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VIEWS: 5 PAGES: 28

									                                                    Ohio Consumer Guide Series
                                                                   Spring 2010


Take Action:
Protect Yourself From Fraud




   Prevent, Protect &
   Take Action Against:
   ■ Financial Exploitation
   ■ Annuity Sales Fraud
   ■ Living Trusts Fraud
   ■ Life Insurance Scams
   ■ Investment Fraud
                                                       Ohio             Department of
                                                                        Insurance

   ■ Reverse Mortgage Scams                        1-800-686-1526
   ■ Medicare Sales Fraud
   ■ Healthcare Fraud                           www.insurance.ohio.gov
   ■ Online Security Threats                     Ted Strickland               Mary Jo Hudson
   ■ Telemarketing Fraud                         Governor                             Director


Publication produced in partnership with the Ohio Department of Aging • Barbara E. Riley, Director
                          hio           Departments of
                                        Insurance and Aging


Mary Jo Hudson                Ted Strickland              Barbara E. Riley
Director, Insurance              Governor                  Director, Aging


Dear Ohioan:

The choices we make as consumers about products such as life insurance,
Medicare supplements and annuities can affect the rest of our lives and are
often irreversible. For many people, these decisions can be intimidating.
They may believe that insurance products and investments are too difficult to
understand, or they may be afraid of making the wrong decision. As a result,
they end up doing nothing or trusting others to keep their best interests in
mind. This is the worst thing a consumer can do.

We encourage all Ohioans to Take Action by learning to protect themselves
from fraud and be wise consumers. Active consumers take the time to learn
about the many different types of investment and planning products available
and determine which are right for them and their situations. They know how
and when they should act to meet age-related deadlines, such as those
related to Medicare. They also are aware of the various types of consumer
fraud and are armed with the knowledge and tools to avoid being “taken.”

Most of all, active, wise consumers are aware of their limits and know where
to turn for help. The State of Ohio is here to help you Take Action and make
informed choices. We have experts who can help you examine your options,
answer your questions and provide information to help you make the best
decisions for your situation. They also can help you if you have been a victim
of consumer fraud.

When you Take Action and become a wise and informed consumer, you not
only improve your life, but you also help put a stop to consumer fraud and
make Ohio a better place to live for everyone.




Mary J H d
M     Jo Hudson,                         Barbara E. Riley
Director                                 Director
Ohio Department of Insurance             Ohio Department of Aging
Why Take Action?
Ohioans are living longer and more active                      Use the resources in this guide to:
lives, which means that we need to make
decisions about our future financial and                        ■ Take action now to find trustworthy
healthcare needs now, not later. We                              insurance and investment agents.
also need to learn to be active, informed                      ■ Explore choices based on what you and
consumers to ensure that we are getting                          your loved ones want and need, so you
the most for our money.                                          can shape your own financial future.
                                                               ■ Ask yourself what you need both now
Often, we face confusing choices about                           and later. Is it life insurance for your
how to invest our money or what insurance                        family? Money to retire? Long-term care
to purchase. In our increasingly connected                       insurance in case you get seriously ill?
world, it has become quite easy to buy                         ■ Help you identify the right financial
the wrong product, or worse, fall victim to                      products, collect important information
financial exploitation or consumer scams.                         and make wise decisions.
                                                               ■ Talk with trusted family members and
This guide introduces you to areas of future                     close friends before signing anything.
planning and consumer issues where it                          ■ Contact State of Ohio agencies for
helps to be informed and cautious - from                         expert information – all for free!
annuities and trusts, to life and health                       ■ Identify financial products, protect
insurance, to online security and more.                          yourself and take action on any fraud.




       Take Action: Be a Wise Consumer
       Why take action?............................................................................. 1
       When should I purchase an annuity? .......................................... 3
       Is a living trust right for me? .................................................. 5
       Do I want a stranger to benefit from my life insurance? ........ 7
       How can I avoid investment schemes? ................................ 9
       When can a reverse mortgage help me?............................. 11
       How can I spot Medicare sales fraud? ................................13
       How can I prevent healthcare fraud? ..................................15
       How can I keep my online information safe? .......................17
       What should I say to telemarketers and spammers? ............19
       Contacts and Resources ......................................................21

       Disclaimer: This publication is intended to serve as a guide and is not a substitute for legal and
       professional advice. Published Spring 2010. Information may change without notice.


                                                       -1-
Identify ~ Seasoned criminals and                    Protect ~ Here are some practical tips
skilled salespeople can gain your trust and          to help protect your money and assets:
mislead you so they can make a profit.
Even family members, caregivers and                  ■ Verify the credentials and backgrounds of
professionals can financially abuse you.                professional agents and companies.
For a scam to be ultimately successful, the          ■ Ask a trusted family member or friend
scammer needs you to make a decision                   for recommendations and to sit in on
that is in his or her favor. When you are              discussions.
able to detect scams, fraud and financial             ■ Ask questions of agents and insist on
exploitation, you can ensure that you                  written materials you can take home and
and your loved ones don’t get swindled.                review.
Whenever you are asked to make a                     ■ Shop around for other offers and estimates
financial decision, ask yourself: Is it in my           before you agree to anything.
best interest?                                       ■ Don’t react to someone who pressures
                                                       you to buy something or sign over your
It may be financial explotation when                    financial affairs.
someone tries to:                                    ■ Be leery of promises of nothing to lose or
                                                       higher than normal returns.
■ Sell you an insurance                                                  ■ Don’t sign anything until
  product you don’t need;                                                you’ve reviewed it and
■ Talk you into buying an                                                completely understand it.
  annuity that’s wrong for                                               ■ Do not give your social
  your age;                                                              security, bank account or
■ Persuade you to                                                        credit card numbers to
  sell your insurance                                                    anyone over the telephone
  policy to buy financial                                                 unless you initiated the
  products that are not in                                               call and trust the other
  your best interest;                                                    party. Never provide this
■ Create policies                                                        information via e-mail or
  and financial products without your                   through an unsecure Web site.
  knowledge;                                         ■ Don’t send money to enter sweepstakes or
■ Use illegal practices to sell you Medicare           contests or claim a prize.
  supplements;                                       ■ Regularly check bank, credit card and loan
■ Get personal information over the phone              statements for anything out of the ordinary.
  to fix your credit or debt;                           Shred credit card receipts and old bank
■ E-mail you about sweepstakes or                      statements.
  contests you didn’t enter;
■ Forge your signature on legal documents            Take Action ~ In this guide, we
  or checks;                                         provide information you can use to identify
■ Use your credit card or ATM card without           and protect yourself from several types of
  your knowledge or permission;                      exploitation. In each section, and at the end
■ Misuse your power of attorney to access            of the guide, there is a list of resources you
  financial accounts; or                              can use to learn more and take action if you
■ Pressure you to change your will or                think you or a loved one has been defrauded
  beneficiaries on certain policies.                  or exploited.



