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                        LEGAL LINKS and TIPS

       "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

  ~Martin Luther King Jr.        


National Senior Citizens Law Center Elderlaw Answers
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys Free Commonly Used Letters and Forms
Social Security Changes for 2005 Prevent Elder Abuse
More on Laws and Regulations  
U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging  
Social Security Act  
Senate Bills of Interest to Senior Citizens  
Older Americans Act of 1965, Amended  
Medicare Modernization Act of 2003  
Opinions, that Affect Pension Plans  
ADEA  Act of 1967  
A Must-Do Project for Every Senior  



Financial safety tips
1.1. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put "PHOTO ID REQUIRED".
2. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the "For" line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won't have access to it.
3. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks. (DUH!) You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have it printed, anyone can get it.
4. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when I travel either here or abroad. We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards.

Unfortunately, I, (the author, A LAWYER) have firsthand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieve(s) ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online, and more. But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:

 5. We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.
 6. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).

 But here's what is perhaps most important of all: (I never even thought to do this.)
7. Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and also call the Social Security fraud line number I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the Internet in my name. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

 By the time I was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves' purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away this weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them dead in their tracks.
8. Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact about your wallet, etc., has been stolen:

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285

 Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742

Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289

Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271
9. Insurance adjusters report that homeowners have great difficulty remembering their possessions in the event of a fire, flood, tornado etc. How many dresses, pairs of shoes, books, pictures do you have? How about those collectables? Take pictures of every room and closet from different angles. If you have paper pictures, put them in a bank safe deposit box. If your pictures are digital, either burn them to a disk, or send them to a couple of your children or friends to store on THEIR computer. Your computer may be destroyed. This could mean thousands of $$ to you. Think about what else should be in that safe deposit box, like wills, insurance policies, deeds, surveys, tax returns, divorce papers and on and on.
10. BUY A SAFE -- NOW!!!
 This is not so much for valuables, as for important papers. Get a fireproof safe (or safe box); they are very reasonable in price. My late husband bought us 2: one for papers and one for valuables (he collected watches and coins). In the event of a fire, a fireproof safe or box can be invaluable.
 Give a trusted child or friend the combination, along with your spouse. (Be sure it's someone you can fully trust. My dad and I have exchanged ours.) Put all your insurance policies, copies of your license/car registration, etc., in it. Anything you think is important, probably is, so put it in there. Better to have too much info than not enough!      Rivahcat - Virginia
11. If you have been scammed for your money, PLEASE tell someone! Don't feel ashamed. We all are gullible. If someone has taken you for your cash (be it an evangelist or a Nigerian prince), TELL SOMEONE. We need to STOP these people!!     Rivahcat - Virginia
12. A MUST-DO PROJECT FOR EVERY SENIOR This is a project every homeowner and renter should do at least once a year, so why not do it  NOW. After all, you may be in a cold climate where you can't even watch the grass grow.

Where can I find -- a great home -- in a great town --  for less than $50,000?

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