Online Pharmacies Dealing in Danger

Buying medications online can be a huge gamble, unless you know what you’re doing. Thousands of fake pharmacies are at work, many of them trying to pass themselves off as legitimate while they operate beyond the reach of US authorities.

Even pharmacies that seem to be based in the US or Canada sometimes are not, and they may even use names similar to legitimate and established retailers like Walgreens and CVS.

In just one month last year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Cybercrime’s Investigation Unit shut down almost 1,700 illegal pharmacy websites but the agency fears there may be as many as 60,000 such sites.

The products the fake operators sell may be stolen, counterfeit, useless or downright dangerous, depending on what they’re made of.  Some sites also list offers designed to attract new customers, such as commissions or bonuses for referrals, or bonus extra pills with purchases.

Furthermore, consumers who use these sites also face non-healthrelated risks such as identity theft, computer viruses, and credit card fraud.

“Consumers are able to buy prescription drugs, unapproved drugs and potentially counterfeit drugs without a full understanding of the risks that they take when they do that,” says John Roth, FDA anti-crime director.  “What worries me is that people naively believe that these medicines are safe.”

Consumer Advice

Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to avoid these crooks by finding legit online pharmacies. But don’t expect to get the big price cuts or the drugs without prescriptions that the illegal pharmacies offer.

You’ll find a list of licensed pharmacies via the state board of pharmacy. Start here: Licensed pharmacies also require a prescription, provide US-based contact details and offer access to a licensed pharmacist for advice. If a site doesn’t have these features, or tries to solicit business via spam emails, it’s almost certainly a fake and you risk losing your money and your health.

The FDA runs an ongoing campaign called Be Safe Rx. Get more details and more information on the risks, the danger signs and safe practices from:

How To Escape A Tire Blowout Safely

Tire blowouts are bad news for every driver, but did you know they’re also a factor in 23,000 road accidents every year, including more than 500 fatalities? Actually, it’s not so much the blowout as what the driver does immediately afterwards that causes most of these accidents.

For instance, slamming on the brakes and trying to steer to the edge of the highway is, in most cases, one of the worst things you could do because you’re raising the risk of losing traction — especially dangerous if the road surface is wet.

Instead, the National Safety Council (NSC) says you should grip the steering wheel tightly, take your foot off the gas to let the car slow gradually, and then try to move into the breakdown lane, signaling as appropriate. When you’re totally off the pavement, brake slightly until you stop.

“It’s important to have the car well off the pavement and away from traffic before stopping,” says NSC, “even if proceeding to a place of safety means rolling along slowly with the bad tire flapping. You can drive on a flat if you take it easy and avoid sudden moves. Don’t worry about damaging the tire. It is probably ruined anyway.”

Put on your hazard warning flashers and take care exiting the vehicle.

Watch Out for Fake Cosmetics

With the price of cosmetics these days, you can’t be blamed for seeking out bargain prices. But, watch out! According to the FBI, the volume of fake makeup hitting the market is on the rise. And it’s not just the fact that you’re not getting what you think you are that’s worrying the Feds – you could be risking skin damage or even worse.

Government and industry studies have revealed that some counterfeit products contain chemicals like arsenic, beryllium, and cadmium – all known carcinogens – or high levels of bacteria that can cause acne, rashes, and skin infections. Fake perfumes, colognes and sprays sometimes contain another likely carcinogen – DEHP – and even urine. Again, rashes and other skin infections are common with these products. So, how can you tell if you’re buying the real thing? The FBI tells us that indicators of a fake include: 

  • Packaging that’s slightly different from the genuine item – perhaps slightly different coloring or lettering, or scrappy wrapping. 
  • Use of the phrase “Limited Edition” to try to overcome the above differences, when the real manufacturer doesn’t offer such a product. 
  • Drastically lower pricing. 
  • Product consistency or texture not the same as usual. Or scent smells different or is in a differently-shaped bottle.

You should also be wary about buying from non-authorized dealers, including online, or at flea markets, again especially if the price is extremely low.

