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Scam Protection

Scams and Identity Theft are on the rise and guess who they often target??  US!!!!!! Can I be Queen for a day and hurt some of these people??? If you missed the last blog, I listed some potential scams to be aware of. https://notyourmamassenior.com/beware-seniors-scams

So, once again, this maybe redundant to some of you yet enlightening to others.  Pick and choose what helps you. 

Safeguard Online

     – Passwords are the first line of defense.  Obviously do NOT use “password” for your real password.  Don’t laugh.  I know people that do.  Ideally, they should be long with a mix of UPPER/lower case, Numbers and Symbols.  So, how do you remember them?  I know I can forget where I parked my car within 30 minutes of entering a store.  Use a phrase such as:  “ILove2WalkmyDog!!”  To be honest though, I have a notebook that I use for my passwords. Just don’t leave it out for roaming eyes.

     – Unknown Email messages will frequently go to a spam file automatically where you can look review them as sometimes it’s a mistake.  If you see a message from someone you don’t recognize, hover your cursor over the from address.  If it’s a bunch of letters, it’s spam – DELETE immediately.

     – Links or Attachments should NOT be opened in and email or text message if you were not expecting them.

     – Generic Greetings such as “Dear Customer”, misspellings or poor grammar are also signs of scams

     – Protection is always recommended.  Check out this link from PC Magazine:  https://www.pcmag.com/picks/the-best-security-suites    I see Norton has teamed with Lifelock which would give you computer AND ID Theft Protection which is another option.   Here’s the link to that information:   https://www.nortonsecurityonline.com/ 

Safeguard Offline

     – Unsecure Data found in cars, laptops, and bills.  Remove all papers from your car or glove compartment before you leave it at a garage or even in your driveway.  We’ve had a few issues where kids have gotten into our cars in the neighborhood.  Lock your car, shred your bills, blacken out your name/address on junk mail.   Shredders are fairly cheap these days. 

        Do not keep your Social Security card or Passport in your purse.  

    –  Protection from Identity Theft is a good idea.  Check out this link for options: https://www.identityprotectionreview.com/

If you think you’ve been a Victim

Check your bank account or credit card transactions

Report discrepancies to your bank or credit card company

Freeze you credit card.  I’ve done this when I thought I lost my card.  It’s easy to do/undo.

Contact one of the 3 credit bureaushttps://www.equifax.com/, https://www.experian.com/  or https://www.transunion.com/.  Fraud alerts are free and you only need to contact ONE of these – the bureau you choose will contact the other two.

I hope this helps someone. 

Comments/Thoughts welcomed and encouraged. 

~Debbi

Not Your Mama’s Senior

BEWARE Seniors: SCAMS

If there is anything that makes me mad, it’s people that try to take advantage of others simply because they feel like they CAN.  As seniors, we are most at risk. Senior Scams are the worst!

Back when we were growing up, we played outside and even created our own games.  As long as we were back before dark (or dinner) all was good.  Today, so many kids are addicted to the TV and if not that, then their laptops/IPads or other computer device.  In the majority of families, both parents work so the devices are babysitters of sorts.  The schools are getting kids started on computers earlier and earlier.  Schools expect them to know in Kindergarden the things we learned in 1st grade.  There’s pros and cons to that.

It blows my mind how much technical knowledge many kids have at a young age.  Scamming is not only easy money but it’s lucrative if they find the right people – elderly, retired people who aren’t as tech savy and supposedly have money to burn.  That’s not me but I can see how they might think that. 

Scammers capitalize on current events.  The timing now is RIPE.  We’re dealing with COVID-19, Census, Tax Season and the Election!!!! 

With COVID-19, a whole new set of scams has erupted.  Some of these you might have seen but just in case, these are the ones I’ve heard about.  BEWARE!!!!!!

COVID-19 Scams

COVID-19 Text  You receive a text message like this 

SCAM Text

You’re already in a state of fear and you want to know who it is and what you need to do – but DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINK!!!!  It is not a legitimate text, it’s a gateway into your information.  Police say it’s a phishing scam to get your personal information.

COVID-19 Test  You get a call, email or someone coming to your door offering DNA swab tests for the virus.  In order to get this though, you need to provide your Medicare numbers.  DO NOT give your Medicare number to anyone except a medical provider that you know and trust. 

COVID-19 Vaccine  You get an email or call offering a COVID-19 vaccine.  You are already living in fear and are anxious to finally get out so this may be your saving grace.  They might ask for your credit card information or even your Medicare card number.  As of yet, there IS no vaccine.  Keep checking legitimate government agencies for updates (websites that end in .gov)

COVID-19 Donations Requests for donations are common during a crisis, HOWEVER, check to make sure that the business is legitimate or they are not posing as a non profit that you’re familiar with.  Go to their website and donate. 

