Top Senior Scams

There are three areas where older Americans are most susceptible to scams:

  1. The Internal Revenue Service
  2. Medicare
  3. Charitable Giving

1. The IRS

The IRS is huge, mysterious, intimidating and powerful—and all these things make IRS scams the #1 senior scam year after year.

Email Phishing

Like it’s name implies, these scam artists are “fishing” for information. A phishing scheme happens when a senior receives a phony email claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service announcing a tax refund is due to them. If a senior provides the bad guys with their personal and financial information, their identity is stolen and used to open bogus credit cards and other financial transactions in their name.

Know what to do if you believe you’ve fallen prey to an IRS phishing scheme as recommended by U.S. News.

2. Medicare

medicare cardEveryone on Medicare will receive new cards this spring. For protection, they will no longer have your Social Security number on the front of the card—it’s being replaced with a random number/letter sequence—in an attempt to reduce scams and fraud.

So what happened? Scammers posing as Medicare “agent” or health care providers started calling senior to tell them they needed to “purchase” a replacement card. Know that the new Medicare cards are free and being sent via postal mail to your address.

If you’ve received a phone call from a Medicare scammer, call 1-800-HHT-TIPS (1-800-447-8477).

3. Charitable Giving

We are a generous country. Americans love to give and support the causes they love. Scammers know this, make charity scams #3 on the top 3 list. This scam is a phone call from someone asking for a donation, usually shortly after a natural disaster like hurricanes, floods, or fires. If the person says you must “wire the donation,” put it on a gift card, or load it on a cash reload card, it’s a scam.

If you received a solicitation after a disaster asking for money delivered by any of the above methods, hang up the phone, toss that postcard, delete the email, or shut the door…then report it to the FTC online.

Business Ethics and the Golden Rule

We were taught as children to do unto others as we’d like others to do unto us. Another way to say it is, treat others as we would wish to be treated. Easy enough said, often hard to do.

golden RuleTo be clear, the Golden Rule is not “I give so that you will give in return” — that’s reciprocity, the expectation that people will respond to each other in similar ways. An example in business might be, if we provide value in a billable service, we expect prompt payment. But also, if we provide poor service, we should not expect prompt payment, or payment at all!

The Golden Rule expects us to be fair, honest, generous, kind and all those things that are good according to ethical tradition. It expects us to empathize with others; to see things from another person’s point of view. It applies between two people, groups, and between individuals and groups.

In business, it’s tempting to put financial gain, or meeting production or sales goals, ahead of the Golden Rule. But if doing good has its rewards, won’t doing badly have its punishment? And isn’t it more practical to apply the Golden Rule in business than to ignore it?

If you do your best for your customer, they will be happy with you and reward you with prompt payment, referrals, and good business relationships. If you do your best for your employees, they will be happy in their jobs, be more productive, work harder, and provide better service to your customers. On the practical side, the statistics prove that companies that practice the Golden Rule in the workplace and with their customers thrive considerably more than those who don’t. (Source:Net Promoter System)

The Net Promotor System (above reference) refers to employees and customers as “promoters” who, because of golden rule-applied culture in business, are loyal, enthusiastic fans that sing the company’s praises to friends and colleagues and account for more than 80% of referrals in most businesses.

The Golden Rule’s financial impact on a business is simple:

  • Treat your employees as you would want to be treated, and they will work harder, be more enthusiastic about their job, better problem solvers, better with customers, stick around longer, and spread the word far and wide that your company is outstanding.
  • Treat your customers as you would want to be treated and they will be loyal to you and your company, be more willing to pay a fair price for products and services, refer you to friends and colleagues, buy more frequently, and spread the word far and wide that your company, your people, and your product or service is outstanding.

Bottom line—the Golden Rule matters.

The Art of the Elevator Speech

elevator SpeechNetworking events are a great way to meet people and forge new business relationships. If it’s a good fit for us, we attend. Still, many of us do a poor job of introducing ourselves.

Not knowing what to say about yourself is a common problem for business owners and the employees who represent them. Without a pre-rehearsed “elevator pitch” we may forfeit a possible business deal. Worst case, we end up talking to the same people over and again, wasting our time and money.

For example, if I say the standard, “Hi, I’m Diana Louiso. I own DLMoneyMatters. We do small business accounting and daily money management.”

A typical reaction might be, “Oh, you’re a numbers person?” or “Oh, you actually spend other people’s money?”

Accounting services is not exactly a great conversation starter, but solving problems might be!
For example, if I say “Hi, I’m Diana Louiso. We’re the people that handle your money so you have time to make more money. Or, for our dear seniors, we pay the bills so they can’t be deceived by frauds and scam artists.”

