How Not To Get Hooked By A "Phishing" ScamWritten by Dean Phillips
First of all, for those of you unfamiliar with term, "Phishing" is a high-tech scam that uses spam or pop-up messages to deceive you into disclosing your credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security number, passwords, or other sensitive information.
Phishers send an e-mail or pop-up message that claims to be from a business or organization that you deal with--for example, your Internet service provider (ISP), bank, online payment service, or even a government agency. The message usually says that you need to "update" or "validate" your account information.
It might even threaten some dire consequence if you donít respond. The message directs you to a website that looks exactly like a legitimate organizationís site, but it's not. The purpose of bogus site is to trick you into divulging your personal information so fraudsters can steal your identity and your money and run up bills or commit crimes in your name.
Recent phishing victims include Yahoo, Citibank, eBay, Best Buy and Bank of America among others.
The Federal Trade Commission, (FTC) nationís consumer protection agency, suggests these tips to help you avoid getting hooked by a phishing scam:
If you get an email or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information, do not reply or click on link in message. Legitimate companies donít ask for this information via email. If you are concerned about your account, contact organization in e-mail using a telephone number you know to be genuine, or open a new Internet browser session and type in company's correct web address. DO NOT click on link in e-mail message.
Donít e-mail personal or financial information. E-mail is not a secure method of transmitting personal information. If you initiate a transaction and want to provide your personal or financial information through an organizationís website, look for indicators that site is secure, like a lock icon on browserís status bar or a URL for a website that begins "https:" (the "s" stands for "secure").
WARNING! Living Trust Scams Targeting our SeniorsWritten by Barbara Mascio
Don't loose Medicaid Benefits because of a Living Trust!
My grandmother recently responded to a post card advertising piece received in mail. The company that sent post card eluded that they were 'approved' by AARP and made claim "The Choice is Yours: Sacrifice Your Assets to State or Protect Your Loved Ones."
Grandma did not think to call me, or anyone else in family. She thought this post card was expecting her response, and so she called and set an appointment for company's representative to visit her at home.
This representative created 'common ground' almost immediately with my grandma. One quick look around her home and you see photographs and other evidence of a very family-oriented, religious woman. Grandma was immediately put at ease at friendly, self described 'Christian' who claimed to share same family values as grandma.
Once trust was created, he then began to educate my grandmother on 'horrors' of probate and the, as he put it, 'untrue legal advice attorneys provide while attempting to create more revenue for themselves.'
This company is selling Living Trusts to older unsuspecting elders, charging $800 to guarantee that their estate will not go through probate, guarantee that final wishes outlined in Will are carried out properly and claimed this Living Trust will save 'thousands of dollars'.
Although an attorney owns this company, local representatives are not attorneys. They are sales people, selling one product for a commission. They are not there to serve elder's best interests. A Living Trust is not a 'one-size-fits-all'. In fact, there are varieties of Trusts available with logical and useful applications, however, not every senior is in need of such a legal document.
When grandma decided to call me to ask my opinion, I did what most consumers would do. I checked Better Business Bureau and found no complaints. I then went to AARP site, which this firm claimed had endorsed their company.
Sure enough, this company is listed on AARP site for a fee. I found this company by going to Member Services and clicking on 'Financial Services' and then did a keyword search for company. Members Financial Services
I had to really dig into this site to find AARP disclaimer. Most consumers would not have thought to do this, in fact, at first glance; it appeared as though this company was 'endorsed' by AARP. I personally, found this to be a disappointment considering fact that AARP wants to be considered an 'authority' on elder care issues.
I found disclaimer in an article on Estate Planning/Articles It says, in middle of article, AARP does not sell or endorse any living trust products. AARP does not work cooperatively with any company that sells or promotes living trust documents. AARP does not give such companies names or addresses of its members.
Deciding on whether or not a Trust is in your best interest is best left to an elder-law attorney or an eldercare financial planner. A Senior Approved service, available in Ohio, that can help personalize Medicaid planning is Raymond James Financial Services
I have learned a few pointers:
Medicare and Medicaid planning varies state by state. In Ohio, Medicaid does NOT consider your home a 'Countable Resource', if you meet following rule:
The Ohio Medicaid rule is: "The home and contiguous land is exempt as long as it is occupied by Medicaid recipient or by
- the CS (community spouse)