Consumer

What is a subprime credit score?

If your goal is to get approved for a new loan or life of credit, your credit score is one of the most powerful tools that you have at your disposal. After all, the score you’re given can determine the types of loans you’ll be deemed eligible for and the corresponding interest rates you’ll be given if you’re ultimately approved. Most people are aware their score rated on a scale from poor to excellent by the credit bureaus. However, they may not be aware that another designation also exists: prime credit score and subprime credit score. Click here to take a closer look at subprime credit scores. It will cover what this designation means, how having a subprime credit score will impact you, and how to improve your credit score to be given better rates. Again, just click here continue reading:

Amid coronavirus, more than a third of US adults are using cleaning products incorrectly: CDC study

In trying to prevent the transmission of the novel coronavirus, more than a third of U.S. adults are putting their health at risk by using cleaning products incorrectly, according to a recent report. The report in JAMA stated a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that 39% of adults in the U.S. reported using cleaning products and disinfectants in potentially dangerous ways while intending to limit exposure to the deadly virus. “Drinking or gargling diluted bleach solutions, soapy water, and other cleaning and disinfectant solutions” was one of the dangerous practices the authors of the survey reported. The survey also found that 19% of respondents applied bleach to food items, such as fruits and vegetables, while 18% used household cleaning and disinfectant products on their hands or skin. Some 10% reported misting their body with a cleaning or disinfectant spray, while 6% said they inhaled vapors from household cleaners or disinfectants. “These practices pose a risk of severe tissue damage and corrosive injury and should be strictly avoided,” the researchers warned. One-quarter of the approximate 502 U.S. adults who participated in the national online survey, which was commissioned by the CDC, experienced adverse reactions to cleaning products or disinfectants. Those effects included lightheadedness, headache and irritation of the eyes, skin, nose and sinuses, as well as nausea and breathing problems. Those who didn’t use the products safely were two times more likely to have detrimental effects than those who did not, according to the report. The survey authors found significant gaps in knowledge surrounding the proper use of cleaning products among the adults surveyed. The largest gaps they found involved keeping hand sanitizers stored away from a child’s reach and how to safely prepare disinfectant and cleaning solutions. The researchers cautioned that “mixing of bleach solutions with vinegar or ammonia, as well as [the] application of heat, can generate chlorine and chloramine gases that might result in severe lung tissue damage when inhaled.” “Furthermore, exposures of children to hand sanitizers, particularly via ingestion, can be associated with irritation of mucous membranes, gastrointestinal effects, and in severe cases, alcohol toxicity,” they added. The study authors also stressed the importance of storing products away from pets. The CDC conducted the survey after U.S. Poison Control Centers saw a surge in calls regarding exposure to household chemicals at the start of the pandemic. The researchers recommended health officials continue to educate the public on safe cleaning techniques as well as advising people to follow directions on the labels of their cleaning products.

Sounds like common sense..  Unfortunately, there are a lot of idiots out there.

Dish TV bleeds subscribers while rivals benefit from COVID-19 lockdowns

Dish Network Corp. revenue slipped in the three months through June, with subscribers continuing to drop the service even as rivals benefited from COVID-19 lockdowns that prompted Americans to spend more time with at-home entertainment. The Englewood, Colorado-based satellite TV provider’s second-quarter revenue fell 0.6 percent from a year ago to $3.19 billion as profit rose to $452 million, or 78 cents per share, from $317 million the year prior. Wall Street analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting revenue of $3.1 billion on adjusted earnings of 58 cents per share. The number of paid Dish TV net subscribers fell by 40,000 in the three months through June while the amount of Sling TV net subscribers decreased by 56,000. A year ago, Dish TV subscribers fell by 79,000 while Sling TV subscribers rose by 48,000. Dish TV saw 45,000 of the approximately 250,000 commercial accounts, including companies in the airlines and hospitality industries that paused their subscriptions during the early days of the pandemic, resume their service. Dish Network shares fell 3.3 percent year-to-date through Thursday, trailing the S&P 500’s 3.66 percent gain.

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice products return to grocery stores

Starbucks is giving consumers the opportunity to have a taste of fall before the season officially arrives. The Seattle-based coffee giant made its pumpkin spice product line available in grocery stores at a time when a growing number of consumers are drinking coffee at home, largely due to the coronavirus pandemic. The lineup includes its pumpkin spice flavored creamer, K-Cup coffee pods, ground coffee and other flavored drinks. The company has also debuted new products including a maple pecan flavored coffee and salted caramel mocha flavored creamer. However, Starbucks has not yet revealed when its famed Pumpkin Spice Latte will return to menus. The release of the products comes as the pandemic, which led to widespread lockdowns and forced restaurants and cafes to shut down for prolonged periods, has forced a growing number of coffee drinkers to consume their cup of joe within the confines of their home. Starbucks said its U.S. market share in packaged coffee grew 21% in dollar sales in its fiscal third quarter, outpacing the coffee category as a whole, which grew 13% in the same period. A survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of Nestlé in April indicated that third of respondents said they were brewing more coffee at home now than before they were under quarantine, the Daily Meal reported. Still, some companies that performed well over the lockdown orders did so because of how well they catered to the adjusting times. For instance, J.M. Smucker Co., which makes Folgers, Dunkin’, and Cafe Bustelo coffee, performed well through May, according to Intelligencer, which noted that the company was selling more coffee to more households to brew at home.

