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Blog Article Spring 2019

From our Executive Director’s Desk Like many of you, our blog readers, I am a senior.  And as a senior, I get calls from strangers trying to sell me things. Last week, I received a call from yet another stranger.  Because I research scams targeting seniors, I didn’t hang up. The caller told me he was sure I could use a back brace and assured me it was absolutely free – no cost to me.  All he needed was my full name, date of birth, address for shipping and Medicare number.  When I refused to give out my personal information or Medicare number, he hung up. This attempt at Medicare fraud was unsuccessful because I am aware of how it works.  If you get a call like this, never give out any personal information or your Medicare number.  Your personal information can be sold to other scammers, and you may be denied needed durable medical equipment in the future by Medicare. Have a question about a call you received...

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Could it Happen to You?

Our 88 year old client was approached by 3 door – to – door salespeople about applying a special, “environmentally friendly” exterior paint to her home.  Our client explained that she had just had her home painted but they wouldn’t leave until she agreed to the work.  Feeling pressured, she signed some papers to get these 3 strangers out of her home. The men told her PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing would take care of it and help her out.  The contract price was over $28,000, adding $2,800 to her property tax bill for 20 years. Could she afford it? No!  Did she understand how PACE financing works?  No! Maybe it could happen to you.  To protect yourself, don’t open the door to people who just show up. Talk “through the door” before opening it because once you let them in, it can be very hard to get them out.   If you are a senior and have questions about a home improvement contract, call us for free...

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From Our Executive Director’s Desk

Scammers who target seniors were very active in 2018.  Most of these scams have been around for many years.  Why?  Because they work and the scammers get away with it.  Here are some to watch out for in 2019, along with my best tip: HANG UP before they can get to your money! Your phone rings… You won the lottery! HANG UP!  It’s a SCAM! Your grandchild is in trouble and needs you to wire money or get a gift card. HANG UP!  It’s a SCAM! You qualify for free home improvements-solar, roof, windows, ‘cool wall’ paint. HANG UP!  It’s a SCAM! The IRS calls to say you owe back taxes. HANG UP!  It’s a SCAM! Medicare is calling because you need to pay for a new Medicare card. HANG UP!  It’s a SCAM! If you have a question about a call, a letter, or a contract, contract Elder Law & Advocacy before you open your wallet.  An attorney will advise you free of charge.  For an appointment call...

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Executive Director’s Message

By Carolyn Reilly The election is right around the corner and election fraud has become a concern for some of our older citizens.  While there are legitimate voter registration drives, there are some who may be committing elections code violations using the California Vote-By-Mail Application.  Here is what to look out for: THE PROBLEM:  An absentee ballot allows you to vote by mail. You receive a pleasant visit at your apartment complex or home from someone who offers to fill in a Vote-By-Mail application for you.  This nice person offers some money or a little gift in return.  You agree, thinking there is no harm in it, and give them your information. WHAT TO DO:  Be cautious! Make sure all of the form is filled in correctly, otherwise the person offering to register you may: Convince you to register even though you know you are not eligible. This is a form of fraud and is against the law!  Registering to vote or registering another person, knowing you or that...

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Executive Director’s Message

By Carolyn Reilly Many of us want to help the environment.  Others are looking for ways to save money on their energy bills.  Some hope to do both. Door-to door sales and mailers are advertising solar products, energy efficient windows and other energy upgrades, with rebates and various financing options.  These products and deals may sound good but many have problems which can end up costing far more than originally quoted. Older consumers have contacted us with reports of home improvement contractors using telemarketing and door-to-door sales to misleadingly negotiate the terms of agreements and loans.  Some of these contractors enter consumers into agreements or loans using a cell phone or tablet to obtain an electronic signature, providing no paper documents and giving the consumer no time to review the terms. Some of the financing agreements are through a government program which sets up payment through the homeowner’s tax bill.  These consumers are not aware that the financing becomes a lien against their home and can affect their current...

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Executive Director’s Message:

By Carolyn Reilly Would you help an elder who had fallen?  An elder who was having trouble opening a door?  What about an elder who was struggling to carry a package?  I bet you would.  These are very visible signs that a person needs help and it makes it easy to offer that help. But what about more subtle signs that an elder may need help?  What about an elder who used to walk in the neighborhood every day, but ever since that handyman started doing work around the property – no sign of your neighbor?  What about that elderly friend or family member who has many solicitation letters and other bulk mail offers spread out on the kitchen counter and now seems to be low on funds?  An elder who has someone borrowing the car and is now asking for rides? It may be hard to offer help in those situations, but it can be done by starting a friendly conversation and asking if your help is needed. ...

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