                                               -2-
When should I purchase an annuity?
Identify ~ An annuity is a legal contract              ■ Ask about the premiums and payout
between you and a life insurance company                 schedule to make sure that it is suitable
that differs from most life insurance                    for your financial plan, now and in the
products because you can receive money                   future.
on a regular basis while you’re still alive.           ■ Be wary of someone who overstates how
Usually, people invest in annuities as part of           much money the annuity will make (more
a retirement plan.                                       than seven percent is a red flag).
                                                       ■ Shop and compare with other insurance
In most annuities,                                       companies.
you pay a monthly                                                         ■ If you have an
premium and receive                                                       immediate need for
payments or a lump                                                        cash, be sure to ask
sum when you retire                                                       about surrender fees, tax
or turn 59 ½. Annuities                                                   penalties and how the
can be complex, and                                                       annuity will work if you
there are many kinds,                                                     withdraw money.
including fixed, variable,                                                 ■ Consider whether you
immediate, deferred,                                                      can keep an annuity long
equity-indexed, and so                                                    enough so that fees and
on.                                                                       penalties don’t take too
                                                         much of the money you invest.
Fraud can and does occur with the sale
of annuities to older Ohioans. You can be              Take Action ~ For information about
pressured to buy the wrong kind of annuity,            annuities and to verify that the company
or can be misled into transferring one                 and agent are licensed to sell annuities
annuity to another kind later in life. You             in Ohio, contact the Ohio Department of
may then have to pay a significant penalty              Insurance:
to withdraw the money that funded the
annuity.                                                     1-800-686-1526
                                                             www.insurance.ohio.gov
Protect ~ Ask yourself two questions
before placing your money in an annuity:               Additional information about agents and
                                                       companies is available from the Ohio
1. Do I thoroughly understand this annuity?            Department of Commerce, Division of
2. Am I at an age where I will make money              Securities:
   from this investment?
                                                             1-800-788-1194
Tips for evaluating annuities:                               www.com.ohio.gov

■ Verify the agent or investor’s credentials,          You also may visit the Financial Industry
  as well as the insurance company’s                   Regulatory Authority (FINRA):
  license and rating. Most of this
  information is available from the Ohio                     www.finra.org
  Department of Insurance or the
  Department of Commerce.


                                                 -3-
This worksheet may ask for sensitive information that should be kept private. Please store it in
a safe place and be sure at least one reliable individual knows where it is and is able to access
it if there is an emergency.

 An annuity can be a valuable financial planning tool. To protect yourself
 from fraudulent sales practices, gather the following information.

 About the annuity product:
 What kind of annuity is it? ___________________________________________________
 How much are my premiums? ___________ How often? __________________________
 What is the interest rate? ____________________________________________________
 What is the “guaranteed minimum” rate (if applicable)? _____________________________
 When does the policy reach its maturity date? ___________________________________
 Are you allowed to borrow from the annuity before it reaches maturity? ________________
 What are the surrender fees? ________________________________________________
 What are the tax penalties? __________________________________________________
 Under what circumstances can surrender fees, penalties and other charges be waived?
 ________________________________________________________________________
 What, if any, fixed charges apply? _____________________________________________
 What documentation did you receive regarding the death benefit (if applicable)? ________
 _________________________________________________________________________
 How often can you receive benefit payments? ___________________________________
 How long is the “free look” period after you agree to purchase the annuity? _____________

 About the sales agent:
 Name: ______________________________ Company: ___________________________
 Mailing address: ______________________ Web site: ____________________________
 Phone #: ____________________________ E-mail: ______________________________
 License information: ________________________________________________________
 How much commission does the agent make? ___________________________________
 Is the agent qualified to offer financial planning advice and sell the annuity? ____________
 Have any complaints been filed about the agent (verify with the Ohio Department of Insurance)?
 ________________________________________________________________________
 What types of information were you given about the agent, the company and the products
 offered? _________________________________________________________________
 References: ______________________________________________________________
 ________________________________________________________________________


                                              -4-
Is a living trust right for me?
Identify ~ A living trust helps you                    ■ Call the Better Business Bureau at
legally manage your estate while you’re still            1-800-759-2400 to verify credentials and
alive, streamline the probate court process              contact the Ohio Attorney General’s
and possibly avoid some taxes after your                 Office at 1-800-282-0515 or
death. Since you are the trustee and                     www.SpeakOutOhio.gov to see if any
grantor, you can change your mind about                  complaints have been filed against the
what you’ve decided to put in a living trust             salesperson or the company.
at any time. You also have the option to               ■ Visit the Ohio Department of Insurance
make it permanent. A living trust allows you             at www.insurance.ohio.gov or the
to appoint a trustee to handle the details of            Department of Commerce at
your assets and property if you are unable               www.com.ohio.gov to see if the
to manage your estate for some physical or               individual recommending the trust is a
mental reason.                                           licensed insurance agent or securities
                                                         broker.
Unfortunately, swindlers                                                  ■ Finally, contact your
have targeted people                                                      local bar association to
interested in living trusts                                               verify if the individual
to exploit them. In one                                                   selling trust services
common scam, a person                                                     has been admitted to
will pose as a lawyer or                                                  practice law in Ohio.
estate planner and offer a                                                (While a securities
“free” consultation, after                                                broker or insurance
which the salesperson                                                     agent may recommend
will charge you a high                                                    a living trust, only an
fee to prepare your                                                       attorney can create one.)
trust. The scammer then
encourages you to sell your life insurance             Be cautious of “free lunches,” and never
policy and purchase an annuity, but doesn’t            invite someone pushing trusts into your
tell you about hidden fees and penalties.              home. Ask a trusted friend or legal advisor
These operations, known as “trust mills,”              to look over the trust with you and look out
can be large-scale swindles where sales                for surrender fees and tax payments you
agents use scare tactics and exaggeration              could face if you transfer your assets. You
about probate court and taxes to convince              or a loved one could lose some or all of
you to buy this trust. Often, they target low-         your life savings.
income consumers.
                                                       Take Action ~ If you think you might
Protect ~ Living trusts are legal                      be a victim of a trust mill scam, contact the
arrangements and should be developed                   Ohio Attorney General’s Office:
with or reviewed by an attorney who
specializes in estate planning or elder law.                  1-800-282-0515
                                                              www.SpeakOutOhio.gov
Ask yourself if you can trust the person
preparing your trust:                                  or the Ohio Department of Insurance:

