The Kent County Elder Abuse Coalition is warning seniors and caregivers about several scams this holiday season. More details on each scam below and, as always, contact your local law enforcement right away if you feel you have been the victim of these, or any, scams or fraudulent activity.
Door to Door Gift Basket Scam
Be careful when opening the door for those holiday packages. Some people are going door-to-door with gift baskets or calling ahead of time to warn of a special holiday delivery. The catch, they telling people they need to scan their credit card and/or driver’s license for either a “verification fee” or to prove they are over 21 (if there is alcohol in the basket).They pull out a hand held scanner and now they have all the information they need to make unauthorized charges or commit identity theft.
Never, of course, give your credit card or debit card information to someone at the door.
In addition to having packages stolen off your doorstep, people should also watch for fake delivery status emails that can also cause problems.
The Federal Trade Commission has warned about phone "delivery failure notification" emails that can make the rounds during the holiday season. The email might look like it’s from the U.S. Postal Service and say you missed a delivery. But the trouble is the message will include more links to click for details. And here's where you'd end up with a virus or malware on your computer if you'd click on a link or download the attachment.
Another version of the email includes package “tracking information.” On their website, Fed Ex warns that such fraudulent emails can contain the subject lines “Shipping Conformation,” “Verify Info,” “Some important information is missing” and “Please fulfill the documents attached to verify your identity.”
Again, that phony email may have an attached file that may contain a virus or other malware.
FexEx warns that if you receive a message matching these descriptions, do not open the email or click on the attachment. Delete the email immediately or forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Due to all of the Cyber Monday shopping and packages being delivered for Christmas, these emails may seem legitimate, but Fed Ex recommends people not click any links and instead copy the tracking number and go directly to the Fed Ex website and paste it in their “track package” section.
Consumers Energy Scam
Consumers Energy is warning customers to be cautious. They say this year alone, more than 1,000 energy scam attempts have led to $81,000 in losses. They say typically callers will contact a small business pretending to be from Consumers Energy and demand payment within an hour or two using a prepaid credit or debit card (the scam has been reported in 57 counties).
Seven Common Items in Consumers Energy Scams:
- A phone call demanding payment within a short time frame.
- Threaten service will be shut off if payment is not received.
- Insist on a specific form of payment (i.e.a pre-paid credit card).
- May seek personal or account information.
- May have an account number or what sounds like the proper bill amount.
- May "spoof" your phone, making it appear as if the call comes from Consumers Energy.
- May provide an 800 or 888 number to call that is not ours.
What You Should Know :
- Do not pay over the phone using a pre-paid credit card.
- Do not give personal information or money over the phone to anyone you do not know.
- If you receive a call and believe it may be a scam, call us immediately at 800-477-5050.
Did You Know?
- Consumers Energy employees and authorized contractors wear ID badges.
- We offer many ways to pay – by mail, in person or over a secure Internet site. Learn more at ConsumersEnergy.com/waystopay.
- We won't request personal information or insist on payment in less than 24 hours.
- We never demand payment using only a pre-paid credit card.
Michigan counties in our region with the most reports this year of phone scammers pretending to be from Consumers Energy:
- Kent: 124 calls, $7,061 paid
- Allegan: 33 calls, $1,750 paid
Source: Consumers Energy One Energy Plaza Jackson, MI 49201
For more information on senior scams and elder abuse, visit the Kent County Elder Abuse Coalition at www.protectkentseniors.org
What is the Michigan CARE Act
The Senate Health Policy Committee passed the Michigan CARE Act, which will help Michigan's 2 million caregivers. The bill now will go to the Senate floor.
Click here to read an article in the Lansing State Journal by Kari Sederburg, Executive Director of the Aging & Adult Services Agency at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for more information on the CARE Act and how it will benefit caregivers and those receiving care.
Paul Willis, AAAWM Financial Director, To Retire
AAAWM Financial Director Paul Willis will retire at the end of 2015 after 16 years with the agency.
"Paul has significantly improved our budgeting process and our finance department has grown stronger under his direction," says Tom Czerwinski, AAAWM Executive Director. "Paul will be greatly missed and we wish him the best in his retirement."
Dan Travis will assume the role of Financial Director on January 1, 2016. "Dan has worked as the Assistant Finance Director under Paul for six years and is well prepared to take over these new responsibilities," says Czerwinski.
