale dish.

He placed the shrimp on top rather than in the mix because there were a couple of vegetarians around who wanted to taste the kale.  He also sprinkled the bread crumbs on at the end so those who needed a gluten free sample could have it.
It was so good, I ordered an electric grill for my house so I can grill inside during the winter.  I've always wanted to grill but couldn't due to too much snow in the winter.  Now I can do it. It might not be as good as with charcoal but I don't have to find any in the middle of a rural Alaskan village.  I don't even think they get it out there.

Grilled Kale
1/2 day-old baguette, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 6 cups) or store-bought breadcrumbs
8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
1/4 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
Freshly ground black pepper
3 large bunches Tuscan or regular kale, ribs and stems removed
1/2 apple, cored, very thinly sliced lengthwise
3 radishes, trimmed, very thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss bread with 4 tablespoons of oil on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until crisp and golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Let cool. Pulse in a food processor until you get coarse crumbs with some larger pea-size pieces remaining. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in paprika; set aside.
Meanwhile, mix yogurt, crème fraîche, garlic, lemon juice and honey in a medium bowl. Gradually add 2 tablespoons of oil, whisking until combined. Season dressing with salt and pepper.
Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Toss kale with remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large bowl to coat; massage leaves to soften. Working in batches, grill kale, turning often, until nicely charred and slightly wilted, about 2 minutes per batch. Transfer back to bowl when done and let cool slightly. Add apple and radish and toss to combine. Drizzle with dressing; toss again.
Serve salad topped with reserved paprika breadcrumbs and the seafood of your choice.

It isn't that hard to adjust for Vegans, Gluten-Free, or other dietary restrictions.  The sample was so good, I immediately went out and purchased some kale that I've used in other ways because the weather has been kind of rainy and I haven't been able to use my outdoor grill.  I'll get more and try grilling it then.

I hope you enjoy this recipe.  Have a great day, and let me know what you think, because I'd love to hear.

Monday, July 16, 2018

This Scam Is Out and About

Car, Wrapped, Covered, Auto, Vehicle The other day, I received a text on my cell phone offering me an easy way to earn a set amount of money per week.

The text went as follows:
FRM: Darren Mclachlan
MSG: Hiring for Pepsi Cola Car & Bikes wraps for $550 weekly.  Reply yes to apprise better.

Sounds like a great way to earn money without having to do much other than allowing someone to wrap you car with an advertisement and you just drive around.

Unfortunately, this is a scam.According to several sites online, the text I received is the first step in the scam referred to as the "Hook".  It temps people because they don't have to do much except drive around.  The idea is that you respond to the text.  They get your information and send you a check or directly deposit an amount for more than the first week's earning. The extra is to pay for your car being wrapped and you are asked to send the extra via wire to the company who supposedly will wrap your car.  Although the car wrapping people are in a different state, they have someone who will be assigned to complete the job in your area.

The check you are sent looks as if it is from a legitimate company complete with routing number, address, signature etc.   You have no clue it is not a good check and neither does the bank, so you go ahead, deposit it before sending the rest of the money on. By the time you find out the check is not valid, its too late.  You have to make up the money from your account.  Neither the person issuing the check, nor the one who will wrap your car is real. 

The text I received was for Pepsi but there are also text's and email offers for energy drinks such as Rockstar, Monster, and Red Rain, Red Bull, or other companies such as Heineken beer and Cricket Wireless. 

Things to look for to tell you its a scam include:
1.  Cashing the check and sending the difference between your promised pay and the amount of the check wired via a company such as Western Union.
2.  The companies issuing checks have nothing to do with car wrapping or the product.
3.  The person you send it to is listed in a totally different state.
4.  They require you to do this immediately
5.  The English in the text or e-mail has lots of misspellings and incorrect grammar usage.

The biggest tip off of being a scam is requiring you to wire the money.  The only thing a person needs to pick up the wire is usually a fake ID and once they've picked up the money, you will not be able to recover it.

