Dear Heloise: With summer coming, a lot of people will be traveling abroad, but there are some common scams they should be on the alert for if they want to avoid being taken advantage of.

* Sometimes a taxi driver will tell you that your hotel is closed or burned down. However, he'll tell you he knows of another place as good or better. Stop the taxi, get out and get another driver. Do not go to the hotel the driver is suggesting. Always confirm your reservation before traveling to avoid this kind of scam.

* Phony police officers will stop you and demand to see your passport and wallet. Once you hand over these items, the fake officers disappear. Don't give them anything until you see their badge numbers, names and proof that they are real police officers.

* Someone calls your hotel room and asks to confirm booking details. They ask for credit card information. Never give them your credit card details or any other financial information. -- James in Nevada


Dear Heloise: I read the Sound Offs, and I have one that has been bothering me for a very long time.

I'm speaking of the clothing and sheets that have combined fibers or are all synthetic. We are lucky to get one season out of these items before they start to pill and look shabby. I wish manufacturers would stop this practice, because everything is so expensive. What happened to quality? Ann Marie P., The Villages, Fla.

Ann Marie, pilling (the formation of small fuzz balls) happens due to fabric strength and friction. Synthetic and blended fabrics are most prone to forming those fuzz balls. You can cut down on pilling by using a liquid fabric softener, which will help reduce friction in the wash. To remove the pills, you can use a shaving razor or a battery-operated pill remover. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I used to use a popular water repellent spray on my husband's ties because he had a nasty habit of getting food on them. That product is no longer made, but there are other sprays that work just as well. This has saved us a small fortune. -- Christine in Colorado


Dear Heloise: I kept losing my hair pins, small scissors, tweezers and other small metal personal-use items. Finally, I bought a magnetic metal strip used to hold knives in the kitchen, and attached it to my bathroom wall. Now I don't lose them anymore. -- Connie in Maine


Dear Heloise: With planting season here, in some parts of the country a common problem is slugs and snails. One way to kill them is to bury a pie plate until it's level with the ground. Fill the pie plate with beer and wait. Slugs and snails are attracted to the smell and are killed by the alcohol. -- Jack in Tennessee.