Rona Barrett

Rona Barrett

How many of you receive the AARP Magazine and AARP Bulletin? That’s what I thought, most of you. How many have read their latest Bulletin: “A Guide to Protecting Yourself from Fraud”? Wonderful, some of you.

I’m guessing you folks subscribe to Neil deGrasse Tyson’s two main philosophies: “... know more today ... than [you] knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others ...” Reading it, and the companion article “Experts Share Latest Fraud-Fighting Tactics,” will help you in furthering both.

I’m guessing the rest of you folks put it in your “I’ll get to it later” pile/basket/magazine rack, right? Or, maybe you’ve already recycled it without even glancing at it.

That would be a pity, my friends. Please, rescue it from your pile or recycle can if it hasn’t already been picked up. If it’s gone, don’t worry because it’s still available online! Visit www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2019/guide-to-preventing-fraud. Scroll to the bottom and you will also see the link to the companion article.

If you’re saying to yourself, “Rona, I’ve already read your columns on this subject,” let me remind you they appeared back in 2016!

In one of them I told you that years earlier I had overheard my aging father on the phone whispering, “So, how much should I write my check for?” “What check?!!” I said as I grabbed the phone and heard the hang up click. Turned out it was a lottery scam. If he’d sent a check for $150 he would get back $1 million. Right.

They’re still out there, my friends! Grandkid scams, IRS imposter scams, Medicare scams, sweepstakes scams, computer tech scams, romance scams, impending lawsuit scams — and any other scam they dream up! These scammers are scamming older Americans to the tune of $3 billion a year according to AARP’s online article “Attorney General Says 225 Charged in Elder Fraud Sweep”. The Department of Justice knows “... this is a nationwide problem ... No one is immune to this.”

The good news is they’re going after them. But we have to do our part as well. We have to stay informed so we recognize when they’re trying to scam us. AARP is doing its best to help us stay vigilant, so let’s take advantage of their good work!

Here’s another outstanding online resource doing its best to keep us informed: www.ftc.gov. The Federal Trade Commission is your portal to: File a consumer complaint; report identity theft; get your free credit report; register for do not call; get consumer alerts; and order free (including shipping) resources! You can download them or you can order tear sheets, bookmarks, and tool kits so you can “pass it on” (their campaign) to your friends, family, caregivers and anywhere else you can think where people gather.

Report fraud or financial exploitation to AARP Foundation ElderWatch at 1-800-222-444, option 2 or www.aarpelderwatch.org.

Report a scam to the FTC by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or TTY 1-866-653-4261 or going online: ftc.gov/complaint.

Both AARP and the FTC’s resources are available in Spanish online and in print, which tells you no one is immune from this scourge.

Let’s all know more today than yesterday, lessen the suffering of others – and stay vigilant!

Until next time ... keep thinking the good thoughts.

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Senior activist and local resident Rona Barrett is the driving force behind the Golden Inn & Village (GIV), the area’s first affordable senior living facility. Still to come is “Harry’s House” at GIV, another unique home for seniors in their time of need. For more information go to www.Rona Barrett Foundation.org or write to info@ronabarrettfoundation.org.