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Special Features Section, Superior Express

Jenny's REESources, by Jenny Rees, UNL Extension

Scammers at work this holiday season


Jenny's REESources, by Jenny Rees, UNL Extension
This has been my busiest fall of programming for youth and adults so far. It's been fun teaching youth about plant breeding and estimating corn yield at several youth science field days and teaching a variety of programming for adults.
Learning about and flying unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) was a neat experience I'll share about next week. This week will round out our area Farm Bill Training Sessions.
Every year we strive to bring you timely stories in our Cropwatch newsletter. A number of people contribute this timely, research-based information and we all benefit from the feedback! What topics in CropWatch are most helpful to your farm or agribusiness? What topics would you like to see more information on? Please take our reader survey by Dec. 19. It will only take 5 to 10 minutes to complete and we'd greatly appreciate it you filling it out at: Watch.
Knowing your cost of production per acre is important, particularly with lower crop prices. The Nebraska Extension Crop Budgets have been updated and published at: They are available in PDF and Excel formats. They're available to be used as a guide to determine cost of production per acre.
The cold November was perfect for making a fire and winter is fast approaching. We had a few questions regarding firewood insects. Most insects emerging from firewood, even tree borers and subterranean termites, are only considered nuisance pests when brought into the home in firewood. This is because most insects cannot survive in the home when introduced via firewood.
For example, subterranean termites quickly die without their underground colony and emerging adult tree borers will not attack or damage aged or finished wood inside the home.
To avoid nuisance pests emerging indoors, only bring firewood inside as needed. Do not store firewood indoors. If firewood is held below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, insects in the wood will remain dormant. If brought indoors and allowed to warm, insect activity resumes and insects may emerge from the wood inside the home.
For more information, please see
Care of holiday plants begins when the wholesale truck delivers the plants to the store and at the point of purchase. When plants are purchased, they need to be wrapped in a plastic bag to protect them from chilling injury while transported from the store to home.
Once brought home, promptly remove the paper or plastic sleeve placed around the plant. If a plant sleeve remains around a plant for more than 24 hours, ethylene gas produced by the plant will cause leaves to begin dropping.
Check the potting mix to be sure it is moist. Inspect plants closely for signs of insect pests; treat and quarantine any found to be infested. Display most plants where they receive fairly bright light and away from warm or cold air drafts.
Soilless mixes dry out quickly in dry indoor air. Check plants daily for watering needs. For information on specific plants in addition to poinsettias, please see this link:

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Scammers at work this holiday season

The holidays are a busy time of year, especially for spammers and scammers! Criminals want to take advantage of the holiday rush because people are distracted by their busy schedules, and those shopping more online or at stores may not notice an additional charge on their credit cards until later.
One of the most common spam scams right now are package notice emails.
"An email arrives and says your package is on its way and gives you a tracking number," said CGO Systems Analyst Heather Benda. "Unfortunately, the tracking number link does not go to a retailer such as Costco or delivery service such as UPS or FedEx."
One of the best ways to avoid spam scams is to filter emails before they even get to your computer. Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) is currently using FuseMail for filtering, but will change to Proofpoint in January due to its expertise in spam protection. More information will be communicated before the change.
Another scam several NPPD colleagues have reported starts with a phone call on your home, work or cell phone. The caller says they are from Microsoft (or Symantec, etc.) and noticed some errors on your PC.
"They ask you to type in their link so they can take control of your PC and run a scan to diagnose the source of the errors," said Benda.
The "scan" identifies a list of fictitious malware they then offer to fix for you for a small fee. After getting a credit card number, some scammers tried to get a second card number by saying the first one wouldn't go through.
"Or, they say they need to run advanced options for another small fee," said Benda. "People who gave them a card number have had as much as $450 charged to their card in addition to the amount they thought they were paying!
"Have a great Ho-ho-holiday and stay away from the Grinch who wants to steal your Christmas cheer!" she added.

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