DEAR SUN SPOTS: Thank you for all help you give to so many people. I have two issues that I'd now like help on.
Today I decided to turn up the heat in my trailer. I have had the furnace turned off all summer and had about a quarter of a tank of kerosene in an outside tank at the beginning of the summer — only to discover this morning that the tank was empty!
The receptionist at the oil company said that there have been several instances of fuel being stolen due to the hard economic times. She mentioned that she has heard of people putting locks on their tanks but didn't know how they worked or where they could be purchased.
Where can I purchase one, how much do they cost and do they need to be installed professionally? I would appreciate any information you can give me.
The other issue has been bothering me for some time. I keep getting spam email (and some in my actual in box) for Viagra, Cialis and/or Levitra. Some of the ads offer huge discounts, some are quite explicit and others are almost pornographic, etc.
I have tried to unsubscribe, but they never have an unsubscribe link. Is there any way that I can stop getting this junk? I am an 80-year-old widow and have no interest in these emails.
My young great-grandchildren frequently use my computer when they visit, and I don't want them seeing this stuff. One day I received 75 of these ads in a 24-hour period! Spending time to delete them is a nuisance.
Thank you for any help you can give on both of these matters. — No Name via email
ANSWER: When Sun Spots queried several oil companies about locks and their availability and usefulness, she got conflicting answers. Finally, she trotted on down to Winthrop Fuel, near her home. The woman in the front office told her that locking oil tank caps are available, but they are not individually secured. Rather they work with a magnetic device that all drivers carry with them.
A couple of places offer these locks online ($50 at oiltanklock.com), but they may be available from some local companies. Please write Sun Spots if you know where they can be found locally or if your company offers them and she will list all of those suppliers in a future column.
The woman at Winthrop Fuel did not know of any that work with a key, but referred Sun Spots to FW Webb, which she said is the go-to supplier in New England. At their website it says they are the "largest plumbing, heating, HVAC and industrial pipe, valves and fittings distributor in New England and New York."
The man she spoke to there said he did not know of any locks with keys for oil tanks, but would look into them. He has not gotten back to Sun Spots, but she will update readers if he does.
However, another online search turned up a lock that looks like it works with a key at Syba Systems. This one costs a little more — depending on accessories, it started at $59.
You can check the lock out at http://tinyurl.com/96aa7lm, or by mail at Syba Systems LLC, 20 Huntington Place, Norwich, CT 06360. Phone number is 860-204-0628.
Installation does not look particularly difficult, but may require a pipe wrench and some muscle, so you may need help. A plumber would be the professional you would call.
Sun Spots cannot vouch for any of these devices. Hopefully, readers who have used one will write.
The key-based lock could turn out to be more trouble than it's worth. Your key would either have to be duplicated several times so all the different drivers could have one, or you would have to be home so that you could unlock the tank yourself.
Also, be sure if you buy one that it fits a U.S. tank. Several companies online are selling ones for European tanks, which are different dimensions.
Unlike what you were told by your oil dealer, during her investigation Sun Spots was told that the theft of oil or kerosene from a home tank is not common unless you live remotely or are gone for a long periods of time, such as with a camp or with those who go to Florida all winter.
It could be somewhat tricky to steal oil. Someone would have to pull up in a tanker truck or have several big containers and walk right up to your house, then pump or siphon it out, which takes time. Some thieves undoubtedly have that much nerve, but the risks of getting caught would be high.
One oil man said that if you are really sure you are losing fuel, you should make sure you don't have a leak.
As for your spam problem, most email providers offer spam filters, which can be set to keep most junk email from ever making its way to your computer. However, without knowing what system you use, Sun Spots cannot give you precise instructions.
You could try googling "how to block spam in whatever-your-program-is" and get instructions. Your grandkids may even be able to help you figure it out, or you could ask their parents or a technically astute neighbor.
Another option is to block unwanted emails from specific addresses, so, as you mention, the email doesn't go into your in box. In Outlook, you can relegate an email address to junk status by right-clicking on the email, then selecting "junk," then "block sender."
Once the spam is in your junk mail folder, you can delete it all at once by going to that folder, hitting Control (CTRL) A, then delete.
You will still get some junk email in your in box using these methods, but they should reduce the quantity considerably.
Even if there is an unsubscribe link, Sun Spots does not recommend using it if you are a novice user and don't know the company. You may end up with something worse than spam on your computer.
Sun Spots suspects readers will also have suggestions on both of these subjects. She eagerly awaits them.
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