There’s nothing like a hot mug of soup on a cold day, and this Gluten-free Chicken Gumbo Soup has everything to make it healthy and delicious. Served over a mound of rice, it’s the perfect way to warm your meal and your day.
It takes a special type of human being to perpetrate COVID-19 scams. And, believe me, I’m not using the word ‘special’ in a positive sense. Scammers are, once again, taking advantage of a basic human emotion—fear.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is part of the coronavirus family of viruses. The name is an abbreviation for “coronavirus disease 2019.” For more facts about the disease, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In a recent FBI Public Service Announcement, the FBI stated that COVID-19 scams fall into three categories: fake CDC emails, phishing emails, and counterfeit treatments or equipment. Let’s look at each of these in more detail.
Fake CDC emails
Scammers know that people are hungry for accurate information about the current coronavirus (COVID-19). There are actually a number of coronaviruses, of which COVID-19 is the latest. But, what people want to know is, how do I avoid getting sick? For the latest accurate information, check the CDC web page at CDC.gov.
This category includes emails that offer free or paid help, but link to sites where fraudsters can download malware onto your computer. One example is the offer to download an app that tracks COVID-19 cases worldwide. The longer the virus is around, the more outlandish I expect these claims to become. For instance, how about an app that uses your smartphone’s camera to scan for COVID-19? If marketed properly, I could see huge potential for scammers to sell this completely bogus product.
True, economic stimulus checks have been approved, but the information about how to get those checks is probably unclear to many people. For the facts, visit IRS.gov. Scammers know people are confused and are sending emails offering to help you “file for” or “track” your stimulus check. Contrary to what the scammers would have you believe, the government is not sending unsolicited emails for this purpose. If you get this type of email, it’s a scam.
And then there are the related scams—charitable contributions, airline carrier refund checks, fake cures and vaccines, or fake testing. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is a brand new playground for fraudsters.
Counterfeit treatments or equipment
There are already people out there offering fake testing. Don’t be fooled into thinking there’s a magic cure or a way to test for COVID-19 that you can get from some clown who sends you an unsolicited email. As the FBI pointed out in their PSA, “Be alert to counterfeit products such as sanitizing products and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including N95 respirator masks, goggles, full face shields, protective gowns, and gloves.”
Be smart, not gullible. Three tips to avoid COVID-19 scams
Tip 1: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Just think about this one simple rule the next time you receive an email or a call from someone making claims about their product or service.
Tip 2: Think before you click.
Scammers want you to feel, not think. So, before you click a link or answer a caller’s questions, fall back to Tip #1.
Tip 3: Clam up.
Never give out your personal information unless you’ve initiated contact with a known, reputable source. This applies whether you’re dealing with email, a website, or a phone caller.
Our walk into downtown Queenstown was filled with stunning views like this one. These colorful shops are a popular tourist destination. There are plenty of restaurants and shops for all kinds of touristy needs. You could easily pack your suitcase here! We loved the ambience of Queenstown, but the crowds were a killer.
More photos from New Zealand
Julie Seedorf has worn many hats, but writing is her favorite. She’s the author of the Fuchsia, Minnesota mystery series and also writes a column for her local newspaper. In A Small Town Can be #Murder, Julie brings us more Minnesota mysteries.
Small towns with big issues
Julie said she’s not really sure where her book ideas come from—they just come on the scene, but the goods ones demand attention. “Most of my writing comes to me in early morning after I wake up. I take some time to just dream and relax. With this book I wanted something a little more serious and less quirky than my other series and I wanted to pay homage to the closeness of small towns. And my mind never quits. On any given day I have stories whirling through my head. Many never come to fruition because I am whirling too fast.”
So what about those big issues? Julie noted that it’s unusual for a cozy mystery to address a serious issue, but for A Small Town Can Be #Murder, she decided to do things differently. “I changed it up because of a few things close to my heart such as domestic abuse and teen pregnancies back in the early 50’s. The book started with me wanting to pay homage to small towns and then my heart took me to addressing those subjects by weaving them in.”
Touching hearts and making people laugh
Like many writers, Julie finds the process of writing to be a cathartic one. Without the outlet, those who like to create can find themselves getting…well, cranky. “When I write I want to touch peoples hearts, give them a good mystery and also a few laughs. I love quirky characters and I put my heart in each book. My characters become my family. Writing also helps with anxiety and depression that I constantly have to work to overcome.”