If COVID-19 isn’t bad enough, this is the year for the Census.  You should have received a survey in the mail that you could respond to.  If you have NOT responded to that, a census taker MAY come to your door.

Then there’s the Census

Census Survey  An impostor comes to your door or you get a call.  They might ask for your Social Security Number.  NEVER give that number to even a REAL census taker.  (As a side note, I don’t even give mine to the doctor’s office).   A legitimate census taker  will also immediately identify themselves with a GOVERNMENT ID.  They will ask you questions about people in your household NOT any of  your personal numbers/accounts.  When I first moved in, someone did come to my door.  They are very professional.   If you have any questions or concerns, visit https://2020census.gov/en/avoiding-fraud.html

Some of the other common scams: 

AETNA Insurance A friend just posted that if you have AETNA Insurance, you get a call asking you to call a given 800 number and enter the code that person gives you.  Then provide the additonal information that the “insurance company” needs “to better serve you”.   DO NOT fall for it!

Amazon/Companies If you’re like me, you order a lot from Amazon.  This one is a common one that has happened to people I know.  You might get an email that looks like it’s from Amazon.  It has a link for you to click on to “confirm your credit card number”  DO NOT CLICK on the link.  There is a very high risk that it will place malware on your computer. 

Actually, if you get an email from ANYONE requesting something as confidential as your credit card number and asking you to click a link, do not do it!  Go to the company site directly.  Some of these people are VERY good at graphics that look just like a legitimate company logo.

Jail/Overseas/Spoofing You get a call from someone that says he’s your grandson or she’s your grandaughter and they’re in jail or have an emergecy.  Of course, you’re in a panic.  They ask you to send them money.  This is what my mother did and I thought it was brilliant.  She asked how (made up name) was.  When they responded like they knew the made up person, she hung up.  Now granted, some of those calls are LEGIT but you need to check it out before sending anyone funds.  BEWARE: sometimes they will use a fake number that uses the same area code as you use so that you believe that it’s local. 

Wal Mart I noticed the other day that Wal Mart now has a sign in their customer service area warning people of scams where victims are solicited for gift cards, wire transfers, money orders or cashiers checks, VENMO, PayPal, etc to pay for fines, taxes, lottery winnings or whatever they can convince you of.  The form of payment is a RED FLAG itself.  Remember, you will get a letter from the IRS or court if you owe them money NOT a threatening phone call. 

As I said, you may have heard of some of these but I wanted to cover all I knew about. Better safe than sorry.  I despise scammers. 

Have you been scammed?  If so, how?  Is there something that you know about that wasn’t covered and can help the rest of us?

In my next blog, I post ways I know to PROTECT against scams. https://notyourmamassenior.com/scam-protection

Let’s help each other!! Comments/Thoughts are welcome and encouraged.

~Debbi

Not Your Mama’s Senior

Survive Social Distancing

Have you heard of the terms introvert and extrovert?  They are terms used in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.  This is based on C.G. Jung’s ideas about how different ways of perceiving and judging, in combination with different attitudes, describe different types of people. 

Two of the indicators are Introversion and Extroversion.  They merely indicate how you interact with the world and renew.

Introverts – focus on the inner world.  They can work with people but often need moments alone to renew their energy.

Extroverts – focus more on the outer world and gain energy by interacting with other people.

There is nothing right or wrong with either.  When I worked for the government, I administered this test to all employees.  It helped create a better work environment by helping coworkers understand each other better. 

As it turns out, studies show that the majority of people are extraverts.  Perhaps it’s because this style is encouraged by a society that values one’s ability to be sociable. 

So, in these trying times, it’s difficult for many extroverts who are asked to stay home and not be closer than 6 ft from another person or not to engage with more than 10 people.

However, these things are necessary to help prevent the spread of this Corona virus.  We, as seniors, are more vulnerable so we have to be really careful especially if we have:

  • -compromised immune systems
  • -chronic lung disease or asthma
  • -serious heart conditions
  • -other underlying medical conditions like diabetes or liver damage
  • I know they listed pregnancy as well, but I can only hope that no one our age is pregnant.  lol

My brother, who is older than me, is just one of those folks that’s really having a hard time not being able to interact with people on a regular basis.  This is causing him to be depressed.  So, I thought I’d share some of the things with you that I suggested to him. You can:    

Read.  That could be a physical book or one on your Kindle.  It could be a magazine or even something on the internet.  I’ll have another blog with some book suggestions. 

