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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Seniors Need To Watch Out For Medicare Scammers

 



This is the time of year that  Medicare scammers are at their peak. Maybe trying to make money for Christmas who knows. Seniors need to take extra precaution because this is their busy time too.

Millions of seniors will be updating healthcare plans as part of “open enrollment” in coming weeks. They need to be careful because scammers may be waiting to prey on them, the government warns.

Starting in October and running through Dec. 15, 2017, those eligible for Medicare and Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans have the option to make changes to their healthcare coverage. In particular, this is the time of year that older Americans make changes to their Medicare Advantage plan (Part C) or prescription drug coverage (Part D).

 When evaluating which plans work best, keep a careful eye out for scams, the Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday. Scammers typically try to trick you into paying for a replacement card or wheedle crucial personal details, like social security numbers, out of you. “Criminals will always use current events to confuse and victimize unsuspecting consumers, and this applies to the Medicare open enrollment period,” says Amy Nofziger, a regional director for the AARP Foundation. And being on guard for this type of fraud may be more important this year than in years past, as the number of scams is likely on the rise, AARP reports.

A reason for the rise in scams is the fact that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced in September that it’s moving to issue new Medicare cards. The new cards are actually meant to curb identity theft by removing a person’s social security number and replacing it with a unique, randomly assigned 11-character Medicare Beneficiary Identifier. The CMS says it plans to ship the new cards starting in April.

Savvy scammers may try to use this news as a tactic, AARP warns. Don’t fall for bogus claims that Medicare or any other health providers are making you pay for new cards. There’s no cost for the new card and you don’t need to take any action to receive a new card. Additionally, Medicare says that it will never ask you to provide any personal or`private information to get your new card.

Along with new card scams, you should be careful about several ongoing tactics fraudsters use, the FTC says. Here are the most common:

“Official Medicare Agents”
In short, there’s no such thing, the FTC says. Anyone who tries to sell you insurance while claiming to be an official rep is a fraudster, since the agency doesn’t employ any official sales reps.

Required Prescription Coverage
Medicare Part D—the prescription drug plan—is completely voluntary, so it’s an automatic red flag if someone contacts you and requires you to join a prescription plan in order to keep your Medicare benefits.

Personal Calls
No one is important enough to merit an unsolicited door-to-door service or even a phone call from Medicare or Medicaid regarding their insurance. “Medicare does not operate this way,” Nofziger says. Official correspondence is always mailed unless you initiate a phone call or send an email asking for a response, AARP says. And never give your personal information to someone over the phone who says that you must provide the details in order to keep your insurance, the FTC recommends. Medicare will never call you and ask for personal information such as Social Security number, bank account or routing information or credit card numbers, Nofziger adds.

Refunds
Everyone likes a refund, but don’t fall for a scam in an attempt to claim your cash. Scammers will routinely run a scheme purporting that “changes” or “enhancements” have entitled you to a refund, AARP says. But if you really are owed money, Medicare will send you a check directly—there’s no need to prove anything or provide any information like your social security number.

So take care and hang up on all callers trying to get you to get Medicare with them. Check Refund Or Dispute and see could be the next scammers.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

