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Financial Conversations with Fitz #102 - Conversation on Senior Protections - 04/06/2012

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Another great weekend of weather.  I am not going to say that winter weather is over so I don’t get blamed for causing one last snow storm, but it is really nice and warm.  Did some lawn work but didn’t put away snow equipment before I got the lawn mower equipment out. The DOW opened on the down side. Grain Markets had a wild week trying to anticipate the Friday USDA report and balance Export news. What a crazy day on the board Friday. 10,0000 bushels of beans changed in value over $4,000.  Did see some anhydrous and tillage equipment in the fields.  Probably hard to stay out but I think one more week will be safer.


Well, last week we talked about senior financial abuse in general. Several reports over the weekend of ID theft in the IRS like we talked about. Some more credit card thefts of ID on a national scale. The best protection you can have is to check your balance very close. We will continue to monitor for you until we find out which system that involved over 10 million cards. The best defense is to come in and check. Worked with a customer that brought in a cashiers cheque from a sale. Only took a few moments to find out it was OK. This is probably more of a concern to banks and check cashers than the individual but I mention it so small business is aware of it. Most of the people I know and work with in the tax business do take the auto deposit route with their check, so beware is someone brings a check to you for cashing. The safest protection is to ask for several IDs on all check cashing. I have noticed more box stores asking for additional ID for debit cards. Don’t be offended if they ask. It is as much for your protection as it is for the merchant.


One of the concerns for the senior citizen is that with all the gov’t cutbacks there are fewer people to check on abuses. So you need to stay local with your checking. The police and sheriff can’t keep up with all the fake checks or money orders that are floating around. Our regional banks don’t even take the ones we collect, so you are on your own for enforcement. That is where we come in at to tell you yes or no. If you don’t know the party that is calling you to review your finances, don’t meet with themwithout a reference from someone you do know. We can check on anyone that calls you. Takes a few minutes to go online thru agents licensing to find out. Just last week had a salesperson out of Las Vegas through South Dakota calling to review a recent widows papers. Stick with your own attorney or local advisor.. Be sure you set up the necessary papers with your family or financial advisors to help you with your financial affairs. The numbers are staggering - one in five or 7.3 million seniors have experienced this.  Come in to see us for an annual review on your own local finances. Do you want more than one of your heirs to help the remaining spouse conduct business. Does your family know where your stocks and grain investments are located and who do you trade with. If you do it on your own with the web is more difficult for the family to track. We have the help here at TSB.


Remember that you should deal with people in community banks and organizations that when they put something together for you that they will be sitting with them at ball games, church or community events. So, if in doubt give us a call.