Senior News from November, 2006
Senior Crimestoppers Program Expanding Nationally
Across the country, more and more banks are signing onto the Senior Crimestoppers program, administered by the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation. The program reduces crime in senior housing communities and ensures a zero-tolerance policy enforced by management, staff, and residents. It is meant to affect a senior housing community in the same positive manner as a Neighborhood Watch program does a neighborhood. The Senior Crimestoppers program provides ongoing education for residents and staff, personal lockboxes for residents, and a free 24-hour anonymous tip line to report confidential information about crimes.
Federal law requires banks to reinvest in their communities to benefit low- or moderate-income residents, and investing in the Senior Crimestoppers program is a good way to accomplish that. The program has been implemented to some degree in 48 states, but more resources are needed to strengthen the initiative and expand it nationally.
For more information on how this program can keep senior housing residents safe, visit Crimestoppers.org.
Beware Clever Credit Card Scams
A clever new credit card scam is currently bilking consumers across the country out of thousands of dollars. As usual, senior citizens are being targeted in particular. Scam artists are calling and emailing people, pretending to be bank representatives, or other financial officials. They tell the victims that their credit cards have been flagged for fraudulent charges, and in order to verify that they are speaking to the card owner, they ask the victims to divulge card numbers, three-digit security codes, or both. If you receive a similar call or email, do not give the caller any personal information.
In some cases, victims have reported that they only divulged the three-digit security code, located on the back of credit cards, but still experienced credit card fraud or identity theft. This is probably becasue credit card numbers are often sold online by computer hackers. So if a criminal already had a credit card number, the three-digit security code is the only missing piece of their puzzle. With those two numbers combined, anyone is able to make purchases with the card.
Remember, if you receive a telephone call and the caller asks for your personal information, do not give it out. Never give personal information out over the Internet either. Legitimate businesses will never ask for personal information via email. So if you receive an email that asks you to verify personal information, you can rest assured that it is actually a scam.
Social Security Scam Swindles Senior Citizens
The U.S. Social Security Administration is warning consumers about a fraudulent email that has been circulating and fooling people into divulging personal information. The subject of the email reads, "Cost-of-Living for 2007 Update," and although it appears to come from the Social Security Administration, it is a hoax. The message contains information about the 3.3 percent benefit increase for 2007, and then provides a link and instructs people to update their personal information online. The link leads victims to a fraudulent website, although it appears to be official.
If you receive this email, do not click on the link, and do not divulge any personal information over the Internet. Legitimate businesses will never ask you to give personal information via email. Instead, report the fraud to the Social Security Administration's Fraud Hotline.
For more information, visit the Social Security Administration.
President Proclaims National Family Caregivers Month
President Bush has reserved November, 2006 as a month to recognize and celebrate the caregivers who take time out of their lives to improve the lives of family and friends, and who make sure that all Americans receive the care they need. These caregivers provide a vast array of support to those in need each year, including emotional, social, nursing, financial, and homemaking services. They include those who staff nursing homes and assisted living facilities, as well as full-time nurses who care for senior citizens with disabilities 24 hours a day. Caregivers demonstrate the best qualities of the human spirit, and this month, over 50 million of them will be recognized. The value of the “free” services that caregivers provide for those in need is estimated at $306 billion annually.
National Family Caregivers Month is sponsored by the National Family Caregivers Association. On their website, they offer Top Ten Ways to Celebrate National Caregivers Month and a List of New Websites for Family Caregivers.