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Photos: Miss Philippines Catriona Gray wins Miss Universe 2018

The Philippines’ Catriona Gray was named Miss Universe 2018 in a competition concluding Monday in Bangkok, besting contestants from 93 other countries and delighting her home nation.

FOX Memphis reporter arrested on domestic assault charges

A reporter at the FOX TV affiliate in Memphis, Tennessee, is facing charges of domestic assault after a fight with his wife Saturday night.

>> Read more trending news 

Scott Madaus was arrested Saturday night after his wife called 9-1-1 during an argument that appeared to escalate.

According to the police report, Madaus’ wife told officers the couple had been fighting and Madaus tried to stop her from leaving their home.

The report also said police took two handguns from Madaus during the arrest.

He bonded out of jail and is due in court Monday morning. 

New 11-foot-long, horned dinosaur discovered in southwestern U.S.

A new, 11-foot-long, horned dinosaur was discovered in the southwestern United States from bones collected 20 years ago, according to paleontologists at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.

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The new ceratopsid, which is from the same genus as the more well-known triceratop, weighed 1,500 pounds and walked the Earth 73 million years ago, scientists said.

The bones of the new dinosaur were discovered in rocks along what was once a large lake southeast of Tucson, Arizona, dating to the late Cretaceous Period.

Museum officials said in a press release that the new dinosaur is one of the few named for Arizona.

>> Trending: New dinosaur with razor-sharp claws and jagged teeth unearthed in Argentina

Its official name is Crittendenceratops krzyzanowskii. Crittendenceratops after the rock formation where the bones were found called the Fort Crittenden Formation, a geological formation in southeast Arizona. The late Stan Krzyzanowski was the researcher at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science who discovered the bones.

Wahoo: Voice of Mario honored with Guinness World Record

With a “wahoo” and “let’s-a go,” “It’s-a me, Mario,” made it into the record books. 

>> Read more trending news 

Charles Martinet, the man who has voiced the video game plumber 100 times in Nintendo games through the years, was recently honored with a Guinness World Record for most video game voiceover performances as the same character.

He achieved the feat after the release of “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.”

Martinet also lends his voice to Luigi, Wario and Waluigi throughout a multitude of Nintendo games.

Bankrupt Sears to pay $25.3 million in bonuses to executives

Sears, which filed for bankruptcy in October, is planning to pay out more than $25 million in bonuses to its top executives.

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A federal judge has signed off on the company’s request to pay bonuses to some of its high-ranking employees, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Sears Holdings filed for Chapter 11 banruptcy protection in October after reportedly losing nearly $1.9 billion this year.

Sears plans to pay $8.4 million to 19 executives if the company is able to reach certain fiscal goals in the first six months of 2019. The retailer could also pay $16.9 million to another group of 315 top employees, the Tribune reported.

Sears has announced round after round of store closures in recent years. More than 228 stores have been slated to close since this summer alone.

Sears’ chairman and former CEO Eddie Lampert has submitted a bid to buy the remaining Sears locations, including one in Springfield.

>> Trending: Hospitals, universities invest millions in off-shore tax havens

The $4.6 billion proposal submitted Thursday by Lampert’s hedge fund ESL Investments could save 505 stores and Sears Holdings leadership said it hoped a bidder would keep them open.

How to prevent ID theft amid holidays and ‘data breach fatigue’

Last year’s massive data breach at Equifax highlighted the importance for consumers to take steps to protect their personal data.

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With holiday shopping in full swing, consumer advocacy groups are urging the public to be cautious. It’s prime time for ID thieves to try to snatch sensitive information, experts say.

“People need to clearly understand what is at risk and therefore what they can actually do to protect themselves,’’ said Mike Litt, consumer campaign director with the Colorado-based consumer advocacy group U.S. Public Interest Research Group, known as PIRG.

One possible obstacle to knowing what to do is the onslaught of advice that the public receives about what to do to fend off an attack. In some cases, consumer advocate groups say the public is overwhelmed by “data breach fatigue.”

