Tips: Ways To Protect Yourself from Telemarketing Fraud

In today’s fast-paced environment, we often overlook things that seems obvious.  However cautious we are or think we know what to look out for, people still get ripped off one way or another over the telephone.  According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 19 percent of all fraud cases were reported in 2010.  The following are 6 ways you can better protect yourself from telephone scammers:

1. Don’t Call Me.

Simply ignore the pleas and pitches of anyone who calls you uninvited.  Regardless if they’re salespeople or companies you’re aware of– just ignore their calls.  And don’t rely on your caller I.D. also as that can be faked.

2. Give Them Nothing.

All fraudsters want information.  It is best to tell them nothing.  For instance, if they try to confirm your name, don’t tell them.  Or if they want to verify your address, hang up the phone.  Giving no information to them is your best defense.

3. I’ll Call You.

In certain cases, callers will insist they have to speak with you–whether they’re from your bank,etc.  Simply tell them you’re going to call them directly and don’t accept the phone number they give you.  Instead, look in the Yellow Pages or on the Internet with the phone number that best describe what the company or call was about.  Do some confirmation to see if the call was legitimate or not.

4. Stay Alert.

In reality, even if you initiate a phone call, you might not be safe.  Before you give any personal or financial information over the phone, do the following first…

  • Ask the person to mail you information.
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Take a look at the company’s website.
  • Ask for references.

5. Take Your Time.

Scammers often gives you a deadline before making a decision.  So if you feel pressured to make a decision–hang up.  You’ve spent a lifetime earning your money.  You deserve a little time to choose how to spend it.

6. Be Part of the Solution.

You can help prevent others from falling victim to scammers.  If you’ve received a call, mailing or email you think might be from a scammer, report the incident to the FTC by calling its consumer hot line at 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357).

Following these tips should keep scammers out of your way.  Be smart and stay safe.

Credit source: Ron Burley from AARP.

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Summer Is Near: Ways to Protect Yourself from Skin Cancer

Summer officially starts next month.  That means family barbecues, trips to the beach, or just enjoying the warm weather outside.  With that in mind, it’s important to know that Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer is on the increase.  While melanoma only accounts for 4 percent of skin cancers, it is responsible for 79 percent of skin cancer deaths.  On the bright side, melanoma is treatable when diagnosed early, and all you need to know are simple steps to prevent it from happening to you.  Here are some simple tips to follow:

  1. Cover up

Sun exposure is important for the production of Vitamin D.  However, it only takes 10 minutes to be out in the sun to get vitamin D.  Too much sun exposure during the day is not recommended but covering up with clothes with a thicker weave or have darker colors are the best protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

2. Choose the right SPF

Did you know that not all SPF sunscreens offer protection against UVA and UVB rays?  Only a number of sunscreens only block UVB rays.  If you’re planning for a beach getaway, look for sunscreens that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.  Medical officials recommend using a sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30.

3. Check your skin

Even though melanoma is typical for people in their 40’s & 50’s, anyone can get the skin cancer.  Have a yearly skin check with your dermatologist and check out things in your skin that are abnormal.  If a mole is larger, darker, black or bleeding, you should go see a doctor.  Areas of the upper back and legs are often exposed to the sun, so check them for irregularities especially.

4. Have a diet rich of fruits and vegetables

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps fight against most cancers.

Remember, melanoma is treatable with surgery if it is found early.  Melanoma is so easy to prevent, and as you found out, it can be prevented easily.  So follow these tips as you venture out this summer knowing you’re protected and stay safe and have fun out there this summer.

Credit source: Dr. Manny Alvarez (Fox News’ Health consultant and expert).

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5 Ways to Keep up and have fun with your Grandkids

Part of the joys of retirement is having our grandkids around to play with and enjoy their company.  But our aging bodies has resulted in muscle loss, loss of mobility, or decreased bone density.  Therefore, keeping your bodies healthy and active is important for you to keep up in order for you to enjoy the times you have with your grandkids.  Here are 5 ways to stay healthy and have fun with your grandkids at the same time:

  1. Be realistic.

Whether the grandkids come by for a visit or you see them once in a while, it’s good to maintain your fitness level to do various activities with them effectively.  The best overall exercise to do to strengthen your muscles is walking.  Walking exercises are good when strolling around the yard or the neighborhood with the grandkids.  Playing with blocks or a board game are activities you can enjoy doing inside the house as well with them.

2. Go easy on the joints.

If you’re swimming or playing games in the pool, moving around in the shallow end of a pool decreases stress on your joints and provides resistance for strengthening your muscles.  Playing games with your grandkids in the pool is not only fun but great exercise as well.

3. Conserve your energy.

If the kids are coming over for a weekend, do your preparations well ahead of time and don’t exhaust yourself.  After all, you can’t enjoy them when you are already tired.  It is good to relax before they come over and have your activities done beforehand.

4. Take care of your back!

When you go out with the kids, have them carry some of their stuff with size-appropriate backpacks; you don’t end up being the pack mule.  Backpacks should weigh no more than 10 to 15 percent of what the child weighs.  Also, its good to bend your knees and keep your head and chest up when lifting babies and small children.

5. Make sure you’re well-grounded.

Invest in new shoes or flip-flops as old, worn-out shoes stress your ankles, knees, and hips more than you realize.  Firm footing means relief to your joints and lets you have fun with activities with the grandkids.

Credit source: The American Physical Therapy Association.

