Posts Tagged ‘financial stability’

Bay Area Locksmith Scams

Friday, October 29th, 2010

A new breed of thief is stealing the identities of businesses and ripping off unsuspecting customers of all ages. This new thief is posing as a reputable business and it’s a business a consumer should trust—a locksmith.

KTVU has recently reported on this.

These unscrupulous locksmiths are baiting customers with a low price to get their business such as with an emergency call for a lockout; upon arriving to the customer’s location and performing the work, the bill gets super inflated.

For example, an elderly man was conned out of about five thousand dollars for simply opening his front door.

These unscrupulous business are using 411, websites and Google to steal the identities of legitimate businesses. These companies come in, take the listing and change it to basically create hundreds of Google map listings that go to their own phone numbers. These types of businesses have call centers located in areas like Florida or New York.

When called, these so-called locksmiths show up late, take your money, and may even make and keep duplicates of your keys—a VERY scary thought.

KTVU investigated by locating on Google Maps to find a locksmith for a locked SUV. Around 15 minutes later, a man arrived in a small, unmarked passenger car. He did NOT have a locksmith permit nor did he have even a tool box. He didn’t even have a business card. When KTVU looked at his license, it stated the gentleman was from the Bronx in New York. When he was asked if he had a California license, he stated no. This man said he worked for “Top Locksmith” at 1444 High Street in Oakland. This address takes you to a strip mall with a donut shop and hair salon but there is NO 144 High Street and after being confronted, the man, who said he was from Bulgaria, quickly drove off in his car, which had a South Carolina license plate.

These types of business prey on those most vulnerable such as the elderly. If you DO need a locksmith, make sure you:

  • Call one that is a California resident
  • Call one that has a California locksmith license (they are REQUIRED to carry it)
  • Make sure you know how much you are being charged UP FRONT; there should not be any added charges after the service is completed

Remember, just because you find the information on the internet does not mean that it’s a REAL company.

To read the entire article, please visit here.

Elderly Employment

Monday, October 18th, 2010

There are many senior citizens who want to work again despite the limitations that society imposes on them. While there are physical limitations to the kind of work that they are able to do, elderly individuals must be permitted to take on jobs that will help them to continue to lead a happy, productive life. With the current state of the economy, jobs for anyone are hard to come by or find, but that is not saying that it’s an impossible task to accomplish. Work for the elderly is more difficult due to limitations and age, however, jobs for the elderly can be found if you know where to look.

For the most part, elderly work should be free from strenuous activities. This includes jobs that require a lot of movement, lifting heavy objects, or stay up until the wee hours of the morning. Physical exhaustion and too much effort would not be conducive to a job for an elderly individual.

What sort of work would then be appropriate for an elderly individual given these conditions? This job should not only be physically mild but also it needs to be meaningful. A job for an elderly individual does not need to be monotonous or absent of emotion to be a good fit for them.

The elderly could work from home and earn money and feel fulfilled without leaving home. There are many job opportunities out there for those who want to work without leaving home. These types of jobs can be based on previous employment such as tutoring, teaching piano, or a craft.

Many elderly want to reach out to others and often either volunteer for charities or non-government organizations. There are many opportunities for elderly social work that is open for employees as well as volunteers. This can be a rewarding experience.

Leading a happy and fulfilled life does not stop at retirement. There are plenty of work opportunities for the elderly that will allow them to earn a bit of money and feel productive as well as feel good about themselves by helping their community. Being happy, productive and fulfilled can lead to a healthier mental well-being.

Preventing Abuse

Friday, October 8th, 2010

The incidence of elder abuse can be reduced, but it will take more time and effort that we are making right now. Preventing elder abuse means doing three things:

  • Listening
  • Intervening
  • Educating

If you are a caregiver and overwhelmed by the demands of caring for the elderly there are a few things you can do as well to prevent an abuse of elder incidence:

  • Request help when you need it so you can take a break
  • Find an adult day care program
  • Stay healthy
  • Seek out therapy for depression
  • Find an elder caregiver support group
  • Seek help for drug and alcohol abuse

Remember, elder abuse hotlines offer help for caregivers as well. Call a help line if you think that there is a possibility that you could cross that line and commit elder abuse.