“If you’re not sure about the authenticity of a product, don’t buy it,” says the FBI. And if you think you may have bought a fake or suspect someone of selling counterfeit items, you can submit a tip to the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Center, of which the FBI is a partner. You’ll find a form for doing that here:

“The more information law enforcement has, the more effective we can be,” the FBI adds. “With the proliferation of counterfeit goods increasing at an alarming rate, the National IPR Center focuses on keeping these bogus and often unsafe products off U.S. streets…while dismantling the criminal organizations behind this activity.”

What's taking so long?

We’re an insurance company. You need insurance. We want to help you! You call us. We take your information and say we’ll get back to you as soon as we get a quote. Twenty minutes pass and you’ve heard nothing. What on earth are we doing?!

With the whole “fifteen minutes could save you…” and now the “fifteen minutes is an eternity; how about seven-and-a-half minutes?” we understand. You want options, and you want them now.

If you are looking for an automobile policy, and in your household you have a 2005 Chevy Malibu and a 2008 Toyota Corolla, we can probably get back to you within the hour with several options. However, it gets trickier if you have a one-ton truck. Or a vehicle with expensive modifications.

The same applies to homeowner’s insurance. You live in town in a 1986 Ranch home that is a lot like the neighbors’ houses? We should have numbers for you today. But if your house is underground? Or a Quonset hut? Or a boathouse? It might take us a while.

Here’s why: Insurance rates are based on risk. An insurance company assesses risk based largely on comparison with similar items or properties. A late model fifth wheel RV has a lot to be compared to, but an old school bus retrofitted as a recreational vehicle is going to be more difficult to price.

At Hejny Insurance Agency, we don’t write insurance. We connect clients with the best insurance providers to meet their individual needs. So while it might seem like sometimes it’s taking an unreasonably long time to put together a quote, the odds are that we’re putting out feelers and waiting for answers. Even if you have a very specialized business for which none of our providers have a market, they might have another lead… And while we’re investigating those leads, you can be working your day job, or Skyping your mom, or reading a book on the back porch.

It doesn’t stop there. Once you have insurance through us, you can always call us or stop by with concerns or questions, and if we can’t help you, we’ll be the ones to wait on hold for forty-five minutes while you head home to start dinner.

That’s the whole reason we’re here: We do the leg work so you can get on with your life. And we appreciate that you’ve let us do so for the past 28 years.

Are you on a boat?

Summer is coming, and that means fun on Lake Texoma! When you set out for a day at the lake, you’re hoping for a stress-free outing with family and friends, but the fact is that sometimes, real life encroaches on your good times and your plans have to change. Let us help you be prepared for contingencies so you can get on with your summer.

Progressive offers a boating policy with coverage that is second to none. In addition to Total Loss Replacement for your boat, which replaces the boat with a brand new one of similar make and quality, Progressive also offers Replacement Cost Fishing Equipment for up to $10,000 for tackle, rods, and reels; and Replacement Cost Personal Effects for your cameras, clothes, cell phones, and whatever else you’ve brought with you.

Sign and Glide offers on-water towing for only $30 per year. Similar stand-alone towing policies cost $170. With Sign and Glide, you call Progressive and they contact the towing service and pay them directly, with no out-of-pocket costs to you.

Additionally, you can elect 24-hour Roadside Assistance and Trip Interruption Coverage which is available to you even if your tow vehicle is not covered by Progressive (but their auto rates are competitive, and even more so when you bundle with a boat policy, so you should check out that option, too!). Trip Interruption means that if you’re more than 100 miles from your house and your vehicle is in an accident or even just breaks down, you can be reimbursed for your costs of staying in a hotel while the vehicle is repaired.

Another option Progressive offers that is fairly exclusive is propulsion coverage. Often, if your propulsion system is damaged but there’s no overt collision that caused it, your claim for repair might be declined. Propeller repairs average $2200-$2600, so paying this out of pocket can really put a dent in your summer fun budget. With Progressive’s propulsion coverage (a separate, optional endorsement), the repair is covered after your deductible has been met.

Finally, this comprehensive coverage is offered with a number of potential discounts: homeowner, idle-assisted steering, multi-policy, multi-boat, original owner, responsible driver, safety course, transfer, claim-free renewal, paid-in-full, prompt payment, and small claim forgiveness. Additionally, if you sign up for disappearing deductibles, every policy period you do not file a claim, the deductible will be reduced by 20%.

Set off for fun, confident in your coverage. Contact our office for a no-obligation boater’s insurance policy today!