Julie said that when writing this book, it was difficult to break with her usual pattern. She said, “I have to admit, it was a challenge to not take off and be silly and weird like I have with my other series. It was hard to create normal serious characters because the characters in all my other series are off the wall.”
And speaking of off the wall, in one of her previous books, Granny Bricks A Bandit, her protagonist heads to the Mall of America and Nickolodean Universe. Julie said, “Granny gets in trouble at the mall, so of course I had to take a trip and experience the fun. Now that sounds pretty mild but remember I am as old as dirt. Well…almost. And most of my research for my other series comes from my brain as there isn’t too much factual in them. They are meant to take people away from the real world.”
Learn more about Julie Seedorf at julieseedorf.com.a Rafflecopter giveaway
The shores of Lake Wakatipu are a pristine place to launch small boats, swim, or simply gawk at the views. This mountain lake is about fifty miles long! Surrounded by mountains, Lake Wakatipu has some of the most spectacular views around. It was one of the many highlights of our trip.
More photos from New Zealand
The protagonists in Murder in the Cemetery, Ed and Annie DeCleryk, enjoy entertaining in their backyard, which faces Lake Ontario. Following is a recipe Annie created for one of their picnics.
Provencal Sandwiches with Tuna, Basil and Tomato
½ C. red wine vinegar
6 flat anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 8-inch round loaves crusty bread
2 C. sliced radishes
2 C. loosely packed basil leaves
1 C. minced onion, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes and drained
1 6 ½ oz. cans tuna, drained and flaked
4 vine ripened tomatoes, sliced thin
In bowl whisk vinegar, anchovies, garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Add oil in a stream, whisking until emulsified. Half breads horizontally and hollow out halves, leavening ½-inch thick shells. Spoon one fourth dressing evenly in each half.
Working with one loaf at a time, arrange half the radishes and top with ¼ basil in the bottom of shell. Sprinkle half the onion over basil. Arrange half the tuna on onion and top with one-third remaining basil. Arrange half the tomatoes on basil and fit top shell over tomatoes. Repeat with second loaf. Wrap sandwiches in plastic wrap and put in a shallow baking pan. Top sandwiches with a baking sheet and a large bowl filled with weights (You can also put something heavy on the baking sheet- purpose is to compress the bread). Chill at least one hour, but sandwiches may be made 4-6 hours ahead, chilled and covered. Cut into wedges to serve.
Learn more about Karen Shugart www.karenshughart.com.a Rafflecopter giveaway
Murder in the Cemetery: An Edmund DeCleryk Mystery by Karen Shughart
On a bright, spring afternoon the body of George Wright, a childhood friend of criminal consultant Edmund DeCleryk, is discovered at a cemetery where casualties of the War of 1812 are buried. After conducting an autopsy, the medical examiner determines that George has been murdered, the cause of death by poisoning. Lighthouse Cove Police Chief Carrie Ramos hires Ed to investigate, with his spunky wife, Annie assisting him.
Suspects include a physician’s assistant, college student and a family member, among others; however, George’s demise may be the result of secrets that have surfaced from the grave. You’ll discover what Ed found on the beach in Murder in the Museum and how that, and an artifact dating back to the early 1800s, are linked to this untimely death.
Annie loves to cook, and at the end of the book she shares recipes for meals she prepared for friends and loved ones.
Karen Shughart studied English Literature at S.U.N.Y Buffalo, received a B.A. in Comprehensive Literature from the University of Pittsburgh and completed graduate courses in English from Shippensburg University. In addition to Murder in the Cemetery (book two of the Edmund DeCleryk Cozy mystery series), she is also the author of Murder in the Museum( book one of the series), two non-fiction books and has worked as an editor, publicist, photographer, journalist, teacher and non-profit executive. Before moving to a small village on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, Karen and her husband resided in south central Pennsylvania, near Harrisburg. To sign up for her blogs and newsletters or for more information, visit her website at https:// www.karenshughart.com.
March 19 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
March 20 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 21 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT
March 22 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 23 – Christy’s Cozy Corners REVIEW
March 23 – eBook addicts – REVIEW
March 24 – Ascroft, eh? – GUEST POST
March 25 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
March 26 – Mysteries with Character – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
March 27 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
March 28 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
March 29 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 30 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
March 30 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 31 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
April 1 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT