Thursday, February 13, 2014
We had a bit of excitement today. DH got a call this morning from a lady who said she was from social security. He figured it was some scam but gave the phone to me. She went thru her spiel again and I said I wouldn't give her any info over the phone. Well, she said let's set up an appointment and I asked how soon. She said can you be in the local office by 10. I agreed and expected when we arrived there would not be anyone there by the name she gave us and this was just a way to get rid of us without giving up the scam since I wouldn't give her any information. Well, much to our surprise, it was legit!!!!
Someone has somehow gotten DH's social security number and they have set up an online account with the SSA. They set up a new e-mail address for him and changed his address to Miami. DH is computer illiterate and never touches this one so....nuff said! Well, the agent got the bogus account deleted and his address changed back to here after DH proved who he was and then she did the first steps of setting up a new account (was the only way we could set up a new one because of this fraud) and since DH was compromised she also set up one for me as a precaution. I had set up an account when I filed for my social security but it was before 2013 so they have since set up a new system so it was inactive. She gave me a bunch of steps to do to make sure our financial life isn't destroyed so that has taken up most of my day!!! She advised me to tell everyone we know to go online to www.socialsecurity.gov and set up their online account. These "crooks" are looking for people who haven't set up accounts when they get your SS#. If they get past setting up an online account they wait a short amount of time and then they start opening new accounts, file bogus tax returns, get your direct deposit of ss benefits rerouted to an account they set up, etc. She also suggested that when one answer the security questions to help stop the thieves to make sure it is info they aren't likely to know the answers to! If you want, please share this info with all your friends and family. The more people who protect their SS account the less chance of being compromised. This isn't just for retired folks, these crooks manage to do all kinds of things according to this lady. I am just thankful that social security has set up a program that is watching for irregular activity and that they contacted us. She told us this is a growing problem and they are trying to stay ahead of the crooks but it is quite a battle. She had several people she was contacting today!!!
Actually after we left there I realized we had gotten a letter from SS while we were on the cruise but I hadn't paid much attention to it! DUH-BIG MISTAKE. When I came home and re-read it, it thanked DH for setting up a new account. My first clue that something was wrong and it said to contact them if he hadn't done it. If I had actually read the letter, I would have already been aware of the problem. Won't make that mistake again!!! I guess I was overtired from the cruise when I sorted thru our mail quickly and it just didn't register and I hadn't gone back to go over it yet!
As soon as we left there, we went directly to the bank and talked to a personal rep. She flagged our accounts to let them know to be on the alert for any suspicious activity. She made notes of what had transpired so hopefully we covered that base.
Then when we got home, I got online and finished setting up our online accounts with SS that the agent had started for us. Now I think we are protected from this crook.
I had to file a report with the FTC about this as it is cyber crime. Once that was filed, I had to file with another agency that tracks cybercrime and they report it to the corresponding police and other agencies that might be interested. My last thing to do was pull a credit report. She suggested I j pull one now and check it and then wait a couple months and pull from one of the other agencies and be sure all is still ok. I also put a fraud alert on the account and that puts it on all 3 so hopefully no new accounts will be opened without alerting us. She also suggested waiting about 6 mo and pulling the final report as the fraud alert is only active for 90 days. So much to do to stop fraud! I had been thru a lot of this as I had my credit card stolen back in the 90's. Pretty sure it was the tenant in my house then but could never prove it. I worked for a year to get that mess straightened out. Back then it wasn't as easy as one could not do it on the internet-I spent most of my lunch hours on the phone and I still have that file-it is over a foot thick!!
So went my day-I have printed scads of forms and spent several hours on here but hopefully we have averted anything bad happening!!!!! I still need to contract the IRS to make sure no one filed a tax return for us.
PLEASE everyone take this seriously and set up your online account with social security. Tell all your friends and family to do this also and have them spread the word. The more people who do this the less chance of this scam being successful. Of course, I am sure they will figure out something else instead of doing an honest day of work but protect yourself, your friends and your family.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Hereís a verse to meditate on that reminds us: Godís in charge. Let our perfect plans go.
