Stay Safe From Online Scams This Holiday Season

With Cyber Monday upon us, many of us will be shopping sales online.

Unfortunately, retailers aren’t the only ones hoping to cash in on the influx of online shoppers. Online scams are constantly attempting to collect your personal and financial information or steal your money.

As you spread holiday cheer, here’s how to avoid spreading your sensitive financial information to fraudsters. Protect yourself this holiday gift-giving season with these tips to ensure you shop online safely and securely.

1. Locate The Lock

A secure internet connection when making a purchase is mandatory. Reputable websites use technologies such as SSL (Secure Socket Layer) that encrypt data during transmission to stay safe from online scams. You can confirm a secure connection if you see at the front of your address bar a little lock icon on your browser (and usually “https”).

2. Secure Payment Is Safer Payment

Shop only on sites that accept secure payment methods, such as credit card numbers and PayPal, which are electronically linked to your credit card or bank account. Never shop on a website that only accepts payment via check, cash, mail order, or requests you buy and pay with a gift card. Reputable merchants will usually have some sort of security seal of approval, such as DigiCert, Better Business Bureau, or VeriSign.

3. Keep Online Scams Down by Keeping Your Software Up to Date

Whatever device you shop on – whether it’s your smartphone, laptop, desktop, or tablet – always keep the operating system up to date. Also, use good anti-malware (“malicious software”) that includes anti-virus and a firewall.

4. Keep Criminals Away By Doing Your Homework

On auction sites like eBay and Facebook Marketplace, check the seller’s reputation and read comments before buying a product to see what the experience was like for past customers.

5. Use Good Passwords

A good password is at least eight characters long and includes letters, numbers, and symbols. Or use a passphrase, which is a long string of words together, and include a number and symbol, too. For example, the sentence “My dog Emma has a birthday April 16!” could be used to create a passphrase like “MdEhabA16!

6. Smart Shoppers Are Safe Shoppers

Also, don’t forget the No. 1 tip about shopping: if it seems too good to be true, it is probably an online scam. You won’t find an iPhone 15 Pro for $300.

The holidays are meant to be enjoyed. These simple safety measures allow you to enjoy peace of mind as you shop online and gift the people who matter most to you! Want to shop safely and get fantastic deals and savings on all the best shopping and gifts for the holidays? Remember to use AMBA Discounts! Membership is absolutely FREE and you’re already enrolled as a member of your association!

Members, if you don’t have your activation code, please call our office at 919-834-4652 or 1-800-356-1190.

November’s Recipe: Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffing

Thanksgiving is a great time for loved ones to get together and share the holiday with one another. One great way to show appreciation and thanks for one another’s company is to remember to be inclusive. Whether for lifestyle or health reasons, some attendees of your Thanksgiving dinner may be either vegetarian or need or want a gluten-free alternative to traditional stuffing. This recipe will please them and anyone who craves great flavor with fewer calories! Quinoa is a fluffy, slightly crunchy, high-protein, gluten-free alternative grain. This recipe can be used to stuff a turkey or served as a side dish.

Servings: 8

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes


  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 small zucchinis, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 butternut squash – peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup diced dried apricots
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 lime


  1. In a saucepan, bring vegetable stock to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Add in quinoa and stir. Cover the pan and simmer until quinoa absorbs the liquid (approximately 10 to 15 minutes). Remove from heat.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir in the zucchini and butternut squash in the hot oil until slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Stir quinoa into the vegetables and gently mix green onions, apricots, cranberries, and parsley into the stuffing. Drizzle with lime juice.

Spice It Up!

Want to bring out the flavors even more? Consider adding a combination of spices such as rosemary, sage, pepper, Himalayan salt, cumin, ground jalapeno pepper, and/or Cuban seasoning to the olive oil in the pan and cooking them for a minute or two before adding in the zucchini and squash.

If you need a dessert for the holidays, head over to our Digital Member-Created Holiday Dessert Recipe Book.