As a concerned family member or friend, you can also help by:

  • Watching for warning signs and if you suspect abuse report it
  • Keep watch on the elder’s medications; does the amount in the container match up with the date of the prescription?
  • Watch for possible financial abuse; ask if you could scan the bank accounts and credit card statements for possible unauthorized transactions
  • Call and visit as often as you can
  • Offer to stay with the elder so that the caregiver can take a break

If you are an elder, there are ways you can protect yourself against elder abuse. Here are some ideas:

  • Make sure your financial and legal affairs are in order. If they aren’t, seek professional help to get them in order, with a trusted friend or relative if necessary.
  • Keep in touch with family and friends and avoid isolation.

If you are unhappy with the care you’re receiving, whether it’s in your own home or in a care facility, speak up. Tell someone you know and trust and ask that person to report the abuse, neglect or substandard care to your state’s APS (Adult Protective Services) office, or make the call yourself.

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800 799-7233

How to Become a Power of Attorney

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

Having to face the fact of your parent getting older is hard; however, financial and health concerns need to be put in order so that, in the event of something unexpected, that you are prepared, legally.

  • Hire a lawyer who specializes in elder law estate planning, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and guardianship matters. Have the attorney meet with you and your elderly parent (or the elderly or disabled person you will be taking care of) so that the purpose of power of attorney can be explained and also to inform him or her of their options.
  • Gather the important papers—property records, bank/investment statements, medical records, tax records, marriage/divorce records, birth certificate, social security card, driver’s license, insurance policies, and any other legal paperwork that is still active; be prepared to review all of this information with the attorney.
  • Make decisions as to what must be prepared besides the power of attorney. If there is not a will in place, one should be written while your charge is still able to understand and make decisions.
  • Have the attorney prepare a durable power of attorney. This consists of financial power of attorney as well as a health care power of attorney. This will require your elderly parent’s signature. It must be signed in the presence of two or more witnesses (depending on the state of residence) and a notary public. As the designated representative, you will not have to sign the form.
  • File the executed power of attorney and all accompanying paperwork, with the court clerk’s office, if required. Be aware that some states make it mandatory to do so. Keep a copy of all paperwork filed for your records. You may be required to present this paper whenever you conduct business on your elderly/disabled parent’s behalf.

Power of Attorney

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Caring for an elderly parent can be draining both emotionally and physically. Many times, adults are taking care of their elderly parent or parents while still trying to raise their own children.

As the parent becomes less independent and unable to care for his or her own needs, it becomes clear that you will have to take the needed steps to ensure that legal, personal, medical and financial interests are protected. One way to do this is to get a power of attorney drawn up so that you or someone you trust can act on your elderly parent’s behalf to make decisions that he or she can no longer make independently.

This is not an easy thing for an elderly parent or the child of the elderly parent. So it is very important to involve the parent in the preparations as much as possible. This leaves the parent feeling less helpless or left out of the process. Honor the parents’ wishes when possible; however, do realize that you are entrusted to act in your parent’s best interest even if the parent disagrees with you. It is also not a good idea to rely on those generic self-help legal software programs. For a delicate matter such as this, an experienced attorney to help decide what needs to be done is the better option. There are many factors that come into play with issues such as a power of attorney such as the present and long-term medical condition of the parent as well as their own personal wishes for how affairs are to be handled. Moreover, do not pressure your elderly parent into making life-changing decisions, especially when he or she is tired, hungry, restless or upset. Choose a time to talk and present the information gradually instead of all at one time. Keep everything relaxed and don’t force the issue.

Check back on Saturday, October 2, 2010 to learn the process of obtaining a power of attorney.

Elderly Often the Target of Scams

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

It is said that one out of every 5 Americans over the age of 65 has been the target in one way or another of a scam involving money. Stealing money from senior citizens, or conning them out of money, amounts to billions of dollars each year with that number on the rise. For every case of scamming that is reported, it is said that four more go unreported. And alarmingly enough, more than half of those reported cases of frauds or scams, family members or care givers are the offender.

There are now organizations in place in an effort to help catch the offenders. Once such organization is called Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation project and it was created by the Investor Protection Trust. Investor Protection Trust joined forces with several organizations to create this project. These organizations include such organizations as The American Academy of Family Physicians, the National Area Health Education Center Organization and the National Association of Geriatric Education Centers, just to name a few. A short brochure on this project is available at www.investorprotection.org.