Learn a new skill.  It could be a new language, how to knit/crochet or even scrapbooking (https://scrapbookingforanyone.com/).  Maybe you’ve always wanted to paint or learn photography.  Start a garden.  You Tube is great and there’s a video showing you how to do anything you can think of.  The magic of technology!!!

Take Virtual Tours.  Again, technology rules.  This will eat up HOURS in day especially if you follow all the little side trails like I end up doing.  Here’s some links to start:

DC Capital:  https://scholasticatravel.com/2014/02/24/washington-dc-virtual-tour/

Smithsonian:https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/how-virtually-explore-smithsonian-your-living-room-180974436/

The World: https://www.techradar.com/best/virtual-tours-museums-national-parks-around-the-world

-Now that you’re back home from your tours, clean out the clutter that you’ve been meaning to do forever.  I bought this book by Marie Kondo

Her idea is to hold something in your hand and if doesn’t bring you joy, toss it.  I have to admit, I didn’t find joy in that book so I tossed IT!!!  Sorry, Marie.  You may find it helpful though.  Most likely there are things in your house that can be cleared out. Even I was able to do that.  Look under your bathroom sink.  That’s where I found most of my toss stuff.  So, keep it, gift it, recyle it or toss it!!!

Do a puzzle.  This can be a jigsaw puzzle, a crossword puzzle, sudokoo or any number of puzzles out now.  Anything that keeps your mind sharp. 

Play a game.  Ok, I know the whole purpose of hibernation is to stay away from people but there are plenty of online games that you can play alone or compete with others online.  My 92 year old mother in law plays on a site called Club Pogo https://earlyaccess.pogo.com/club-pogo  all the time.  There’s a fee but there are TONS of games.  It keeps your brain sharp – scam prevention brain I call it.  One of my favorites (and it’s an oldie) is Bejewled.  I love hearing those jewels explode.  Is that warped?????  LOL

Go for a walk.  The sun and the vitamin D it produces is good for your immune system. Exercise is good for the joints as well.  We have to keep moving if at all possible.  Just remember to stay away from others.

Start a journal.  Sometimes when you’re depressed, it’s helpful to write your thoughts in a journal. Just acknowledging how you feel sometimes helps.  I’ve had one for years and it’s fun to look back periodically to see how far I’ve come.

-Last but not least and one of my personal favorites that takes up most of my time is Wealthy Affiliate.  I joined in 2011 and will never leave.  I did a blog about working from home. I love writing blogs although I do get sidetracked when life calls but hey—I’m retired.  When I first joined, I had NO clue how to create a website but the training is fantastic and so is the helpful, diverse, fun community.  There are surprisingly MANY people our age that are now doing blogs.  Check it out

Above all, stay home, wash your hands a LOT, be safe and do NOT panic. While there IS a real danger, the media sometimes simply likes to keep us in a frenzy. It’s what makes money. Good news doesn’t. Sad.

I hope this helps. We’re all in this together but we’re not all alike. Don’t let this get you down. This too shall pass!!!!!!

Comments Please.

~Debbi

Life Reboot 2019

At the beginning of every year (I am kind of OCD and need a new year, new month, new week to start something), I evaluate the previous year to determine where I have grown and what I would like to work on for the coming year. 

The BEST
Let’s DO THIS!!!

Some people have words that they choose for the year.  I tried that one year.  My word was PATIENCE.  Whew, I will never do THAT again.  I was tested from the moment I made that decision.  My patience muscle was exercised to the max!!  I tried breathing IN with the good, OUT with the bad but it kind of turned into hyperventilating.  I gave up.  lol 

The  4 “F”s (or areas of life) to look at when creating goals.  They are:

          Faith – Start the day with devotions, perhaps keep a gratitude journal, find a small group of like minded people that you can be open with and grow spiritually.  Even if you are not a group person (like me), it helps. When trouble comes (and it will), know that there is a higher power at work; trust in that; tap into that power.  Never give up hope or let your joy be stolen.

          Family – Plan time with spouse and (grand)kids.   They remember memories that you make even if you do not have a lot of money to spend.  Time is more important that elaborate events or even money.  Plan a night with your spouse or kids.  Go outdoor (sports, hiking on trails, building a snowman, etc) or inside (board games, restaurant).  The most important part is reconnecting and making memories.  Take time to sincerely talk to one another and I do not mean through texts. 

          Finances – Get out of debt, go on a spending hiatus.  Think carefully about each purchase.  Do you NEED it or WANT it.  If you are able to buy anything you want without going into debt, kudos to you.  Go for it but most of us need a budget.  Perhaps you are planning for retirement or even a trip.  It was on the radio this morning that many people would rather sit in traffic than sit down to evaluate where they are in their finances.  You have to know where you are NOW so you can determine what it will take to get you to where you want to be.   

