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Latest from Sabrina Cupit

    Researchers in Italy have created an artificial intelligence program that can detect signs of Alzheimer's up to 10 years before symptoms appear.  The computer system scans the brain for tiny structural changes that indicate the early stages of the disease. The program has a success rate of nearly 90 percent.  Jinny Helms, with the Georgia chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, says about five million people are living with the disease. About 140,000 Georgians are living with Alzheimer's disease.  Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging. The greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer's are 65 and older. But Alzheimer's is not just a disease of old age. Approximately 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease. There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, but early diagnosis and treatment can slow the progression of the disease.  One of the most common signs of Alzheimer's is memory loss, especially forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; increasingly needing to rely on memory aids. For a full list of symptoms, click here.
  • The massive Equifax breach could be a real pain come tax season. Consumers should start thinking ahead to tax season, when criminals could potentially use those stolen Social Security numbers to file fraudulent tax returns and hold up refunds. WSB Consumer expert Clark Howard says he is very worried about tax filing season next year. He says a lot of the ways the IRS prevented tax ID theft are now not going to work because of the Equifax data breach.  'I'm afraid that criminals are going to be able to drive a Mack truck through the security systems the IRS has in place,' says Howard. He adds that you stand a good chance a criminal will try to file a claim using your identity. He says the result of that is, “Your tax refund will be delayed typically 10 to 14 months.' Howard says the one thing you should do today is reduce the withholding at your work place. He says by doing this, if you end up having to wait for a refund, it is only a small amount you are waiting on.
  • More fallout tied to the worst data breach in modern American history.   There is a warning to consumers about a new Equifax related scam. A caller claims to be with Equifax, and says they are calling to “verify your account” following the recent security breach.  Equifax will not call you.   Lori Silverman in Clark Howard's Consumer Action Center says, “I promise you that they will not call you, they can't even answer the call volume they are getting right now.”   She says, “There is no reason for Equifax to notify you for any reason.”  The advice is still the same, freeze your credit.   Do not give personal or financial information out over the phone unless you have initiated the call and it is to a phone number you know is correct.  You cannot trust caller ID either. Scam artists can spoof their numbers so it looks like they are calling from a particular company, like Equifax, even when they are not.  If you get a robocall, hang up. Do not press ‘1’ to speak to a live operator or any other key to take your number off the list. If you respond by pressing any number, it will probably just lead to more robocalls.  If you receive a fake Equifax call, or a call from anyone asking for personal information, report it to the Federal Trade Commission. 
  • The other two credit reporting agencies are prime targets for a hack attack, according to an Atlanta credit expert.  After the Equifax hack that exposed 143 million Americans, John Ulzheimer, president of The Ulzheimer Group in Atlanta says the other two credit reporting agencies, TransUnion or Experian are prime targets.  'The information they house is extraordinarily valuable and it is absolutely a target for a fraudster, I can't see how it can't be,” Ulzheimer tells WSB.   He adds that credit reports are 'ground zero' essentially when somebody goes out and applies for credit.   How much is your stolen information worth on the black market? Underground markets sell full identities of individuals just like you for as little as $10 apiece, according to Secureworks, a unit of Dell Inc.  Ulzheimer says Equifax is a victim of a crime that's almost impossible to stop.  'They're very clever and in many cases well-funded and the value of the data is immense,” Ulzheimer explains.   He says you and I hold some responsibility. He says we should all monitor our credit and above all else -- freeze your credit. To listen to more of Sabrina Cupit’s interview with Atlanta Credit expert John Ulzheimer, click HERE. For more on the Equifax breach from WSB’s Clark Howard, vistit clark.com.
  • The blame game is underway.  Atlanta-based credit reporting agency Equifax and their software supplier are blaming each other for the massive hack attack.  Half the country could have had personal information stolen. Hackers got the Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses of as many as 143 million Americans, putting them at serious risk of identity theft.   WSB consumer expert Clark Howard says that even if your credit was frozen, “your information could have been part of this breach.”  He says the good news is that if you froze your credit before the breach, the bad guys cannot apply for credit using your name.   Credit bureaus are supposed to safeguard information, but no government agency has the authority to go in and review their security practices. Tighter federal oversight of the bureaus is needed.   Terrified consumers are signing up for identity theft protection services like LifeLock.  Since the breach, LifeLock has seen six times its usual web traffic. Lori Silverman in the Consumer Action Center says, 'We don't recommend that you pay for any monitoring, just freeze your credit.'  She says you can monitor your credit by yourself by using CreditKarma.com for free.