■ Ask about his or her credentials and                        1-800-686-1527
  experience with living trusts.                              www.insurance.ohio.gov

                                                 -5-
This worksheet may ask for sensitive information that should be kept private. Please store it in
a safe place and be sure at least one reliable individual knows where it is and is able to access
it if there is an emergency.

 A living trust can be a valuable estate planning tool. To protect yourself
 from fraudulent sales practices, gather the following information.

 About the person who will prepare your trust:
 Name: ______________________________ Company: ___________________________
 Mailing address: ______________________ Web site: ____________________________
 Phone #: ____________________________ E-mail: ______________________________
 License information: ________________________________________________________
 How much commission does the preparer make? _________________________________
 Is the preparer qualified to practice law in Ohio? (Verify with the State Bar Association.)
 ________________________________________________________________________
 Have any complaints been filed about the preparer? (Verify with the State Bar Association.)
 ________________________________________________________________________
 What types of information were you given about the preparer, the company and the products
 offered? _________________________________________________________________
 References: ______________________________________________________________

 About your sales agent:
 Name: ______________________________ Company: ___________________________
 Mailing address: ______________________ Web site: ____________________________
 Phone #: ____________________________ E-mail: ______________________________
 License information: ________________________________________________________
 How much commission does the agent make? ___________________________________
 Have any complaints been filed about the agent? (Verify with the Ohio Department of
 Insurance.) _______________________________________________________________
 What types of information were provided about the agent, the company and the products
 offered? _________________________________________________________________
 References: ______________________________________________________________

 About the trust:
 What is the fee for the initial consultation? _______________________________________
 What other consultation fees can you expect to pay? ______________________________
 What is the fee for preparing the living trust? _____________________________________
 What other fees may apply (e.g., penalties, taxes, etc.)? ____________________________


                                              -6-
Do I want a stranger to benefit from my life insurance?
Identify ~ If you own a life insurance                 Cautions about life settlements:
policy that you no longer want or need, you
have three options:                                    ■ You will need to provide investors with
                                                         personal data and medical records, as
■ Allow the policy to lapse;                             well as regular updates about your health,
■ Surrender the policy for its cash value; or            which could affect your privacy.
■ Sell the policy or the right to receive the          ■ Life settlements and STOLI transactions
  death benefit to an individual or company.              involve strangers wagering on your death.
                                                         The sooner you die, the more money the
You can sell your policy through a                       investors will make.
transaction known as                                                       ■ Your policy can be sold
a “life settlement” or                                                     or transferred to another
viatical. These are legal                                                  investor at any time,
and are becoming more                                                      so you may not know
common. A life settlement                                                  exactly who will benefit
company will evaluate                                                      from it.
your age, health and                                                       ■ A life settlement
the type of policy you                                                     transaction may affect
own, then will offer you a                                                 your abilty to purchase
lump sum of money that                                                     needed additional life
usually is more than the                                                   insurance in the future.
policy’s cash surrender value. The company             ■ Depending on the circumstances, the
then sells your policy to an investor, who               money you receive from a life settlement
will take over the payment of premiums and               may be considered taxable income.
receive the proceeds of the policy when you            ■ If you participate in a STOLI transaction,
die.                                                     you could face criminal charges.

Stranger originated life insurance (STOLI)             Take Action ~ Before selling your
schemes take advantage of life settlements.            policy or agreeing to let someone fund one
STOLI transactions are designed to                     for you, consult a trusted advisor or contact
“manufacture” life insurance policies for the          the Ohio Department of Insurance:
benefit of investors. Typically, investors will
pay you a fee or provide you with limited-                    1-800-686-1526
time, free premium financing to purchase                       www.insurance.ohio.gov
life insurance you otherwise would not buy.
The investors then pay all of the premiums             If someone approaches you and offers
in exchange for being named beneficiary.                you money so they can take out a policy in
STOLI transactions are illegal in Ohio.                your name, call the Ohio Department of
                                                       Insurance Fraud Hotline:
Protect ~ While a life settlement or
STOLI transaction may seem like an easy                       1-800-686-1527
way to make some extra cash, be wary if
you are approached by someone who offers
to fund a policy for you.



                                                 -7-
This worksheet may ask for sensitive information that should be kept private. Please store it in
a safe place and be sure at least one reliable individual knows where it is and is able to access
it if there is an emergency.

 There are legitimate reasons you may want to sell your life insurance
 policy to another person or company, but you need to be sure that such
 an arrangement doesn’t benefit them more than it benefits you.