Finding Inspiration from Others to Survive Cancer

Every cancer survivor has a story—one filled with fear, hope, and courage. While survivors have many things in common, no two journeys are the same. Many find inspiration and renewed determination to keep fighting in hearing other survivor’s stories. A cancer journey is so much more than just a diagnosis and treatment. It doesn’t just change the life of the person with the diagnosis, it changes the lives of everybody around them.

Kevin: CNS Cancer Survivor

“The first time I even heard of Central Nervous System Lymphoma – CNS – was when I was diagnosed with it. Finding a medical team that was knowledgeable and optimistic was essential for me to stay strong. Their confidence gave me confidence that I would be all right. Five years later, I’m still here, healthy, and enjoying being a new great-grandfather to a beautiful girl.”

Jodi: Breast Cancer Survivor

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer May 23, 2016. I consider myself very lucky because thankfully it wasn’t a journey I had to face alone. My family rallied around me, and their love and support were every bit as important as my treatment. When cancer puts you at your worst, you need the best. And nothing means more than to have your loved ones there to guide you, every step of the way.”

Melody: Ovarian Cancer Survivor

“When I was diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer in 2013, I saw it as an opportunity. I knew if I never let the diagnosis keep me from doing what I love, I could change my life – and the lives of others – for the better. Cancer is a real challenge, but every challenge is also an opportunity! You just have to get on your feet and face it! Cancer forces you to listen to your body and refocus your attention on getting better. When friends and family tell me about any number of problems they’re facing, I remind them of my journey. If I got through my issues, they can get through theirs!”

Finding inspiration to beat cancer is an essential component for a good outcome. But so is being prepared for a potential diagnosis. Cancer can happen to anyone. Be ready. A Cancer policy from NCRGEA and AMBA helps protect you and your family in the event of a cancer diagnosis. Treatment, care, travel, and other out-of-pocket expenses are costly. This plan pays cash in one lump sum upon the first diagnosis of internal cancer or malignant melanoma. You can even add an optional Heart and Stroke rider to your policy. Learn more by requesting a Benefits Review at or speak with a skilled AMBA representative by calling 800-956-1228.


Upgrade Your Downhill Adventures with AMBA Discounts

Planning a winter getaway with loved ones? AMBA Discounts make it easy to create a time to remember. Whether you’re escaping the cold to warmer climates or seeking a slope-side paradise, we’ve got the savings for the perfect vacation, custom-tailored for your adventurous spirit and wallet.

Extra Holidays

Extra Holidays specializes in creating the perfect vacation for you and your loved ones. Choose from 200+ condo-style resorts in over 150 top destinations across the world. Whether you seek to go snorkeling in the bright blue waters of the Caribbean, or tee off with a view of Camelback Mountain, or going on an adventure to an exciting new country like Australia or Japan, there is room for the whole family. Most suite accommodations offered by Extra Holidays feature separate bedrooms, spacious living/dining areas, partial or fully-equipped kitchens and conveniences like a washer/dryer, as well as extraordinary amenities like lazy rivers, on-site sporting facilities and resort activity programs.

AMBA Discounts Offer: 20% off a wide selection of resorts in over 200 destinations.

Extended Stay America

Finding a hotel that is comfortable for families (or for traveling alone!) and has a kitchen included so you can cook your own meals is always welcome. Extended Stay America has tons of locations throughout the United States. The chain is a favorite for many travelers because of the available kitchen in your room. Supplied with all the bells and whistles you’d need for a home away from home, they even have pots and pans and anything else you need. It makes it a lot easier to save money to cook your own meals!

AMBA Discounts Offer: Save up to 50% off all stays at Extended Stay America hotels.


Of course, it’s always fun to go out for meals while you’re traveling. As soon as you’re done schussing the slopes, savor the amazing restaurants that AMBA Discounts is partnered with. From fine dining at local favorites to national chains for a quick bite such as….

