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Seniors — guard against identity theft

This information comes to us from Colorado Attorney General John Suthers.

Each year, millions of Americans fall victim to scams perpetrated from all over the globe. Although it is difficult to determine exact figures, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that, last year alone, more than $1.7 billion was lost due to fraudulent activity. While exact figures are not available, it is also estimated fraud losses total in the tens of millions of dollars in Colorado alone.

Consumer education is the best weapon in the fight against fraud; therefore, being knowledgeable of the tactics used by scammers will greatly reduce your chances of becoming a victim.

With the information contained in this article, along with the numerous other resources available, we hope consumers continue taking the initiative to educate and protect themselves and their families against the unscrupulous behaviors of these fraudsters.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

“It doesn’t matter who you are, identity theft can happen to anyone, including me!” said Amy Nofziger, program leader, AARP ElderWatch. “Identity theft can happen to anyone, including the program leader of AARP ElderWatch, that’s right, my husband and I were victims. We were lucky I knew what to do when we were first notified that someone had tried to apply for five credit cards and two lines of credit in my husband’s name. Do you know what to do?”

It is important to know how to protect your identity so that the theft doesn’t happen in the first place. Regardless of how safe you are with your information, you might still be a victim. That is why it’s just as important to know what to do in the first minutes, hours and days after you discovered your victimization. This is something you don’t want to put off, educate yourself today.

By following the simple steps in the Attorney General’s Identity Theft Repair Kit, we were able to “stop the bleeding” with our victimization, so the perpetrator was shut off from our credit and good name. In our situation, because we acted quickly and alerted authorities, they were able to make an arrest for the crime.

That doesn’t always happen because, many times, the thieves aren’t even located in the United States. The quicker you act, the better the chances no money is lost and your credit will not be destroyed, as others haven’t been as fortunate.

Identity theft may come in multiple forms, but its impact is always frustrating and oftentimes devastating. To receive your own Identity Theft Repair Kit, please visit: www.coloradoattorneygeneral.gov/cp.

In addition, concerned family members or Coloradans who are 50-plus may call (800) 222-4444 and press option 2 to speak with an AARP ElderWatch volunteer for further assistance or visit us on the web at www.aarpelderwatch.org.

Next week’s topic: Internet Fraud, learn how to protect yourself when making purchases over the Internet.

Birds

Last year Jodi whined and complained about the swallows adorning, or at least attempting to, the entrance to her home. I enjoy the swallows, however, they are not dive bombing my head regularly or trying to poop on it either. Instead, we’ve enjoyed a nest a bit close to the entrance of the Senior Center and yes, I was dive bombed a time or two, but only while watching the little ones attempt to fledge. No whining on my part and I look forward to their return next year.

Ask me about magpies, then it’s my turn to whine! While it is against my nature to cause harm to these beautiful, noisy, pesky, chicken egg stealers, my mind races with ideas on how to stop them.

My husband and I enjoy very few eggs from our small flock of chickens these days; the magpies enjoy many. Every day we venture out to the chicken coop which is shared by our four goats (dogs with horns) to collect our deep orange yolked treats and every day we share the count with each other.

“Two to one,” Dan said the other day, which, translated, means two for us and one for the magpies. I was so excited to have collected three eggs over the weekend until I picked up the gorgeous green egg one of the Araucana’s laid (yes they really are green, no ham though), it had a hole pecked in it, ha, I stopped it from enjoying the whole egg, but it’s not one I’m going to eat! So much for my three for us day.

I’ve tried several things to try to get those sneaky birds to move on; we have fake eggs in the nest box and a large plastic owl with a bobbing head just outside the door. The fake eggs worked for a day, they just peck until one breaks enjoying the mellowness of the yoke. The recent move of the owl has worked a bit, not enough to detour at least one brave magpie.

We are thankful for the more plentiful days, although the count last night was zero to two.

Alzheimer’s Q&A

Elaine Stumpo of the Durango Alzheimer’s Association office will be here on Friday, July 29, at 12:45 p.m. for a question and answer session. If you are struggling with a loved one, or just need more information, please join us. Elaine can be reached at 259-0122.

DHS presentation

Learn of the many services available through the Department of Human Services on Friday, Aug. 5, at 12:45 p.m. Director Erlinda Gonzales will be here to enlighten us on all the services they provide; from assistance in Medicare Part B monthly payment for qualifying individuals to food stamps, energy assistance, adult protective services and much more.

Medicare

The 2011 General Enrollment for Medicare Prescription Plans (Part D) and Medicare Advantage Plans has changed to Oct. 15-Dec. 7, 2011.

Unicycle

Not exactly what I plan on doing to get around town. I would end up in an ambulance. Instead, we have door-to-door bus service, available on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Get your errands done, join in the fun at the Silver Foxes Den, go grocery shopping or get to your medical appointment, all by simply riding the bus and not relying on the unicycle or others to get you around town. Available for those 60-plus, suggested donation $2 per day. Our service area is limited; please call 264-2167 for details.

Home delivery

Are you homebound or know someone who is? Let the Silver Foxes Den help you with your meals. We have expanded our service to the more rurally isolated areas of the county and would like to help you help yourself.

These meals are the same meals prepared in our kitchen by the same cooks who prepare those scrumptious senior center meals. Our hot meal home-delivery program remains available to those closer to town four days per week, and frozen meals on Thursdays and weekends. Meals are available to people age 60-plus for a suggested donation of $3 per meal. Give us a call at 264-2167 for further information.

Weekly activities

Friday, July 29 — Geezers 9 a.m.; Stitchin’ in the Kitchen 10 a.m.; Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; Alzheimer’s Association question and answer session 12:45 p.m.

Monday, Aug. 1 — Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; Canasta 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 2 — Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 3 — No scheduled activities.

Thursday, Aug. 4 — Administrative day.

Friday, Aug. 5 — Geezers 9 a.m.; Stitchin’ in the Kitchen 10 p.m.; Department of Human Services presentation 12:45 p.m.

Menu

Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus is $3, kids 12 and under and guests $6. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act, United Way, and Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other contributions and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $11.51. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served from noon to 12:30 p.m.

Friday, July 29 — July birthday meal; Honey barbecue chicken, baked potato, chopped spinach, banana, apple crisp with whipped topping.

Monday, Aug. 1 — Beef enchilada, refried beans, marinated garden salad, apricots, salsa.

Tuesday, Aug. 2 — Chicken parmesan, whole wheat spaghetti with marinara, tossed salad, whole wheat roll, tropical fruit.

Wednesday, Aug. 3 — Hamburger on wheat bun, lettuce and tomato slice, roasted sweet potatoes, tossed salad, fruit salad with citrus, peanut butter cookie.

Thursday, Aug. 4 — Closed.

Friday, Aug. 5 — Lemon-baked fish, oven browned potatoes, peas and carrots, tossed salad, vanilla ice cream with banana and strawberries, whole wheat roll.

ASI

A wonderful organization, but not the same as the senior center. Archuleta Seniors, Inc. (ASI) is a nonprofit organization for folks age 55-plus. The Senior Center works very closely, so close that ASI sets up in our dining room to sell their memberships.

Is it time for you to renew or buy your 2011 ASI membership? You can purchase memberships at The Silver Foxes Den on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Folks 55 and over will benefit with discounts from many local businesses, including the local hot springs. This is one of the best deals in Pagosa Springs.

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