 About your policy:
 What kind of life insurance do you have (e.g., term or whole)? _______________________
 Who sold you the policy (agent/company)? ______________________________________
 Phone #: ____________________________ E-mail: ______________________________
 How much is the policy worth? ________________________________________________
 How much are your premiums? ___________ How often? __________________________
 Who is your beneficiary? ___________________________________________________
 Do you need to request permission to sell your policy? __________________________

 About the deal:
 If you sell this policy, how much cash will you receive? ___________ When? ___________
 Will you have to report the cash settlement as income for tax purposes? ____________
 Can creditors gain access to the funds you receive in a cash settlement? ____________
 How will this income affect your tax status and eligibility for Medicaid or public assistance?
 ______________________________________________________________________

 About the person buying your policy:
 Name: ______________________________ Company: ___________________________
 Mailing address: ______________________ Web site: ____________________________
 Phone #: ____________________________ E-mail: ______________________________
 Insurance license information: ________________________________________________
 How much commission will the agent make? ___________________________________
 Have any complaints been filed about the agent? (Verify with the Ohio Department of
 Insurance.) _______________________________________________________________
 What types of information were provided about the agent, the company and the products
 offered? _________________________________________________________________
 References: ______________________________________________________________
 ________________________________________________________________________
 ________________________________________________________________________


                                              -8-
How can I avoid investment schemes?
Identify ~ Some people make a                           Protect ~ Some cautions about
science out of stealing other people’s                  investment schemes:
money. These criminals look and sound
good, and their offers appear even better.              ■ Never give anyone control of your
Successful con artists sound and look                     money just because you think you are
extremely professional and have the ability               too financially inexperienced to invest it
to make even the flimsiest investment deal                 yourself.
appear as safe as putting money in the                  ■ Call on trusted family members or friends
bank. But always, the con artist’s goal is to             for help, or seek the assistance of a
increase his or her own profits, not yours.                reputable advisor.
                                                        ■ Give yourself time to review and carefully
In a Ponzi scheme, early                                  consider any investment offer.
investors can receive                                                      ■ Say “no” to anybody
large returns paid                                                         who presses you to make
from the funds of later                                                    an immediate decision.
investors. This structure                                                  An investment that is right
gives the first investors                                                   for you will make sense
confidence in the deal                                                      because you understand
and motivates others to                                                    it and feel comfortable
invest.                                                                    with the risk involved.
                                                                           ■ Generally, if you
In a pyramid scheme, the                                                   are promised high,
investor is encouraged                                                     guaranteed profits and
to get others to join the                                                  are given no written
deal. The more people                                                      explanation concerning
you get “under” you, the                                                   the investment vehicle,
further “up” the pyramid                                                   be careful.
you climb and the more money, in theory,                ■ If you choose to join an investment deal,
you can earn. You may be required to sell                 monitor your funds closely and insist on
a product to make the deal legal, but sales               regular written reports.
are always less important than getting                  ■ Look for signs of excessive or
others to join the network. Often, money is               unauthorized trading of your funds and
sent from new investors back to the original              be wary if the agent stalls you when you
schemers.                                                 want to pull out your principal or profits.

Con artists target vulnerable people – those            Take Action ~ Don’t let
experiencing illness, the recent death of               embarrassment or fear keep you from
a loved one, declining health or old age.               reporting potential investment fraud or
Often, they offer to do all of the work for you         abuse. If you feel you or a loved one
and promise that you just have to sit back              have been the victim of an investment
and wait for the money to roll in. They work            scam, contact the Ohio Department of
hard to earn your trust, then use that sense            Commerce, Division of Securities:
of trust and guilt against you when you start
to question the situation. Most often, these                   1-800-788-1194
schemes are unsustainable and eventually                       www.com.ohio.gov
collapse, hurting everyone involved.

                                                  -9-
This worksheet may ask for sensitive information that should be kept private. Please store it in
a safe place and be sure at least one reliable individual knows where it is and is able to access
it if there is an emergency.

 To determine how legitimate or risky an investment opportunity may be,
 gather as much information about it and take your time to understand it
 fully before you agree to anything.

 About the investment:
 What kind of investment is it? ________________________________________________
 What is the average return on investment? (Beware if it seems too high.) ______________
 What types of documentation were provided about the investment? ___________________
 _______________________________________________________________________
 How regularly can you monitor your investment? _________________________________
 What types of reporting are provided about the investment and how often? ____________
 _______________________________________________________________________
 What kinds of products, if any, must you sell to participate? _______________________
 _______________________________________________________________________
 What authorization is required for the agent to trade your funds? ____________________
 _______________________________________________________________________
 When must you make your decision to invest? (Beware if the agent does not want to give
 you plenty of time.) ________________________________________________________

 About the sales agent/broker:
 Name: ______________________________ Company: ___________________________
 Mailing address: ______________________ Web site: ____________________________
 Phone #: ____________________________ E-mail: ______________________________
 License information: ________________________________________________________
 How much commission does the agent make? ___________________________________
 Have any complaints been filed about the agent/broker? (Verify with the Ohio Department
 of Insurance or the Ohio Department of Commerce/Securities Division.) _______________
 _________________________________________________________
 What types of information were you given about the agent, the company and the products
 offered? _________________________________________________________________
 References: ______________________________________________________________
 ________________________________________________________________________
 ________________________________________________________________________



                                              - 10 -
When can a reverse mortgage help me?
Identify ~ A reverse mortgage lets                         ■ Reverse mortgage counseling is required
homeowners age 62 or older borrow                            - be wary of anyone who tells you this
against their home’s equity for ready cash.                  can be done quickly over the phone.
A lender can give you a lump sum, pay you                  ■ Income from a reverse mortgage may
monthly or give you access to a credit line.                 negatively affect your Medicaid eligibility
The amount you may borrow depends upon                       as you age, and the interest on the loan
your age, the current interest rate,                                is not tax deductible until the loan
and your home’s appraised value                                     is paid.
or the Federal Housing Authority                                    ■ Be wary of anyone who says
(FHA) mortgage limits for your                                      you have to buy other financial
area, whichever is less.                                            products with your reverse
                                                                    mortgage, such as estate
Benefits of a reverse mortgage                                       planning, living trusts, home
include:                                                            improvement services, long-term
                                                                    care insurance, annuities or other
■ You can use the money for                                         investments.
  whatever you want.                                                ■ Several federal entities offer
■ Your credit scores and income                                     reverse mortgages, but be aware
  are not considered.                                               that some scammers pose as
■ Income from a reverse                                             government agents or non-profit
  mortgage doesn’t affect your Social                        volunteers in order to dishonestly take
  Security or Medicare benefits.                              your money.
■ You have no monthly payments as long
  as you live in the home (but you still                   Take Action ~ General information,
  are required to pay your property taxes,                 links to lenders and calculators to determine
  insurance and utilities).                                if a reverse mortgage is right for you are
                                                           available from the U.S. Department of
When you die, sell the home or move away,                  Housing and Urban Development (HUD):
the mortgage must be paid in full, including
all interest, fees, liens and other charges.                      www.hud.gov
The lender will recoup its costs usually
through the sale of the home, and your                     To find a reverse mortgage counselor
heirs get the remaining equity, if any.                    near you, call AARP’s national reverse
                                                           mortgage hotline:
Reverse mortgages are not for everyone.
Check with your family, financial advisor                          1-800-209-8085
and attorney to see if this option is right for
you.                                                       If you feel a lender is inappropriately urging
                                                           you to obtain a reverse mortgage, contact
Protect ~ Beware of these reverse                          HUD’s Office of the Inspector General:
mortgage pitfalls:
                                                                  1-800-347-3735
■ Don’t pay for reverse mortgage
  information that is available for free
  online.