Avis Car Rentals

Wherever you’re traveling, Avis has the perfect vehicle for your adventures. on the road faster than ever. The updated Avis app makes it easy to skip the counter, choose your vehicle, and get your family on the road faster than ever.

AMBA Discounts Offer: Save up to 35% off base rates when you select Pay Now or save up to 25% off car rental base rates with Pay Later.

Whichever the season, however the outdoors calls you, AMBA Discounts is your passport to big savings to help you make the most of your next escape. From summit-seeking to fly-fishing, mouth-watering cuisine to personalized wellness, kid-friendly fun or something-for-everyone, AMBA Discounts lets you explore a world of savings on travel, entertainment, shopping, and car rentals. Visit now!

Members, if you don’t have your activation code, please call our office at 919-834-4652 or 1-800-356-1190.

5 High-Inflammatory Foods That Raise Health Risks

We all know the obvious consequence of making consistently unhealthy food choices: weight gain. But the number of ways our eating habits can affect our body and overall health doesn’t stop there.

Though consumption of deep-fried foods, sugary foods, and char-grilled meat can be enjoyable, they can lead to chronic inflammation. Increased levels of inflammation in the body can cause day-to-day issues like fatigue and trouble sleeping, to more serious and even fatal health concerns like damage to healthy tissue, heart disease, diabetes, and even an elevate risk of some forms of cancer. If you’ve been overdoing any of the following inflammatory foods, consider this your wake-up call to cut back.

High-Inflammatory Foods To Aviod

1) Char-grilled meat

Whether you’re barbecuing or pan-grilling, char marks and burnt edges are a clue that your food contains heterocyclic amines (HCAs). HCAs are mutagenic because they cause damage to DNA that may increase the risk of cancer. Rodents fed with HCAs developed tumors of breast, colon, liver, skin, lung, and prostate. Cooking any animal protein at a high temperature can form HCAs, but red meat is likely the worst offender.

Meat that’s been cooked over an open flame also often contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), the same matter that can be found in cigarette smoke and car exhaust fumes (still hungry?). PAHs form when fat and juices drip down and cause smoke that latches onto the surface of your food. Like HCAs, PAHs have been found to be linked to an increased cancer risk.

If you love the taste of char-grilled meat, you can prevent some of the damage by marinating it in a combo of lemon juice and herbs and spices. Oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil, sage, and black pepper are all loaded with beneficial antioxidants, which counteract inflammation.

2) Processed meat products

The high amount of saturated fat in processed meat causes further inflammation of the fat tissue in your body. These foods also contain high levels of sodium nitrite, a compound that may increase the risk of gastric cancer. Processed meat cooked in high heat – like bacon sizzling in a pan – are a significant source of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs cause oxidative stress and inflammation, which researchers believe may accelerate age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

3) Alcohol

In moderation, alcohol can reduce inflammation and lower stress. But when consumed in excess, alcohol induces inflammation in the gut and may explain the close connection between alcohol overuse and cancer, liver disease, and neurological damage.

If you choose to imbibe, limit your intake to two drinks a day or less if you’re a man or one drink a day or less if you’re a woman.

4) Sugary foods and drinks

Sugar is high in calories but low in nutrients. Indulging in too many sugary products – including sodas and many sports drinks – makes it easy to pack on excess pounds and for your doctor to diagnose you as obese. And obesity is associated with chronic inflammation.

5) Ultra-processed foods and refined carbs

If it comes in a box or bag with a long list of ingredients, you can safely bet that it’s inflammatory. Highly processed foods may trigger chronic inflammation by altering the composition of the bacteria that live in your gut.

Likewise, cookies, crackers, white bread, and other refined carbohydrate products quickly cause blood sugar to spike. This triggers an inflammatory response as your body tries to bring blood glucose levels down to normal.

Instead of carbs, focus on whole grains, like quinoa and brown rice, which take longer to digest and won’t spike blood sugar.

