March 3, 2021
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Scams and Other Business Ventures

April 1st, 2016 by judytalks

Scammers target everyone and anyone. Older persons are particularly vulnerable. Many people in this age group live alone, and many are in the stages of bereavement. Their emotional resistance is low, and they generally are not suspicious people. Here is a sad but true story of one woman who believed the documents she received were authentic. Education is the best preventive measure for stopping crimes of this kind. You can find relevant information on the Internet and from banks and other financial institutions.

 

Scams and Other Business Ventures

Will you be next? Can you protect yourself or your loved ones from fraud? Stories like this one happen to millions of people every day.

The first letter was sent out on letterhead, informing her that she was a winner in a promotional draw.  Her prize was $850,000.00. It had been deposited in Bank of America, and had been insured.

The letter appeared to come from the International Gaming Commission Sweepstakes & Lottery in Washington, DC. It stated that she should keep the entire details of the award “strictly from public notice”. In other words: Don’t Tell Anyone. The recipient of this letter was a 79-year-old woman, widowed, with a modest income and some investments.

The second letter appeared to come from the US Department of the Treasury, acknowledging her as a winner, stating the amount of her prize, and informing her that  “… the amount you will have to take care of is $30,000.00 and it will have to be made payable to our chief accountant which that name will be given to you later.” The rest of the letter gave instructions to contact her “representative” whose name and phone number were provided, with a security code she should use.

Despite the impressive letterhead, the documents had numerous mistakes.  There were typos and   poor grammar throughout. For example, the first sentence of the letter from the Gaming Commission  says:  “Congratulations to you as we bring to your notice, the results of the First (3rd) Category draws of International Gaming Commission SWEETSTAKES.” And in paragraph three “… the total prize money of US$ 29,000000.00….”

Many people receiving such correspondence would immediately recognize it as fraud. This particular woman did not. She believed it to be authentic and promptly called her financial planner to pay the alleged taxes. She insisted that she couldn’t tell him why she needed the money.

Needless to say, this was a red flag to him. He was reluctant to make the transaction and asked her to wait until he returned from his vacation a week later.  Somehow, she was able to make the payment herself.

The $30,000.00 is gone. The lady is poorer but wiser. But the scammers probably will never be caught.

Don’t let yourself be the next victim.

Where Do I Go For Help?

November 2nd, 2012 by judytalks

Crisis and loss come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. The devastation that results from natural disasters is enormous, counting loss of life, property, and your sense of security.

Today it’s the East Coast, with the aftermath of Sandy. Tomorrow it may be in another part of the world. Regardless of location, this planet is mourning its losses every day. With or without warning, the human race takes a back seat to every kind of destructive act of nature.

Finding comfort when you need it most is difficult. In a disaster, numerous organizations rally to preserve life and property. When it’s safe to return, assessing your damage can be heart-rending. Personal property, those sentimental items so dear to you and to family, may lie amongst the debris, damaged beyond repair.

The job of the work crews is to get things up and running. When businessess, transportation, utilities, hospitals and the like get going again, it brings back a sense of normalcy. But no one is assigned to retrieving the lost personal items. Though these things seem irreplaceable, other family members, friends, or neighbors often have copies of pictures and memorabilia like those you lost. When you get yourself settled, contact everyone you can think of and ask for help. As items begin to surface, you can restore your memories in your treasure chest. It’s the beginning of healing.

Emotions are not usually reliable in a crisis, but contact with others and having them share memories with you is the beginning of hope, and pushes the fear and sadness away.

If you are grieving for any reason, stay in touch with those who love you and let them give comfort. Mourning takes time and energy. Take care of yourself.

Judy

It’s a Wrap

September 1st, 2011 by judytalks

I’ve just about finished formatting my first ebook. Whew! For someone who remembers home milk delivery, it’s quite an accomplishment. I think I’ve read through the instructions at least four times, but now I’m looking forward to uploading an image for the cover and sending it off.

My book is about managing your money, a departure from my usual topics of grief and loss. However, the enormous numbers and varieties of loss we’ve experienced have prompted me to address financial security. The loss of anything dear to you causes grief and there is a sense of mourning that takes place. I’ve had material on this subject in my computer for quite awhile and it seemed like a good time to develop a clear theme and offer it as a practical guide.

It’s always satisfying to complete a project. Most of mine become labor intensive because I’m continually doing research, in case I missed something. This topic, everyday money management, had me looking at papers, articles, and books from both men and women in several fields. Business owners, financial planners, money gurus, and social commentators have all shed light on the what and why of good planning, especially for women. When I lost my husband, with three children living at home, I had to learn quickly how to earn for the present and secure for the future. Experience is, indeed, the best teacher.

Wrapping up my first digital project lets me breathe a sigh of relief – until the next project. I think I’ve mastered most of the essentials, but there’s always “try, try again” if you don’t succeed the first time. I also know when to call the grandchildren.

Wishing you well,

Judy

The Lessons of Loss

May 18th, 2011 by judytalks

The past few years have made loss a household word. The pain of losing homes, jobs, funds, along with our self esteem and sense of place in the world is grievous. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been a victim. When everyone is struggling just to maintain basic necessities, it’s hard to find anyone who can help.

The truth is, though, that when everyone is experiencing the same calamity, there is support that yields hope and a sense of connecting.

It’s pointless to ask who did this to us. The real question is, “What will rise out of the ashes?”

Within my own family, friends and neighbors I see despair, anger, sadness, but also a determined drive not to be defeated. A new set of values is emerging, a fresh look at the word “career”, and a relaxed attitude toward self concept and who decides what and where our place is in the world.

