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The Facts About Seniors and Fraud

April 8th, 2016 by judytalks

Moving forward following a loss means building a new life. Who you are now may be very different from the person who lost a loved one. The changes taking place prompt learning as a survivor begins to thrive.

Understanding the place and purpose of money is often difficult for older women. This may lead to mistakes in managing your money. The last blog post told the true story of an unsuspecting lady who lost a large sum of money. My research regarding scams and fraud turned up useful information for identifying these crimes.

The following is an article for you to read and save.

The Facts About Seniors And Fraud

Scamming is a billion dollar international business. It targets anyone with a telephone or mailing address. Senior citizens are particularly vulnerable.

There are no solid statistics regarding the number of seniors who are victims of fraud, because many never report it. It’s estimated, however, that one in 20 persons over 65 have been victimized, while only one in 44 ever report it.

Scams are often perpetrated by a phone call or letter. Both appear legitimate. Impressive letterheads and references to titles and offices imply authority. However, there are telltale signs that it’s not for real. Sentence structure is often awkward, with numerous grammatical and spelling errors.

According to the FBI, older citizens are easy to scam because they are too polite and trusting. Con artists easily exploit these traits, drawing people into well-rehearsed pitches, and then steal their nest eggs. Because of their reluctance to hang up or authenticate the letter, the money is gone.

The reasons senior citizens rarely report fraud:

  • Don’t know where or how to report it
  • Concerned that relatives will think them mentally incompetent
  • Too embarrassed to admit it

What can be done? Early detection results in stopping fraud in its tracks. There are two levels of detection and prevention in the US:

  • Federal programs inform and educate.
  • Community programs train employees to spot suspicious activities.

Banks train employees to be on the alert for irregularities when doing business with customers. A suspicious signature, a withdrawal for an unusually high amount, or a transaction that doesn’t fit the profile for this customer may elicit a conversation for clarification. It may save someone from financial disaster.

Communication and money transfer companies, such as Western Union, now train employees to recognize potential fraud. Partnering with law enforcement and individual detection experts can greatly increase awareness of identity theft and other forms of fraud.

Family members need to be aware that their loved ones are aggressively targeted. Thousands of products and services being sold seem legitimate. Many have specific appeal to seniors. Health aids, financial insights, cognitive and memory games and anti-aging products are especially popular, and it’s difficult to spot the scams.

When elderly citizens do report, they usually make poor witnesses because

  • Memory may be impaired.
  • It may be difficult to admit they have been swindled.
  • Weeks or months may have passed before reporting.

A government website that has information on all aspects of fraud, scams and identity theft:

https://fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud/seniors.

Careful reading will help you to become familiar with all the kinds of fraud and how to spot them. Shop wisely, safeguard your nest egg, and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

A Google search turned up a long list of websites for “how to identify and prevent scams.”  These are from a variety of sources.

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0060-10-ways-avoid-fraud

http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/slideshows/10-ways-to-avoid-online-scams

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-identify-and-avoid-the-most-common-telephone-sca-1692068970

http://www.rd.com/advice/saving-money/7-online-scams-and-how-to-avoid-them/

http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-charges/credit-debit-card-fraud.html

Billions of dollars are stolen every year from people of all ages. Senior Citizens are a prime target.

Don’t take chances with your nest egg. And if you think you’ve been scammed, call the police.

Book Learnin’

July 13th, 2015 by judytalks

Book Learnin’

To learn how to survive, ask a survivor. That’s pretty much true. Someone who’s been there knows the situation inside and out, has “felt” it, shared the emotions, and understands the process. At least a survivor understands their own experience of it.

When you’re going through a difficult time, finding a book that helps you, really “speaks” to you may take a while. In fact, I’ve found that I glean nuggets of valuable information, and some comfort, from a variety of sources. Books written by individuals who are not survivors, but have extensive knowledge of a subject, may be very beneficial. They may touch on aspects long forgotten by the people who endured deep pain.

When you’re looking through the book shelves in a library or bookstore, or on the Internet, consider choosing a couple of copies for a peek at the content, writing style, and background of the author.

My first book, No Time To Grieve, was written to help solve the practical problems experienced by mourners. When I hear from someone that it has done just that, as I did recently, I am happy.