Another risk of a poor diet is being turned down for the life insurance you need to protect your loved ones. But the Whole Life policy from NCRGEA and our trusted partner AMBA is different. You can get peace of mind knowing you’re guaranteed acceptance, even if you smoke or have weight issues. There are no tests or exams. Joining is easy: you can purchase your policy online right now. It even includes a no-obligation 60-day return policy. Learn more about a Whole Life Policy through NCRGEA and AMBA at or call 800-956-1228.


Want to Read Body Language? Don’t Overlook What Eye Contact Can Reveal

Body language makes up a huge part of daily communication. Want to know what someone is really saying? Body language may account for between 60% to 65% of all communication. These nonverbal signals, either intentionally or unconsciously, include facial expressions, gestures, and body movements. But the eyes aren’t just the windows to the soul, as Shakespeare said. Leading psychologists have determined the eyes are also a powerful tool to recognize what someone is really thinking – whether to reveal deception, intimacy, and many other cues. Here are some findings:

The Eyes Are a Critical Component of Facial Expressions

Many people would answer “What’s the quickest way to determine if someone is happy or angry?” with whether the person is smiling or frowning. But the eyes and their complex musculature play an important part in expressing emotions. For example, researchers have found that that the eyes are the true tell-tale sign of whether someone is experiencing genuine happiness or faking it. French anatomist Guillaume Duchenne studied emotional expression by stimulating various facial muscles with electrical currents. The “Duchene smile” is named after him. It’s when the eyes narrow and crinkle, creating lines (or “crow’s feet”) at the outer corners. If these ocular cues are missing, the smile is likely fake.

The Eyes Can Indicate Fear or Attraction

Making eye contact with another person can immediately trigger awareness. If the other person is a stranger, it may arouse fear. If the other person is someone we know and distrust, the stare may cause us to feel threatened and angry. And, of course, if it’s someone we are attracted to? Mutual eye contact that lingers can indicate attraction and interest.

An additional cue emerging from the eyes is pupil dilation. When we are interested in something or someone, it causes our pupils to widen as we focus on the object. Mutual gazing into another’s eyes can indicate passion and/or love. Research has proven couples in love tend to do this, and the more they do it and longer they maintain eye contact, the deeper their love for one another.

The Eyes Can Be Used to Deceive Others

Conventional wisdom is that a liar can’t look you in the eye. But new research suggests the opposite. In a recent study, when people were asked to either tell the truth or lie, the liars tended to engage in more and longer eye contact than when they were telling the truth. Researchers concluded that the people telling the lies were aware of the common stereotype about deception and were overcompensating with their eyes when lying.

Knowing how to read someone’s eyes is an effective way to know who to trust and recognize what someone is really trying to communicate or keep from revealing. Knowing your own eyes are healthy and your vision health remains strong is equally important. Annual checkups with your eye doctor, especially as we get older, are more important than ever. NCRGEA and AMBA offer an affordable Vision Plan. The Vision plan provides comprehensive coverage with low copays for important services, including coverage for a WellVision exam every 12 months, as well as big savings on eyewear, contacts, and lenses. Sign up now at or call 800-956-1228.


President Eisenhower, A Dental Emergency, and the (Potential) Alien Cover-Up

Early in 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower departed from the cold of the Washington, D.C. winter for a golf vacation in Palm Springs, California.

On the night of the 20th, Ike chipped the porcelain cap of his “upper left central incisor” while eating a chicken wing at dinner. He boarded Air Force One and took an overnight trip to see his dentist to have it repaired. The next morning, Ike was back in Los Angeles, and seen attending a church service.

At least, that’s the official story. There are some conspiracy theorists who believe the dentist story is a ruse to cover something far stranger and weirder.

The Truth Is Out There

In this version of the story, President Eisenhower made a secret nocturnal trip to a nearby Air Force base to meet two extraterrestrial aliens.