I have a renewed sense of confidence that younger people will reinvent this socioeconomic construct in which we live, and it will be inclusive, open ended, and fluid. Though I’m a grandmother, I have every intention of sticking around to see it happen, if it takes a hundred years.

As always,
Judy

Grief Support A Critical Need

February 19th, 2011 by judytalks

Saturday I completed a training program to become a grief facilitator at an excellent center for grieving children. All family members are included and program activties are specific for each age level, including adults. The center is for support, not therapy, and allows as many weeks/months as each family feels they need.

There are more centers, more grief groups, more books, and more programs today than were available ten or fifteen years ago. However, the grieving community remains a hugely underserved demographic in our society. Somehow, we fail to realize the fact of loss, which may include death, divorce, desertion, loss of homes, jobs, and financial security.

I write continually about this subject in books, articles, and my blog. My goal is to educate and inspire, and also to give practical information for dealing with the aspects of loss and bereavement.

The statistics surrounding incomplete healing from loss boggle the mind.

Physical illness
Mental illness
Addiction to drugs and/or alcohol
Incarceration
Abuse
Inability to form healthy relationships
Inability to hold a job
The devastation to individuals, families, and society in general is enormous.

Finding information to become more aware and to learn basic skills in helping yourself or others may take a bit of research. If your community education program doesn’t include grief and recovery, ask for such a class. Senior centers, retirement communities, faith based facilities, and libraries all have ideal locations and space for such programs. Ask for them.

I’m a firm believer that death education should come before-not after- the fact. Death knocks on every door. Each person, every family needs and deserves simple understanding and preparation in the event of a tragedy. It’s a starting point, certainly not complete, but is foundational to healthier mourning and a sense of healing.

As always, I wish you well.
Judy

Tragedy and Staying Strong

January 10th, 2011 by judytalks

I last wrote about the violent assassination attempt on a Congresswoman in Tucson, AZ. Though I knew none of the persons who were struck, wounded, or killed, I was deeply affected. The element of feeling secure when out and about – at a supermarket, no less- is shattered in light of this incident. But the larger fact to consider are the extreme emotions felt by individuals who commit these crimes.

To share the genuine grief of those personally involved is simpler than to actually mourn for a loved one.

Those who help grieving people encourage openness and regular expression of their emotions, as a means of receiving comfort and healing. It takes strength to do this. Standing tall, acknowledging their deep pain, and mourning openly will yield healing, and give confidence for moving forward. But is takes time.

I wish us well, those of us who have witnessed tragedy. I especially send love and prayers to those who have experienced personally the loss of a life too dear to them.

Judy

A Sober Look at the Faces of Death

January 9th, 2011 by judytalks

The New Year has begun and my goals and plans are made for new business ventures and writing opportunities. I decided to blog today because I had neglected this enjoyable way of communicating, as busyness crowded my time during the holidays. Christmas, for me, is filled with joy and happiness that comes from the closeness of family and friends.

I signed on to the internet and, there, in bold headlines was the shocking news of a shooting in Tucson, in which a congresswoman had been shot in the head. In all, 18 people were hit, 6 were dead, and the gunman apprehended.

I don’t report news of this kind, as a rule. I tell people of the sadness and despair that follows the death of a loved one, regardless of the circumstances. My concern and expertise are tied to emotional upheaval and the need to put a loved one to rest. Comfort and healing are the necessary ingredients for survivors when a life is lost.

As I listened to the news reports, the tears came and a deep feeling of sadness enveloped me. My childhood was spent in a small town, and at a time, when shootings, street violence, and random killings were not frequent occasions. The people who lost loved ones today will need support and comfort for a long time. Those who were injured may be traumatized for many years.

Regardless of how a death occurs, there are warm, loving, and effective means for helping the bereaved.
Listen.
Affirm their feelings.
Spend time with them, preferably in person, but otherwise, by phone.
Assure them that you care and can be counted on for support.
Plan short activities out and about that are relaxing.

My personal goal for 2011 is to stay strong and give more.
My business goal for 2011 is to learn more and reach more.

Here goes, New Year!
Cheers to everyone.
Judy

Home Again

October 29th, 2009 by judytalks

It’s always great to get back home after a vacation. Visits with family were wonderful, business meetings productive, and side trips great. We all went to the Titanic Exhibit at the St. Paul Science Museum. Fascinating and sobering.
Getting back into my routine happened fast. With a new book coming out, I have publicity and marketing ideas to attend to. Getting the word out so I can help people help children will be my priority now. I recently read an article that said professionals who work with children are concerned about children’s responses to news media coverage of crisis and adversity. I wonder if the stations ever think about that?
Sunny AZ is beginning to cool off for winter here. Light jacket weather but still lots of sunshine. It’s the best work climate for me. Please check out my websites – they’re in transition but up and running – for information regarding grief, loss, adversity, and how we can help one another.
My best, Judy
www.judystrong.com
wwwachildsgrief.com

January Thaw

January 22nd, 2009 by judytalks

Winter is beginning to wind down in AZ. and the plants are getting ready for the desert bloom in early Spring.
In my professional life, I, too, am readying myself for new growth and life. My manuscript is almost finished, my website is nearly done, and my business should be up and running soon.
What a crazy year – 2008. The sense of loss permeated every aspect of daily living, and a deep feeling of struggle and recovery saturates this land.
How do people cope? What are the skill sets necessary to pick up the pieces and move forward?
I believe we are a resilient people, open to learning and discovery. I write and speak about grief and have been amazed at the strengths people exhibit in the face of adversity and pain.
I’m looking forward to cactus blossoms, a new published book, and a chance to connect with many more people on my new website. Take care. Judy

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