Although this particular scam has been around since at least 2013 based on the information I can find, it appears scammers are moving from email to texting to attract victims.  This is the current incarnation of the fake check scam.  Keep your eyes open for it.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Farmers Market

Vegetables Veggies Farmers Market Veggie S Our local farmers market runs from mid May to late September.  I realize its a much shorter time than many places but the snow does not fully melt till May and the first frost is usually the end of August.

We have several farmers here who must use greenhouses and crop covers in order to produce crops for the market.

I went through the farmers market this past Wednesday and found some really nice things.  Unfortunately, only about a third of vendors actually sell vegetables or berries.  The rest sell some sort of product like hand cream, photos, baked goods, or other items.

One of my favorite places is the vendor from Manley Hot Springs.  They often offer things no one else does because they are able to heat their greenhouses with geothermal heat.  They offered their first oriental eggplants of the season.  Ohh, they were such a beautiful, shiny purple.  I bought two.   They've been offering beans and cucumbers.  This is also the group who offers cantaloupes and if things go well, watermelons.  No they are not the huge watermelons.  The melons are more often the small one to two person size.

Another group who are local, grow beautiful greens such as kale, Swiss chard, bok choy, and other greens.  Today I stir fried some Swiss chard with onions, apples, and a bit of vinegar as a side dish to the eggplant Parmesan.  I plan to cook the bok choy up with some stock, butter, and a bit of miso until soft and the liquid is mostly gone. 

One of the guys offered the first summer squash I've seen.  I didn't buy any because I had already purchased eggplant, Swiss chard, small onions, kale, bok choy, and freshly grown tomatoes.  I didn't want to buy too much because I want to buy a bit more come Saturday.

It is also the time of year when the farmer's market had the first chef out cooking for the public, showing what to do with a vegetable. This week it was kale.  He made a grilled kale, sprinkled with seasoned bread crumbs and topped with grilled shrimp and a yogurt sauce.  I'd never had grilled kale but this dish was soooo good.  I had mine without the shrimp and it was great.  I'll be sharing the recipe with you on Monday. 

Unfortunately, not everyone was set up this past Wednesday because it was cold and rainy so attendance was down.  I plan to take pictures on Saturday to share some of the wonderful produce people bring to the market. 

I hope you support your local farmers market.  The prices might be a bit more than at the local store but people make a living providing freshly grown food that has not had to travel hundreds or thousands of miles.  I love the freshness and the tenderness of the food.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

I Love, Love, Love, The Internet.

Monitor Binary Binary System Computer Bina  I have something I need to admit.  It's one facet of who I am and have been since I first discovered books and libraries.  I am not ashamed of it, just discovered I tend to be the only one where I work who is an INFORMATION JUNKIE! 

When I was growing up, the only place I could go to get information was the library.  My family could not have afforded devices, computers, or even the internet.  So it was the library. 

I borrowed books on any topic that interested me.  If I wanted to learn to fix something, I borrowed a book.  The same for cooking, knitting, weaving, any topic but now, I don't have to leave home.

I don't know how much you use the internet but I use it for:
1. Shopping of course
2. Streaming videos
3. Researching topics and finding answers to questions.
4. Looking for activities I can use in my classroom.
5. Take classes.  I even earned my masters degree totally via the internet.  I never set food on the campus.
6.  Download and use apps for personal use, work, and enjoyment.
7.  Learn to do so much via YouTube.  I've learned to replace the toilet, install a load bearing wall, soldier, etc.
8.  So many other things like finding the best routing and purchasing tickets to travel, attend events, and so many things too numerous to talk about.

Unfortunately, the internet for me can be extremely addictive because I read the review of a book and I immediately want to buy it.  I discover apps that connect with the internet so I can learn programming or a new skill. I am addicted but not as much as some folks I know.

I heard of a young lady who would go to bed at night, her phone next to her head on the bed.  The first thing she did upon waking was to begin reading the 1000 or so messages which arrived over night.  I know from personal experience, many of my students are up late at night texting friends, playing games, and streaming videos so they do not get enough sleep.

I am not that bad.  I don't even freak out when I forget my phone because I am not addicted to that.  I'm just addicted to obtaining information.  I love information.  I'll even read a brochure if it has information I am interested in.

Are you an information junkie?  Let me know, I'd love to hear.