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.

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.