In the Ike-met-with-ETs theory, Eisenhower went to Edwards Air Force Base, where he met with two aliens – nicknamed “Nordics” because of their resemblance to Scandinavian humans with their white hair, pale blue eyes and colorless lips. The reason the “Nordics” traveled to Edwards from another solar system and engaged in telepathic communication with Eisenhower was to make a request: If Ike would agree to eliminate America’s nuclear weapons, the “Nordics” would share their superior technology and their spiritual wisdom.

Ike declined the deal because he did not want to give up the nukes. However, later that same year, Ike purportedly reached a deal with a different alien race. Ike would allow the extra-terrestrials to capture earthling cattle and humans for medical experiments if they returned the humans safely home. Since then, these conspiracy theorists claim, “millions” of humans have been kidnapped, and many were never returned.

Did Eisenhower Meet With Aliens?

So, which one is it? Did Ike really meet with ETs 50 years ago? According to an archivist at the Eisenhower Library. “There’s nothing in the archives that indicates that.” He cites James Mixson, the dental historian and professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry. Mixson’s article “A History of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Oral Health” is the definitive work on Ike’s teeth. Mixson cites, “the President had well-documented difficulties with this crown” and details how the crown was first installed in July 1952, was chipped and repaired in December 1952, and again in July 1954, when the president’s dentist replaced it with a “thin cast gold/platinum thimble crown.”

Though Ike never made a public statement on the matter, his son provided a terse response to a recent email inquiry if his father had ever met with aliens.


He declined to comment further.

Whatever the truth is about the Ike and the aliens conspiracy theory, it’s a well-documented fact that you need a comprehensive Dental Plan. NCRGEA and AMBA can help you keep your mouth healthy and smile attractive! That’s why our Dental Plan provides coverage for twice annual cleanings, access for any dentist you want with bigger savings by staying in-network, and – best of all – NO WAITING PERIOD. Visit or call 800-956-1228 to enroll today.


September’s Recipe: The Best Turkey Chili You’ll Ever Eat

This hearty recipe is from a reader in North Carolina. It’s a great recipe to welcome in the autumn – it’s perfectly spiced, packed with plenty of protein and fiber, and has a truly addicting flavor. This healthy recipe’s ingredients include lean ground turkey so is a healthier alternative to a ground beef version but loses none of the deliciousness!


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 chopped yellow onion
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 chopped medium red bell pepper
  • 1 pound extra lean ground turkey
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 (15 oz) cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can sweet corn, rinsed and drained
  • For topping: cheese, avocado, tortilla chips, cilantro, sour cream

Stovetop Instructions

  1. Place oil in a large pot and place over medium high heat. Add in onion, garlic and red pepper and saute for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. 
  2. Add in ground turkey and break up the meat; cooking until no longer pink. Next add in chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper and salt; stir for about 20 seconds.
  3. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, kidney beans and corn. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until chili thickens and flavors come together. Taste and adjust seasonings and salt as necessary. 
  4. Garnish with anything you’d like. 

Makes 6 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each.

NCRGEA is compiling a Digital Holiday Dessert collection of recipes for 2023! If you have a dessert recipe you’d like to share, Submit A Dessert here by October 10, 2023.

Four Tips for Eye Health in Today’s Digital World

Americans spend a whopping 4 hours and 25 minutes each day on their mobile devices. That doesn’t even include the time spent watching television, working on a computer, or other digital screens. It’s official: We live in a digital world. Unfortunately, your eye health can suffer from all of the increased time on digital devices. Though minimizing screen time is the most obvious solution, it isn’t necessarily the easiest. However, these tips can help keep your eyes healthy.

1) Adjust computer position

If you view your screen too close to your eyes, you’re risking straining your vision. Generally, the preferred viewing distance is between 20 and 40 inches from the eye to the screen. If reading from that distance is difficult, most smartphones and computer screens allow you to adjust the text size, which can help, especially if your device has a with smaller screen.