Essentially, frauding or scamming the elderly is a form of abuse. An elder abuse project was tested in Texas where several cases of this kind of abuse went to trial and resulted in convictions. Among those convicted was a lawyer who was sentenced to 99 years in the state prison for a supposed investment opportunity that snagged mostly the elderly in his scheme.

The more of our senior citizen population that is swindled out of their money, the bigger burden they will be to the government who will have to help see to their care.

Information obtained from http://www.insidebayarea.com/business/ci_16065238

Pet Therapy

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

For many years, dogs have been trained to aid the blind. Now, in more recent years, animals are being trained for other medicinal purposes such as for those with seizures and the elderly.

Therapy animals are specifically chosen to visit nursing homes, senior centers, day care centers, hospitals, prisons, and children’s homes in hopes of bringing physical and emotional comfort to people. Oftentimes, these animals are just your everyday ordinary animal who has an owner who is willing and able to volunteer their time with their pet to those in need of some sort of comfort. Ideally, for an animal to be considered for an activity such as this, the animal should be sociable, gentle, friendly, not afraid, and has the ability to get along with anyone.

Many scientists and doctors alike believe that the mind-body connection is closely related. For example, those individuals who feel isolated (as many elderly do) have a tendency to give up on life. Also, people who are sick are more likely to heal and get well if they are happy and comfortable. This is where animal therapy comes in. There are many advantages of this type of non-conventional therapy, ranging from physical to emotional.

Therapy animals have been known to:

  • Lower blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Increase physical motivation
  • Decrease pain
  • Encourage speech
  • Make patients more receptive to medical treatment and eating
  • Generally increase a patient’s will to live

Therapy animals affect people of all ages in a positive way. The animals bring a myriad of emotional and physical benefits to those in hospitals, nursing homes, and other places. These animals are reported to save many lives and also provide love, kindness, and comfort in the finals hours of life for many individuals.

Scams on the Elderly

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

There are many types of frauds and scams; however, it seems that only a choice few are used against the elderly and most times, these frauds or scams occur within just a few interactions.

One such type of scam/fraud is the offender uses a confidence game. This kind of fraud does not use a product or service; instead a broad range of fraudulent scenarios are committed in order to obtain cash from the elderly. The offender could mask himself or herself as being in a position of authority (such as a bank examiner) or other type of trustworthy person. The offender then concocts a story to get the victim to hand over cash, and then the offender vanishes.

Telemarketing is another way to scam the elderly. Usually victims are called at home; high pressure tactics are used to solicit money for fraudulent charities, insurance policies, travel packages, or sweepstakes. These types of operations are designed to limit the benefit to the customer while maximizing the profit for the telemarketer. It is also designed to reach a large amount of potential customers quickly and efficiently.

Using mail operations is another way of committing fraud against the elderly. This program is designed to reach a wide audience while relying on potential victims to return a postcard or call an indicated number. The mailings look official and usually are very personalized with the victims name repeated numerous times, include authentic-looking claim numbers, and have contradictory content and make what seems like a small monetary request.

Face-to-Face contact is another example of fraud against the elderly. It involves a product or service (home repair for example) and it requires the victim and offender to actually meet either at the victim’s home or a business. For example, a contractor is hired to do a job and requires and up-front payment for services to be performed and materials for the job (such as drywall, nails, etc). The victim gives the offender a check for the amount asked for (and usually it is a much higher amount that would be normal and customary) and the offender is never heard from again. Another example of this would be the scammer gaining entry to the victim’s house by posing as a utility worker and then distract the victim while an accomplice burglarizes the home.

When doing business, it is important to do research and background checks on who you let into your home. Basically, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. As an elderly citizen, it a good rule of thumb to have a trust friend or family member look over offers or be at your home with you while a contractor or utility worker is there.

5 Questions If You Suspect Elderly Abuse

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

If you suspect that an elderly family member is being abused financially, there are five questions you are able to ask (posted by the popular consumer website Consumerist) that may be able to give you a better feel for their situation.

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When The Golden Years Aren’t Golden

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

In the push to find solutions for those who are facing tougher times in the economy is a growing bid to help senior citizens find employment. There are a growing number of agencies and groups set up to help seniors do just that. (more…)