Scammers are targeting your phone. Here’s what to watch for in Part 4

©RapidEye/istockphoto

The Utility Scam

Another dated but still effective fraud is the utility scam. In this case, the criminal pretends to be calling from the water, gas, or electric department in pursuit of an outstanding bill that must be paid immediately to prevent service interruption. This scam often targets not just residents, but small businesses with owners likely too busy to check on the details and more reluctant to risk having their water or lights shut off.

The Neighbor Scam

The neighbor scam employs the caller ID spoof to make it appear that someone is calling the victim’s phone from a local number, which people are more likely to answer. The caller pretends to be speaking for a neighbor in an emergency or even from a school nurse claiming to need personal information for their files.

Jury Duty Scams

Skipping jury duty is a serious matter that can result in real consequences. One of those consequences, however, will not be a phone call from a U.S. marshal or any other government agent threatening arrest if the victim doesn’t immediately pay a fine. That’s the jury duty scam, and although it’s been around for a long time, it still finds new victims every year.

Recovery Scam

The recovery scam just might be the worst of the bunch for one simple reason: it targets victims who have already been victimized. Scammers buy and sell so-called “sucker lists” — records of people who have already been scammed — and use that information to follow up with good news: They’ve recovered the money you lost in the original scam. All they need is your personal data to make sure they have the right person and/or a small fee, and they’ll help you recover the money you lost to the first scammer. There is, of course, no restitution. The scammer is merely double-dipping.

What to Do if You Get a Suspicious Call

Now that you know which scams you’re most likely to encounter, it’s important to know what to do if you think you’ve been targeted. The scammer could be casting a wide net or targeting you specifically. In either case, the actions you take or don’t take could mean the difference between being victimized and avoiding the scam. You might even be able to help authorities nab the criminals responsible for the fraud.

Screen Unfamiliar Calls

The single best way to avoid being taken in a phone scam is to never make contact with the scammer in the first place. That means your best bet in most cases is simply not to answer calls with blocked or private numbers or that you otherwise don’t recognize. “If you do not recognize the phone number on your caller ID, do not answer the phone,” Lavelle says. “Let it go to voicemail or the answering machine. Most telemarketers will hang up and not leave a message. If it’s important, the caller will leave a message.”

Don’t Follow Instructions

Both human scammers and automated robocall recordings often try to get you to take some sort of action just to see if they’ve reached a live person. “Never follow the automated voice asking you to press 1,” Lavelle says. “Do not push any numbers to reach a live operator. This signifies that the autodialer has reached a live number and this will probably lead to more robocalls.”

Block Repeat Offenders

If you’re getting calls regularly from the same few numbers, consider blocking them. “Most cellphone providers allow you to block an incoming number,” Lavelle says. “They work by blocking them, alerting you to a possible robocall, or forwarding suspicious calls to voicemail.”

Try Services Such as Nomorobo

One of the most reliable third-party options, according to Lavelle, is a service called Nomorobo. “It’s a free service available through most phone service providers and is designed to block robocalls and telemarketers,” he says. “While it may not prevent all robocalls from getting through, you are able to identify those calls as your phone will only ring once and the call is then rejected.” 

Set Up the Anonymous Call Rejection Option

Many scammers, as well as telemarketers who are more annoying than predatory, don’t show up on caller ID. Calls from these numbers are the ones you want to eliminate almost entirely, which you can if your phone company offers anonymous call rejection. “Call your phone provider to find out if this option is available for your landline,” Lavelle says. “It lets you screen out calls from callers who have blocked their caller ID information, a tactic of telemarketers.”

Article by Andrew Lisa for cheapism©

Source: Scammers are targeting your phone. Here’s what to watch for (msn.com)

5 Home Security Systems Vulnerable to Hackers

Several popular DIY home security systems can be disabled with nothing more than a laptop and a device the size of a walkie-talkie.

That’s the concerning finding in recent testing from Consumer Reports. Using a technique called a “jamming attack,” thieves can block wireless signals from doors, windows and motion sensors, which lets them enter your property without setting off an alarm.