                                                  - 11 -
This worksheet may ask for sensitive information that should be kept private. Please store it in
a safe place and be sure at least one reliable individual knows where it is and is able to access
it if there is an emergency.

 The decision to take out a reverse mortgage on your home should not
 be taken lightly. Collect the following information and talk to your lender
 about whether this option is right for you.

 Reverse Mortgage Calculator:
 AARP offers an online tool, available at www.aarp.org/money/personal/reverse_mortgages/
 to estimate how much you may receive from a reverse mortgage (also known as a Home
 Equity Conversion Mortgage, or HECM). To use the calculator, you will need:

 Your 5-digit Zip code: __________________ Estimated value of your home: ___________
 Your birth date (mm/dd/yyyy): ____________ Co-owner’s birth date (mm/dd/yyyy): _______

 Estimated income
 The calculator will give you the estimated maximum amounts you can receive based on
 different payout and interest options available. Record the results of the calculator here:

   Payment option          Monthly adjustable          Fixed interest       Annual
                           interest                                         adjustable interest
   Lump sum
   Line of credit
   Monthly loan advance
 When you take out a reverse mortgage, the amount of any debt you currently owe on the
 home will be subtracted in a lump sum from the total amount available. Record any existing
 debt on the home here:
 Amount: _____________________________ Type of Debt: _________________________

 Impact on heirs
 After you take out a reverse mortgage, you will have less equity in the home the longer
 you live there. If you wish to leave your heirs an inheritance, answer these questions:
 How many years do you expect to remain in your home? ________________________
 How much money do you estimate you need to meet basic expenses per year? ________
 What is your estimated annual income from other sources (work, pension, social security,
 etc.)? ___________________________________________________________________
 Subtract other sources of income from expenses: _________________________________
 This is the estimated amount of your annual reverse mortgage income you may need to meet
 annual living expenses, and thus will not be available to pay off your mortgage when you
 leave your home.



                                              - 12 -
How can I spot Medicare sales fraud?
Identify ~ Medicare is a government                       your coverage. Plan details, including
health insurance program for people age                   premium rates, deductibles, providers, drugs
65 or older and, in some cases, younger                   covered, change from year to year.
adults with disabilities. Traditional Medicare
is offered by the federal government,                     When you receive your open enrollment
but you can purchase supplements and                      information from Medicare and insurance
bundled plans, called Medicare Advantage,                 companies:
from private insurance carriers. Under a
Medicare Advantage plan, you submit your                  ■ Call the Ohio Senior Health Insurance
claims through an insurance company, not                    Information Program (OSHIIP) at
Medicare.                                                   1-800-686-1578 for assistance.
                                                          ■ Pay attention to how changes will affect
Insurance agents may try to use negative                    your current coverage.
sales practices to get you to buy their                   ■ Ask if enrolling in private insurance could
coverage.                                                   jeopardize your retirement benefits.
                                                          ■ Never sign anything on the same day as
Questionable                                                                   the sales presentation.
practices include:                                                             ■ Request information in
                                                                               writing about each plan
■ Removing you from                                                            you are considering and
  Original Medicare                                                            take the time to review it.
  without your                                                                 ■ Ask family members and
  knowledge;                                                                   trusted friends to review
■ Enrolling you in a                                                           your choices.
  plan you can’t afford;                                                       ■ Verify that your
  and                                                                          healthcare providers
■ Falsely telling you                                                          accept the plan you are
  that your doctor or                                                          considering.
  hospital accepts their                                                       ■ Determine if your drugs
  plan.                                                                        will be covered.

Protect ~ When selling Medicare                           Take Action ~ For information about
products, agents legally cannot:                          Medicare, call the Ohio Senior Health
                                                          Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP):
■ Use high-pressure sales tactics;
■ Sell policies door-to-door or send                             1-800-686-1578
  unsolicited e-mails;
■ Collect your contact information unless                 Or, visit the official Medicare Web site:
  they have your permission;
■ Enroll you at a health fair or event; or                       www.medicare.gov
■ Sell any other product, such as life
  insurance, at the time of the sale.                     Report agents who use negative sales tactics
                                                          to the Ohio Department of Insurance
Use the annual open enrollment period,                    enforcement hotline:
Nov. 15 to Dec. 31, to review and update
                                                                 1-800-686-1527

                                                 - 13 -
This worksheet may ask for sensitive information that should be kept private. Please store it in
a safe place and be sure at least one reliable individual knows where it is and is able to access
it if there is an emergency.

 Whether you are selecting a Medicare coverage plan for the first time
 or considering changing to a different plan, you need to know how it
 addresses your current needs.
 About your needs:
 List all conditions for which you are being treated (attach additional information):
 ________________________________________________________________________
 List all prescription medicines you currently take (attach additional information):
   Drug name                      Dosage               Frequency            Current price
                                                                            (estimate)




 Compare plans
  Questions to ask yourself                                   Current coverage     Potential
                                                              (if pp
                                                              ( applicable)
                                                                          )        plan
                                                                                   p
   Which of your conditions/ongoing treatments does
   the plan cover?
   How much are premiums and deductibles?
   Which of your current doctors/hospitals/pharmacies
   are included?
   Which of your prescription drugs are covered under
   the plan’s formulary (drug list)?


