Dear Heloise: My councilman sent out an email about some apparent fraud going on: People are representing themselves as workers for the electric company.

His email stated that the utility’s employees will never call you and threaten to disconnect your service, and they won’t call you to demand payment by phone. They also won’t ask you to purchase a credit card or prepaid debit card.

Finally, a utility worker will not enter your home or a business unless you’ve initiated a service request, or you’ve received prior notification.

Here are some signs that an electric company call is a scam:

• The scammer tells you a payment was misapplied.

• He demands your checking account number.

• He gives you an 800 number to call to make a payment.

• He states you have 30 minutes to pay or your service will be cut off.

• He claims a worker is on the way to your home right now.

— A Reader in San Antonio

Readers, if you have questions, get your electric company’s phone number from its website and call it directly. In this heat, we need to avoid scams.

— Heloise

Mr. Clean screens

Dear Heloise: I accidentally discovered a quick and easy way to clean dirty and dusty window and door screens: I run a microfiber cloth over them! Works like magic, and sure beats hosing or vacuuming.

Ideally, I’d do both sides, but if I can’t reach the outsides, even one side makes a huge difference.

 — Bachelor Bud, Clearfield, Pennsylvania

Bud, I love it! Anything to make life easier, I’m there!

— Heloise

Massage therapy

Dear Heloise: For those who don’t care for kale’s toughness, try massaging it for a couple of minutes with whatever dressing is being used. It makes a big difference in texture; it’s softer.

 — Rev. Deborah T., Colorado Springs, Colorado

A few hints from California

Dear Heloise: Here are a few hints your readers might like:

• A lightly inflated beach ball makes a great bath pillow.

• Dusty artificial flowers? Fill a bucket with water and add a dash of dish detergent. Slosh the flowers in the water, shake them out and hang them upside down to dry.

• Use a lipstick brush to get what’s in the base of the tube. There are many applications left in the base.

I enjoy your column.

 — Linda S., Long Beach

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