Its the little things…

Why are coins hard to find during the pandemic?

Why are coins hard to find during the pandemic? The Federal Reserve has seen a significant decline of coins in circulation because people are not spending them as regularly at businesses, many of which are either temporarily closed or not accepting cash. Coins are still plentiful. In April, the U.S. Treasury estimated more than $47.8 billion were in the market, up by more than a billion dollars compared to last year. But in recent months, people have not been spending those coins at places like laundromats, banks, restaurants, or shops because the businesses are closed, or people are not visiting them as often as they were before the pandemic. “The typical places where coin enters our society have slowed or even stopped the normal circulation of coin,” said the Federal Reserve, which manages coin inventory, in a June statement. Sales at restaurants, bars and gas stations dropped more than 40% in April compared with a year ago. Sales have since picked up, but some businesses — like bars — remain shuttered in certain states, while others can only operate at a limited capacity. The Federal Reserve has encouraged banks to order only the coins they need and to make depositing coins easy for customers. One Wisconsin bank system offered its customers a $5 bonus for every $100 in coins they brought into exchange at a branch. The program was so successful, the bank suspended it after only a week.

China plant seeds mystery solved? Police, officials think packages sent to US homes could be tied to scam reviews

The mysterious, unsolicited packages of seeds supposedly being sent from China to homes across America – prompting agriculture departments in at least 31 states to issue warnings against planting them – may be invasive species and could be tied to a fake product review scam, police and officials are saying. The packages, based on photographs and statements from officials, appeared to have been shipped by China’s state-owned postal company and contained Chinese lettering on the exterior, advertising products ranging from jewelry to toys. But, what’s actually inside seem to be random plant seeds. States from coast to coast have been urging residents to report the unexpected deliveries to their local agriculture departments over concerns that the seeds could be invasive or harmful species. The packages have garnered the attention of federal investigators — with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) working alongside the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection and other federal and state agencies. USDA officials have been asking anyone who received a suspicious seed package to contact their state plant regulator or their state’s APHIS plant health director. “Do not plant seeds from unknown origins,” the USDA urged in a statement. Officials in several states said there didn’t appear to be a clear pattern to the packages, which have been showing up at homes in the city, suburbs, and in rural areas. The number of packages being reported also varied. In Indiana, for instance, an official with the state attorney general’s office said it had received only a handful of reports, while in Ohio, officials have received roughly 150 calls about the packages over the past month. “We have done some researching and it does appear that these seeds are tied with an online scam called ‘brushing’,” the Whitehouse Police Department in Ohio – one of the states where the packages reportedly have been sent – posted on Facebook. “A brushing scam is an exploit by a vendor used to bolster product ratings and increase visibility online by shipping an inexpensive product to an unwitting receiver and then submitting positive reviews on the receiver’s behalf under the guise of a verified owner. “Although not directly dangerous, we would still prefer that people contact us to properly dispose of the seeds,” the department added. North Carolina’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services also reported the deliveries were “likely the product of an international Internet scam.” It’s not the first time this type of scam has surfaced. In 2018, a Massachusetts couple who kept receiving mystery packages from Amazon containing items ranging from USB-powered humidifiers to rechargeable dog collars feared they were being targeted. Here’s how the scam works: a seller trying to boost the ratings of their own merchandise sets up a fake email account to create an Amazon profile, then purchases the items with a gift card and ships them to the address of a random person. Once the package is delivered, the owner of the Amazon account is then listed as a “verified buyer” of the product and can write a positive review of it that gets higher placement on product pages because of their status, James Thomson, a former business consultant for Amazon told the Boston Globe at the time when asked about the couple’s deliveries. However, the deliveries of the plant seeds are more widespread and it’s not immediately clear which e-commerce website the fake reviews may be appearing on, if this is the motive behind the packages. On Monday, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services spokesperson Michael Wallace told the New York Times that the agency has received “over 900 emails and several hundred telephone calls” from people who claimed to have received the seeds. Officials in Florida say they have gotten 160 reports about the seeds. And in Louisiana, Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain told the New York Times that some of the packages sent to residents there appear to contain seeds for water lily plants. “Obviously they’re not jewelry,” Lori Culley, a resident from Tooele, Utah, said to Fox13 after receiving one of the packages. “At this time, we are not sure what the seeds are and therefore are urging everyone to be exceedingly vigilant,” Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black also said in a statement. “If you have received one of these packages in the mail, please use extreme caution by not touching the contents and securing the package in a plastic bag.”

