Thursday, October 26, 2017

Avoid being scammed during Medicare Open Enrollment Season



Open enrollment for Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans for 2018 run from November 1st to December 15, 2017. The open enrollment period is an opportunity to review your current health needs and make adjustments based on your current health care needs. It is also an opportunity for scam artists to try and take advantage of you.

To avoid being scammed, be on the lookout for these common scams:

  1. Switch your plan. An insurance agents tells you that open enrollment isn't just a chance to change your Medicare plans, it is a must. If you fail to change your plan you could lose your current coverage. Note: You are not required to change plans during open enrollment.
  2. Changing cards.  Someone tells you your Medicare card is changing. If you update your information a new card will be sent to you. The scammers gather your credit card and SSN to “issue” you a new Medicare card.
  3. Special pricing. High-pressure, immediate action, and low price pitches for Medicare policies are often just ploys to gather your personal information.
  4. Health fairs. Health fairs give scammers the opportunity for fraud. Scammers will staff a table during a health fair or event. At their table they advertize a free gift or prize if you sign up with your name and Medicare number.
  5. Fake organizations. Be careful of calls from people saying they're from your doctor's office, or state or local health agencies. Scammers often provide a phony, official-sounding name to sound more credible.

To avoid these Medicare scams BBB suggests you:

  1. Protect your Medicare number. Your Medicare number is often your Social Security Number. Just like you would protect your bank and credit card information, you want to keep your Medicare information private unless you are certain you are providing that information to someone who is part of your health care team.
  2. Be cautious of medical suppliers who contact you out of the blue. Medicare will never call or email you with product offers. Also, if an insurance agent calls or visits your home to sell a Medicare product, they are acting illegally.
  3. Know your Medicare coverage's
  4. .  Offers for free medications or medical equipment are most likely scams.
  5. Review your monthly Medicare statements. Check your statements for any suspicious activity.
  6. Know where to shop. To shop for or enroll in legitimate Medicare Advantage or Part D prescription drug plans, go to: http://www.medicare.gov or call 800-MEDICARE.

Monday, October 16, 2017

To shred or not to shred? That is the question.




Are you tired of clutter? It can seem overwhelming to tackle the mess, especially when it comes to our sensitive information or important documents we have collected over the years.  By knowing what to keep and what to shred you can help save space and reduce your risk. The list below offers you a guide of where you can start.  


Shred Now
  • Credit Card applications
  • Expired identification cards, employee badges, bank cards, passports
  • Copies of documents with confidential information no longer used
Shred Yearly
  • Unused Stenographers’ Notebook
  • Pay Stubs
  • Monthly statements (As long as they come with a year end statement - Don’t shred year end statements)
Shred 7 or Ten Years
  • Year end bank statements not needed for tax purposes
  • Sales Records
  • Scrap & Salvage Records
  • Canceled Stocks & Bonds Certificates
  • Subsidiary Ledgers
  • Withholding Tax Statements
Never Shred
  • Marriage, divorce, or birth certificates, etc.
  • Insurance policies & medical records
  • Retirement and pension records
  • Mortgages, Deeds, Leases, rental contract still in effect
  • Will
  • Legal & Important Correspondences
  • Diplomas and Degrees/transcripts  
  • Trademark Registrations & Copyrights
  • Medical records and other important information
  • Any active documentation should not be shredded until they have expired, such as pet records, employee benefits, credit reports, loan contracts, maintenance records, etc.
  • Not sure - Don’t shred it!


Click here to find a more complete list of how long you should keep your documents.


BBB offers these tips when deciding what to shred:


  • Whether it is for your home or business create a well defined plan on what you should keep and what you should get rid off.


  • Your home and office are not the only things that can become cluttered. Create a plan to clean up any digital clutter that may be piling up. Storing digital data can be costly. Get rid of any documents you no longer use or need.


  • Keep up-to-date on what needs to be shredded and when. Visit irs.gov  to see is there is any changes in how long you should retain certain records.


Do you  have documents that need shredding? Join Better Business Bureau Serving Greater Cleveland on October 21, 2017 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm (or until truck is full) at RadAir Complete Car Care and Tire Centers in Westlake (27051 Detroit Rd) and Wickliffe (29257 Anderson Rd). Bring up to three bags to help safeguard your identity.

Find more information at: bbb.org/cleveland/SecureYourID