What Happens When The Government Hikes Interest Rates

What happens when the government hikes interest rates, as you all know, a borrower, is going to pay, and unfortunately, as a saver, you're not going to get paid — such is the nature of interest rate hikes.
With the Federal Reserve raising its benchmark rate Wednesday, the effects will be immediate for some people, not so much for others.Those with revolving debt could see increases in their payments within 60 days.
Homeowners with adjustable-rate mortgages will get hit when their loans reset. Savers, though, aren't likely to get much benefit for quite a while. "If the Fed hikes rates three times this year, that could make your next payment a doozy," said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate. Borrowers are "going to start to notice, and the cumulative effect becomes significant."
For example, a homeowner with a $200,000 mortgage could see a payment increase of close to $60 a month, he said, while one with a larger loan could see increases of $100 or $150 depending on how quickly the Fed moves.
As things stand now, the Fed is on track to meet that expectation for three hikes. Central bank officials indicated in December that three would be likely for 2017, and the market is currently pricing in March, June and December as the most likely time for increases.
McBride said the first borrowers to be affected will be credit card holders and those with home equity lines of credit. They will be the ones who will see a payment impact with 60 days, as credit companies adjust to a new prime rate.
The prime rate currently sits at 3.75 percent and will be adjusted almost immediately after the Fed announces its increase. Credit companies use the prime as a baseline for what they charge customers — generally the prime plus a certain level.
For savers, though, it's a different story. It would be wise to shop around Much has been made over the burden that holders of plain-vanilla savings accounts and certificates of deposits, as well as pensioners, have felt in the low-rate environment.
Savings accounts these days pay on average 0.11 percent in interest, with 1.25 percent the high end, according to Bankrate. One-year CDs are paying about 1.24 percent.
Banks like higher rates because historically they push margins higher. However, banks do not want to pass those benefits on to customers.
"If you're just hunkering down at your financial institution and expecting better returns to land on your lap, you're going to be disappointed," McBride said. "Banks have not increased rates of returns on deposits, and they're not in a hurry to do so."
That makes it all the more important to be a good shopper when deciding where to park your money.The banks that are inclined to raise deposit rates are the ones already paying the most competitive returns, McBride said. "Not only are you getting a notably higher rate, . . . you're still protected by federal deposit insurance. That's as close to a free lunch as you're going to find."
McBride also advises cardholders with high balances to deal with them now. After all, the Fed is expected to hike not only three times this year but also three more times in 2018, and to keep going until it takes the funds rate up to about 3 percent. The current rate is 0.5 percent to 0.75 percent.
"If you have variable-rate debt, it's going to be a significant exposure to rising interest rates," McBride said. "Grab those zero-percent credit card offers now while you still can. There are zero percent offers that extend as long as 21 months. That gives you a great window of opportunity to get your credit card debt paid off once and for all."
Interestingly, rather than pay down debt while rates are rising, many people use it as an opportunity to borrow more — to lock in lower rates before they go up.
"Borrowing goes up in the year after a Fed rate increase," said Steve Rick, chief economist at CUNA Mutual Group. "People try to get in before rates go up even more. People who put off buying a car or a durable good — an appliance, a big-screen TV — think, I better buy it now and put it on my credit card."
However, Rick noted that some credit card companies are using adjustable rates now, putting those making new purchases in a vulnerable position now that rates are rising again. So it is really wise to check your credit card and see if you have been put on adjustable- rates, better yet just keep those cards paid off after using them.

Friday, January 13, 2017

What Are The Scammers Doing Now




Is it getting hard to figure out from all the calls you are getting daily which are legit and which are scammers. Have you even wondered what are the scammers doing now. I can let you in on a little secret there are several and many are from callers in India. So if you get a call from someone you can barely understand there is a good chance that call is going to be from someone who wants to scam you for your money or your identity.

It has been calls that says they are from the IRS and you had unpaid taxes, but trust me the IRS never calls and they are not going to be from those you can hardly understand. Although, ARRP  has been checking on scammers and has found these are beginning to dwindle, Since the Indian police raided  several of scammers and had them arrested. This made them move and they have change their course and now are doing more calls, stating they are from the Federal Government with a grant.

 I received a call, couldn't understand the woman, had to make her repeat herself several times. When she finally made it clear it was a grant, I asked her what was the grant for, she became angry and said money and hung up. I don't think she realized that the government gives out grants but they don't give out grants for no reasons.

Grants are give out for start a business, doing research, or going to school. There many other reasons why the government gives out grants, but I can guarantee you today it is nearly impossible to get a grant from the government because they are broke. I know I tried. I wanted to start a business and because I was a woman I had a better chance than a man.

It was a small business and I only needed $10,000 dollars but I couldn't get it I could only get a $25,000 if would match the $25,000. So that grant did not work for me. She was offering a $8000 grant and didn't even know what it is was to be used for, as if money was to be thrown away for nothing and the government does not work that way.

