Watch Your Step scam column by Jim Breen staff writer
National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) that began this week is taking dead aim on eradicating foreign lottery fraud, especially those that target senior citizens.
The campaign, created by the United States Postal Service (USPS) is a joint venture among the federal and state governments that encourage consumers to make informed decisions when contacted by scammers via mail.
Over the years, hundreds of Leisure World residents have received letters with the “good news” that they won a foreign lottery, or were promised millions of dollars in from the widows of Nigerian government officials.
These mail scams, which accounted for a large chunk of the $2.9 billion in losses by seniors last year usually request consumers to wire money to pay for taxes or fees before they can collect their fortunes.
The USPS has provided several tips on what consumers should do when contacted with an unsolicited offer:
• Don’t give out financial information to callers you don’t know.
• Don’t be pressured into making immediate decisions.
• Request all information in writing before agreeing to a purchase.
Each year, postal inspectors arrest nearly 2,000 suspects for mail fraud.
Although people 60 and older account for 26 percent of all telemarketing fraud victims, 60 percent of seniors are victims of prize or sweepstakes fraud. That number is probably higher since many victims are too embarrassed to report the crimes.
The USPS points out that illegitimate sweepstakes promotions allow anyone to enter and cannot require a purchase or fee as a condition of playing.
“Free prize” promotions that ask for shipping or handling charges, registration fees, taxes, auditor’s expenses, or storage fees are against the law.
If you suspect fraud, contact the Postal Inspection Service at 1-800 FRAUD IS. Shareholders can also complete a Postal Service Form 8165, mail fraud complaint, available at the local post office or online at www.usps.com/postalinspectors

Have you been the victim of a scam attempt? Send the details to jimbreen@lwsbnews.com or call 431-6586, ext. 387, Wednesday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m

Investment Forum

The Leisure World Investment Forum will meet at 2 p.m., March 11, in Clubhouse 3, Room 6.
The topic will be a look at the Federal Reserve Bank, it’s history, structure, responsibilities and role in providing confidence and stability to the nation banking system. Also up for discussion will be the institution’s role in maintaining healthy, sustainable economic growth.
For more information, call Larry T. Pino of Basdakis Wealth
Management, (949) 502-8525.

Leisure World Radio Club

On Feb. 28 and March 1 a powerful storm front moved across Orange County threatening severe damage to Seal Beach. The combination of high tide and strong winds combined with rain can cause severe flooding, injury and damage to Leisure World.
Seal Beach mobilized the Seal Beach Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES)) radio group to spread out to strategic locations and radio the police department of any damage or injuries resulting from the storm.
The Leisure World Radio Club, which has RACES members, was asked to participate in the call-up and radio in hourly any problems in our community.
Over the two days, the radio club monitored the situation in LW and radioed information to the Seal Beach Police Department. Fortunately, only minor damage occurred in LW.
It was a great opportunity for the Leisure World Radio club to practice its communication skills. The club’s equipment and people provided excellent service.
The club has 43 active members, each with their own personal hand held ham radio.
The radio room, above the amphitheater, has a variety of high powered radios for emergency use. The club is interested in new members.
Even if shareholders are not ham radio operators, they can use one of the club’s family radio service radios.
Eloy Gomez, GRF disaster coordinator provided excellent supervision and assistance in our efforts.
Children A Priority (CAP)

Children-A-Priority (CAP) will meet today, Thursday, in Clubhouse 4. Guest speaker will be Randy Ankeny, executive director of the Golden Rain Foundation. All shareholders are invited to attend the program.
The board meeting will begin at 10:30 a.m., followed by catered lunch at noon, then the program.
CAP ‘ s goal is to help children in Southern California with contributions from dues, and funds raised from the potato bake.
Children-A-Priority (CAP) will meet today, Thursday, in Clubhouse 4. Guest speaker will be Randy Ankeny, executive director of the Golden Rain Foundation. All shareholders are invited to attend the program.
The board meeting will begin at 10:30 a.m., followed by catered lunch at noon, then the program.
CAP ‘ s goal is to help children in Southern California with contributions from dues, and funds raised from the potato bake.