 About the sales agent:
 Name: ______________________________ Company: ___________________________
 Mailing address: ______________________ Web site: ____________________________
 Phone #: ____________________________ E-mail: ______________________________
 License information: ________________________________________________________
 How much commission does the agent make? ___________________________________
 Have any complaints been filed about the agent? (Verify with the Ohio Department of
 Insurance.) _______________________________________________________________
 What types of information were you given about the agent, the company and the products
 offered? _________________________________________________________________
 References: ______________________________________________________________


                                              - 14 -
How can I prevent healthcare fraud?
Identify ~ Even in the healthcare                      ■ Carefully review every insurance
industry, mistakes happen. When mistakes                 statement, Medicare Summary Notice and
are deliberate or they are not resolved to               Part D Explanation of Benefits and look for
the consumer’s or the payer’s satisfaction,              things that may indicate mistakes or fraud.
it could indicate healthcare fraud. In
Medicare alone, healthcare fraud costs                 Take Action ~ If you suspect fraud,
consumers an estimated $60 billion each                address any issues with your provider and
year, but it also affects private insurers             insurance company first.
and consumers who pay their own medical
expenses.                                                            If you are uncomfortable
                                                                     calling your provider or
Healthcare fraud comes in                                            they are unable to address
many forms, including:                                               your concerns, and you
                                                                     are on Medicare, contact
■ Billing for services that                                          the Ohio Senior Medicare
  were not provided or                                               Patrol (SMP), provided by
  equipment that was not                                             ProSeniors, Inc.:
  received;
■ Over-billing or billing                                                  1-800-488-6070
  multiple payers for the
  same expense;                                                      You also can volunteer to be
■ “Unbundling” related                                               a part of the SMP and help
  services so they can be                                            others fight Medicare fraud.
  billed separately at higher rates;
■ Misrepresenting medical or drug                      If you suspect fraud and are not on Medicare,
  discount cards as insurance plans; and               call the Ohio Department of Insurance
■ Selling plans or association                         Fraud Hotline:
  memberships that offer little or no
  coverage.                                                  1-800-686-1527

Protect ~ To help prevent fraud:                       The Office of the State Long-term Care
                                                       Ombudsman can help consumers address
■ Treat your insurance information and                 concerns about long-term care providers:
  Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security
  numbers like you would a credit card or                    1-800-282-1206
  bank account number - never give them
  to a stranger.                                       Get answers to basic Medicare questions
■ Carry your insurance card with you only              and help selecting coverage that best fits
  when you need it, such as to doctors’                your needs by contacting the Ohio Senior
  offices, the hospital or the pharmacy.               Health Insurance Information Program
■ Record all your doctor visits, tests and             (OSHIIP):
  procedures in a journal or on a calendar.
                                                             1-800-686-1578




                                              - 15 -
This worksheet may ask for sensitive information that should be kept private. Please store it in
a safe place and be sure at least one reliable individual knows where it is and is able to access
it if there is an emergency.

 To report suspected healthcare fraud, you will need to provide basic
 information about your healthcare coverage and the suspected fraud.

 About your healthcare coverage:
 How do you pay for healthcare services?
    Private pay         Private insurance - company: _________________________________
    Original Medicare           Medicare Advantage - company: _________________________
 Your Medicare or member ID number: __________________________________________
 Does your plan include prescription drug coverage? _______________________________


 About the suspected fraud:
 Individual or company suspected: ______________________________________________
 Mailing address: ______________________ Web site: ____________________________
 Phone #: ____________________________ E-mail: ______________________________
 What type of entity is this?         Provider            Insurance company      Individual
    Other: _________________________________________________________________
 Did you have an existing relationship with this party prior to this incident?
 What, if any, other health insurance plan(s) were involved with or billed for this transaction?
 ____________________________________________________________________
 What type of fraud do you suspect?
    Billing for services or products not received             Over-billing
    Un-bundling of services           Discounts represented as insurance
    Plan or membership with little or no coverage              Other: ______________________
 Claim number (if applicable): __________________ Billing date (if applicable): __________
 What, if any, payments have you made? __________________                How much? __________
 Did you pay by credit card, check or cash? ______________________________________
 Describe why you suspect fraud: ______________________________________________
 ________________________________________________________________________
 _____________________________________________________________________
 Did you contact the party for resolution? _________ When? ________________________
 What was the result? ________________________________________________________
 __________________________________________________________________________


                                                 - 16 -
How can I keep my online information safe?
Identify ~ Computers help make your                    Tips for keeping your information safe:
life easier and more manageable. They allow
you to shop, do your banking, manage your              ■ Do not open e-mail attachments you
investments and keep in contact with family              weren’t expecting.
and friends. But we all need to keep our               ■ Be wary of unsolicited e-mails asking for
computers safe and our personal information              your personal information.
secure.                                                ■ Be cautious about clicking on links in
                                                         e-mails. Type in the address yourself.
Online threats come in many forms…from                 ■ Do not respond to requests for personal
a virus that can corrupt your data and ruin              or financial information via e-mail.
your computer to theft of your personal
information. All too often, this goes on               Take Action ~ If you feel someone
without your knowledge with few, if any, signs         has accessed or is trying to access your
that anything is wrong.                                financial information via your computer
                                                       or Web sites:
Clues that someone may be trying to
access your computer:                                  ■ Contact your bank or financial institution
                                                         immediately.
■ Your computer runs slower than it once did.          ■ Close any accounts that may have been
■ You receive many pop-up windows or are                 compromised.
  directed to a different Web site than the            ■ Watch for unexplained transactions on
  one you entered.                                                      open accounts.
■ Your browser’s home                                                   ■ Change your
  page changes.                                                         passwords.
■ You receive an e-mail
  asking for personal                                                    If you think you are
  information.                                                           a target of Internet
■ Your online accounts                                                   fraud, file a report
  show activity you did                                                  with your local law
  not authorize.                                                         enforcement agency
                                                                         and file a complaint
Protect ~ Establish                                                      with the Federal Trade
a strong password for                                                    Commission:
your computer and any
online sites you access                                                    www.ftc.gov
and install security
software, including                                                      If you think you are
antivirus software,                                                      a victim of a hacking
a firewall program,                                                       attack or other computer
privacy controls,                                                        crime, file a complaint
spyware scanner and                                                      with the Internet Crime
data backup. Security                                                    Complaint Center:
software can cost $50 or
more a year, but it’s well                                                 www.ic3.gov
worth the money to have
it and keep it updated.

