Q: Can you help me educate my widowed mother about protecting herself from identity theft? A: I’ll try. There are three steps you can take to protect yourself. Think of them as the three D’s: deter, detect and defend. You can deter identity thieves by protecting your vital information. Shred documents that contain personal information before disposing of them. Give out your Social Security number only when absolutely necessary. Don’t use obvious passwords such as your birth date, mother’s maiden name or last four digits of your Social Security number and keep personal information in a secure place at home. You can detect suspicious activity by being alert. Be aware of when bills should arrive each month and make inquiries if they don’t. Have you been denied credit for no apparent reason or been contacted about a purchase you did not make? Any of these occurrences require immediate attention. Inspect credit reports and financial statements regularly. Question discrepancies. If you suspect identity theft, defend against it. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports. Close any accounts that have been compromised and file a police report. Identity theft happens in many ways, such as Dumpster diving, skimming a credit card number, phishing on the Internet, diverting billing statements to another location and plain old-fashioned stealing. Protecting yourself isn’t hard. Just take a few simple steps and incorporate them into your everyday schedule. It will pay off, saving you time, money and grief in the long run. Q: With the current health problems, we keep hearing, “Wash your hands.” There is a difference between rinsing your hands and washing them. Could you address this issue? A: After doing a little research I offer the following. Ideal hand washing involves soap; clear, warm running water; and a paper towel. Wet your hands and apply soap, rubbing your hands together to make a lather. Scrub all parts of your hands, including between your fingers. Continue for about 20 seconds. Rinse your hands well under running water and dry using a paper towel or air. If soap and water are not available, you could use a hand sanitizer gel. Apply to palms and rub over all parts of your hands until they are dry. HAPPENINGS Thursday: “It’s Your Turn: Self-Care for the Caregiver” seminar. 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks. Senior Concerns President Andrea Gallagher will facilitate this seminar about this new Senior Concerns program. For reservations call 381-2744. Aug. 14: “Will You Pass Your Next Driving Test?” seminar. 1:30-3 p.m. at Moorpark Active Adult Center, 799 Moorpark Ave. in Moorpark. For information and reservations, call 517-6261. Aug. 14: “OMG! Someone Died,” Lawyers at the Library Speaker Series. Facilitated by Cheri Elson, certified specialist, estate planning, probate and trust law. 5:30-6:30 p.m.; Ventura County Law Library, 800 S. Victoria Avenue in Ventura. For information and reservations, call 642-8982. Aug. 18: “The Voice Behind Scarlet O’Hara,” History Comes Alive Series, facilitated by Martha Abbey Miller. 2 p.m.; Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks. $5 per person. Call 381-2744 for information. Medicare seminars — “Is Your Medicare Coverage Working for You?” and “Medicare Fraud Updates”: Friday: 10:15-11:15 a.m., South Oxnard Senior Center, 200 E. Bard Road in Oxnard. For information, call 477-7310. Aug. 15: 1-3 p.m., Camarillo Health Care District, 3639 Las Posas Road, Suite 117 in Camarillo. For information, call 388-1952. Betty Berry is a senior advocate for Senior Concerns. The advocates are at the Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362, or call 495-6250 or email email@example.com . Please include your telephone number. More …
Identify theft can cost you time, money
About the Author: Betty Berry
Betty Berry brings a deep understanding of senior issues to her position as Senior Advocate for Senior Concerns. She has advocated for seniors since 1993. Through the Health Insurance Counseling Advocacy Program, known as HICAP, she is registered with the State of California as an Insurance Counselor, a Long-Term Care Insurance Counselor and a Community Educator. She has served on the Area Agency on Aging’s Advisory Council as a member and Chair, has been a member of the Financial Abuse Strategic Team (FAST) and currently serves on the Conejo Senior Volunteer Program (CSVP) Advisory Board and authors the Senior Advocate column that appears in the Ventura County Star. Betty completed her undergraduate degree at California Lutheran University and earned her Juris Doctorate degree at Ventura College of Law.
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