  • Callers are inundating The Consumer Action Center with concerns about the Equifax breach.   Dorothy is a volunteer with Clark Howard. She says, 'We are up to our necks and then some with questions about the security hacking, you know Equifax hacking.'  Callers want to know how to find out if they are a victim and if so, what to do.   Clark Howard says, 'Equifax has failed to this point to offer any meaningful protection for consumers.'   He says this is a lifelong problem for people affected. 'It's so extensive that at any time, at any point for decades to come, a criminal can take over your identity,' Howard explains.   The only way to protect your self is to freeze your credit. A credit freeze closes your credit reports and provides a personal identification number that only you know, and can use to temporarily “thaw” your credit when you need to apply for credit.   Equifax has announced that it would waive all fees for the next 30 days for people who want to freeze their Equifax credit files.  The credit reporting agency is also trying to get you to purchase a service that monitors your credit.  Lori Silverman in the Consumer Action Center says, 'Don’t do it, all you need to do is freeze your credit.'   For more tips, visit Clark Howard’s site.   And check if you are a victim of the Equifax breach on the agency’s website. 
  • The Georgia Department of Health is already in the process of getting patients along the Georgia coast to facilities that are more inland.   Dr. Patrick O'Neal with the Georgia Department of Public Health says they are concerned about the impact this monster storm may have on hospitals and nursing homes along the coast.  “We are in the process of evacuating a lot of those facilities inland,” O’Neal says.  They have evacuated babies from the neonatal nursery at Memorial Health center in Savannah.  O’Neal says nearly 60 babies had to be moved. He adds that about a half a dozen or so were brought to Children Healthcare of Atlanta.  “In a previous evacuation, we actually had seven deaths that were actually associated with difficulties that occurred during the evacuation itself,” O’Neal says. The hope is to have all the patients in a safe place before the storm hits. For more from the Georgia Department of Public Health, click here.
  • After more than four decades of decline, progress has slowed when it comes to preventing stroke deaths and that has gotten the attention of the nation's top health protection agency.   The new vital signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that progress in preventing stroke deaths has stalled in 3 out 4 states across the United States, not just in the so-called stroke belt.  Georgia was among one of the 34 states that showed a slowing in progress.   Not only has progress slowed among most demographic groups and states, stroke death rates have increased among Hispanics and people living in the south.   “These findings are a wake-up call,” CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D. says. “We’ve made enormous progress in reducing stroke deaths, but that progress has stalled.  “We know the majority of strokes are preventable, and we must improve our efforts to reduce America’s stroke burden.”  About 800,000 people have a stroke each year and more than 140,000 die. Eighty percent of strokes are preventable.   Blacks continue to have the highest stroke death rates. The report also finds a jump in stroke deaths among Hispanics. The rate was up six percent each year from 2013-2015.   High blood pressure is the leading cause of strokes, and the most significant controllable risk factor for strokes. Diabetes, heart diseases and smoking are also risk factors.   Robert Merritt with the CDC says, “I think if you were to ask the average person on the street, they probably couldn't tell you what the signs and symptoms are of having a stroke.'   The CDC says you can better learn the signs of a stroke by using the acronym FAST:   F-face drooping  A-arm weakness S-speech difficulty T-time to call 9-1-1  For more from the American Stroke Association, click here.  The CDC also has more information on stroke prevention, HERE.
