Thursday, October 31, 2019

No No No (Social Security edition)

No, your Social Security number has not been suspended.

Despite the emails and phone calls you are receiving.

The Social Security Administration does not suspend your number, even if your identity has been stolen.

Your earnings records are still there. Your benefits will still be paid.

NEVER give anyone your Social Security number over the phone, unless you initiated the call and you are certain who you are talking to.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Capitol One Hack

Major banking and credit card company Capitol One was recently hacked.

Time to panic?

Not really, because:

1. they stole so much data the odds of yours being used is pretty low
2. if you have an Internet presence you have probably been hacked many times already

So what to do? What you should do all of the time anyway!

Watch your bank statements. Better yet get online and check daily.

Watch your snail mail. If you get correspondence that does not fit your finances check on it.

Be vigilant all of the time regardless of where you bank.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Ambush Medical Billing

A hospital has many units but they are all the same company, right?


These days a hospital can be a building with lots of contractors and subcontractors. This is often the case with the Emergency Department.

So although the hospital has a contract with your insurance company at a set rate, the Emergency Department may not have such a contract. And the Emergency Department can bill you whatever outrageous amount they want to bill you. And you are on the hook.

Both federal and state politicians are looking at this issue and trying to find a fix.

Buyer beware.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Sketchy Fund Raisers

A group that raised more than $20 million online to "build the wall" for President Trump bought a yacht and apparently partied through much of the money.

Some "charities" spend 85-95% of their funds on administration and fund raising.

Daily there are on-line charity appeals for specific cases and various on-going charities. And then there are the political pitches. Some are outright phony, and some are deceptive.

Many smaller political action committees (PACs) and some charities burn up most of their money on administration and more fund raising, so they can then pay themselves bigger salaries.

Charities in particular use "words" to pull at your wallet. "Veterans" and "cancer" are two of the best magic words for sketchy fund raisers.

Do some homework before giving money to charity or political causes, especially smaller and lesser known charities.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Miracle Cures

Advertisements abound for miracle cures for seniors.

Stem cells:

Stem cell clinics are popping up everywhere promising cures and possibly a fountain of youth.

There is scant valid evidence that stem cells cure much of anything in seniors, especially aging. They will make your wallet skinny.

Cheap surgery:

Several Florida plastic surgery clinics are losing licenses due to killing and mutilating patients.

The lure was cheap plastic surgery. Cheap and surgery are not really compatible.

Some of the clinics were owned by felons with no medical background. Oops.

Medical Tourism:

Travel to Mexico or India and get surgery for less money.

Sometimes this works very well, sometimes it is a disaster.

Buyer beware.


Saturday, January 26, 2019

I'm from the government and I'm here to help you.......

Scammers posing as employees of the Internal Revenue Service or the Social Security Administration are  running scams on people searching for anything from Social Security numbers to wire transfers of funds.

Often they are aided by phone spoofing, your caller ID with pop up with phony information.

The Internal Revenue Service will never initiate an inquiry via phone, they always start with a letter and they will usually only talk to you if you call them.

The Social Security Administration will rarely call you unless you have called them first. If you are suspicious hang up and call the number listed in your phone book, preferably for a local office.Never give anyone your SSN unless you have initiated the call and are 100% certain you are talking to a genuine person.

Neither agency will ever ask for wire transfers, or gift cards or Green Dot cards to be done immediately.

If pressured on the phone ask for a number and say "I am going to talk to my CPA" or "I am going to talk to my lawyer" and then hang up the phone! HANG UP THE PHONE.