CR cautions “owners of these systems needn’t panic” because jamming attacks are not very common. But if that’s small comfort, here’s a look at which security systems failed the test and which held up.

©Joni Hanebutt / Shutterstock.com

The most vulnerable home security systems

Two home security systems performed worst in Consumer Reports’ tests of their ability to withstand jamming attacks:

  • Cove Home Security System
  • Eufy 5-Piece Home Alarm Kit

In addition to low ratings on jamming attacks, both of these systems are vulnerable to another kind of hack called “replay disarming.”

This technique involves copying the wireless signal from a keyfob used to disarm your alarm. Consumer Reports points out this is more difficult for thieves to pull off because they would have to be nearby when you are entering the house to capture the signal.

The publication also shared its findings with the alarm makers so they can work on fixing it.

Other vulnerable home security systems

While not performing as poorly as the Cove and Eufy devices, three other systems fell to jamming attacks in tests:

  • Abode Iota All-In-One Kit
  • Ring Alarm Security Kit (second generation)
  • SimpliSafe The Essentials SS3-01

The least vulnerable home security systems

These brands withstood jamming attacks and replay attacks from Consumer Reports:

  • Blue by ADT
  • Ecobee
  • Honeywell Home
  • Kangaroo
  • Ooma

What it means for you

While Consumer Reports says these kinds of attacks are not common, you can still take steps to protect yourself.

Don’t advertise what security system you use with yard signs and window decals. That’s essentially telling thieves which instruction manual they need to look at to hack your system. Instead, use generic signs or decals as a deterrent.

Article by Brandon Ballenger for money talks news©

Source: 5 Home Security Systems Vulnerable to Hackers (msn.com)

Scammers are targeting your phone. Here’s what to watch for in Part 3

Thousands of people are bilked every year by criminals who enter the lives of their victims through their telephones. And while seniors are often the target of scammers, anyone can be taken for a ride. Here’s everything you need to know about phone scams — including some that take advantage of evolving technology like QR codes, and others that use coronavirus fears to their advantage — and how to avoid becoming a victim.

©skynesher/istockphoto

Lottery Phone Scams

When it comes to the lure of easy money, Lavelle offers a piece of advice that comes with virtually no exceptions. “If you receive a phone call about winning a lottery you never entered,” he says, “don’t believe it and hang up the phone. With this type of scam, a con artist will call the victim and say they won a large sum of money but have to pay a fee to facilitate the earnings. Once the scammer receives the wired money, they disappear. Many of these types of calls originate in Jamaica.” The FTC also puts lottery scams toward the top of its concerns and warns of scammers based in Canada — and reminds potential victims that the sale or purchase of cross-border lottery tickets by mail or phone is illegal.

Netflix Phishing Scams

So-called Netflix scams are most likely to come through email or text, but you could get a phone call as well. In this con, the criminal pretends to be from Netflix or another popular streaming service and asks you to update your payment or other private information to avoid a service interruption. In email form, the scam is often accompanied by a dangerous link the scammer wants you to click.

Enduring Scams That Refuse to Die

Some scams have been around for years or even decades, bilking innocent victims out of their money or identities. In some cases, tried-and-true phone scams are updated and reinvented. In other cases, the same old con keeps finding victims year after year.

Predatory Robocalls

Robocalls are nothing new. In fact, they’re so common that most people pay them little mind, which is part of what makes predatory robocalls so dangerous. “In today’s landscape, it is not uncommon to receive multiple robocalls a week on both your landline and your cellphone, even though you’ve registered your phone numbers with the Do Not Call Registry,” Lavelle says. “They’re offering everything from lower credit card rates to free vacations and medical alert devices. It’s not only annoying, but many of these calls come with a high probability of a scam.”

Caller ID Spoof

The caller ID spoof manipulates caller ID software to add an extra layer of legitimacy to the con. The scammer makes the caller ID display your bank’s actual name or phone number on your phone, which lulls victims into a false sense of security before the call is even answered.