  • Before you 'opt in' to Verizon's new Verizon Up Awards program, you may want pause and think about what you are giving up.   The new program awards users a credit for every $300 they spend on their Verizon bill.  Loris Silverman in Clark Howard's Consumer Action Center says, “I would caution people to think about whether they want Verizon to have all their data.”  If you opt in, then the company can track a lot of what you do. They will know your web browsing, your location, service usage, postal and email addresses.  'They will pretty much know everything about you,' says Silverman.  She adds that even if you change your mind and want to opt out, your information is still available to them for three years after that.   Verizon has done this before with its earlier rewards program called “Smart Rewards,” which also required users to opt in to the Verizon Selects tracking program.  For more from the Consumer Action Center, click HERE.
  • The message is simple 'Protect yourself from mosquito bites,'says Dr Cherie Drenzek with the state health department.   The state confirms nearly 20 human cases of West Nile virus so far this year, including three deaths. In 2016, there were a total of just seven cases an no deaths.    “Georgians can reduce the number of mosquitoes around their homes and yards by getting rid of standing water,” said Chris Rustin, Ph.D., DPH director of Environmental Health. “Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes that may be infected with West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.”   Tip ‘n Toss all containers that can collect water - flowerpots, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires and birdbaths - anything that holds water and gives mosquitoes a place to thrive. Mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus look for stagnant water to lay eggs in, so be sure gutters and eaves are clear of leaves and debris.   The most effective way to protect against WNV infection and all mosquito-borne diseases, including Zika, is to prevent mosquito bites. Observe the “Five D’s of Prevention” during your outdoor activities this holiday weekend:   Dusk/Dawn – Mosquitoes carrying WNV usually bite at dusk and dawn, so avoid or limit outdoor activity at these times.  Dress – Wear loose-fitting, long sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin.  DEET – Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.  Drain - Empty any containers holding standing water because they are excellent breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.  Doors – Make sure doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly, and fix torn or damaged screens to keep mosquitoes out of the house.  Symptoms of West Nile virus include headache, fever, neck discomfort, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes and a rash - that usually develop three to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The elderly, those with compromised immune systems, or those with other underlying medical conditions are at greater risk for complications from the disease.
  • Sabrina Cupit

    Midday Anchor/ Health Reporter

    Sabrina is WSB's midday news anchor, a position she's held since 2000. She also serves as the station's Health Reporter, and has produced award-winning series on Defibrillators and Elderly Drivers. For the past 5 years, Sabrina has been the CDC correspondent for WSB and CBS Network. You may also recognize Sabrina as one of the familiar Georgia Lottery hosts on WSB-TV. Sabrina joined Cox Radio in 1995, anchoring the news on the morning shows for B98.5-FM, WJZF Jazz Flavors, and WCNN. Around that same time, she served as an anchor for CNN Headline News and CNN Airport News. She's also a recognizable face in infomercials which air in markets including New York and California. Before entering the news business, Sabrina got her start in country music radio, at different times performing stints as morning show host and afternoon drive jock at WNGC in Athens; she also served as the station's Program Director. She spent several years with WDUN in Gainesville as a midday talk show host.

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News

  • As more information becomes available about the Equifax breach scandal, U.S. consumers are still searching for answers on whether they are vulnerable to identity fraud.  So that is why WSB Radio, Channel 2 Action News, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Consumer Adviser Clark Howard teamed up Monday morning to answer your questions.   Clark Howard was joined by Channel 2 Action News anchor Craig Lucie LIVE in Team Clark Howard's Consumer Action Center. They fielded questions and talked about the breach for over an hour.   The Facebook Live of the event reached more than 400,000 people worldwide:
  • A sweet -- and very large -- feline could be classified as a Hurricane Irma victim, but instead she’ll probably become famous as she goes viral.  Faye, weighing in at a whopping 24 pounds, was dropped off at the Jacksonville Humane Society in Jacksonville, Florida, and is up for adoption Wednesday. >> Read more trending news A Facebook post about the cat went up Tuesday night and had already been shared more than 600 times by Wednesday.  According to the shelter, the 12-year-old cat is an attention hound and needs a loving home where someone will help her cut back on food and treats.  “Faye loves attention and likes when you scratch right above her nubby tail,” the post said. “She will need a loving home to help her lose weight at a slow and steady pace outlined by our veterinarian.” Faye was brought in after Hurricane Irma, but her owner contacted them before the storm for help, so shelter officials aren’t totally blaming the storm. Those interested in adopting Faye or other pets at the North Florida shelter can visit the Jacksonville Humane Society website. 
