Information for Seniors

Costly Scams that Target Seniors

According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), the following are the Top 3 scams against senior citizens in our country:

#1: Funeral and Cemetery Scams

There are two types of funeral and cemetery fraud affecting elderly people or families of those who are deceased:

  1. A scam artist will attend a funeral service and claim that the deceased had an outstanding debt with him/her. Then, that individual will take money from grieving families to repay a debt that never existed in the first place.
  2. Certain funeral homes will charge unnecessary fees to families of lost ones. Because most people are unfamiliar with “typical” funeral expenses, they pay them without questioning anything.

#2: Counterfeit Prescription Drugs

In most instances, the counterfeit prescription drug business is done over the internet. Elderly people are known to go online to find better deals on expensive prescriptions drugs to try to stay within a fixed income. They are then tricked into purchasing something that will not help their medical condition, or even something that contains harmful substances.

#3: Medicare/Health Insurance Fraud

A scam artist will pose as a Medicare representative and ask elderly people to give them their personal information to get them into a Medicare program that will work for them. Or, the fraudster may actually provide fake services for elderly people at a “makeshift” location, and then use their personal information fraudulently in the future.

While these three types of scams may seem easy to spot, remember that scam artists are professional con men or women and make a living at deceiving others. If you are over 60 years of age, or if you have family members who fall into this age group, be sure you are aware of these types of fraud and stay alert to them. In short, never provide your personal financial or other information to someone unless you know “for sure” the company or the representative is legitimate. If you have any questions, ask to call the company or entity the individual claims to represent. And, never feel pressured to pay for something if you don’t completely understand what is being sold to you.

If you have been a victim of fraud, and your account(s) at CharterBank has been compromised in some way, please call us as soon as possible at 800.763.4444

Sources:
1. https://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud/seniors
2. https://www.ncoa.org/economic-security/money-management/scams-security/top-10-scams-targeting-seniors/
3.http://www.americanbar.org/newsletter/publications/gp_solo_magazine_home/gp_solo_magazine_index/scamstagetelderly.html

Social Security Traps to Avoid

If you’re looking to collect Social Security benefits, it’s important to know how this government program works. The following are some traps you can avoid helping maximize this benefit, which you worked hard to earn:

Required Minimum Distribution, or RMD. RMD is the minimum amount you must withdraw from your tax-deferred retirement accounts (e.g. traditional IRAs and 401(k)s) each year after you reach the age of 70 1/2. These distributions are treated as ordinary income, and if you do not meet the required amount of distributions for a single year, you may have to pay a 50 percent excise tax on the amount not distributed. You can’t keep your Social Security indefinitely and RMDs cannot be avoided, so talk to your tax advisor as you prepare to retire to learn exactly where you’ll stand so you aren’t surprised.

Don’t assume all retirees are eligible for Social Security. It’s important to know that not every type of work will count towards earning Social Security benefits. Find out whether your employer takes part in Social Security, or if your position qualifies you to take advantage of this benefit. Before making any financial decisions, make sure you know and understand where your retirement benefits will be coming from.

Beware of taxes as they pertain to your Social Security benefits. If your earnings exceed a certain level, up to 85 percent of Social Security benefits may be taxable. Make special note of income sources that are normally tax-exempt, such as municipal bonds. They must be factored into your total income when calculating the tax on Social Security benefits. When converting a Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, you’ll end up paying income tax on the conversion, which will also determine whether or not your Social Security benefits are taxable.

Be sure to watch out for the lowering of benefits while working. There are limits to your Social Security benefits if you have a certain amount of separate income. You’re allowed to collect Social Security and earn from your employer simultsimultaneouslyif your income exceeds a certain number, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $2 you earn above the maximum amount. So, if you’re planning to work past the age of 62 and earn more than the “maximum amount of income” established by Social Security, you should consider putting off collecting your Social Security benefits until you plan on working less or not at all.

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