I have read quite a few books on the subject of loss and bereavement, and from time to time, I pull them out and reread portions that were especially helpful or meaningful. When you or someone you know are in need of a grief survival book, take your time as you browse through the selections.

When I was widowed – nearly 25 year ago, there were very few books available. The shelves have filled up nicely.

Please check out my Resources page on my website and my publications on Amazon. Something might be just what you’re looking for.

Website: www.survive-strong.com

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/author/judystrong

Judy

Grief What does money have to do with it?

April 26th, 2014 by judytalks

The grief that engulfs a survivor pushes all thought of practical issues away. Nothing matters but the loss of the loved one. It’s unthinkable that one has to handle the budget, pay the bills, and buy the groceries. But unless one has no responsibilities in the practical side of everyday life, those issues have to be faced.

It isn’t fair that time and energy must be siphoned off from the important task of mourning. The grief process takes every ounce of energy you can muster. And when you just can’t think straight anymore, focusing on your cash flow and wondering how far the insurance will go seems trivial. But those who have lost someone can attest to the fact that money problems become apparent, sooner rather than later.

I have spoken with widows who thought there would be security “if anything happened”. Men have a habit of saying, “If anything happens to me, you’ll be fine.” Unfortunately, that usually isn’t true. When there are minor children involved, it can become especially frightening. Unless you know where the paperwork is, and what the circumstances are, you may find yourself making critical, but hasty decisions without knowing all your options.

In my own situation, I found myself scrambling to put my affairs in order. Because my husband didn’t have a will, and I had minor children at home, I had to go to probate court. I had no idea what resources were available, and the financial world, though helpful, has its own set of rules and methods for handling death benefits.

I began to write about grief a few years after my husband died. Along with the emotional and personal aspects of loss and bereavement, I also addressed the practical issues. I believed that if these were problems to me, they probably were to many others in the same circumstances. Knowing the simple facts of your situation can give you peace of mind, and also a sense of security that you need, whether you are alone or have children to care for.

My first book, No Time to Grieve A Survivor’s Guide to Loss and Healing, has chapters that explain the financial and legal issues you may face. Resource pages give you added information to guide your decision-making, as you move through the mourning process and gain your sense of independence. Two e-books on these subjects may be found on Kindle E-books. Getting Your Affairs In Order is a short outline that explains the procedure you may take before something happens, or after. It’s Your Money Take Charge of It is longer and clarifies some basic ideas about money and how to handle it wisely.

My books are found on my website, www.survive-strong.com.  The paperback books and the e-books can be accessed on my Amazon author’s page, www.amazon.com/author/judystrong along with my biography. Best of all, the paperback books, No time to Grieve and A Child’s Grief are often on sale. Understanding what you may need to do in the event of death and loss helps you to devote your time and energy to the essential task of grieving your loved one, while managing the practical issues that will keep you and your family afloat.

I’m so glad you are reading my blog. It’s designed to give comfort when you need it most, and information that will help you keep your feet on solid ground. There is a place for comments on my website. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

Judy

Knowledge is Gold

July 8th, 2012 by judytalks

What is your approach to problem-solving? Do you gather information you may need ahead of time, just in case? Do you wait for a snafu and then ask people for advice? Or perhaps the time to deal with a calamity is when it happens and you tear your hair looking for answers.

Most of us come predisposed to follow one or another of these problem-solving methods. Whether or not there’s an ideal way is not the question; how you manage and get through the crisis is what’s important.

Accidents, critical illness and death strike when you least expect it. The devastation it causes to mind, body, and spirit makes gathering information more than difficult. You simply clutch at straws, unable to think straight anymore. That we manage at all is remarkable, but it’s not necessary to heap more distress and anxiety on ourselves.

Knowledge really is gold. Start to accumulate information on the effects of crisis, trauma, illness, and death that ultimately hit all of us. There is an abundance of books and articles on websites, social media, author and grief sites. Store up some gold for yourself to spend when you need comfort and support. And, while you’re at it, encourage those you love to do the same.

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

A Jog in the Road

June 10th, 2011 by judytalks

I’m slow to change and not a big risk taker. My habit is to take an idea through a rigorous test run of study, research, thought, and discussion with friends and family before embarking on projects. I used this strategy to forage into the world of epublishing. Not long after the publication of my first book, I submitted an article to EzineArticles to see what would happen. I wanted to present information on my subjects – grief and loss- in smaller, more focused pieces. I continued to write articles, submitting also to Article_Niche, but did so very gradually. Occasionally, I would check the stats to see how I was doing. Awhile ago I realized that I was getting a lot of hits.