Another, big scamming is calling you and telling you that you have a problem with your cell phone or computer and they are with Microsoft. They want to help you fix the problem and get on your computer or sell you software that will protect your computer. The only problem, anything you download from them usually lets them hijack your information and steal your identity. Just remember Microsoft never calls you.

Lately. I just don't answer my phone at all. If they leave a message I will pick up. Now I have been picking up the last few days because I have been having so many calls I don't recognize and I have been telling them please do not call back. That is how I got the girl about the grant.

If you have a way of blocking your phone of unwanted calls do. If you have an older mom or dad, give them a lecture about talking to anyone on the phone and tell them not to do any business on the phone, only in person and with you.Too many 70 and 80 year olds are getting scammed.

Some of the other scams you need to watch out for is being charge with missing jury duty and claims you have won the lottery or sweepstakes but need to send a $3.95 for them to mail your check. Just tell them to automatically deposit or take the money from the winnings. I guarantee it is just a bunch of bull. I guess this gives you an idea what the scammers are doing now.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Can Facebook Cause You To Go In Debt





Can Facebook cause you to go in debt? Roughly, 4 out of 10 adults with social media accounts say that seeing other purchases and vacations on social media makes them look into a similar purchase or vacation, according to a  survey of more than 1,000 Americans released by the American Institute of Public Accountants. What's more, 11% have taken a vacation or made a purchase in the last year  after seeing someone's post about their vacations or purchases.


Fully 30% of Americans say that social media has some influence on their purchasing decisions with 5% saying that it has a significant impact, this was discovered by the Gallop poll in 2014. 
Among millennials the numbers are even higher with roughly half saying that social media influences what they buy.

Many brands advertise their goods and services on social media or pay celebrities and other influential people to post about them which drives some of the social-related spending. By 2017, social network advertising spending is expected to hit nearly $36 billion, or roughly, 16% of all digital ad spending globally, up from about $24 billion in 2015, according to eMarketers and celebrities ranging from reality stars like Kardashians to sports bigwigs to fashion bloggers who have endorsed brands on social media.

Psychologist feel that there is a deeper problem, due to the fact that we are socially comparative creatures by nature and with social media we can make comparisons to others with just a scroll or a click away. As put by one psychologist "Social needs can be the modern day version of 'Keeping up with the Joneses." Some people feel inferior if someone they know has a shinier or bigger toy than they do.

Many people react to this inferiority by buying the same thing--or even--that a social media contact has, and then posting about what they did.This begins the cycle, with others, setting the post, and some of them feeling like they need to do one better. 

This academic study proves everything you thought about people who post selfies. Plus, social media can make the buying experience feel normal. When multiple people in your social network have a $500 designer shoe, it can seem like everyone is buying them--and this entice you to buy too, even when you can't afford too.

Then there are those who can look at those who buy the trip and fancy purchases and can be truly happy for them and feel no pressure to compete,The issues of comparing yourself to others and normalizing extreme spending are by no means limited are by no means limited to what you see on social media, it is just another way you will spend your money to compete.

Therefore, you now know the answer to the question, can Facebook cause you to go into debt?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Do You Know Exactly What Your Warranty On A New Home Covers




Are you going to buy a new home? If so, do you know exactly what your warranty on a new home covers? My son is fighting his contractors and he only has a couple months before his warranty expires. He thought he knew what his warranty covered.

There had been several problems with the house itself and those were fixed, but as time went on and the rains began to fall, water began to pool in one corner of the backyard and on one side of the front yard, grass wasn't growing. When the contractor was called he said the yard wasn't covered but he thought since the ground wasn't level they should fix that problem. His only problem was he had fired his builder and he didn't know who he was going to get to fix the problem. He kept making excuses.

I told my son since time was running out I hope he had some proof that the contractor was taking the blame for the problem. My son said he had several text messages. I told him he needed to threaten the contractor with a suit at a small claims court. Making sure he told him that he had proof of the text conversation, stating that he was in the wrong.

