Town of Mansfield, MA, Council On Aging, 255 Hope Street, Mansfield 02048 Phone: (508) 261-7368 Fax: (508) 339-4886

News for October 2016

MAKING YOUR LIFE FRAUD-PROOF

APPLE WORKSHOPS

FROM BRISTOL ELDER NUTRITION

OPEN ENROLLMENT FOR MEDICARE PROGRAMS BEGINS

HEATING ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

DAILY LUNCH AT THE COA


MAKING YOUR LIFE FRAUD-PROOF
The Federal Trade Commission recently published a consumer alert about tried and true methods scam artists are using to defraud unsuspecting people. These methods are used over and over because they work for the con men and women, netting them billions of dollars each year. The best way to not be victimized by them is to become educated about the methods they use to steal money. Be pro-active and protect yourself:

  • Spot Imposters—scammers often pretend to be someone who can be trusted, like a government official, a family member or a member of a charity. DO NOT send any money to or give out any personal information in response to an unknown or unsolicited request

  • Do online searches—Type the company or product name into a search engine with the word “review” or “complaint.” Information about the company, person or product will be available on the internet, and you will be able to determine their legitimacy

  • Doubt some caller ID information—Scammers use technology to fake ID information, so the number showing on your caller ID may not be legitimate. DO NOT give out any personal information to anyone you do not know over the phone. If you feel that the call might be legitimate, call the company back on the company phone number you have used before or that is published in the business directory

  • Do not pay upfront costs—Scammers prey on those who are hopeful or desperate. DO NOT pay for “taxes and fees” on a prize that you won—and you did not even enter the contest, upfront fees for a loan, debt relief or mortgage assistance

  • Use safe payment methods—Reliable companies will encourage you to use standard methods of payment and will not require you to wire money through Western Union or other services, or use reloadable cards like Money-Pac, Reloadit or Vanilla. In the case of fraud, there are no protections through wiring money or using reloadable payment cards. Standard credit cards usually carry fraud protection, and, in the case of fraud, getting refunds and disputing charges is easier

  • Talk and think about it—Before you give personal information or money to anyone, talk to someone you trust. Scammers will make you feel under pressure to make a decision about something, or pay a “bill.” They often catch you unaware, and even threaten you with court action or disconnection of utilities. You do not need to respond to anyone who threatens you over the telephone! Just hang up! If you really owe money on that bill, you will have already received a letter through the mail

  • Hang up on robocalls (recorded calls)—Robocalls are illegal! Do not press any buttons to be taken off the call list—it is a way to keep you on the phone. Just hang up and report the number to the Federal Trade Commission (1-877-382-4357)

  • Think twice about free trial offers—Some companies offer free trial products or services, but the catch is the “free” part comes with the purchase of the product or service with a billing each month. If it is too good to be true, then it usually is!

  • Do not deposit a check and give money back—Some scammers pay for items you have for sale with a check, but it is made out for more than what you are asking for. The con artist asks you to just write him a check for the difference. Often, the checks con artists use are counterfeits that look real. Uncovering a fake check can take weeks of discovery and the money never ends up deposited into your bank account, but the check you write to the con man clears the bank in just a few days. Not only have your lost the item for sale, but you also have had money “stolen” from your bank account.

  • If you or someone you know has been victimized through these cons or any others, report it to the police. It is against the law to take a person’s money or identity though deceit and false claims. The Federal Trade Commission will alert you to new scams and those old scams which have been reinvented by registering to receive them at ftc.gov/scams. Additionally, if you wish to report a scam, you can visit the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

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APPLE WORKSHOPS
IT specialist Rick Sterling will hold monthly workshops for those who have Apple products and would like to become more proficient in device applications. Classes will be held on the third Tuesday of each month at 1:00 PM at the COA. Registration is required, and classes are free. Call Louise at 508-261-7368 to register. return to menu

FROM BRISTOL ELDER NUTRITION
Good nutrition habits and preventative medicine help to keep us healthy as we age. Part of periodic preventative measures is making sure to be vaccinated against diseases that can cause severe illnesses. Did you know that adults need boosters to vaccines received in childhood to keep lifelong disease immunity? Bristol Elder Services Nutrition wants to remind us that becoming vaccinated not only protects us from becoming severely ill, it also helps stop the spread of illnesses by boosting immunity so that diseases are not passed on to both children and other adults. Vaccines every person should receive are:
• Influenza—annually;
• Td/Tdap—(Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertussis)— Td every 10 years, one booster dose of Tdap;
• Shingles—all adults should consider getting one dose of shingles vaccine even if shingles has occurred;
• Pneumococcal—all adults age 65 and older should consider getting at least one dose of PCV13 and one dose of POPSV23, depending upon age and medical condition;
• Chickenpox (Varicella)—adults who have never had the chickenpox should be vaccinated.
Those who travel outside of the United States will need to be vaccinated against additional illnesses found in the countries to where they are travelling. Vaccinations may not be advisable for those suffering from certain medical conditions, and it is important to always consult your doctor about which vaccinations are right for you. For more information, please visit cdc.gov or vaccines.gov return to menu

OPEN ENROLLMENT FOR MEDICARE PROGRAMS BEGINS
The annual Open Enrollment period for Medicare programs begins on October 15th and runs through December 7th. During Open Enrollment, Medicare beneficiaries have the opportunity to make changes to their supplemental, Part D and Medicare Advantage (HMO) coverages. It is very important to read and not discard any mail received about changes to your current plans beginning January 1, 2017. It is also very important to ask questions about insurance issues you do not understand. Mansfield Council on Aging has SHINE counselors who will assist you in making informed decisions about your healthcare coverage, and will explain other available options. To schedule an appointment from October 15th through December 7th, please contact SHINE Counselors Beverly or Lynette after October 1st at 508-261-7368. return to menu

HEATING ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
For those who are stressed by home heating costs, there may be programs available to help with expenses. The Federally funded LIHEAP program through Self Help, Inc., helps homeowners and renters who have limited resources and assets. The Self Help program usually opens for applications November 1st, and remains open through the heating season. Additionally, the Good Neighbor Energy Assistance Program through the Salvation Army assists those households that do not qualify for the LIHEAP funds due to a higher income, but have incomes that fall within their qualifying range. Applications for these programs are simple and confidential, and may be completed at the Mansfield Council on Aging. Verification of household income and assets is required. For more information about what programs you may qualify for, please schedule an appointment for after November 1st with Linda, Beverly or Lynette at the COA by calling 508-261-7368. return to menu

DAILY LUNCH AT THE COA
The Mansfield Council On Aging participates in the daily congregate senior nutrition program through Bristol Elder Services, Inc. Lunch is held daily at the Council On Aging at 11:30 AM, and meals are well balanced, nutritious and inexpensive. For a suggested and voluntary donation of $2, lunch guests receive a meal which includes an entrée, bread with butter, a dessert and beverages. Having lunch at the COA is also a great way to make new friends! Meals may be reserved by calling the COA by 10:00 AM of the previous business day. For additional information, please call Louise or Debi at 508-261-7368. return to menu