Spear Phishing

Phishing scams have long been identified as frauds that try to gain the victim’s trust by presenting some of the victim’s personal information. If the scammer has the last four digits of my Social Security Number and my ZIP code, the victim assumes, the caller must truly be from the bank or the phone company. Spear phishing expands on the old phishing scam by offering some information in an effort to get the customer to surrender the rest. For example, the “bank” might call under the guise of trying to sort out irregular spending patterns on your debit card. To gain your trust, the swindler will offer the last four digits of your SSN then ask you to provide the rest of the number “for security purposes.” Spear phishing often works in conjunction with the so-called caller ID spoof.

Source: Scammers are targeting your phone. Here’s what to watch for (msn.com)

View Part 4 tomorrow.

Scammers are targeting your phone. Here’s what to watch for Part 2

Thousands of people are bilked every year by criminals who enter the lives of their victims through their telephones. Here’s everything you need to know about phone scams — including some that take advantage of evolving technology like QR codes, and others that use coronavirus fears to their advantage — and how to avoid becoming a victim.

©Oleksii Spesyvtsev/istockphoto

Rent Scams

People who lost their jobs because of the coronavirus lockdown, or just enough of their income that paying rent became hard or impossible, may have heard from scammers claiming they could provide money for rent or legal help to avoid eviction — but it’s always for money upfront or in exchange for personal information. “Those are dead giveaways that it’s a scam,” the FTC says. Don’t fall for it. 

Online Shopping Scams

The coronavirus lockdown brought a surge in online shopping, which inevitably brought a bunch of scams designed to take advantage of the trend. Fraudsters might contact people with claims that there’s a package waiting for them if they just click on a link or hand over identification information; and others try to pass themselves off as Amazon representatives (or, in a similar scam, as Apple customer support reps with concerns about users iCloud accounts). 

Threats to Immigrants or Parents

When the Trump administration widened its deportation efforts from criminal activity to nearly any immigrant, that made even documented, legal immigrants feel vulnerable — and scammers will take advantage of that, the FTC says. The result: calls from people claiming to be U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement saying someone’s immigration status was being revoked unless money was handed over. More fake fears were directed at parents who have been sent photos of their own kids taken from social media, and threats of violence.

Debt Collector Scams

Just as the name implies, this scam involves a con artist pretending to represent a collection agency offering a dramatic discount on a debt you didn’t incur, which is often accompanied by a threat to call law enforcement if you refuse. Always refuse to pay a debt without a legally required “validation notice,” as well as the name of the creditor, amount of the debt, and the caller’s name, address, and phone number.

Grandchild Imposter Scam

As the name implies, the grandchild scam preys on the elderly, with the con artist calling the victim and posing as a grandchild who has fallen into a desperate situation such as running out of money or encountering legal trouble while traveling. “The scammer will then ask for money to be wired to a foreign address and then completely disappear once the money is received,” Lavelle says. “If you receive a call like this, always reach out to your grandchild’s phone number or talk to others who can clarify whether the grandchild really is in trouble and needs help.”

Other Imposter Scams

IRS, debt collector, and grandchild scams have been among the biggest threats, but the FTC also warns of several closely related imposter scams. Family emergency scams expand the grandchild scam to any family member. Online dating scams prey on people searching for love by establishing trust with a prospective romantic partner. Tech support scammers call to report a “problem” with your computer that can be fixed only if you download predatory software.

Source: Scammers are targeting your phone. Here’s what to watch for (msn.com)

View Part 3 tomorrow.

Scammers are targeting your phone. Here’s what to watch for in Part 1

Thousands of people are bilked every year by criminals who enter the lives of their victims through their telephones. Not long ago, AARP found that about half of all mobile calls were fraudulent, and the problem was worsening. Fraudulent landline calls are declining as the technology fades, but scam calls to fixed lines still nab plenty of unsuspecting victims. And while seniors are often the target of scammers, anyone can be taken for a ride. Here’s everything you need to know about phone scams — including some that take advantage of evolving technology like QR codes, and others that use coronavirus fears to their advantage — and how to avoid becoming a victim.