  • Want to request a credit from Comcast for missed Xfinity cable, internet and phone service due to Hurricane Irma? The company has set up two ways to ask for it. Customers can either call its customer service line at 1-800-391-3000 or fill out a short online form at xfinity.com/florida-form. The online way is likely faster, since it doesn’t require customers to log in. >> Read more trending news Those without internet at home may be able to use their smartphone or find a place with available Wi-Fi.  A Comcast employee will respond, and credits may take one to two billing cycles to be posted to your account, according to the company. As of Monday, there were nearly 900,000 cable customers without service in Florida. That number includes a number of internet provider, not just Comcast. A Comcast spokeswoman said Tuesday that 97 percent of its customers have had their service restored. AT&T’s U-verse cable service has also been hit hard by outages, but the company has been mum about whether they will offer credits. It’s not mentioned on AT&T’s Irma support page. When reached for comment about the issue last week, a spokeswoman never responded to Palm Beach Post. “Unfortunately our equipment that services internet and TV took a hit,” a post on the AT&T support forum said. Due to the nature of the equipment, it can take time to replace or repair depending on the damaged caused by the water. Also power may not have been restored to our equipment as residential areas take priority. Just because you have power at your home, does not mean power has been restored in other areas that push the signal to your home. “We do have many crews out there trying to restore service to get everyone back up. I know this is a stressful time for everyone out there. Please know that AT&T is doing what we can to help. “ U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, D-Fla., asked the CEOs of America’s largest cell service and cable providers last week to waive late fees and issue rebates for victims of Irma. Hardly any of the companies responded. Comcast is also waiving a variety of fees, including late payment fees, early termination fees and fees for requipment that has not been returned.
  • President Donald Trump has made airlines' longtime goal of privatizing air traffic control a key part of his agenda to boost America's infrastructure. But his prospects for closing the deal with Congress appear slim. A House bill that would put the aviation industry in charge of air traffic control has repeatedly stalled and prospects appear even worse in the Senate, where there has been no effort to take up the issue. While the White House and airline lobbyists have pushed for privatization, there has been fierce opposition from private pilots, corporate aircraft owners and others who fear they will have to pay more to use the system and would lose access to busy airports. Airlines have pushed for getting the government out of air traffic operations for decades and seemed to have the brightest prospects after meeting with Trump early this year. Trump embraced the idea as part of his overall plan to boost infrastructure — a big part of his campaign promise to create jobs. While Trump has offered few other specifics about his overall infrastructure plans, he put the spotlight on air-traffic privatization at a White House infrastructure event in June. Three weeks later, the House transportation committee approved a bill by its chairman, Pennsylvania Republican Bill Shuster, to spin off air traffic control from the Federal Aviation Administration and place it under the authority of a private, non-profit corporation run by aviation interests, including airlines. But the bill still hasn't come to the House floor. Trump's special assistant for infrastructure policy, D.J. Gribbin, told an airline industry conference last week that House leaders are planning a vote in early October. But the bill's supporters acknowledge the vote would have already happened if there was enough support to pass it. 'We're working on it,' Rep. Paul Mitchell, R-Michigan, told reporters. 'We don't have all the votes yet.' Lawmakers in both parties have expressed concern about Congress losing oversight of such an important, traditionally government-run function. The handover of about 300 airport towers and other flight tracking centers would be one of the largest transfers of U.S. government assets ever. About 35,000 workers would be affected. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, the senior Democrat on the Commerce Committee, which oversees the FAA, called the House plan 'a classic case of a costly solution looking for a problem.' 