“I feel like people are so confused that they’ve resigned themselves to the idea that there’s just going to be a breach,” said Litt, who co-wrote the September 2018 report “Equifax Breach: One Year Later. How to Protect Yourself Against ID Theft & Hold Equifax Accountable.” If you remember, the breach exposed the Social Security numbers and personal data of hundreds of millions of Americans.

Here’s a simplified version of what you should know:

Consumers are vulnerable to all forms of identity theft, including bank fraud, utility fraud and insurance fraud, Litt said.

>> Related: Scam alert: Fake Netflix email seeks payment info, personal data

But the most common type of fraud is credit card theft, which represents about one-third of cases, according to a federal online database. The database keeps track of reports by consumers about problems in the marketplace, and reflects consumer reports submitted to the federal agency, as well as state agencies and other organizations.

In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission reported a total of more than 139,000 cases of credit card fraud, representing new and existing accounts, according to its Sentinel database. Compared to last year, there has been a rise of 20 percent on fraud of existing accounts. Tax- and wage-related fraud represent about 18 percent of cases. Phone or utilities fraud, which includes cellphones, landlines and utilities, make up about 12 percent.

You don’t have to spend many hours trying to protect your sensitive information. Creating fraud and consumer alerts and investing in credit monitoring services might be a good idea, experts say. The FTC offers free credit reports. You can also go to the official government website  that walks you through a checklist of actions you can take to recover from identity theft.

But most important is that you take certain steps, such as making sure you have secure passwords, shredding important documents and equipping your computer with the right software.

If your data has been compromised, it’s important to understand what type of data has been accessed. For example, thieves who have your credit card number aren’t as big a threat as those who may have access to your Social Security data. You can more easily cancel your credit card and get a card with a new account number. But a thief who has your Social Security number and date of birth can try to file your tax return or get a hold of your government benefits.

Here what experts at PIRG say are the different types of fraud and what you can do:

In cases of existing bank account fraud, it’s important to know that it can only be detected after the fraud has occurred. What you can do? Check your monthly credit card and bank statements. Sign up for free text or email alerts about changes to your accounts. If you receive a call from your bank alleging fraud, never provide any personal information. Instead, call the number on the back of your bank card and check with the security department.

>> Related: Warning: Social Security scammers trying get personal info in new phone hoax 

Consumers who worry about new account fraud of their cellphones, credit cards, loan and utilities can prevent these by getting credit freezes at all three nationwide credit bureaus. It is also a good idea to check your free annual credit reports or sign up for free credit monitoring.

As 2019 rolls around, you might want to take extra steps to prevent fraud related to your tax refund. You can file your taxes as soon as possible, before thieves do, and get an Identity Protection number or PIN that will secure the refund amount to you.

Social Security benefits fraud can be prevented if you sign up for a MySSA account before thieves can claim it and change your direct deposit information to their own checking accounts. A freeze on your credit report also blocks thieves from claiming your online account. You may want to check your MySSA account for any changes to your personal information that might indicate thieves trying to claim your benefits.

Medical benefits fraud can only be detected after it has occurred. You might want to sign up for online accounts with your health care and insurance providers to periodically check for any fraudulent services on your statements.

>> Trending: Woman accused of impersonating CPS worker in attempt at kidnapping 3-week-old baby

Fraud while applying for a job, getting insurance or renting a home can only be detected after the fraud has occurred. You might want to check your annual consumer reports with companies that specialize in collecting certain information, including checking writing, employment, insurance claims and tenant histories.

Officer pens open letter to ‘invincible’ teen pulled over for speeding

A police officer chastised a speeding 18-year-old he pulled over Sunday in an open letter posted on social media. 

>> Read more trending news 

The driver was going 100 in a 65 mph zone when he was pulled over, the officer wrote. 

“I can tell you dozens of stories of dead and broken 18 year old bodies that I’ve pulled from cars. Broken bodies that I’ve found in front yards after crashes,” the officer with the Nothridgeville Police Department wrote on social media. “Unrecognizable bodies. They thought they were invincible too. They weren’t.”