                                              - 17 -
This worksheet may ask for sensitive information that should be kept private. Please store it in
a safe place and be sure at least one reliable individual knows where it is and is able to access
it if there is an emergency.

 In an increasingly connected world, it is up to each of us to adequately
 safeguard valuable personal information. Start by knowing and
 documenting what you are doing to make your computer and online
 accounts secure.
 Computer security software:
 ■ Antivirus program: ___________________ Version number: _______________________
 Manufacturer: ________________________ Web site: ____________________________
 Account login (if applicable): _____________ Account password (if applicable): _________
 Date subscription expires (if applicable): _______________________________________
 ■ Firewall program: ___________________ Version number: ______________________
 Manufacturer: ________________________ Web site: ____________________________
 Account login (if applicable): ______________ Account password (if applicable): __________
 Date subscription expires (if applicable): ________________________________________
 ■ Spyware/Adware program: _____________ Version number: ______________________
 Manufacturer: ________________________ Web site: ____________________________
 Account login (if applicable): ___________      Account password (if applicable): _________
 Date subscription expires (if applicable): _______________________________________
 ■ Data backup service: _________________ Version number: ______________________
 Manufacturer: ________________________ Web site: ____________________________
 Account login (if applicable): ___________      Account password (if applicable): _________
 Date subscription expires (if applicable): _______________________________________
 Password Security
 Record the login information for your computer and the financial sites you use most often.

                           Web address                 User/login name      Password
   Computer
   Bank
   Medical Insurance
   Life insurance
   Retirement/pension
   Investment site
   Tax preparation
   Other site

                                              - 18 -
What should I say to telemarketers and spammers?
Identify ~ Most Ohioans have some                        communication with friends and family,
experience dealing with annoying phone                   and one for public activities, such as social
calls and spam e-mails that offer prizes,                networking sites.
low-cost vitamins, cheap vacations and
more. A significant number of telemarketing               Be your own telemarketing and spam
calls and nearly all spam e-mails are likely             advocate:
scams. Dishonest telemarketers and
spammers target people they believe will                 ■ Ask for the caller’s name and number,
most likely fall for their schemes, and many               as well as the company he or she
direct the majority of their calls and spams               represents, then look up the company
at older adults.                                           in the white or yellow pages, or online.
                                                           Call the company’s general customer
Potential telemarketing and                                            service line to verify the call is
spam fraud includes:                                                   legitimate.
                                                                       ■ Contact the Better Business
■ The caller or sender claims                                          Bureau, the Ohio Attorney
  you must act now or the offer                                        General’s Office and other
  won’t be good, says you were                                         watchdog groups to see if a
  selected for a special offer not                                     company or organization is
  available to other consumers,                                        trustworthy.
  or asks for immediate                                                ■ Don’t give personal
  payment.                                                             information over the phone
■ The caller or sender tries to                                        unless you initiated the call and
  pressure you into giving out                                         know you can trust the person
  personal information.                                                on the other end. Never give
■ The caller or sender claims to be                        credit card numbers, bank information or
  associated with well-known companies or                  social security numbers via e-mail.
  organizations, but can’t back it up.                   ■ If a caller or e-mail says you won a
■ The caller says you have won a                           contest or sweepstakes, request full
  sweepstakes or contest and asks you to                   details in writing before you agree to
  pay handling charges, services fees or                   anything.
  any other kind of charges up front to claim            ■ If the telemarketer won’t take “no” for
  your winnings.                                           an answer, hang up. This isn’t rude, it’s
                                                           being a wise consumer.
Protect ~ To reduce telemarketing calls
on your home or cell phone, contact the                  Take Action ~ If you suspect
national Do Not Call Registry at                         telemarketing fraud, register a complaint
1-888-382-1222. You also may register                    with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office:
online at www.donotcall.gov.
                                                                1-800-282-0515
Ask your e-mail provider about products                         www.SpeakOutOhio.gov
and services that can reduce the amount
of spam you receive. Consider using more                 Contact your local law enforcement agency
than one e-mail address: one for private                 if you have lost money to telemarketing or
                                                         e-mail fraud.


                                                - 19 -
This worksheet may ask for sensitive information that should be kept private. Please store it in a
safe place and be sure at least one reliable individual knows where it is and is able to access it
if there is an emergency.

 Telemarketers and spam can be annoying, but a lot of legitimate business
 is conducted over the phone and online. To help tell the good offers from
 the bad, record information about who can contact you and how.

 Do Not Call Registry
 Register with the National Do Not Call Registry to reduce the number of telemarketing calls
 you receive. You can register by phone by calling 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you wish
 to register or by visiting www.donotcall.gov. Record your registration information here.
   Phone number            Description (e.g., “Mom’s cell”)                  Registration date




 Verify the caller:
 When you get a telemarketing call, gather the following information to ensure the caller and
 the offer are legitimate.
 Name: ______________________________ Company/organization: __________________
 Mailing address: ______________________ Web site: _____________________________
 Phone #: ____________________________ E-mail: _______________________________
 Date of call: __________________________ Time of call: ___________________________
 Purpose of call (e.g., sell a product, solicit donations): _______________________________
 Price/amount requested: _____________________________________________________
 Additional charges (e.g., shipping, sales tax): _____________________________________
 Tell the caller you will call back. Verify the information above in the yellow or white pages or
 through the Attorney General’s Office or Better Business Bureau. If the caller will not provide
 this information, end the call.