Two things, in particular, struck me: People are looking for information on these subjects in greater numbers than I thought, and I could reach people with just what they needed to know in a short, concise article.

I have seen the jog in the road, and decided to take it. Whereas I intended to devote most of my time to writing books and publishing with my excellent publisher, I have begun to split that time to include larger chunks for writing articles and short papers that deliver answers and content that meet specific, immediate needs.

I discovered Scribd through a handout at a Book Fair and have posted two free pieces. I also plan to give Kindle a good look. Sometimes the jog in the road turns out to have remarkable potential.

Happy weekend.
Judy

Making the Hard Choices

May 23rd, 2011 by judytalks

Changes in life can be by choice or by accident. The accidental ones are the hardest because there is no time for prior thought or preparation. Having to shift gears suddenly catches you unawares, and leaves you without some of the basic necessities in your life – no job, no house, no finances, and shifting gears is the last thing you want to do.

The feeling of desperation that accompanies loss makes it difficult to even think straight. The good news is that loss really is a new beginning.

In the past few years, I’ve seen friends and family members start over with amazing results. Dreaming new dreams, realizing creative efforts and nurturing those dreams has brought about a new lease on life, sometimes replacing what was lost with something so much better.

Yes, it’s hard to see opportunity when you are devastated, fearful, and emotionally drained. The first hurdle is accepting that you are your own best support system. A new business or career usually means you have to change your life stlye, often for a long time, maybe permanently. But seeing dreams materialize more than compensates.

As I said in my last post, loss has become a household word. It’s time we took the bull by the horns and made gain our word of choice. No more tears, no more defeat.

My best,
Judy

Keeping Your Balance

April 25th, 2011 by judytalks

What a year this is proving to be! I’ve been busy since Jan. 1, sorting out writing projects, enjoying book fairs and awards (mine and fellow authors), and riding the roller coaster that is creative writing and publishing.

Balancing the inner self when all around you is whirling is a lifelong task. You probably have your favorite ways to calm the storm and I have mine. Quiet reading, a long walk, yoga, and enjoying friends and family top my list.

I’ve added a couple of very effective ways to keep my inner self relaxed, which, in turn, keeps me more focused and efficient.

Trying to control the universe just wasn’t working so I gave it up. The higher power I call God can do the job better, so I quit. It’s harder than I thought it would be.

Expressing gratitude has become a mainstay on my daily to-do list. Feeling grateful and expressing it are not the same. Saying it, writing it, extending yourself are ways to give back for gifts received. And they help maintain balance. As I count my blessings, I can only say Thank You to everyone who has supported me, listened to me, put up with me, and given encouragement. Here’s to both feet planted firmly on the ground.

Judy

Lifelong Learning

January 25th, 2011 by judytalks

I am experiencing a very busy week as a participant in an intensive learning program to become a grief facilitator.

The classes have been highly informative, yet relaxed and enjoyable. The anticipated opportunity to work with children and families in a supportive capacity as they grieve fills me with a little apprehension and lots of wonder.

My family experienced loss and mourning twenty years ago this month. There was far less available in the way of help and support. Today, individuals and families may receive the comfort and support they need to truly grieve and to heal.

Meanwhile, I continue to write and look for places to educate. Drop me a line on my website.

Have a wonderful day,

Judy

Wrapping up the Week

January 22nd, 2011 by judytalks

Friday has always been my “crash” day. It was date night in high school – movie and a pizza. In college the books were shoved in a corner and the evening devoted to unwinding.

It’s many years later, but I cling to the Friday night ritual of wrapping up the week. Grief concerns this week focused on writing a booklet for grappling with the immediate aftermath of death and loss. I’m in the editing stage now. I also entered my book, A Child’s Grief Surviving the Death of a Parent in a couple book award contests. We’ll see…..

As the week winds down, I have an all-day training session tomorrow. I’m excited to dig in. The new year is promising to be more focused and in-depth than last year. Better decisions means more contentment.

Hope your week was fruitful.

Judy

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