          Fitness – Do NOT be a couch potato.  Some of us have limitations but our bodies were made to move.  It keeps the joints lubricated.  Some insurance plans cover Silver Sneakers where they will pay for your gym membership.  Check it out! I am loving it!  Swimming is great for sore joints.  Remember eating is part of this plan as well.  I am a junk food person so this is tough for me.  I HATE to cook so I tell everyone if you are what you eat then I must be cheap, easy and fast.  I basically have a kitchen because it came with the house.  I made a plan for this though. 

You may rank the list differently and it is ok.  The objective is to make you the best you can be mind, body and spirit because we are made up of all three parts.  Do any of the above need a reboot?  It is never too late to start but the beginning of a new year always helps with my mindset – starting fresh.  Now that you have determined the area, make SMART goals. 

I did not always do this. In the past, my goals were vague.  “I want to lose weight”   This year, I drew a line in the sand and said 2019 WILL be MY year!  I set SMART GOALS – not resolutions.

What is the difference?  I looked it up.  A resolution is a firm decision to do/not to do something (often unachievable) whereas a goal is the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.  I understand there is a fine line here but, admit it, resolutions get broken quickly.  To me, it sounds like going cold turkey.  In my mind:  resolution:  I will not eat bad food vs. goal:  I can have a cheat day once a week (but only 1).  I can plan, stay motivated and still reach my goal.

Back to SMART GOALS.  It is not a new concept.  I have heard it many times and used it in work but not in life. So, what are SMART goals? 

S=Specific, M=Measurable, A=Achievable, R=Relevant and T=Time-Sensitive  For example: 

  • (S) Instead of saying I want to lose weight (I wish I was the weight I was 20 years ago and thought I was fat), I wrote “I wanted to lose 21 lbs.” 
  • (M) This is certainly measurable (ask my scale – at least it is not one of those talking ones).  I figured out how much I wanted to lose per month and the steps I would take to do it such as go to the gym and eat healthier.
  • (A)  Certainly achievable and realistic.  I mean not even GOD can make me taller now so no matter how much I do, I will still be short – no sense in making THAT goal!
  • (R)  It has to fit with an overall objective that you have for your life.  Yep, it is something that will benefit me overall.  I will feel better, help prevent diabetes (runs in family), help my asthma, have more energy and have less stress on my joints.  …and yeah, I will fit into those jeans!!!  Total win!
  • (T)  You need a finish line.  My time limit is June. 
VICTORY!

What areas do you want to work on?  Do you have a plan? Have you heard that a GOAL without a PLAN is simply a WISH? I am calling 2019 to be the BEST YEAR EVER!  With all the stuff that is going on in our world these days, we HAVE to remain positive.  I believe that staying positive is half the battle.

Comments/Thoughts are Welcome. I would love to hear from you.

~Debbi

Forest Bathing For Health

What???  Getting naked in the woods?  Ummmm, no!   For many seniors, that would be frightening in of itself…..although………..I’ve seen some really good lookin’ senior men….but I digress.  Oh, and no bathtubs required either.  So, don’t stop reading.

Do you ever get stressed?  I know, you’re retired, what’s there to stress about right?  I have a list if anyone needs ideas.  However, I’m sure most of us, at times, still have something that we stress about.  If not, you’re either dead (go ahead check your vitals) or not really of this world.

So what am I talking about here?  I’m talking about spending time in nature.  It can be as simple as a walk in a tree lined park or preferably walking in the woods.  It costs nothing to do and the benefits are countless.   In Japan, it is actually a form of medicine.

In 1982 Japan introduced a program called Shinrin-Yoku which means spending time around trees.  This is a brief You Tube video.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUfbMIGcxkM

that explains Shinrin-Yoku.  Don’t fall asleep watching the video.  It’s very calming.  There is even a coalition you can join to promote this practice if you’re interested.

This doesn’t mean that you’re walking or hiking through the woods with your head set on.  Not only is that dangerous these days with all the weirdos out there, it’s not the point of this whole process.  Instead, be in the moment.  Pay attention to how your body responds to the environment.  Listen to the birds and observe everything around you.  The environment doesn’t judge you.  It doesn’t care how much money you earn, what you look like (thankfully), what your gender or race is.  You can just LET GO and feel the freedom to just BE!

Forest Bathing

Me Forest Bathing

We are bombarded by technology today between the TV, cell phones, IPads, computers, fitbits and everything else.  Many people don’t even read real books.  They use a Kindle.  I understand there are benefits to that but where does it end?

