Wednesday, June 27, 2018

OBITUARY SCAMS

I've spent the last few days investigating Obituary Scams, and have come away horrified by what I've learned. This article is aimed mostly at people who are 65 and older, but feel free to utilize the ideas herein for any family member who dies. Here are a few of the possible types of abuse/scam that are prevalent. This list comes from AARP Bulletin - March 2008 and I've researched to make sure the info is correct and as complete as possible. First the list, then some solutions.


  • Identity Theft - Contact credit card companies to cancel cards and send requests to the three major credit bureaus to flag the person's accounts as deceased.
  • Deceptive Debt Collection - Crooks often call family and try to get survivors to pay unsubstantiated claims - the debts left behind should be handled by the estate, not the family!
  • Fictitious Life Insurance - Claims that the deceased took out a large loan from their life insurance can encourage family to pay the loan off. Let the estate handle these claims.
  • Burglary - If the time of the memorial is published, it is possible that burglars may attempt to break in while the family and neighbors are away at the services. Best to ask one neighbor to stay at home and watch the property.
Details included in an obituary can help scammers reach out to family members and, while they are grieving expose them to falling prey to scams. The best approach is to not publish an obituary, but as most of us find that unacceptable, try these things to lower the chances of being targeted.
  • Include the name of the individual, don't include any nicknames, a maiden name or former names.
  • Do not include birth place or any other information that could help crooks scam the family. (The first five digits of a Social Security number are linked to a time and place of birth.)
  • Do not include names of spouse, children or other family members. Instead say things like "survived my loving spouse, children, grandchildren, etc." A list of accomplishments, organizations they belonged to and other personal information can help scammers, so be careful.
  • Write an obituary while you are still alive, go over the fine points of your life and make sure your family is protected after you're gone. This is a great way to remove the problem of family trying to write an obituary after you're gone and make sure that what is published fits everyone's needs. Make sure you revisit it once a year to be sure it is still relevant. And I suggest you keep it on top of your refrigerator with your living will. If you don't yet have a living will - I'll be discussing that at a later time.

Monday, June 18, 2018

SHOWER FALL PREVENTION

Slipping and falling while taking a shower is something that occurs much too often. And as we get older the more likely it could happen to any of us. Here is what I do to prevent slips in the shower. I wear a simple, inexpensive pair of rubber flip-flops. I had slipped in the shower a few years ago and dislocated my shoulder. My doctor recommended the flip flops as a measure to prevent slipping and falling. Although not a 100% effective means to avoid a mishap, it is certainly better than bare feet on slippery surfaces!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

THE ONE-RING RIP-OFF SCAM


Sorry to harp on the subject of scams, but there are so many to be aware of to stay safe. Here's one that just blows my mind! I asked a few friends how they respond to one ring calls that continue every few minutes. One out of eight people said they just ignore them. A couple of people block the number and the rest called the number to see what was going on. That last one can be expensive. Especially if the area codes are 268, 664 and 876. These, and others, are for Caribbean countries and other places that have high per-minute phone charges. For your protection don't, out of curiosity, call phone numbers you don't recognize as safe.

See the previous post for information about the article this information came from.

PHONE SCAMS ARE GETTING BETTER AT IT

If you suspect a text is a an attempt to steal your information DON'T push a designated key to opt out of future messages. Instead, forward the questionable test to short code 7726 so cell phone carriers can block that sender. Suspicious texts are ones that offer contests, special offers or promote apps.


From an article by Sid Kirchheimer in AARP Bulletin, January 2018
Go to aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork to learn more about identity theft and avoiding scams.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

INFORMED DELIVERY BY THE USPS

If you were not aware you can get a free service from the Post Office to email scans of the 1st class items you will be receiving in your next delivery. Simply go to USPS.com, Track and Manage and select Informed Delivery. Every delivery morning you will get a short email from USPS letting you know what to expect in 1st class mail as well as how many packages are heading your way. A big thank you to my brother for this helpful information. I love the service. One day an important piece of mail did not show up in my mail box, but about 5 minutes later my neighbor brought it over to me. I was about to head out and knock on doors. Give it a try!

Have a terrific day!