GAF Tax Program

The Golden Age Foundation income tax program is in full swing and will continue until April 10. Volunteers will be working Monday through Friday in the morning only.
Residents should call 596-1987 and leave their names and telephone numbers on the GAF answering machine. A volunteer will return calls to schedule appointments.
Residents must bring their Social Security cards and Leisure World IDs to their appointments.
Those who are married and filing a joint return must both be present to sign the return.
The following records should be brought to appointments:
• Copies of 2012 income tax returns
• All year-end income statements
• Year-end brokers’ statements
• Verification of the cost of any stocks or bonds sold by the shareholder or his/her broker
• Building contract for any 2013 installation of energy-efficient items
Only Leisure World residents can qualify for the program, and must have income under $75,000, file either as a single person or married, filing jointly, have no income from a business or partnership, and have six or less sales of stocks or bonds.
If residents plan to itemize deductions, they should prepare a list of all medical expenses, charitable contributions, taxes, interest, etc. Bring the list and accompanying receipts to their appointments. More than $4,500 in such expenses are needed before residents can itemize.
To have refunds directly deposited, bring checkbooks.
Tax returns will be prepared upstairs in Clubhouse 6. For those with the necessary records, tax returns will be prepared while they wait. The entire process takes about one hour.
An alternate free tax preparation service is also provided by AARP Mondays through April 14 in the community room adjacent to Fire Station 48 at 3131 North Gate Road. Call 431-2527, ext. 1344, for appointments.

American Legion

As membership continues to age, the American Legion Post 327 is looking for new members from the Korean and Viet Nam wars.
To belong to a Legion post, a veteran must have served during a war. Currently, the Leisure World veterans who qualify served in World War II, Korea, and Viet Nam.
Dues are $35 per year. Veterans with membership cards are welcome at Legion posts at home and abroad.
Post 327 meets on the third Monday of the month at 1:30 p.m. in Clubhouse 4.
Fund-raising activities include bingo in Clubhouse 2 on the fourth and fifth Sundays of the month and two pancake breakfasts a year.
Funds raised are used to help veterans locally.
Post 327 works with vets at Golden West College and the VA Medical Center in Long Beach.
For more information, call Lee Esslinger, first vice commander at 430-2891.
– Lee Esslinger
Safe Driver Class

The next AARP Safe Driver class will be held from 1-5 p.m., March 18, in Clubhouse 3 Room 9. To qualify, residents must have completed an eight-hour class within the past three years, and their insurance company must agree to their eligibility.
The fee is $15 for AARP members and $20 for non-members.
Members must provide their AARP membership cards when they pay the fee.
Fees must be paid by check or money order. For reservations, call Betty Adams at 936-1333.
– Betty Adams

Y Service Club

The Y Service Club invites shareholders to discover thousands of bargains for sale at its bi-annual rummage sale Saturday, March 8, from 8 a.m.-noon in Clubhouse 2.
Available at bargain prices will be glassware, dishes, household items and appliances, electronics, linens, purses and shoes, books, CDs, lamps, pictures, picture frames, items for children, tools, hardware items, sports equipment, decorative items, quality boutique goods, and small furniture.
A cafe for coffee and home-made goodies will be available.
The club has been saving contributions in carport lockers awaiting grand unveiling March 8. Those who attend are advised to arrive early for the best selections.
LWers are encouraged to call family and friends outside Leisure World to come and enjoy a unique shopping experience.
Donations are still being accepted. This month’s phone numbers for doing small jobs or for donations are 296-5048 and 431-4221.
– Trish Geddes

Senior Patriots for Peace

by Nancy Goldstein
LW contributor

John Goodman will be guest speaker when Senior Patriots for Peace meets at 1 p.m., March 14, in Clubhouse 4.
The well-known political activist He will make a presentation titled “The Plutocrats Are Trying To Steal Our Democracy; Here’s What You Can Do To Stop Them.”
Mr. Goodman will discuss the power and influence of big money and corporations on the government and how ordinary citizens can fight back.
The presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer period.
•••
Space is still available for Dr. Don Schwartz’ four-week April lecture series on “The History Of U.S. Policy In The Middle East.” The lecture dates are April 7, 14, 21, and 28 from 10:30 a.m.-noon in Clubhouse 3, Room 1.
To reserve seating, send a check for the $30 registration fee, payable to Dr. Don Schwartz, to Nancy Goldstein, 13391 Danbury Lane, No. 131-J, Seal Beach, Ca 90740.
All Leisure World residents and guests are invited to attend these events.
Senior Patriots for Peace is an organization dedicated to the promotion of peace at home and throughout the world. Its goal is elimination of the threat of violence and war. To that end, the club focuses on issues of world peace, social justice and the environment to nurture a world where people can live healthy and peaceful lives for generations. Without justice there can be no peace.
For further information on the events and the organization, call Nancy Goldstein at 896-8604 or Mary Larson at 296-8521.