'It's an idea that went nowhere in the Senate last year and is destined to meet the same fate this year,' he said. Airlines say the FAA has shown itself incapable of executing its plan to use technology to transform America's air traffic system, saving time, fuel and money and increasing the system's capacity to handle more planes as air travel grows. Part of the FAA's problem is that the vagaries of the government's budget process have limited the agency's ability to commit to long-term contracts and raise money for major expenditures. Placing the system under a corporation that can borrow money against future revenue would lead to greater efficiency and more reliable funding, airlines say. Many countries have separated air-traffic operations from their safety regulator in recent years, with most creating government-owned corporations, independent government agencies or quasi-governmental entities. The House bill is modeled after Canada's air traffic corporation, Nav Canada, the only clearly private nonprofit air-traffic corporation. Privatization supporters say Nav Canada has made smart decisions that have enabled it to adopt more advanced technology while reducing fees to airlines and other users. But opponents fear privatization will give airlines too much power over the aviation system. 'This is a monopolization bill,' said Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-Louisiana. The corporation's 13-member board, as outlined in the bill, 'is definitely stacked to favor the big airlines,' he said. The airline industry has faced the lobbying muscle of private pilots and other 'general aviation' users in the past, and lost. People who can afford their own plane tend to be well-heeled and know how to get lawmakers' attention. They are an especially important constituency in rural districts and states, where people depend more on small aircraft. Opponents also have enlisted the support of several aviation heroes, including astronaut Jim Lovell, the commander of Apollo 13. Retired Capt. Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger, the pilot who landed an airliner in the Hudson River without the loss of a single life made a commercial for opponents, saying not to trust 'the keys to the kingdom' to 'the people who make your airline seats smaller.' White House and airline officials have pushed hard, but say offers to adjust the bill to address opponents' concerns have been rebuffed. General aviation groups have told bill proponents they fear that any protections in the legislation would be inadequate. 'We could literally never get past that concept,' said the White House's Gribbin.
  •   It’s one of a woman’s worst fears, to attend a party or event and run into someone else wearing the same thing. >> Read more trending news That not only happened at a wedding on Saturday, it happened to six women, who all showed up at the reception wearing the same dress.  One of the women, Debbie Speranza, posted a photo of the women on Facebook saying, “Imagine the odds.”  'My cousin and I walked into the reception and saw each other [in the same dress] and started laughing, but then another walked in … then another one … and another one,” Speranza told the Telegraph. The group was photographed with the bride at one point and actually looked like they could be her bridesmaids. The dress was sold by Forever New for $160, and Speranza had some advice for the company. “You really should start a bridal registry so that your customers can inquire whether anyone else has purchased one of your dresses for the same event,” she said on Facebook.  
  • When it comes to scary things in the Upside Down, it turns out that a Demogorgun is no match for intellectual property lawyers. >> Read more trending news “The Upside Down,” A “Stranger Things”-themed pop-up bar in Chicago, has been hit with a cease-and-desist letter from Netflix after it was found in violation of intellectual property laws because it never received Netflix’s blessing. But Netflix didn’t sent just any cease-and-desist letter. No, they got in on the spirit of the show with a nerdy, yet firm, directive for the bar’s owners: The bar, designed by the same folks that created the Windy City’s Emporium Arcade Bar, debuted on Aug. 18 in Logan Square. According to Eater Chicago, patrons of “The Upside Down” can order show-themed drinks, such as “Eleven’s Eggo’s,” served with a waffle wedge; and a drink named for the Demogorgun, the show’s big monster. Fans of the show’s theme music from Austin band S U R V I V E can indulge in a few kegs of Goose Island’s GI5-5538, a red ale that was brewed specifically for the band.  The bar is also decorated with a ton of “Stranger Things” memorabillia, including a huge mural of Eleven, the Byers family couch, Christmas lights (complete with the alphabet), an A/V rig and some props designed to look like the Hawkins Energy Department. Check out photos of the bar here. As one might guess, having all of this out in the open without permission would be cause for some concern from Netflix. The bar was originally scheduled to close after a six-week run, with plans for an extension if it was profitable. As it stands now, the bar will close on Oct. 1. Nevertheless, this looks like a win-win for the bar and the streaming service. The second season of “Stranger Things” debuts next month, and the letter does leave future pop-ups open to consideration, so both groups get publicity. So, Chicago, start pedaling your bikes over to the bar before the portal to the Upside Down closes. And Austinites, you’ve got 10 days to get yourself a flight to Chicago.