Indeed..  We’ll keep an eye on this developing story, and the possible national security implications from China, who is becoming more and more of a threat to us.

Trump’s four executive orders to lower drug prices: What to know

President Trump issued a handful of executive orders Friday that aim to lower prescription drug prices through a variety of methods, including allowing medications to be imported from other countries. “I’m signing four sweeping executive orders that will lead to a massive reduction in drugs costs,” Trump said during a press briefing at the White House. “[The measures] will completely restore the prescription drug market in terms of prices.” Trump claimed drug prices had fallen under his administration for the first time in more than five decades but added that he was determined to do more. One of the orders introduced Friday would deliver rebates from drug companies directly to patients for insulin and Epipens in a bid to prevent providers from pocketing the discounts themselves while charging low-income patients unaffordable prices. Trump said the price of insulin would come down to “pennies” per day. The second order would allow wholesalers and pharmacies to legally import prescription drugs from Canada and other countries, where the president has repeatedly alleged identical drugs are available at costs as much as 90 percent lower than in the U.S. The third order would bypass pharmacy benefit managers and other “middlemen” to deliver discounts for prescription drugs directly to patients. Trump said Friday that patients often never see these discounts from the manufacturer. A final “favored nations” policy would require Medicare to purchase drugs at the same prices paid by foreign countries, which Trump said will prevent the U.S. from continuing to subsidize the cost of research and development for the entire world. Medicare will leverage its purchasing power to negotiate prices – the goal would be to find a middle ground with other countries that allegedly pay less for the same prescription drugs. This order will not be signed until the end of August, which would give the country’s largest companies time to come up with alternative solutions.

Great news!!!     🙂

Kroger stops giving coin change as coronavirus drives shortage

Kroger is halting the use of coin change at its stores in response to a shortage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, FOX 19 Cincinnati reports. The Federal Reserve said last month that the pandemic has “significantly disrupted the supply chain and normal circulation patterns for U.S. coin.” “What’s happened is that, with the partial closure of the economy, the flow of coins through the economy has gotten all — it’s kind of stopped,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said during a virtual hearing with the House Financial Services Committee on June 17. “The places where you go to give your coins, and get credit at the store and get cash — you know, folding money — those have not been working, stores have been closed. So the whole system has kind of, had come to a stop.” The Federal Reserve said in its statement that it is working with the U.S. Mint and Reserve Banks to address the issue through a “strategic allocation of coin inventories” to evenly distribute coins across banks and credit unions. Powell noted that the Federal Reserve expects the coin shortage to be a temporary issue as the country reopens and more Americans begin to spend again. According to FOX 19, the remainder of cash transactions will be applied to Kroger customers’ loyalty cards to be applied toward their next purchase. Customers can also used the funds towards Kroger’s “Round Up” program to support the company’s Zero Hunger/Zero Waster Foundation.

National Free Slurpee Day: Why is it canceled this year?

Don’t think of the day as July 11. Think of it as 7-11 instead, and it’ll be obvious why the convenience store chain 7-Eleven designated it National Free Slurpee Day. Each year since 2002, the company has observed it it by having thousands of participating locations give away the brand’s signature frozen drink. The event has grown so popular that 7-Eleven handed out “close to 9 million Slurpee drinks” on July 11, 2019, according to the brand’s spokesperson. It won’t be happening this year because of safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the chain is doing its best to ease fans’ disappointment. “As a special bonus to delight our customers in a safe and socially responsible way, we will be dropping a free Medium Slurpee coupon into every 7Rewards member account, redeemable from July 1 – July 31,” a 7-Eleven spokesperson told FOX Business. Additionally, the company is donating 1 million meals through Feeding America to help people facing economic hardship because of the pandemic.

FAIL!!!  Click on the text above for more info.

Six Flags theme parks to require reservations upon reopening

Six Flags theme parks are looking to reopen this month in several states throughout the nation as shelter-in-place mandates expire or loosen. However, to do so, those planned to open first — including Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio, Six Flags Over Georgia near Atlanta, Six Flags St. Louis in Missouri, Frontier City in Oklahoma City and Six Flags Mexico in Mexico City, according to Newsweek — will have to adhere to certain guidelines that will limit any spur of the moment rollercoaster cravings. According to the theme parks’ websites, guests who want to visit a Six Flags location upon reopening will have to make reservations in advance. “IMPORTANT: ALL VISITORS (INCLUDING PASS HOLDERS AND MEMBERS) MUST MAKE ADVANCE RESERVATIONS TO VISIT THE PARK,” reads a message posted to the parks’ websites. “To meet state social distancing guidelines and ensure the health and safety of our guests, all visits to the park must be pre-scheduled using our online reservation system.” In addition to the reservation-system, Six Flags will also be conducting temperature checks at entrances and requiring guests to wear face masks, CBS Los Angeles reported. Meanwhile, other theme parks, like Disneyland and Disney World, do not yet have a concrete target date for reopening.

So, heads up..  Go to the Six Flags web site before going.