Tuesday, 21 March 2023
Written by Staff Report, StatePoint
Scams and fraud are more deceiving these days, reaching you in more ways than ever before. The FTC reported 2.8 million fraud reports from consumers in 2021 alone, with reported fraud losses increasing 70% from 2020 and more than $5.8 million.
Identity theft protection expert Carrie Kerskie says being aware of what new cyber and phone fraud trends to look out for is your biggest defense against unwanted fraud.
“The more that we can get this information out there the better,” Kerskie recently told T-Mobile Stories, “Unfortunately when it comes to technology, privacy and identity theft, the same old advice that was given 10, 15 years ago is still the gospel of what you’re supposed to do. And that is outdated. None of it works. It’s not true, it’s not relevant anymore.”
Scammers have expanded from targeting consumers with only traditional email and phone calls. The most recent trending scams are occurring using person-to-person payment platforms or P2P, remote access software and even public Wi-Fi.
Kerskie says the most desirable accounts to criminals include bank accounts, mobile phone accounts, credit card accounts and Amazon accounts. Now, with P2P payment platforms, criminals can get access to your bank account and use it to transfer money within moments.
The latest tactic that concerns Kerskie is using remote access software to gain access to everything on your computer without having to directly ask you for things like your social security number, bank account or credit card number.
While many workers use remote access software safely from their companies’ IT departments, criminals are also using this software in their scams.
Criminals also try to access your information in settings like coffee shops or libraries using public Wi-Fi. A laptop or smartphone using public Wi-Fi can easily fall victim to scams. An easy fix is to use your smartphone’s wireless data and hotspot to help keep your personal information secure.
Kerskie says there are ways to keep scammers and fraud at bay.
Prioritize Privacy: Kerskie says, if it’s easy for you, it’s easy for a criminal. Privacy means having strong and unique passwords with a minimum of 12 characters, and for pins using random numbers and taking advantage of extra security. Enabling multi-factor authentication on your various apps and accounts will also protect yourself from potential threats.
Use Available Resources: Take advantage of the free anti-fraud safeguards offered by your mobile carrier. In the case of T-Mobile's Scam Shield, services include enhanced caller ID, scam ID and blocking, which flags suspicious calls and gives customers the option of blocking those numbers. Additionally, customers can get a free second number to keep their personal number personal, or even change their primary number completely.
Validate or Eliminate: Whatever potential threat you come across via email, text message, letter or even a phone call, try to validate the information. If you cannot confirm the information is true or confirm the senders’ validity, throw it away, block the phone number or email address and report it as spam or junk mail.
As potential cyber threats and fraud evolve, it’s important to understand how they work. Doing so will help you stay safeguarded and protected.
Tuesday, 21 March 2023
Written by Staff Report, StatePoint
An annual wellness exam with a health care provider is important for everyone, but especially for older adults. As we age, we are more likely to develop chronic health conditions, according to Dr. J.B. Sobel, chief medical officer for Cigna Medicare.
An annual wellness exam can help detect potential health issues early so they can be addressed before they worsen, he added.
“By meeting with your primary care provider early in the year, you can highlight the things that are important to you, and work together to develop a plan for your care for the year ahead,” Sobel said.
A number of annual check-ups are available at no extra cost to those with Medicare. They include a “Welcome to Medicare” visit for customers who have just reached Medicare eligibility and an “Annual Wellness Exam” for existing customers. Many Medicare Advantage plans offer more extensive annual visits at no extra cost.
Each annual exam may be a little different. Regardless of the type, Sobel offers the following tips to ensure you get the most from your visit.
Prepare. Before you go, write down anything you’d like to discuss with your health care provider, including changes to your health over the past year. Bring your prescription and over-the-counter medications with you. Ask plenty of questions and take notes. You might even want to take along a family member, trusted friend or caregiver to ensure you understand everything your provider has shared.
Be open and honest. It’s tempting to make things look rosier than they are when talking to your health care provider, but minimizing what you are feeling can lead to an incorrect diagnosis or prescription. Speak openly about unhealthy habits, like smoking or lack of exercise. Being honest is the only way your health care provider can help you reach your goals.
Mind mental health. Your emotional health impacts your physical health. Many people think depression is a natural part of aging, but it doesn’t have to be. Talk to your doctor if you are feeling sad, anxious or hopeless. Treatments, such as talk therapy, medication or both, may be covered by Medicare.
Monitor medications. Adults age 65 and older tend to take more medications than other age groups, increasing the risk for adverse reactions, such as cognitive impairment and falls. It’s a good idea to take your medications to your annual wellness exam and discuss any potential problems or side effects you’re experiencing. Don’t forget about over-the-counter drugs, vitamins or nutritional supplements you take.
Schedule screenings and get vaccines. There are a number of important health screenings and vaccines that you may need depending on your age and gender, such as colon cancer screening, bone density test, mammogram, flu shot or COVID-19 immunization. Ask your provider about the screenings and vaccines you’ve had already and schedule any you need as soon as possible. You may even be able to do that before you leave the office.
Also, don’t forget to visit your eye doctor and dentist. These visits are covered by many Medicare Advantage plans as well. Find out more at www.cignamedicare.com.
“You wouldn’t drive your vehicle without proper preventive maintenance, so please don’t ignore preventive maintenance for your most prized possession — your health,” Sobel said. “An annual wellness exam is a great place to start!”