Many times people don’t even talk to each other directly.  How many times have you emailed someone instead of visiting?  I admit I’m guilty of this.  I’ve seen people text each other from within the same house though!  How bad is that???  I have another article I’ll share about the “blue screen”

Sometimes we need to step AWAY from all this and get back in nature to relax and unwind.  You don’t need a lot of time to reap t benefits.  Start with 5 minutes if you have to.  It’s not wasted time.  It’s an investment in your well being which will only improve your day.

So, what ARE some of the benefits?  This is a compilation of several articles that I’ve read and just some of the top benefits.

  1. Reduce stress
  2. Increase Vit D (which most of us have a deficit of)
  3. Improve mood by decreasing depression and anxiety
  4. Immune boosting (via compounds released by many evergreen trees)
  5. Reduced blood pressure
  6. Improve sleep
  7. Increase energy

I don’t know about you, but I think the Japanese have it right.  Instead of reaching for a pill, this looks like good medicine.  I can tell you from experience that I DO feel better when I get out into the woods for a short walk.  I usually do about 3 miles but you don’t even have to do that.  I sleep SO much better too.  It just gives my brain a rest and allows my body to absorb some of the earth’s energy.  I love that it’s free too.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.  I’d love to hear from you.

Comments Please

~Debbi

Founder of Not Your Mamas Senior

Seniors Texting Code

Who says us baby boomers do not like technology? In our lifetime, technology has made huge strides and we have come to depend on it. Many of us have smart phones. I hate being tied to a land line. A cell phone allows us to go about our daily routine yet not miss a call (even from those telemarketers). We are able to connect with our families and friends effortlessly. For talented folks, we can power walk, talk and perhaps even chew gum at the same time.

Cell phones have made us feel more secure about walking, biking or doing whatever we enjoy. If we feel threatened, fall or just simply feel like we need assistance, we can get help with a push of a button.

We talk, we take (and send) pictures, we use Google maps to figure out where we are (I have NO sense of direction) AND we text. Text messages are typically short. Thank God for that because I have fat fingers and it takes me forever to text anything. I’m not sure how young people do it. Yet, have you heard many of them speak? I have seen them text each other from across a table!  Frightful!

Always texting

In any case, people often use abbreviations such as:

AFK – Away From Keyboard
BRB – Be Right Back
IMO – In My Opinion
LOL – Laughing Out Loud.
NOYB – None Of Your Business
TIA – Thank You In Advance
TMI – Too Much Information
WTH – What The Hell (or Heck if you do not swear)

However, us seniors have our own language. Kind of like a secret code that many young people cannot understand.  Such as:

ATD- At the Doctors
BFF – Best Friend Fell (or Funeral in some cases)
BTW- Bring the Wheelchair
BYOT – Bring Your Own Teeth
CBM- Covered by Medicare
CGU – Can’t Get Up
CRS – Can’t Remember Stuff (or S***)
CUATSC- See You at the Senior Center
DWI- Driving While Incontinent
FWIW – Forgot Where I Was
FYI – Found Your Insulin (and you thought it was For Your Information)
GGLKI – Gotta Go, Laxative Kicking In (not sure why you would share this)
GGPBL- Gotta Go, Pacemaker Battery Low
GHA – Got Heartburn Again
HGBM – Had Good Bowel Movement (TMI if you ask me……)
LMDO- Laughing My Dentures Out
LOL- Living on Lipitor
LWO – Lawrence Welk’s On
OMSG – Oh My! Sorry, Gas
ROFL ACGU – Roll On Floor Laughing And Can’t Get Up
TTYL – Talk To You Louder (senior version of Talk To You Later)
TMV – Took My Viagra
TOT- Texting On Toilet (again, TMI…)
WAITT – Who Am I Talking To?
WMD – Where’s My Depends?
WTFA – Wet The Furniture Again
WTP – Where’s The Prunes?
WWNO – Walker Wheels Need Oil

Really?

Texting has really become an issue. Kids think nothing of texting while they are driving and WE (the responsible seniors) need to watch out for them. Really?  You can not wait to tell what you did previous night (or whatever).  I have seen it over and over as I pass a young person on the road because they are driving erratically. This has contributed to many accidents. Having said this, most of us do NOT text and drive. For me, I am either focused on my GPS, trying to remember where I was going next or watching for inattentive drivers.

So, get out there, enjoy life, take those pictures and keep the list of texting codes close so you don’t have to type all those letters!

Comments please.

~Debbi

Founder of Not Your Mama’s Senior (NYMS) LOL