Dear Heloise: My husband and I are traveling to France this year, but we’ve never been to Europe before. We’d like to do a little RESEARCH before we get there, and we’d like to know who to turn to if we encounter a serious problem. Any hints for us? — Raymond and Kelly N., Inglewood, California

Raymond and Kelly, do some research on your computer at travel.state.gov. If you should happen to run into serious problems, you can always call the U.S. Embassy in France at +(33)(1)43-12-22-22 or e-mail the embassy at Citizeninfo@state.gov. Au revoir! — Heloise

SEND A GREAT HINT TO: Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5001; Fax: 1-210-HELOISE; Email: Heloise@Heloise.com

Pastry cutter

Dear Heloise: Today I needed to mash three hard-boiled eggs for an egg salad. Previously, I had used a fork as my mother did. I decided a pastry cutter would do the job more quickly, and it did! — Kathleen W., Montgomery, Alabama

Great hint! Readers, if you have any leftover deviled eggs from a party, mash them to make a delicious egg salad sandwich. — Heloise

Another scam alert

Dear Heloise: There is a fairly new scam going around. The FBI is warning people of internet blackmail. Here’s how it works: A scammer sends you an e-mail saying he has hacked into your computer and knows you’ve been watching porn or that there is a video from your webcam showing you as you watch porn. The scammer says he will expose your secret on various websites and/or to all your e-mail contacts unless you send a certain amount of money in bitcoins.

First, DO NOT send money of any kind. DO NOT click on any link the scammer has given you. This is a scammer who did NOT record you doing anything. In many, many cases, the person contacted has never been to a porn site. The scammer did not install malware on your computer and no doubt got your name, web address or password from one of the many data breaches that have occurred in recent years. Delete the entire email and forget it. — Pete, via email

Housesitting across the world

Dear Heloise: My husband and I would love to travel by housesitting our way around Europe and America. We’ve read that this is a great way to see places and get immersed in the culture. We’re in our 40s, healthy and fit, but we’re not really sure how to get started. — Don and Anita C., Frankfort, Indiana

Don and Anita, if you love a nomadic life, this can be a wonderful way to see many new places. There are websites where you can sign up to be a house sitter. Check them out. — Heloise

Clothing care

Dear Heloise: How do I avoid the musty smell of clothes that have been stored in a large plastic bin? — Abby H., Elkhorn, Wisconsin

Abby, one easy way to give clothing a fresh scent when storing is to place a dryer sheet in with the clothing. But do not allow it to come in contact with silk. — Heloise

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