Likewise, if your screen is higher than eye level, you could be straining your eyes unnecessarily. That’s because a muscle outside of the eye is used to facilitate reading when monitors are above eye level. Eyes naturally need to come down and in versus around and up, so position your screens to your eye level or below.

2) Adjust computer and workplace lighting

Your screen’s brightness and sharpness should be maximized to best match your surroundings and maintain a similarity to the environment around you. When lighting your workspace, natural light is the ideal option. Also, traditional incandescent lightbulbs are kinder to eyes than their fluorescent counterparts.

3) Look away from your screen   

A two-pound weight is easy to hold at first. However, eventually, your arm will become strained from holding it. The same goes for eyes looking at a screen. To give your eyes relief, use the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away or more for at least 20 seconds. This exercise forces muscles to relax and increases blinking.

 4) Prevent dry eye

Between screen time, air-conditioning and artificial lighting, dry eye is a major issue. Dry eye can start off as a minor annoyance, but can lead to redness, discomfort, increased risk of infection, and more. Artificial tears and getting plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet can help to reduce dry eye.

As use of digital devices continues to increase among people of all ages, keeping your eye health in mind is increasingly important. Another important step to make sure your eyes remain healthy is with regular checkups with your eye doctor. NCRGEA and AMBA offer an affordable Vision Plan. The plan provides comprehensive coverage with low copays for important services, including coverage for a WellVision exam every 12 months, as well as big savings on eyewear, contacts, and lenses. Sign up now at or call 800-956-1228.


Holy Guacamole – Avocados Fight Cancer and Keep the Heart Healthy!

Getting older comes with several life-changing realities. Making healthy choices is one of the most prominent and important. Along with physical exercise, getting plenty of sleep, and staying social, a healthy diet is essential.

Eating right is crucial for adults over the age of 60. Poor diet can lead to many chronic diseases, including diabetes, osteoporosis, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases.

Nutrient deficiency is also a common problem for older Americans due to not enough dietary variation. An easy way to get the nutrients you need and keep your body healthy is to add more avocados. Yes, the same food responsible for delicious guacamole can keep your body healthy for years to come.

Avocados Are Nutrient Powerhouses

Avocados are “nutrient-dense”: they’re packed with Vitamins C, E, K, and B6 as well as nutrients like iron, niacin, potassium, omega 3, and beta-carotene.

Plus, unlike other fruits, avocados are low in calories, solid fats, added sugars, and refined starches.

Heart Healthy

A serving of avocado meets the American Heart Association’s recommended dietary intake, which is:

  • Low to moderate fat
  • Low in saturated fat
  • Limited trans fat
  • Low cholesterol or less than 300 mg per day

Avocados also fight the risk of heart problems because they are abundant in heart-healthy nutrients like:

  • Mono and polyunsaturated fats, which helps reduce blood cholesterol and the risk of developing heart problems.
  • Potassium, which aids in normalizing blood pressure by blunting the effects of salt.
  • Beta-sitosterol, which is proven to help keep the heart healthy by maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. It also decreases the risk of developing kidney stones and bone loss in the future.

Avocados Fight Cancer

Avocados are filled with antioxidants, helping to prevent the development of cancer cells in the body. Add to that its folate content which acts as protective gear against DNA and RNA mutations thus preventing the development of colon, pancreatic, and cervical cancer.

Recent research findings suggest that avocado extracts may even aid in treating cancer patients. Phytochemicals from the fruit kill and inhibit the growth of cancer cells. It also aided in reducing the negative effect of the chemotherapeutic drug cyclophosphamide to a patient’s body.

Want more protection in case of a cancer diagnosis or a heart event? A Cancer Plan from NCRGEA and AMBA can help. The plan will pay you a lump sum upon initial diagnosis. You’re free to spend the money as you wish: to pay medical bills, cover the cost of transportation to the doctor, anything – the money is yours. You can even add a Heart/Stroke rider to your policy for an additional premium. Request more information at or speak with a skilled AMBA representative by calling 800-956-1228.