"Due to Paul's dedication and hard work, the agency is in a strong financial position and I'm confident Dan will continue in this same capacity."
Office Closed for Thanksgiving
AAAWM will be closed Thursday, November 26 through Friday, November 27, 2015 for the Thanksgiving holiday. We will re-open on Monday, November 30, 2015. We hope you have a safe holiday and encourage you to thank a family caregiver this season for the dedication they have to helping seniors and individuals with disabilities in our community.
AAAWM Mourns Loss of Laurie Egeland, Longtime Employee
On November 7, 2015, Laurie Day Egeland RN, AAAWM RN Manager, passed away. Laurie had been at the agency for over 18 years where she worked quietly behind the scenes to help thousands of older adults and individuals with disabilities live in their own homes. Supervising a team of 24 Registered Nurses, Laurie helped to build the Care Management program into what it is today. Over the last year, Laurie spearheaded the effort for CARF accreditation (a prestigious international accreditation) and secured this distinction for the agency. Her efforts over the last 18 years have helped position the agency as a leader in home and community based programs in our community and in the state.
But more than that, Laurie was a cheerful presence who regularly had a smile on her face. She was passionate about people and stated that her favorite part of her job was the people she worked with. She had a kind heart and was a known dog lover around the office. As a supervisor, she always made her staff feel supported and cared for. As a co-worker, Laurie was known for both her dedication and her compassion for others. Laurie was married to her best friend Eric for 34 years and they enjoyed traveling, cooking and spending time with family and friends.
The family has encouraged people to consider making a donation in her memory to Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan or to the Humane Society of West Michigan. For more information on how to donate to AAAWM, click here.
For more information, including memorial service details, visit http://obits.mlive.com/obituaries/grandrapids/obituary.aspx?n=laurie-j-day-egeland&pid=176470139
AAAWM Accepting Hearing Services Proposals for 2016
AAAWM is accepting Proposals for Hearing Services for 2016 Kent County Senior Millage funds. There is $85,000 that is available for Hearing Services, specifically in three service categories (Adaptive Equipment, Hearing Aid Assistance, and Specialized Hearing Services.) Proposals are required for all new agencies, as well as for current millage funded agencies who wish to add a new service. The Proposal is due to AAAWM no later than 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 29, 2015. Click here to access the Proposal form or click here to access general infomration about the proposal..
There will be a Proposer Workshop to answer any questions about the Proposal on Tuesday, December 15, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. in the AAAWM conference room A at 3215 Eaglecrest Drive NE, Grand Rapids, MI. Questions can be submitted prior to the meeting to email@example.com. Questions will not be answered outside this meeting; however, answers to any submitted questions will be shared. Please do not ask AAAWM Contract Coordinators any direct questions, as they are unable to respond to individual inquiries.
The Proposals will be reviewed by the Kent County Millage Review Committee (KCMRC) and the proposing organization will be required to give a short presentation to the KCMRC on January 8, 2016. If funded, services are expected to start February 1, 2016.
AAAWM Office Closed November 11
In observance of Veterans Day, our office will be closed on Wednesday, November 11, 2015. We will resume normal business hours on Thursday, November 12, 2015
Annual Giving Tree Accepting Donations
Christmas may only be 65 days away, but donations for our Annual Giving Tree are due in just 43 days! Our Annual Giving Tree project provides our program participants with a special gift during the holiday season. Many of these older adults and individuals with disabilities have limited informal support from family and friends and are so grateful when they open up their gift. Monetary donations, Meijer, and Wal-Mart gifts cards ($20 or $25 amounts) must be mailed or delivered to our office (3215 Eaglecrest Drive NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525) by December 3rd. Thank you so much for thinking of our clients this holiday season!
Kent County Senior Millage Proposals Presentations
The Kent County Millage Review Committee (KCMRC) heard funding requests this week from all agencies requesting 2016 Kent County Senior Millage funding. Agencies presented Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and the committee will make their funding recommendations at the end of the week. These recommendations will then be presented to the Area Agency on Aging Executive Committee and the Kent County Board of Commissioners.
Office Closed for Labor Day
In observance of Labor Day, the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michgian office will be closed on Monday, September 7th. We will re-open on Tuesday, September 8.