©Oleksii Spesyvtsev/istockphoto

Be Aware of the Latest Threats

Like any other fraud, phone scams evolve and change out of necessity once the public gets wise to the scam. This means there’s always a new scam on the horizon or an updated version of an old one. Here’s a look at some of the most current phone scams, according to the FBI, the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, and Justin Lavelle of BeenVerified, an online background check platform.

Imposter Scams

Imposter scams come in many forms and target a broad range of victim demographics. They all, however, work the same way. A scammer purporting to be someone you know or a representative from an organization you trust tries to trick you into giving them money in a phone-based scam.

QR Code Imposter Scams

Chances are you’ve been seeing more QR codes lately, even if you don’t know them by name. These barcode-like symbols that you scan with your phone have become increasingly popular during the pandemic, including with stores and restaurants who use them for quick order pickup or to launch virtual menus. But according to the FBI, cybercriminals are also using legitimate-looking QR codes to direct people to sites that can steal personal data or payments. One of the best ways to protect yourself: Thoroughly vet any website you’re directed to from a QR code, the FBI says. This includes by checking the URL, which shouldn’t include typos or other suspicious-looking information, and by avoiding using such websites for any form of payment. 

IRS Imposter Scams

The now-common IRS phone scam, one of the most prevalent and anxiety-inducing imposter scams, is especially common around tax season. “When the call is answered,” Lavelle says, “the scammer says the IRS is suing you and you owe them money and [they] threaten to send the police if not paid within an hour. The latest phone scam even includes caller ID showing the letters ‘IRS’ when they call. The key to avoiding being hit by these scams is to know that the IRS does not make threatening phone calls, nor do they request wire transfers over the phone.” The FTC agrees, and cautions against ever paying a tax bill with a prepaid debit card, which the IRS would never request.

Coronavirus Scams

With the arrival of the coronavirus on U.S. shores, fraudsters rewrote their scripts to trick people with claims of a “cure” — long before there were vaccines and treatments — that could be fatal; as well as “setting up websites to sell bogus products, and using fake emails, texts, and social media posts as a ruse to take your money and get your personal information,” the FTC warned. Scammers dangled items such as face masks or hand sanitizer and, worst of all, suckered people in by claiming to be a charity, which hurts real charities that actually help people. The latest scam takes advantage of state-to-state COVID-19 vaccination confusion.

Source: Scammers are targeting your phone. Here’s what to watch for (msn.com)

Watch for Part 2 tomorrow.

USPS Is Making These Major Changes to Delivery Service, Effective May 1

Most of us rely on the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for daily mail service, whether we’re on the receiving end or mailing a package out. However, financial woes and frustration about delivery delays have left the agency with a lot on its plate. Earlier this month, it was announced that the USPS would be receiving federal financial relief as part of the Postal Service Reform Act, which will provide nearly $50 billion in relief over the next 10 years and allow the agency to regain some “flexibility,” USA Today reported. However, amid ongoing reform, the USPS is also making adjustments that could slow down your deliveries. Read on to learn more about the changes the USPS has planned for May 1. 

©© Provided by Best Life

On April 6, the USPS filed noted with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) that it would be raising First-Class Mail prices by 6.5 percent. Prices are anticipated to take effect on July 10, 2022, affecting stamps, letters, and postcards. The agency also introduced two new shipping fees this month, Nonstandard Fees and the Dimension Noncompliance Fee, which could incur surcharges ranging between $1.50 and $15. Now, yet another change is in store, officials say, this time impacting delivery speed. 

The USPS is making changes to different delivery service standards.

On Monday, the USPS announced it would be making changes to slow down delivery times for almost one-third of small, lightweight packages. These changes to service standards—the “delivery benchmarks” for how long you can expect your mail to get to you—go into effect on May 1.

