Image description: The Capitol Christmas tree was lit last night and holds more than 5,000 ornaments and LED lights.
This year’s tree is an Engelmann spruce that was harvested on November 1 from Colville National Forest in Washington. The ornaments were handcrafted by Washingtonians and celebrate the state’s history and culture.
The Christmas tree will be lit every day from night fall until 11 p.m. from now until January 1.
Photo from the National Forest Service.
The internet makes holiday shopping so easy—no fighting for parking spaces at jam-packed malls, no waiting in endless lines to get to the register.
But even if you consider yourself a pro, shopping online isn’t without risks. These tips can help you protect yourself and your finances as you hunt for that perfect gift:
1. Use a credit card rather than a debit card. Credit card payments can be withheld if there’s a dispute with a store, and if the card is stolen, you won’t have to pay more than $50 of fraudulent charges. But with a debit card, you can’t withhold payments—the store is paid directly from your bank account. And if your card is stolen, you could be liable for up to $500, depending on when you report it.
2. Find out if the public WiFi hotspot you’re using at a coffee shop or bookstore is secure. If it’s not, your payment information could be compromised over the network.
3. It’s risky not to read the terms of service agreement before you buy online. You could inadvertently sign up for subscriptions or get hit with additional fees or restrictions. Terms of service are often in small print or presented right when you are anxious to purchase.
4. Be careful if you’re buying event tickets online as gifts. Some venues may practice restricted ticketing, requiring the same credit card used in the online purchase to be shown to get into the event.
5. Use caution buying digital assets like books and music—they can’t be given away as gifts if they’ve been downloaded to your account. You should either purchase a gift card for the book or music site, or check with the company. Some services have ways to “gift an item” but it varies depending on the provider.
For more advice on safe online shopping and being a savvy consumer this holiday season and all year long, check out the Consumer Action Handbook–the free government guide to protecting your money.
Image description: This photo shows what’s known as a cloud inversion at Mather Point on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Cloud inversions form through the interaction of warm and cold weather masses and occur at the Grand Canyon about once every 10 years.
You can see more photos of the cloud inversion on the Grand Canyon’s Flickr account.
From the Department of Interior:
Over the last few days you might have seen a few photos of the recent and rare inversion(s) at Grand Canyon National Park. We hope one more will be okay. Here’s another stunning photo from Mather Point.
NPS Photo by Erin Whittaker
Image description: This image from NASA’s Curiosity rover shows the first sample of powdered rock extracted by the rover’s drill. The image was taken after the sample was transferred from the drill to the rover’s scoop.
In planned subsequent steps, the sample will be sieved, and portions of it delivered to the Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument and the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument. The scoop is 1.8 inches (4.5 centimeters) wide.
Image from NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
Register with the National “Do Not Call” Registry
- Online at DoNotCall.gov.
- By telephone at 1-888-382-1222 or TTY: 1-866-290-4236.
Verify if and when your phone number was registered.
If you have already signed up for the “Do Not Call” Registry and would now like to have your name and phone number removed from the list, you can call 1-888-382-1222 from the telephone number you want deleted. They will remove your number from the Registry within 24 hours.
Registered and Still Getting Calls
Telemarketers should stop calling you after your phone number has been on the “Do Not Call” Registry for 31 days. If you receive a telemarketing call after 31 days, file a complaint online with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or by phone at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
You may also file a complaint if you receive a call that used a recorded message instead of a live person, even if your phone number is not on the Registry.