Ivan Penn, who writes the Consumers Edge column that appears regularly in the Times, also answers reader questions about consumer issues daily on our website (www.tampabay.com/news/business, look for Consumer Edge heading). Ask the Times occasionally will run a sampling of those exchanges.
Tax-free books, clothing, more
What's included in the upcoming Florida tax-free weekend? Does it apply only to back-to-school products?
Florida's tax-free weekend runs today through Sunday and includes books, clothing and footwear selling for $50 or less along with certain school supplies selling for $10 or less.
But the tax-free benefit applies to more than just back-to-school items.
Alex Sink, the state's chief financial officer, says in a recent note to consumers that the tax-free weekend is "for anyone who wants to buy a shirt, a skirt, shoes or a raincoat (each item under $50) or any of the dozens of items on the state-approved tax-exempt list."
For more information about the tax free weekend, visit dor.myflorida.com/dor/tips/tip10a01-04.html.
Keep Evamist from kids, pets
I saw a warning from the federal government about preventing kids and pets from becoming exposed to Evamist. What threat does Evamist pose to kids and pets?
The warning about Evamist, a drug for women that is sprayed on the skin to treat hot flashes caused by menopause, came from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA says the drug, which contains the estrogen hormone estradiol, led to "adverse events reported in unintentionally exposed children," including premature puberty, nipple swelling and breast development in girls; and breast enlargement in boys. Pets exposed to Evamist might exhibit symptoms such as nipple enlargement and swelling of the genitals.
For more information, visit www.fda.gov/ ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates.
Profile Spy fake Facebook app
Is the program that claims you can see who looked at your Facebook profile real?
No. Posts have been spreading for some time that you can find out who has been viewing your profile.
Help Net Security says the links "will take you to pages outside Facebook designed to convince you that if you post the exact message you have fallen for on different places on your Facebook page, you will be allowed to download Profile Spy — a fake application that supposedly lets you see who viewed your profile."
Help Net adds that the program then has you fill out surveys and offers mobile service for $19.99 a month. Avoid it and watch out for other scams. See Help Net Security's report here: www.net-security.org/secworld.php?id=9635.