According to the press release, the service standard for 32 percent of First-Class Packages “will increase by one or two days,” while the service standard for 64 percent of package volume will be unchanged. Finally, the agency said that the service standard will be one day sooner, moving from three days to two days, for 4 percent of First-Class Package Service.

There are a few key reasons why these changes are being made, officials say.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, slower delivery speeds also allow for the use of more ground transportation, such as trains and trucks, as opposed to an air network. The Postal Service said the changes are being implemented “to improve service reliability” by reducing the use of these contracted air networks, which incur more costs and also have reliability issues.

According to the USPS press release, this is part of the larger “Delivering for America” initiative, which encompasses the agency’s 10-year plan to “achieve financial stability and service excellence.””Modifying select service standards is a key growth element and enabler of our 10-year plan. This action will contribute to our cost savings efforts and improve our reliability across all product classes, including our growing package market,” Louis DeJoy, Postmaster General and CEO of the USPS, said in the press release. “By implementing the elements of our 10-year plan, we will deliver the consistent, reliable service that the American people and our customers expect and deserve and grow package volume, spurring revenue growth that can be invested back into the Postal Service,” Dejoy added.

Article by Abby Reinhard for Best Life©

Source: USPS Is Making These Major Changes to Delivery Service, Effective May 1 (msn.com)

Entrepreneur Rohit Khosla shares how the startup ecosystem is helping India grow globally

entrepreneur Rohit Khosla is inspiring the youngsters with his profound business intellect. An alumnus of the prestigious Oxford University, he holds an MBA degree in Entrepreneurship.

Credit : Rohit Khosla

As of today, the entrepreneur is managing several companies including Gulf Visa Services, New Delhi Medical Centre, New Star Medical Centre, Khosla Travels Pvt. Ltd., Gulf Medical Centre, Khosla Transport Company, R.K. International Skill Development Centre and Khosla Exim Pvt. Ltd. With his business intellect, the profound entrepreneur has created an empire as he continues to inspire thousands of budding businessmen from the country. With the successful run of these business ventures, Rohit Khosla is quite interested in deep-diving into the world of startups.

It is a well-known fact that India is an entrepreneurially-driven nation, and the landscape has changed with the arrival of new startups in the country. In 2021, the startup ecosystem in India has raised funding of $20 billion, and many startups have achieved unicorn statuses. The expansion of this startup economy has brought new business opportunities, innovation and has created job opportunities across different sectors.

The massive transition of the business landscape

If we look back at the time from India’s independence, there has been a paradigm shift in the country’s economy. The country has grown beyond an agricultural hub and has become a potential technological destination. In this startup ecosystem, the entrepreneurs have equipped themselves with immense knowledge, and are creating top-notch products and services to solve real-time challenges. Flowing with the changing trends, Mr. Khosla is welcoming the innovations in his business operations.

Startups welcoming global partnerships

With India being an ultimate investment hub, the country is second to China when it comes to making huge investments. Understanding this pattern, Rohit Khosla said, “India has succeeded in building synergies with global companies. This is one of the profound reasons that the startup era has been contributing tremendously to the country’s economy.” The entrepreneur further revealed that India has made its place as one of the top global manufacturing hubs, and with the resurgence of startups, the numbers will boom in the time to come.

India will have an estimated 850 million internet users by 2030. It is said that this opportunity in the digital ecosystem will be a global game-changer for the country. Mr. Khosla stated that the country is steadily becoming the leading R&D hub for many Silicon Valley companies. While the nation’s focus remains on strengthening the digital wave in the country, Rohit Khosla is keen to make his foray into the tech sector.

All said and done, the affluent entrepreneur has always welcomed creativity and is walking with the new trends in the business world.

By FPJ Web Desk 

Source: Entrepreneur Rohit Khosla shares how the startup ecosystem is helping India grow globally (freepressjournal.in)

6 Ways to Stop Hackers From Emptying Your Retirement Accounts

There is a growing threat to your retirement savings, and you probably are not aware of it. Thieves increasingly are targeting individual 401(k) accounts by impersonating the account owners so the crooks can steal thousands — or even hundreds of thousands — of dollars.