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Medicare and both political parties proposals

As the U.S. reached a $14.3 trillion debt, and is maxed out on its credit limit, both Republicans and Democrats continue to look for ways in negotiating bipartisan proposals to solve our nation’s debt crisis.  While the House Republican plan to overhaul Medicare led by Rep. Paul Ryan has been on the table for some time, Democrats are lagging behind in proposing a concrete alternative to make spending cuts on our nation’s entitlement programs.  Let’s take a brief look at both parties current proposals starting with Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., chairman of the House Budget Committee:

  • Ryan insisted that his plan will “not affect anyone 55 and over,” speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press” recently.
  • Citing that his plan is based on premium support, whereby there are guaranteed coverage options for Medicare where the government subsidizes the poor and the sick a whole lot more than the wealthy and people get to choose,” Ryan said.

Meanwhile, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., a ranking minority on the House Budget Committee, sees it the following ways:

  • Debt reduction must come from both sides of the ledger, which means increasing revenues.
  • He prefers a “broad-based tax” that would increase personal income rates to the level it was during the Clinton administration.
  • And by reducing the deficit, that involves spending cuts, it involves the revenue piece.

So while the Democrats have yet to offer a clear proposal on the table, Ryan and company are comfortable on where they stand at press time.  But one thing is certain: it’s time for both parties to come to terms and reach a deal in order to avoid another economic meltdown.

Credit source: ‘Ryan Challenges Democrats to Propose Alternative to His Budget’ (Foxnews.com, 5/22/11).

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Learn How To Improve Your Posture

Did you know that the month of May is National Correct Posture Month?  It sure is.  The lack of correct or good posture says a lot about ones lack of confidence and results in health problems.  Since your posture shows up in everyday life, it’s important to be aware on improving it.  For instance, others sees how you sit straight or not when sitting down.  No one wants to be perceived as weak or lazy.  Instead, we want to emit self-confidence and being competent.  Health problems that occurs from having poor posture includes:

  • neck and back pain
  • contributes to headaches
  • digestive problems
  • breathing problems
  • circulation problems

Improving your posture just takes commitment by teaching your body to sense it.  Exercises that improves posture are tai chi exercises or yoga exercises.  Below is a video that shows exercises to help you practice to achieve better posture…

Credit source: Lisa Byrne, Owner of Pilates for Sport, LLC in Bucks County, Pa & a Certified Pilates Instructor.

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How Are We Doing? Please Give us Some Feedback!

With nearly thirty years in the health insurance brokerage business, we have consistently provided our clients with great customer service, and the help they need to choose the best health plans for them and at the price they deserve.  We strive to be the best source for our clients with our array of online services that gives them a comprehensive list of insurance companies in California, and free health insurance quotes. 

As part of our goal to continue our commitment in bringing you exceptional and great customer service with your health, dental, life, and other insurance needs – we have recently established a new business venture for our Senior client base called Medicare Insurance Advisors.  This new side of our business is geared towards our growing Medicare client base and includes the same great service, support, and experience that you have come to know from our main business in Independent Insurance Brokers.  In turn, we are now a part of the social media universe with platforms on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and in this business blog. 

Thus, we would like to know what you think about our business, and the recent changes we’ve made with regards to your online insurance shopping experience.  What things can we improve on?  Any suggestions, questions, or comments are all welcome.  Leave us a message or contact us directly.  Thank You!

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5 Must-Do Health Checks For Every Age

With many discoveries and advancements in the medical field each and every year, expert professionals are now recommending the need for more than one annual check-up for most people in every age group.  In turn, one or more checkups per year remains important for the prevention or early detection of health concerns that arises due to our weight, lifestyle changes, or change in our overall health outlook.  Here are five tests that you should have this year and in the future:

Blood Pressure

– Blood-pressure checks are very important.  Why?  That is because most people who have high blood pressure don’t know it.  Most physicians today now believe you can wait two years for another checkup – given your blood pressure is normal for your age upon your yearly checkup.

Cholesterol

– Much like high-blood pressure, having a high cholesterol count doesn’t come with any warning symptoms.  Thus, the American Heart Association suggests we all have our physicians determine our total and HDL blood-cholesterol levels.  In essence, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends getting a baseline measure at least once for men, ages 35 to 65, and women, ages 45 to 65, with follow-up testing as needed.  If your cholesterol levels are normal, it is good to be retested once every five years.

Eye Exams

– Everyone with or without eye problems, should have regular eye exams every two years after the age of 40; once you are 45, make sure that you have a check for glaucoma, too.

Breast Exams

– The American Cancer Society recommends an annual mammogram starting at age 40.  Women at higher risk (defined as a greater than 20 percent lifetime risk) should get an MRI with their mammogram every year.  Women with moderately high risk (a 15-to-20 percent lifetime risk) should talk with their doctors about the pros and cons of adding MRI screening to their yearly mammogram.

Note: Physicians do recommend that women do a breast self-exam monthly starting in their twenties.

Colon and Rectal Cancer

– According to the American Cancer Society, both men and women at average risk for developing colorectal cancer should use one of the screening tests below starting at age 50…

  • Tests that find polyps and cancer include: a flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years; a colonoscopy every ten years.
  • Tests that mainly find cancer include: an annual fecal occult blood test (FOBT); an annual fecal immunochemical test (FIT).

Last but not least, always consult with your doctor thoroughly with each visit in order to determine the best course of action with your health and well-being.

Credit source: Georgia Witkin, Ph.D. (assistant Professor of psychiatry and director of stress at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City).

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