Now a typical reaction might be, “I could sure use more time to make money!” or “Oh, yes, my Aunt lost her entire savings to an online scam!”

So, introducing yourself by your job title can stop conversations before they begin, or lead to false assumptions about what you actually provide.

Introducing yourself by describing the problems you solve and the value you bring to the table is a far better conversation—one that can lead to a sale.

Our Illustrious Industrious Cincinnati

From the beginning, Cincinnati was destined to be a great place to do business. Once the U.S. Congress opened land for settlement west of the Alleghenies and east of the Mississippi in 1787, John Cleves Symmes applied for and won a grant for land between the Great and Little Miami rivers, later known as the Miami Purchase. Settlers wasted no time, streaming westward down the Ohio River, aptly named as it means beautiful in the Native American tongue. One of the earliest settlements was Losantiville in 1790—later renamed, Cincinnati.

Cincinnati in 1800

Cincinnati in the year 1800, population 750, when only about 30 structures had been built. Many of these structures and some streets are identified by number in the print. Lithograph by Strobridge Litho. Co., Cincinnati, based on a painting by A.J. Swing. Public domain.

Within 20 years, Cincinnati had prospered and the locals were already referring to it as The Queen City of the West. Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow memorialized our nickname in his tribute to the city’s vineyards:

Catawba Wine
And this Song of the Vine,
This greeting of mine,
The winds and the birds shall deliver,
To the Queen of the West,
In her garlands dressed,
On the banks of the Beautiful River.

From Fountain Square’s “Genius of Water” built in 1871 and moved to its present location in 1971, to the cherry red pressed brick of Music Hall with its many carvings and symbols built in 1878, the early business leaders of our Queen City expressed visions of excellence. The original Chamber of Commerce building at the SW corner of 4th and Vine built in 1889 was destroyed by fire in 1911, yet shortly thereafter Cincinnati played a significant role in 1914 when 1,000 chamber of commerce executives from all over the country gathered here to form ACCE, the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. President William Howard Taft, a Cincinnati native, is credited with the formation of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.

Today, Cincinnati ranks higher in the “Top 10” of Fortune 500 headquarters per million residents, higher than New York, Boston, Chicago, or Los Angeles. In fact, 9 Fortune 500 and 15 Fortune 1000 companies call Cincinnati home. (Source)

Cincinnati’s top 5 employers are Kroger, UC, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, TriHealth, and Proctor & Gamble. Together, these 5 employ close to 76,000 people.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 55% of the nation’s workforce and 63% of net new jobs come from small business. In 2014, Cincinnati was named one of the best cities for small business in the United States. These companies are invested in the health care, banking and financial management, education, manufacturing, and consumer products, to name a few. The survival rate of our 6,000+ small businesses is on the rise.

As one of Cincinnati’s small businesses, we are proud of our beloved city, its heritage, and people. By the way, as we write this, President Trump is delivering remarks on tax reform in Cincinnati and we’re pretty sure that the choice of venue is not by accident.

Keeping Senior Independent

The Chicago Tribune recently ran an interesting article that everyone who has a relative or loved one having trouble paying bills and managing life’s paperwork, especially insurance paper, would benefit from reading.

senior man

Photo credit: Chicago Tribune

Entitled Daily Money Management Services Keep Senior Independent, the article points out how hiring a professional daily money manager associated with the American Association of Daily Money Managers may help maintain a senior’s independence, protect their nest egg, and make their lives more peaceful and manageable.

When doctor bills, Medicare statement, and credit card bills begin to pile up, it’s a good indication that a senior may be becoming increasingly forgetful, unable to handle the mail because of poor eyesight, or is simply becoming overwhelmed.

The frauds prey on seniors and they are defenseless against money scammers. The article reported one client who was an “inch away from sending her checking account number to a foreign entity.” When the adult children live far away and can’t regularly monitor a senior’s bill paying, having a trusted daily money manager can be the only resource available to be 100% sure assets are protected, and what little money might be available is spent properly and legally.

Our fees for these services are reasonable, especially considering the risk taken without this type of financial oversight. Clients send their bills to us, and we in turn pay them from the client’s account. If there are insufficient funds in the account, or if an invoice or statement appears out of line with the norm, the senior and/or a family member is immediately notified.

Not just for seniors, busy executives who frequently travel, and snowbirds that maintain two residences, also benefit from daily money management services. If you believe these services may be beneficial to your or a loved one, we invite you to call us for a friendly no-obligation conversation at (513) 322-1036. You can learn more at www.aadmm.com or visit our website’s Money Management page.