I love running in the cold. I love the feel of a bracing wind on my face and a leafless landscape where vistas lie far and wide.
I love looking at the wildlife in the park, the birds that havenít migrated, the skunk that survives on what mankind puts in trash bins. (One winter day I saw a skunk feasting on half a pizza.) The only thing I donít like are patches of ice on the trail. I slow my run and leap gingerly around them, hoping not to land on my backside.
I always take a few verses of a psalm with me in my hand to read and meditate on when I runómy cold, gloved hands. Recently Iíve been reading Psalm 148 and when I looked down at what Iíd copied, as I jogged around a patch of snow, I came to these apt verses, 17-18:
He gives snow like wool; he scatters hoarfrost like ashes. He scatters his hail like bread crumbs; who can stand against his cold?
So much of winter, at least in the snowy parts of the country, is a battle against the forces of nature. Shoveling snow, plowing it, sprinkling salt on ice, cancelling days of school, cancelling flightsóIíd just been stranded at the airport with a cancelled flight. My reaction is usually irritation if not outright anger. But these verses offered another attitude: one of awe. After all, who made the snow? Who gives us the frost? Where does the ice come from? Itís an essential part of life.
Soon enough the snow will melt. Most of it has alreadyóuntil we get another storm. But now Iíve got a new verse to meditate on, still part of Psalm 148. It reminds me: Godís in charge. Let my perfect plans go. Skip over that patch of ice, relish that cold breeze. Find something to do with that downtime at the airport. Maybe itís a godsend. Soon enough the weather will change. It will always change:
He sends forth his word and melts them; he blows with his wind, and the waters flow.
By Rick Hamlin
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Over the phone, his mother told him, "Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday." Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.
"Jack, did you hear me?"
"Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It's been so long since I thought of him. I'm sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago," Jack said.
"Well, he didn't forget you. Every time I saw him he'd ask how you were doing. He'd reminisce about the many days you spent over 'his side of the fence' as he put it," Mom told him.
"I loved that old house he lived in," Jack said.
"You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man's influence in your life," she said.
"He's the one who taught me carpentry," he said. "I wouldn't be in this business if it weren't for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important. Mom, I'll be there for the funeral," Jack said.
As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his hometown. Mr. Belser's funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.
The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time.
Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time. The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture, every piece of furniture. Jack stopped suddenly...
"What's wrong, Jack?" his Mom asked.
"The box is gone," he said
"What box?" Mom asked.
"There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he'd ever tell me was 'the thing I value most,' Jack said.
It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.
"Now I'll never know what was so valuable to him," Jack said. "I better get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom."
It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died. Returning home from work one day, Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. "Signature required on a package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next three days," the note read. Early the next day Jack retrieved the package. The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention. "Mr. Harold Belser" it read. Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope. Jack's hands shook as he read the note inside......
"Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett. It's the thing I valued most in my life." A small key was taped to the letter. His heart raced as tears filled his eyes. Jack carefully unlocked the box There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.
Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover. Inside he found these words engraved:
"Jack, Thanks for your time! -Harold Belser."
"The thing he valued most was.....my time."
Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days. "Why?" Janet, his assistant, asked.
"I need some time to spend with my son," he said.
"Oh, by the way, Janet, thanks for your time!"
Think about this. You may not realize it, but it's 100% true.
1. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.
2. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.
3. Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.
4. You mean the world to someone.
5. If not for you, someone may not be living.
6. You are special and unique.
7. When you think you have no chance of getting what you want, you probably won't get it, but if you trust God to do what's best, and wait for 'His time', sooner or later, you will get it or something better.
8. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good can still come from it.
9. When you think the world has turned its back on you, take a look: you most likely turned your back on the world.
10.. Someone that you don't even know exists loves you.
11. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks
12 .. Always tell someone how you feel about them; you will feel much better when they know, and you'll both be happy .
13. If you have a great friend, take the time to let them know that you think they are great.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME-YOU TOOK TIME OUT OF YOUR BUSY LIFE TO READ THIS BLOG AND IN SO DOING SHARED A BIT OF LIFE WITH ME.
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