Scam Alert: The Federal Trade Commission reports that the top fraud complaints concerned what the FTC calls “Imposter” calls. These are phone calls from someone saying they are from the social security administration or from some other government agency, such as the I.R.S. Usually, these days, it’s a robo call at first and then you are told to press #1 or whatever for more information, Bottom line is the same: they caller wants to trick you into pressing #1 so they can hook you up with a human scammer. They claim there is something wrong with your social security account or there’s fraud or suspected fraud and then, they want personal information.
Most of us already know this but it’s well to go over it again.
- The social security administration does not call folks unless in return of a call you made.
- The SSA does not call to tell you that your account has been suspended.
- SSA does not offer you a benefit in exchange for you providing ANY information, including, of course, personal/private information.
- SSA never calls you to demand immediate payment of any money.
- SSA never requires a specific method of payment such as a credit card, iTunes Card, debit card, gift card, wire transfers.
Folks, most of you already know about all of this and you know just to hang up the phone. But some folks are not as aware of scams and frauds as you might be. So, please check on your neighbors and friends. Chat about these frauds. That helps you stay aware and helps acquaint you with folks who may not be as savvy as you.
Scam Alert: I’ve been getting a bunch of calls where my caller id says, “potential scam” or “out of area.” Sometimes, I am tempted to answer just to see what the scammer has to say. BUT I don’t answer, and neither should you. More often than not, if you did answer, you’d get no answer back. That’s because they are hoping you will call back and more than likely you will get hit with various scammer phone charges. We must resist the desire to answer these kinds of calls. We must.
Q. My Father needs Medicaid. He will need to go into a nursing home fairly soon because my Mother can no longer take care of him at home. Mom was told about a Medicaid Friendly annuity that can be used to protect assets (for my Mother) while at the same time allowing Dad to obtain Medicaid benefits, when he has to go into the nursing home. Your thoughts?
A. John Beck is an attorney in our law office, who handles Medicaid matters. He also has a master’s degree in taxation. So, I ran this issue by him. John’s first comment was that it was very difficult for him to comment on information about a Medicaid Friendly annuity, when he was not there when you received this information. Further, John didn’t know precisely what information was given to whomever discussed that kind of annuity with you. John had a couple of comments, though. First, John hoped that whoever gave you information about that kind annuity was an attorney familiar with Medicaid. Second, John said that, as a general statement and not one to be relied upon for anyone’s specific issues, a Medicaid Friendly annuity can have benefits to enable a Medicaid applicant to receive Medicaid benefits. However, these kinds of annuities need to be very carefully reviewed and must always be designed to meet applicable Medicaid eligibility laws. Those eligibility laws change frequently as legislative bodies seek to control spending, thus making it harder and harder to obtain Medicaid benefits, even for those who need then and should have them.
Q. My 18-year-old granddaughter wants to come and stay with me until she can go back to school. She said she would bring her boyfriend, but I don’t have to worry because they will bring masks. I’d kinda like your thoughts.
A. I’d kinda like not to give you my thoughts. Oh, okay. Masks are good. Where and when they wear them are separate matters, don’t you think? Suggestion: Tell her not to come. The virus is too serious a matter.
Gerald R. Colen, and his law partner Rachel M. Wagoner manage the Law Offices of Colen and Wagoner, P.A. The law firm’s attorneys are Jerry Colen, Rachel Wagoner, and John Beck. All are members of the Florida Bar Association. Jerry Colen and Rachel Wagoner are members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys. Attorney John Beck has a degree in finance, a master’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in taxation. The law firm practices in the areas of simple and complex Estate Planning, wills, trusts, probate, real estate, title insurance, elder law, taxation, Medicaid Planning and business and professional advice. This column is only intended to present fact situations that may be of interest to the reader. It does not, nor is it intended to provide legal advice. You should not rely on what is written in this column to be legal advice for any situation. You should always consult your own attorney for legal advice. Mr. Colen, Ms. Wagoner, and Mr. Beck have law offices at 1756 N. Belcher Road. Clearwater, FL 33765. Mr. Colen, Ms. Wagoner, and Mr. Beck also meet clients at On Top of the World, in Clearwater, Florida. Visit the law firm’s website at www.colenwagoner.com. Email Jerry Colen at Jerry@colenwagoner.com; Email Rachel Wagoner at Rachel@colenwagner.com. Email John Beck at John@colenwagoner.com.