Warning in CEDAR PAR: Government Grant Scams
Because you pay your income taxes on time, you have been awarded a free $12,500 government grant! To get your grant, simply give us your checking account information, and we will direct-deposit the grant into your bank account!
Sometimes, its an ad that claims you will qualify to receive a free grant to pay for education costs, home repairs, home business expenses, or unpaid bills. Other times, its a phone call supposedly from a government agency or some other organization with an official sounding name. In either case, the claim is the same: your application for a grant is guaranteed to be accepted, and youll never have to pay the money back.
But the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nations consumer protection agency, says that money for nothing grant offers usually are scams, whether you see them in your local paper or a national magazine, or hear about them on the phone.
Some scam artists advertise free grants in the classifieds, inviting readers to call a toll-free number for more information. Others are more bold: they call you out of the blue. They lie about where theyre calling from, or they claim legitimacy using an official-sounding name like the Federal Grants Administration. They may ask you some basic questions to determine if you qualify to receive a grant. FTC attorneys say calls and come-ons for free money invariably are rip offs.
Grant scammers generally follow a script: they congratulate you on your eligibility, then ask for your checking account information so they can deposit your grant directly into your account, or cover a one-time processing fee. The caller may even reassure you that you can get a refund if youre not satisfied. In fact, youll never see the grant they promise; they will disappear with your money.
The FTC says following a few basic rules can keep consumers from losing money to these government grant scams:
- Dont give out your bank account information to anyone you dont know. Scammers pressure people to divulge their bank account information so that they can steal the money in the account. Always keep your bank account information confidential. Dont share it unless you are familiar with the company and know why the information is necessary.
- Dont pay any money for a free government grant. If you have to pay money to claim a free government grant, it isnt really free. A real government agency wont ask you to pay a processing fee for a grant that you have already been awarded or to pay for a list of grant-making institutions. The names of agencies and foundations that award grants are available for free at any public library or on the Internet. The only official access point for all federal grant-making agencies is www.grants.gov.
- Look-alikes arent the real thing. Just because the caller says hes from the Federal Grants Administration doesnt mean that he is. There is no such government agency. Take a moment to check the blue pages in your telephone directory to bear out your hunch or not.
- Phone numbers can deceive. Some con artists use Internet technology to disguise their area code in caller ID systems. Although it may look like theyre calling from Washington, DC, they could be calling from anywhere in the world.
- Take control of the calls you receive. If you want to reduce the number of telemarketing calls you receive, place your telephone number on the National Do Not Call Registry. To register online, visit donotcall.gov. To register by phone, call 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236) from the phone number you wish to register.
- File a complaint with the FTC. If you think you may have been a victim of a government grant scam, file a complaint with the FTC online, or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
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In CEDAR PAR: Understanding Links Between Smoking & Weight
Maybe you quit smoking to do something good for your health, and now you’ve noticed the pounds adding up on the scale. Or maybe one of the reasons you’re not quite ready to quit is that you’re afraid of gaining weight.
Here are some of the reasons why some people gain weight when they quit:
- Smoking lowers your appetite.
Smoking cigarettes makes you feel less hungry. So, when you quit smoking, you might feel hungrier and then eat more than you used to eat.
- Smoking increases your metabolism.
Smoking cigarettes increases your metabolism, so you burn more calories. So when you stop smoking, you may burn fewer calories which can lead to weight gain.
- Eating can be a substitute for smoking.
Smoking gave you something to do with your hands and something to put in your mouth. For a lot of people, food replaces cigarettes. And the more you reach for food, the more likely it is that you will gain weight.
- Eating may soothe the feelings that smoking used to soothe.
Maybe smoking was your go-to when you were feeling bad. When you stop smoking, you may find that you turn to eating to feel better or to deal with stressbut this can backfire and result in weight gain.
The good news is that you can take charge of your weight even while quitting smoking. Check out Forever Free for more info about smoking and weight.
The cord blood: What You Should Know
The cord blood is present in the blood vessels of the placenta and umbilical cord, and is collected after the baby is born and then cut the umbilical cord; an important detail.
"Because cord blood is usually collected after delivery and after cutting the cord, intervention is generally safe for both mother and baby," says Dr. Keith Wonnacott, PhD, Branch Chief Therapies Office Phones Cell Therapies, Tissue and Genetic FDA.
