Dear Heloise: I just read your column on credit card security. Another step can be taken that is great. Go to your bank’s app on your phone. Then look for “alerts.” Set up an alert for anytime your card is used (a good amount to specify is .01 cents). Once it’s set up, you’ll get a text within 60 to 90 seconds that your card has been used.

If you have not used it, you can contact your bank immediately to prevent further compromised usage. — Kay in Michigan


Dear Heloise: You say to check your credit card statement for any inappropriate charges. Better yet, check your credit card charges online every few days before you even get your statement. Report any fraudulent transactions. I read your column in the Houston Chronicle. — Patricia Roberts, Bellaire, Texas

Kay and Patricia, thanks for the excellent suggestions on credit card security and credit card charges. — Heloise



Dear Heloise: My husband spilled quite a bit of black coffee on our almost white carpet. I blotted it right away and then again with water. Next, I used a commercial foolproof product, but nothing worked. We were left with a dark brown stain for a couple of days. Then I remembered vinegar. I poured it on the stain, stepped on a towel, and it took almost all the remaining stain out. Good old vinegar! — Dorothy Lambert, Fullerton, California

Dorothy, vinegar is good for so many household tasks, including cleaning, deodorizing and cooking. To learn more, check out my six-page pamphlet full of vinegar uses. Get a copy by visiting or by sending $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. FYI: After mopping a no-wax floor, add several capfuls of vinegar to the water and mop the floor once more to help remove any soap film and leave the floor clean and shiny. — Heloise


Dear Readers: If you received an iPhone as a gift over the holidays, it’s important to know how to take care of it, including how to safely clean your new phone.

According to Apple, here’s what to do. First, unplug the phone if it’s charging and turn it off. Use a soft, lightly dampened, lint-free cloth to clean the surface. (Never use any cleaning products that contain bleach or hydrogen peroxide.) You can use a disinfectant wipe to gently clean the exterior of the phone. Avoid getting moisture in openings. Never submerge your iPhone in any cleaning agents. — Heloise

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