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home : columns : dear harriette October 22, 2017

10/11/2017 1:18:00 PM
Identity theft leads to ongoing anxiety

DEAR HARRIETTE: I feel so insecure about my email address now. About two years ago, my social media and email, which were linked, were hacked. The hackers got so deep in my personal information that I had to create a new Facebook page because the hackers changed all my security questions. They stole my identity. It was horrible, but I started over.

I just got a message from Google that somebody tried to hack into my account. The notification asked me to go in and change my password, which freaked me out because I wasn't sure if the alert itself was an attack. I decided not to change my password from my phone and did it separately as a precaution. But I'm so worried that somebody is going to get into my information again. I can't stop having email and social media. That's the way of the world now. What can I do? -- Hacked, Tulsa, Oklahoma

DEAR HACKED: You are right to be concerned and cautious. As you may know, Equifax was hacked, which will likely affect lots of us in some way with our most personal and valuable information. As far as Google or any other portal where you have a password, the recommendation has always been to change your password often and to make it complicated enough that it is not easy to figure out. It is also important to have malware protection on your computer to make it more difficult for hackers to get into your system.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am worried about my husband's health. He has had swollen ankles off and on for a year, and they are swollen now. He used to be physically active in terms of exercise. Now he comes home from work from a fairly physical job, gets a drink and goes to bed. Sometimes he will get up and have dinner, but his patterns have changed dramatically. As much as he has been conscientious about vitamins and such, he rarely goes to the doctor. We have two teenage children. I try to get him to think of them and go check out his health. I don't know what I would do if I lost him. What can I do or say to convince him to get a physical? -- On the Edge, Atlanta

DEAR ON THE EDGE: Schedule a doctor's appointment for him at a time that you know he will be available. Sit down and tell your husband that you are taking him to the doctor for a checkup. Do not make it optional. Tell him you are worried sick about his health and need to have him evaluated. Remind him that you have two precious children and you need him to be around to help you take care of them. Tell him how much you love him and that all you want is for him to be healthy. Then get him in the car and go.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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