Tip of the Week


June 30. 2020

Spring Crime Prevention Tips
Spring often means an increase in criminal activity. The following tips can help keep you and your home safe.

Roll up your car windows, take any valuables out of your car, and lock your doors every time you exit your vehicle, even if your vehicle is parked in your driveway.

Lock your home at all times. If you are working in the back yard, lock your front door and close and lock your garage door.

Lock the back door when you are in the front yard. Always lock your doors when you leave, even if you only plan to be gone for a few minutes.

Close and lock your home windows and sliding doors when you go to bed or leave the house.

Install motion-activated lights in your front and back yards so when someone approaches your home, the lights automatically come on, illuminating that person.

Store all ladders and other tools into a secure storage area after use. Ladders and other tools can be used by criminals to access your home. Always lock storage units or sheds on your property.

Be aware of home improvement scams. If you did not solicit a contractor or salesman who shows up at your door unannounced, do not do business with that person.

If a utility representative comes to your house, request identification. True representatives will carry identification and they will show it to you. Call their company for verification.

Be a watchful, attentive neighbor to spot criminals and alert police to their presence.

Get involved in your community to help keep your spring happy and safe.


June 1, 2020

KEEP CALM and Avoid Coronavirus Scams 
Here are 5 things you can do to avoid a Coronavirus scam:

  1. Ignore offers for vaccinations and home test kits. 
    Scammers are selling products to treat or prevent COVID-19 without proof that they work.
  2. Hang up on robocalls.
    Scammers use illegal sales call to get your money and your personal information.
  3. Watch out for phishing emails and text messages.
    Don’t click on links in emails or texts you didn’t expect.
  4. Research before you donate.
    Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. Get tips on donating wisely at ftc.gov/charity.
  5. Stay in the know.
    Go to ftc.gov/coronavirus/scams for the latest information on scams. Sign up to get FTC’s alerts at ftc.gov/subscribe.

If you see a scam, report it to ftc.gov/complaint
Federal Trade Commission


MAY 15, 2020

Did a nursing home or assisted living facility take your stimulus check? 

Do you or a loved one live in a nursing home or assisted living facility? Are you (or they) on Medicaid? If you said “yes” to both, please read on and prepare to get mad. We’ve been hearing that some facilities are trying to take the stimulus payments intended for their residents on Medicaid. Then they’re requiring those people to sign over those funds to the facility. Why? Well, they’re claiming that, because the person is on Medicaid, the facility gets to keep the stimulus payment.

But here’s the deal: those economic impact payments are, according to the CARES Act, a tax credit. And tax law says that tax credits don’t count as “resources” for federal benefits programs, like Medicaid. So: when Congress calls these payments “tax credits” in the CARES Act, that means the government can’t seize them. Which means nursing homes and assisted living facilities can’t take that money from their residents just because they’re on Medicaid. And, if they took it already, get in touch with your state attorney general and ask them to help you get it back.

This is not just a horror story making the rounds. These are actual reports that our friends in the Iowa Attorney General’s Office have been getting – and handling. Other states have seen the same.

If you’ve experienced this already, tell your state attorney general’s office first, and then tell the FTC: ftc.gov/complaint. If a loved one lives in a nursing facility and you’re not sure what happened to their payment, talk with them soon. And consider having a chat with the facility’s management to make sure they know which side of the law to be on.

Need more back-up? Then let me get legal on you for a minute. You can go right here to get the federal tax law that says refunds aren’t considered a “resource” in federal benefits programs. And you can click this link to get the Congressional Summary that talks about the funds as tax credits not countable as resources for federal government programs. (It’s on page 3.) And here’s even more helpful information from the National Center on Law & Elder Rights for people who live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Again, though: if this has happened to you or a loved one, find your state attorney general’s office contact information at naag.org and talk with them right away.

Lois Greisman Elder Justice Coordinator, FTC


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