The use of cord blood is only approved for interventions "hematopoietic stem cell transplantation," which was performed in patients with disorders of the hematopoietic (blood producing). The cord blood contains blood cell production can be used to treat patients with cancers of the blood such as leukemias and lymphomas, as well as certain blood disorders and immune system, such as stem cells of sickle cell anemia and Wiskott-Aldrich
"The cord blood is useful because it is a source of stem cells that are transformed into blood cells. Cord blood transplants can be used for people who need feedback, ie ´re-produce´ these cells producing blood cells, "says Dr. Wonnacott.
For example, in many cancer patients, the disease is found in the blood cells. Chemotherapy to treat these patients undergoing cancer cells eliminates both as producing healthy stem cells of blood cells. Transplantation of umbilical cord stem cells can support the regeneration of blood cells following chemotherapy.
However, the cord blood is not a cure-all.
"Given that cord blood contains stem cells, have been several cases of fraud related to cord blood," says Dr. Wonnacott. "Consumers think that stem cells can cure all diseases, but science has not shown this to be true.Patients should maintain skepticism if the cord blood is available for uses other than blood regeneration by stem "cells.
Information about the storage of cord blood
After obtaining the cord blood is frozen and can be stored safely for many years. "The method of freeze-called ´criopreservación´-is very important to maintain the integrity of the cells," says Dr. Wonnacott. "The cord blood will be stored with care."
Blood from the umbilical cord can be stored in a private bank, so it is available if the baby in the future-or relatives of first or second degree, they need it. The private cord banks typically charge for the collection and storage of blood.
Alternatively, blood can be donated to a public bank so that doctors can use to treat patients who need blood stem cell transplants.
The FDA regulates the cord blood in different ways, depending on its origin, processing level and intended use.
The stored cord blood for personal use, use in relatives of first or second degree, and that also meets other requirements of the FDA regulations, does not need the consent of this body before being used. Still, private cord banks must comply with other requirements of the FDA, including those that require them to register and enroll in the listings, be updated on the proper use of tissues standards, testing and analysis and detection of diseases infectious patients (except when the cord blood is going to be used by the original donor). These FDA requirements ensure the safety of these products to minimize the risk of contamination and transmission of infectious diseases.
The cord blood is stored to treat patients with unrelated donor is eligible to be considered a "drug" and a "biological product". The cord blood in this category must meet additional requirements and be authorized in accordance with a Biologics License Application, or be subjected to research new drug application before it can be used. The FDA requirements help ensure the safety and efficacy of the products in their intended uses.
Not all units of cord blood meeting the requirements necessary to be stored in a public bank, added Safa Karandish, MT, safety officer for the FDA Consumer. If this happens, part of the donated cord blood may be used for non-clinical research.
Tips for Consumers
If you are considering donating to bank cord blood, it is important to study the various options during pregnancy to have enough time to make a decision before the baby is born. If you want to donate to a public bank, ask if the hospital will give birth in a program storage of cord blood.
If you have questions about the risks and the procedures followed to obtain blood, or the donation process, ask your doctor.
The FDA also has a database which is available with information on banks registered cord blood.
All assertions that the cord blood is a miracle cure is not created; it is not. Some parents may consider using a private bank as an "insurance policy" against diseases that may arise in the future. But it is important to remember that currently the only approved use of cord blood is the treatment of hematologic (blood disorders).
Also good to know that, in some cases, the cord blood is stored may not be appropriate for the child who donated."For example, it is not possible to cure some diseases or genetic defects with cord blood containing the same disease or defect," says Karandish.
Parents of children from ethnic minorities should especially consider donating to a public bank, says Dr. Wonnacott, because the more donations make these groups receive more help minority patients who need a stem cell transplant. (Recipients must be "compatible" with donors so that doctors are more likely to find a good candidate among donors within the ethnic group of the receiver).
"As far as public banks is concerned, there is a clear need for cord blood," says Dr. Wonnacott. "And there is a need especially among minorities to have stem cell transplants. The cord blood is an excellent source of stem cells for transplantation. "
And these transplants can change the lives of patients.