© Nicoleta Ionescu / Shutterstock.com

You might think that the 401(k) plan itself would be responsible for reimbursing the funds it released in these situations. But that’s not necessarily the case. As the WSJ reports, federal law is murky about who is responsible for losses associated with cybertheft. While custodians generally pledge to reimburse such fraud, some may include slippery language in their terms that can leave you in the lurch.

Even a company as respected as Vanguard says, “if there’s evidence you neglected to reasonably safeguard your account, further investigation may be necessary to determine whether we can issue a reimbursement.”

So, what can you do to protect yourself? The following steps will go a long way toward keeping your retirement savings safe.

Create ridiculously strong passwords

How strong is strong? Eight characters? How about 10 characters?

Try at least 16 to 25. That’s what the folks at LMG Security — which provides cybersecurity and digital forensics services — recommend. Other experts agree.

LMG says its penetration testers can break down an eight-character password hash — a scrambled version of the password — in anywhere from less than eight hours to about seven days, depending on the nature of the hash.

It would take a bit longer to crack a 16-character password hash — up to more than 147 trillion years, although LMG notes that “well-funded malicious actors” likely could do so more quickly.

Use password managers carefully

Password managers provide a great service, and they have a solid reputation for keeping your information secure. But a detail in the WSJ story might give you pause when considering whether to use a password manager.

Alight Solutions, a 401(k) plan record-keeper, says 401(k) plan participants who give passwords to third-party services that aggregate passwords or financial-account data might not be reimbursed if “our investigation determines that a fraud event is traceable” to such a service, the WSJ reports.

(Alight Solutions is the 401(k) plan record-keeper that allegedly released Bartnett’s $240,000 to the fraudster who attacked her account.)

That means you might be out of luck if a data breach that led to the theft of your identity can be traced back to your password manager. So, at the very least, you should choose a password manager very carefully.

Don’t use text-based verification

Two-step verification, also referred to as two-factor authentication, adds a layer of security to your online accounts. Instead of providing just a username and password to access your account, you must also provide another piece of information you have, such as a code sent to your phone via text message or an authenticator app.

This extra step makes it harder for a crook to access your retirement account or any other account for which you set up two-step verification. But if you have verification codes sent by text message, it’s possible for a fraudster to bypass this security measure.

The scammer does this by calling your cellphone company, pretending to be you and asking the provider to change the SIM card associated with your phone number to a SIM card in a phone that is in the scammer’s possession.

Think it can’t happen to you? It happened to former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey when a crook took over Dorsey’s Twitter account.

For this reason, security experts recommend two-step verification that relies on an authenticator app over verification via text messages. Examples of such apps include Microsoft Authenticator and Authy.

Use a separate, secret phone number

This is tough — but necessary — medicine.

Just as a crook who knows your phone number can impersonate you and convince your cellular provider to make changes to your cellular account, a crook could call a financial services provider and impersonate you in an attempt to access your retirement account.

One way to thwart this type of identity fraud is to give your financial services provider a different phone number that you keep secret by not using it for anything else. Sound like overkill? Remember, a good chunk of your life savings could be at stake if someone is able to dip into your retirement account and clean it out.

Set up an online account with your plan provider

Ben Taylor, a consultant at investment-consulting firm Callan, tells the WSJ that by exercising the option to set up an online account, you beat the crooks to the punch. As he puts it, “unclaimed online accounts are easier for impersonators to take control of.”

In other words, if you have the option to set up an online account and you take advantage of it, an identity thief can’t open an account in your name and then take control of it.

Consider spreading retirement money across multiple providers

There are good reasons to keep all of your retirement funds with a single financial services provider. Not only is it more convenient, but many providers will cut you a break on fees or offer other perks as you accumulate more money with them.

