If it seems to good to be true, it probably is, beware

Dear Heloise: I want to add to the letter from Pete T. of Lubbock, Texas, regarding purchasing scams. Don’t assume that certified checks are authentic.

We were selling a pool table, and a customer sent us, via priority mail, a certified check from Pennsylvania, but the check was from a credit union in California.

The amount was larger than the sale. The guy said to cash the check and give the difference to the movers when they came to pick up the table.

I took the check to our credit union, and they found it to be fraudulent, despite being printed with the California Credit Union logo. Our credit union actually called the California Credit Union to verify.

If I’d cashed it, we would’ve been responsible for the amount on the bad check. — Barbara G., Terre Haute, Ind.

Sellers, beware! The law is broken by the person who cashes the check, not the one who prints it. If it seems too good to be true, then most likely IT IS! — Heloise

Dear Heloise: Whenever I travel with my family, I always check out the emergency exits after checking into the hotel. With my family, we review the plan and the map, which typically are located inside the door.

Then as a family, we step into the hall and decide which is the easiest and closest way to get to the nearest available exit.

You may find this strange, but as an added precaution, we will count the number of doors and doorways in case there is a fire and there is smoke everywhere.

I value my family way too much to skip this part of our stay. — Robert D., via email

Dear Heloise: Slicing cakes with a knife can be difficult for me. The cuts rarely come out nice, or there’s cake on the knife and I have to clean it before continuing.

My husband to the rescue: He asked me how many slices I wanted, then proceeded to cut the cake, which was out of the dish and cooling, in nice, perfect rectangles using dental floss.

Stretched across the length and then the width of the cake, he brought both hands down, creating perfect cuts. I was so impressed with his ingenuity that I just had to share! — Blanca P. in Houston

Dear Readers: When you have a cold, wash your hands often.

Then avoid putting messy tissues in your pocket or purse. Tuck a small plastic sandwich bag into either one, and you can put those tissues directly into the bag. No spreading germs.

If you’re in the habit of tucking tissues inside your sleeve, which is what some women do, please try to stop. You probably don’t want to use a germy tissue again anyway.

My grandmother used to do this, but that was in the day when they used REAL linen handkerchiefs, so there was a reason. Today? Yuck. — Heloise