The officer said the hardest part of going to a fatal wreck is telling parents their children died as a result of one.

“I don’t KNOW your parents, but I know them,” the officer wrote. “I know that when you leave every day they say ‘Be careful. Drive safe.’ Those aren’t just words. That is the very last act of them pleading with you to come home safe.”

The officer said in the post he had no remorse for writing the teen the ticket. 

“In fact, I’m proud of it. I hope you’re paying it off for months and with every payment you think about how it wasn’t worth it,” the officer wrote. “I hope you slow down.”

Former Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus joins the Navy

 

Former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus has joined the Navy as a reserve officer with the backing of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, according to media reports.

>> Read more trending news 

Priebus, 46, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee before joining the Trump White House, was selected as a reserve officer with help from a recommendation letter from Mattis, The Washington Post reported, citing a memo it obtained.

“Reince’s experience, education, and personality make him an ideal fit to be commissioned into the Navy Reserve,” Mattis wrote, according to the Post.

>> Related: Reince Priebus out: Trump names new chief of staff

Priebus’ sister is a Navy doctor, and his father taught at the Naval Station Great Lakes in Illinois. Priebus referred to them as his inspirations for joining, along with the family of a Navy SEAL who was killed in a special operations raid in Yemen.

The memo also said a Navy review board “professionally recommended” Priebus and four others to join the service after reviewing 42 applications for a competitive direct-commission program for human resources officers.

>> Related: Who is Gen. John Kelly, President Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff

Priebus joined the Trump administration as chief of staff after President Donald Trump’s election in 2016 and was ousted after just six months on the job in July 2017. Retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly replaced him, but Kelly has now handed in his resignation.

 

Tiny house heisted in St. Louis

Thieves in St. Louis may have reached a milestone -- stealing an entire house, albeit a tiny one, Saturday in St. Louis. 

>> Read more trending news 

“It’s just so surreal, because you hear about trailers and cars being stolen all the time," Meghan Panu, who spent two years and nearly $20,000 building the tiny home, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

She said the house was designed to be as efficient and sustainable as possible and was also built with some recycled materials. Panu planned to move into it over the summer.

Panu is hoping nearby businesses have surveillance video that can help identify the suspects or that someone sees the domicile on-the-move

"I’m just hoping that maybe (the) state patrol will flag it and pull it over,” Panu told the Post-Dispatch. “But in the meantime, it’s just been a waiting game.”

Letters to Santa delivered 106 years later

Letters to Santa hidden behind a chimney mantle for more than 100 years  were recently revealed during a town’s Christmas celebration. 

>> Read more trending news 

Two children, whose great-grandparents likely played with the letters’ authors, delivered them to Santa during the Beverly Old Fashioned Christmas.

One of the letters, written Dec. 25, 1912, by Page Woodward, who was then 8 years old, sought gifts for her brother, sisters and parents before asking for something for herself, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported

“Will you please bring these things. For Reginald, a air rifle, a Boy Scout book, a sweater and two magazines, Country Gentleman and Farm Journal. For Ruby, black ribbon and pair of stockings. For Mabel, two pair of stockings. For Mamma, a book. For Papa, a hat. For Teddy (her sister Henrietta’s nickname), a game, doll and a lot of candy and nuts. For my self, a doll, leggings and lots of candy and nuts.”

The letters were discovered during renovations to the Beverly Heritage Center, a history museum built into one of the town’s historic buildings. It is believed they fell between the chimney wall and mantle 106 years ago.

The letters offer insight into what life was like more than 100 years ago. 

“Writings from children rarely survive,” Christopher Mielke, who created an exhibit to showcase the letters, said in a statement. “Letters to Santa are especially insightful because children genuinely believe that Santa will read their words himself -- values of honesty, generosity, and sharing are at the forefront.”

The letters are on display at the history museum until the New Year.

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