It is wise you read over your warranty to see exactly what it is covering and check the house very carefully. If you have some doubts about how some areas are going to hold up, it might be wise to have them cover it in the contract before buying. If you have Bermuda grass it will usually grow no matter what, some areas will take longer than others. Most contractors won't cover yards, because it all depends on how the owner takes care of it.

 My son's yard looked terrible and was full of weeds. He watered religiously and had a lawn maintenance company come out and feed and weed the yard. It looks great now except one spot on the front side. I keep telling him to just wait a while longer and the Bermuda grass will finally fill. 

The backyard will look great too, when the contractor will level out the low spot that keeps filling with water.

So make sure you do know exactly what your warranty on a new home covers or you too may be in a small claims court trying to get your contractor to fix his mess. Remember to save all proof, that he should except the blame, it makes it easier for you to win or easier to keep from going to court when the contractor sees he doesn't have a chance.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Who Is Out There Trying to Impersonate The IRS?


I can't figure who is out there trying to impersonate the IRS, but I do know I have been getting daily calls with messages saying that I have committed tax fraud and I am going to be arrested. When I call them back to see what they are going to say and flat tell them they are scammers they just hang up on me.

I received one today and they asked me my name so this time I decided to play along. The asked for my name and zip code, so I gave them a bogus name but my zip code. What was strange was they gave me the same ID number as the lady on the recording gave me. I suppose I was the only person in this zip code they had called.

 They told me I had committed fraud against the government and I was going to be arrested in 30 minutes and would be held for 72 hours, before that they read a legal letter to me and ask if I had any questions I said no, but wanted to know what address they were going to pick me up, but they said they knew, but they couldn't tell me.

I ask was I to get a lawyer, although I added, as if I need one. He answered that it was for me to decide and said just be ready for the police when they showed up. I told him fine.

I think he wouldn't tell me anymore because he knew I didn't believe a word he was telling me. It is over 30 minutes, no police. I think anyone else may have gotten very upset and wanted to know actually what they did and what could be done to help them. Unless I should have hung up and they were trying to get information from my phone, but it isn't a cell phone and maybe that was why he didn't say anymore to me.

The IRS states that there are so many scammers out there using them to get money. You should hang up immediately. They do not call. They send paperwork for you to show where you problem was with your taxes. It is for you to call them. You will always have a chance to prove that you did not try to misrepresent yourself to the IRS as the scammers say you have done and are going to be arrested for doing. 

Oh, I also called them back and asked them where are the police, it is over 30 minutes and no one has come to get me. The man on the phone said a policeman  will be there shortly and handcuff you and take you to the jail. I asked him if they handcuff handicapped old ladies on Social Security and he hung up.

So do not give any information or money to them and if you ever figure who are out there trying to impersonate the IRS notify the IRS.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Can Facebook Be A Passage for Scammers




Can Facebook be a passage for scammers and ID thieves? Unfortunately, everyone is giving too much information on Facebook for scammers and ID thieves to use to put together for information on how to steal your ID.

Many of you give your birth date, your address, your full name, and practically your whole life history, as well as your phone number. By doing this, they are able to get more info on you and piece everything on you until they finally have your ID. 

Scammers have a great time finding out all the information on you so they can call you and say they belong to the government, or try to sell you something they know you are interested in. Conning you for your money, but you don't get anything in return.

Another thing you absolutely don't want to do, is post all your vacation plans, Where you are going, when you are going and how long you will be gone. A thief couldn't be happier with all this information and unfortunately, if the insurance company finds out you posted all this information, you won't be covered by some insurance companies.

Another thing is not wise is showing pictures of your home, and children. Telling people where they go to school and when they go to school. Here again, you are putting your children in danger of being kidnapped or molested. You may be posting to your friends, but your friends show to their friends and their friends to theirs and so on. So it is better to be safe than sorry.

One other thing that is not wise to do is to have your boss on your Facebook page. Do you really want him to know everything you are doing. Maybe not. Maybe it would be wise to keep him unaware of all the extra free time you might have or how you spend all the money you earn, especially if you are looking for another raise.

So think carefully, can Facebook be a passage to scammers and ID thievery. Do you need to revamp you Facebook page and maybe remove some of those people who you really don't know.