A little bit of this-and that … here’s a “this”:
The bad guys are still at it and, sadly, we’re still going for it: specifically, scam phone calls involving our Social Security numbers.
In one version, the caller says your Social Security number has been linked to a crime (often, in Texas — I don’t know why) involving drugs or sending money out of the country illegally. Because of said nefarious activity, says the caller, your Social Security number has been blocked, so you’ll need to pay a fee to reactivate it or to get a new number — but of course, you’ll need to confirm your Social Security number in order for this to happen.
In other variations, it may be that your Social Security number has been used to apply for credit cards and you could lose your benefits; or that your bank account is about to be seized, so you’ll need to withdraw your money, and he’ll tell you how to keep it safe.
To add insult to injury, your caller ID might even show Social Security’s real phone number! But Social Security will never call you and ask for your Social Security number. They also won’t threaten your benefits or ask you to pay anything.
Never give your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you this way! Don’t confirm the last four digits, don’t give bank account or credit card info, and don’t agree to send money anywhere to anyone in any way. If you’re honestly concerned about something that’s been said to you, hang up and call Social Security yourself at 800-772-1213. You also can call any of the numbers at the end of this column and talk it over with a genuinely decent person, at no charge. Keep your money for yourself and take care of you.
Speaking of taking care of you, here’s a “that”:
You may or may not have ever heard of the Olympic Area Agency on Aging (O3A). It’s our local version of Area Agencies on Aging that exist all over the country. Their job is to plan for, administer and (in some cases) fund services and programs that help elders, people with disabilities and caregivers keep on keeping on, preferably in their own homes.
Every four years, O3A is required to develop an “area plan” that lays out its intentions for providing various forms of assistance. This is one of those years, and this is where you come in.
You can actually chime in here and speak your own piece about what you think the agency ought to be doing or paying attention to, or (I suppose) not doing. One way to do that would be to go to www.surveymonkey.com/r/NLL2L5L or www.o3a.org to complete a 23-question survey. It’s anonymous, and I finished it in about six minutes. (And yes, Survey Monkey is a real thing.)
Prefer to be on the phone? OK, call 360-379-5064 (or 866-720-4863) and ask to do the area plan survey, or ask them to mail you a paper copy.
Here’s what I can tell you: People will actually read it and people will actually think about it and people will actually do something about it, if they can. Give it a shot before the end of May and be part of the solution, OK?
Another “this”: I did a column awhile back on ways to avoid falls, because falls will put more of us in the ground (or, in a facility) than several major diseases combined. An alert reader sent along another tip.
She advocates for Mesh Shower Slippers, saying the sole is quite slip-proof while the mesh allows the feet to be washed in the shower — and, she says, they go for $7 to $9, which beats the heck out of paying for an ambulance.
One last “that”: I did another column recently on the whole honey-dearie-sweetie thing that makes many of us nuts. In response, I heard from a local gal who agreed that she thinks that, most of the time, the intentions of the honey-dearie-sweetie talkers are positive, but it still comes off as disrespectful and inappropriately “familiar.”
She concluded her email by relating a scenario in which a gentleman in a cowboy hat vaulted ahead of her to open a store door, saying, “There you go, Toots!”
Wow! I wouldn’t even call people I know Toots!
Mark Harvey is the director of information and assistance for the Olympic Area Agency on Aging. He can be reached by email at email@example.com; by phone at 360-532-0520 in Aberdeen, 360-942-2177 in Raymond, or 360-642-3634; or through Facebook at Olympic Area Agency on Aging-Information & Assistance.