But there is also a risk: If all of your money is with one provider and a fraudster gets hold of that account, you could be wiped out, even if the money loss is just temporary.

By having some of your retirement money — say, your individual retirement account and health savings account funds — with a separate provider, you will at least reduce the risk that you could lose your life savings overnight and have to scramble to pay your bills while waiting to get your money back.

By Chris Kissell for Money Talks News©

Source: 6 Ways to Stop Hackers From Emptying Your Retirement Accounts (msn.com)

DYK: Why Aluminum Foil Has a Shiny and a Dull Side

Aluminum foil: It’s one of the most versatile things you can have in your kitchen. It’s not just good for wrapping up food—you can use it for so many more things!

But there’s one question we all have about aluminum foil: Should we use the shiny or the dull side when we cook? And have we been doing it wrong this entire time?!

© Alaina DiGiacomo/Taste of Home

What Side Should We Use?

As it turns out, there’s no “correct” side of aluminum foil to use when cooking, so using it on either side is not one of the cooking mistakes that could ruin your food. They’re both equally effective at heating your food, so just choose whatever side you prefer.

So if there’s no real reason for it, then why, exactly, does aluminum foil have a shiny and dull side in the first place? Everyone’s favorite foil brand, Reynold’s Kitchen, says that the difference between the two sides is due to a manufacturing process called milling, during which heat and tension are applied to stretch and shape the foil. Two layers of foil are pressed together and milled at the same time, because otherwise, it would break.

“Where the foil is in contact with another layer, that’s the ‘dull’ side,” Reynold’s explains. “The ‘shiny’ side is the side milled without being in contact with another sheet of metal. The performance of the foil is the same, whichever side you use.”

Are There Any Exceptions?

Yep—if you’re using non-stick foil, there is a difference between the two sides. Since the non-stick coating is only applied to one side, you’ll want to use the dull side. Side note: There will be a label that designates the “non-stick side” in case you forget!

By Amrita Thakkar for Taste of Home©

Source: Why Aluminum Foil Has a Shiny and a Dull Side (msn.com)

Amtrak Shares Sneak Peek Inside New High-Speed Acela Trains

The new Acela Express Fleet—which is currently being tested and set to enter service in 2023—is being produced to reduce energy consumption by 40 percent per passenger, Amtrak said in a statement. The new efficiencies are all thanks to a new lightweight design, the Wall Street Journal reported.

©amtrak

While the next-generation high-speed Acela trains were supposed to enter into service in 2021, they are currently still being manufactured at the Alstom factory in Hornell, New York. Despite the delays, Amtrak recently shared a sneak peek of the new interiors.

In addition to more space and leg room, Acela first-class seats also come with personal tray tables, which can be used independently from one’s neighbor.

The business-class seats on the new Acela trains will include personal outlets and USB ports, plus an adjustable reading light at every seat.

The trains will feature recycled leather seats (blue in business class and red in first class) as well as a new sustainable food and beverage program. While details are scarce on how the food and drinks will be more ecofriendly, Amtrak says there will be more craft beer offerings.

The new café cars will include a self-select and check-out option, a standing room area with hip rests, and electrical outlets for charging.

In addition to these ecoconscious initiatives, the new Acela fleet will also include a few other upgrades to make train travel more appealing. Getting work done will be easier with faster Wi-Fi systems, along with USB ports and reading lights at each seat. There will also be more legroom, as well as larger bathrooms and storage compartments for luggage.

The new trains—which will operate at speeds of up to 160 mph, compared to 150 mph for the current fleet—will also have room for 386 passengers, an increase of 27 percent over its present 304-passenger capacity, which means that more people will be able to take advantage of train travel once these come online.

The Northeast Corridor is Amtrak’s only high-speed route in the United States, but a few other private rail companies have plans to bring fast trains to places such as Texas, Florida, and between Las Vegas and Southern California.   

By Lyndsey Matthews for afar©

Source: Amtrak’s Next Generation Acela Trains Will Launch in 2023 (afar.com)