Watch Your Step
At the dawn of another new year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has issued a warning about scams that target the nation’s senior citizens.
Seniors are most likely to have savings accounts and good credit, which make them attractive to con artists from around the world. People who grew up in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s were usually raised to be polite and trusting. Thieves exploit these traits, knowing that it is difficult or impossible for these individuals to say “no” or just hang up.
Even when they do, these relentless pests continue to call.
Older Americans are less likely to report a fraud because they are concerned that relatives may think they no longer have the mental capacity to take care of their own financial affairs.
When an elderly victim does report the crime, they often make poor witnesses. Con artists know the effects of age on memory, and count on elderly victims being unable to supply enough detailed information to investigators.
Medicare fraud is on the rise and seniors are frequent targets especially by medical equipment manufacturers who offer free medical products in exchange for their Medicare numbers.
Because a physician has to sign a form certifying that equipment or testing is needed before Medicare pays for it, con artists fake signatures or bribe corrupt doctors to sign the forms.
Once a signature is in place, the manufacturers bill Medicare for merchandise or service that was not needed or ordered.
The FBI itself is often impersonated by thieves, usually regarding cyber scams.
The federal agency points out that it never sends e-mails to private citizens about cyber scams. So for shareholders who got messages claiming to be from the FBI Director James B. Comey or other top officials, it is a scam.
If you receive unsolicited e-mail offers or spam, forward the messages to the Federal Trade Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you been the victim of a scam attempt? Send the details to email@example.com or call 431-6586, ext. 387, Wednesday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
GAF tax program
The Golden Age Foundation income tax program for Leisure World residents will begin Feb. 10 and continue until April 10.
Volunteers will work Monday -Friday in the morning only. Appointments are required.
Beginning Jan. 28, LWers should call 596-1987 and leave their names and telephone number on the GAF answering machine. Volunteers will return calls to schedule appointments.
Shut-ins should also call this number.
Residents must bring their Social Security card and Leisure World ID to their appointments.
To qualify for the program, you must be a Leisure World resident, 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.
The following records should be brought to appointments:
• Copies of 2012 income tax returns
• All your 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
If residents plan to itemize deductions, they need to 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 to be directly deposited, bring checkbooks.
Tax returns will be prepared upstairs in Clubhouse 6. Go to Room A, second floor, the tax preparation room.
For those with the necessary records, tax returns will be prepared while they wait about one hour.
Children-A-Priority (CAP) will meet Feb. 6, in Clubhouse 4. Catered lunch will be served at noon. Reservations for the $9 lunch can be made by calling President Dona Nickles by Feb. 3.
A board meeting will begin at 10:30 a.m., and the program will follow lunch.
The guests will be Patrick Kuykendall, executive director of the employee support group of the Guard and Reserve, and Reginald Fields, career consultant for Veterans for the One Stop Center, a partner of America’s Job Center of California. Both are based at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos. Both will take questions from the audience.
For several years, CAP has supported the veterans at the Joint Forces Training Center by donating gifts and food at Christmas.
Shareholders are encouraged to attend and learn more about the program.It’s one of the many ways CAP reaches out to children and adults in Southern California.
New members and visitors are welcome to become members of CAP.
– Joan Shramek
The Leisure World Woman’s Club will hold a card party and luncheon tomorrow, Friday, in Clubhouse 2. Lunch, priced at $9 per person, will be served at noon.
Lunch tickets will be sold by table number. One person can pick up tickets for a table of four for $36. Everyone should be seated by 11:45 a.m.
Those tables needing a substitute player for either bridge or canasta are asked to call Vivian Neiger at 594-6550 for the names of substitute players who can be contacted.
Standing club rules require regularly attending card players to be current members of the Woman’s Club. Membership cards should be taken to all these events.
A guest invited to attend the card party luncheon may do so twice a year, must have a luncheon reservation and be accompanied by her sponsor.
– Janet Carpenter
The American Legion Auxiliary Unit 327 will meet at 1:30 p.m., Jan. 20, in Clubhouse 4.
President Mary Wiens will discuss plans for the annual fashion show, scheduled this year on Saturday, March 22, in Clubhouse 2.
Chairperson is Eloise Knoll, who will have tickets for members to sell.
Cost for the luncheon and fashion show will remain $25 per person. Proceeds will fund nursing scholarships at Golden West College.
The ladies will be asked to attend the memorial service for Post member Kay Futamase on Jan. 25.
– Sandy Esslinger
Senior Patriots for Peace
The third annual free Thanksgiving dinner for veterans was held Nov. 28 in Clubhouse 4. It was a joint presentation by the Senior Patriots for Peace and Military Families Speak Out (MFSO).
An estimated 150 veterans and guests enjoyed a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings. The live entertainment included classical piano songs, traditional Hawaiian music and dancing, and vocal renditions of standard songs that everyone recognized.
All the entertainers were Leisure World shareholder volunteers.
Each veteran received a gift medallion adorned with a red, white, and blue ribbon. On the medallion was the inscription, “Honor, Valor, and Sacrifice.”
Fund-raising efforts resulted in 117 sets of bed sheets and 50 pillows that were provided to the nine homeless veterans shelters operated by Veterans’ First of Orange County.
The organizers thank the volunteers who make the dinner possible.
A special thanks to the Mormon elders comprising of 12 young men who brought their enthusiasm, grace and hard work to the event.
They did it all and the organizers were appreciative of their time and effort.
The evening was summed up best by attendees, veteran Ken Goettsch and his wife Marilyn of Mutual 4, who said, “It was festive and the food was exceptional.”
Senior Patriots for Peace and Military Families Speak Out look forward to next year and beyond as Leisure World continues to show its appreciation for veterans.
Members of the Open Forum will embark on their voyage of discovery to ancient China when the group meets at 10 a.m., Jan. 21, in Clubhouse 3, Room 2.
The meeting will begin with China’s early pre-history through various dynasties to eventually arrive in the 20th century.
An overview of the civilization and cultural heritage of China will be included.
Club President Mark Barnett, in costume, will impersonate Chinese philosopher Confucius at the meeting.
In the series that will probably take the better part of 2014, the Forum will also take a detailed look at Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism in their religious and philosophical aspects.
The Forum meets at 10 a.m., on the first and third Tuesdays of the month in Clubhouse 3, Room 2.
All are welcome; there are no membership or dues. The Open Forum is a public service.
For more information, call Mark Barnett at 430-2435.
– Mark Barnett
The program for NA’AMAT USA’s meeting Jan.20 will be t “The Jewish Kid from Brazil,” the world-renowned artist, Walter Goldfarb.
The presentation will begin at 1:30 p.m., in Clubhouse 3, Room 2. The meeting starts at 12:30 and refreshments will be served.
There is no cost to attend and Leisure World residents and guests are welcome. Donations will be gratefully accepted.
Those who attend should contact Henrietta Zarovsky at 596-3767 with the names of outside guests for main gate entry.
Jan Berliner, a docent at the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), will introduce Mr. Goldfarb to guests and take them on a tour of his unique art work via DVD.
His mother was a Holocaust survivor and his father was a prominent violinist in Brazil. He has portrayed his personal story in magnificent art pieces.
Mr. Goldfarb has used unusual media including embroidery, psychedelic colors and chemicals in his art work.
An explanation and story behind each piece will be provided. His work was recently exhibited at a one-man show at MOLAA.
– Darlene Rose