 Spam Protection:
 If you have spam blocker software installed on your computer or provided by your e-mail
 service, record that information here:
 Program name: _______________________ Version number: ________________________
 Manufacturer: ________________________ Web site: _____________________________
 Account login (if applicable): _____________ Account password (if applicable): __________
 Date subscription expires (if applicable): _________________________________________
 E-mail address(es) protected: _________________________________________________


                                              - 20 -
                          Contacts and Resources
State Resources                                      Ohio Department of Job and Family
                                                     Services
Attorney General’s Office                             Adult Protective Services
Consumer Protection Division                            Your county’s Department of Job and
   This office accepts complaints from                   Family Services investigates and
   consumers and takes action against                   evaluates all reports of suspected
   fraudulent practices.                                abuse, neglect and exploitation of adults
1-800-282-0515 SpeakOutOhio.gov                         age 60 and older.
                                                     1-877-852-0010                jfs.ohio.gov
Better Business Bureau
   Your regional BBB office can provide               Ohio Senior Medicare Patrol
   reviews of companies and agents doing                This service, provided by Pro Seniors,
   business in your community.                          Inc., helps Ohioans identify and fight
1-800-759-2400                   bbb.org                Medicare fraud.
                                                     1-800-488-6070           proseniors.org
Office of the State Long-term Care
Ombudsman                                            Ohio State Bar Association
   Ombudsmen help consumers address                  Public Resources Section
   concerns about long-term care                        This organization can help you find legal
   providers.                                           assistance and verify the credentials of
1-800-282-1206          aging.ohio.gov                  an attorney.
                                                     1-800-282-6556                ohiobar.org
Ohio Department of Aging
Area Agencies on Aging
   Your local agency guides people age               National Resources
   60 or older and their caregivers to
   community resources and supports.                 Federal Trade Commission
1-866-243-5678            aging.ohio.gov             Identity Theft Center
                                                        This national consumer agency provides
Ohio Department of Commerce                             resources to help you deter, detect and
Division of Securities                                  defend against identity theft.
   This division receives complaints and             1-877-438-4338            ftc.gov/idtheft/
   gives advice about securities and
   investment fraud.                                 Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
1-877 N Vest 411            com.ohio.gov             (FINRA)
                                                        The largest independent securities
Ohio Department of Insurance                            regulator in the U.S. provides
   This department regulates the insurance              information about investments and
   industry and assists with questions and              investor protection.
   complaints about insurance issues,                1-800-289-9999                    finra.org
   companies and agents.
Consumer hotline: 1-800-686-1526
Fraud hotline:      1-800-686-1527
Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information
Program:                 1-800-686-1578
                    insurance.ohio.gov

                                             - 21-
National Resources (continued)                            Use the space below to record contacts that
                                                          you can use to make informed decisions
Housing and Urban Development (HUD)                       about consumer issues.
Home Equity Conversion Mortgages for
Seniors (HECM)                                            Spouse/Significant Other
   HUD offers reverse mortgage and other                  Name: _____________________________
   housing information.
1-800-225-5342                 hud.gov                    Phone: _____________________________
                                                          E-mail: _____________________________
Internet Crime Complaint Center
    This partnership of national investigative            Family contact or next of kin
    agencies accepts complaints about                     Name: _____________________________
    potential online crimes.
                                                          Phone: _____________________________
                                     Ic3.gov
                                                          E-mail: _____________________________
National Do Not Call Registry
   This national service helps you reduce                 Trusted friend
   unwanted telemarketing calls.
                                                          Name: _____________________________
1-888-382-1222             donotcall.gov
                                                          Phone: _____________________________
Free Credit Reports                                       E-mail: _____________________________
   This Web site allows you to access your
   credit reports from each of the three                  Insurance agent
   national credit reporting agencies at no
   cost.                                                  Name: _____________________________
               annualcreditreport.com                     Phone: _____________________________
                                                          E-mail: _____________________________
Medicare
   This resource for the national health
   insurance program for older adults and                 Lawyer
   those with disabilities gives information              Name: _____________________________
   about coverage options, prices and                     Phone: _____________________________
   terms, and allows you to compare plans.
1-800-633-4227               medicare.gov                 E-mail: _____________________________

                                                          Accountant
                                                          Name: _____________________________
                                                          Phone: _____________________________
                                                          E-mail: _____________________________

                                                          Banker
                                                          Name: _____________________________
                                                          Phone: _____________________________
                                                          E-mail: _____________________________

                                                 - 22 -
                      Contacts and Resources
Financial planner                                Employer
Name: _____________________________              Name: _____________________________
Phone: _____________________________             Phone: _____________________________
E-mail: _____________________________            E-mail: _____________________________

Clergy                                           Retirement/pension fund
Name: _____________________________              Name: _____________________________
Phone: _____________________________             Phone: _____________________________
E-mail: _____________________________            E-mail: _____________________________

Doctor 1                                         Local bar association
Name: _____________________________              Name: _____________________________
Phone: _____________________________             Phone: _____________________________
E-mail: _____________________________            E-mail: _____________________________

Doctor 2                                         Local law enforcement
Name: _____________________________              Name: _____________________________
Phone: _____________________________             Phone: _____________________________
E-mail: _____________________________            E-mail: _____________________________

Pharmacist
                                                 Tax preparer
Name: _____________________________
                                                 Name: _____________________________
Phone: _____________________________
                                                 Phone: _____________________________
E-mail: _____________________________
                                                 E-mail: _____________________________

Person with power of attorney
                                                 Internet service provider
Name: _____________________________
                                                 Name: _____________________________
Phone: _____________________________
                                                 Phone: _____________________________
E-mail: _____________________________
                                                 E-mail: _____________________________

Person with durable power of                     Executor of will
attorney
                                                 Name: _____________________________
Name: _____________________________
                                                 Phone: _____________________________
Phone: _____________________________
                                                 E-mail: _____________________________
E-mail: _____________________________




                                        - 23 -
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                                   - 24 -
                                 Notes

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                                   - 25 -
Take action online...




 www.takeaction.ohio.gov
           ■ Get copies of this publication.
                     ■ Read fraud updates.
  ■ Learn about workshops for older Ohioans.
                  ■ Share success stories.
■ Connect with others about consumer protection.
  The Ohio Department of Insurance is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
           Total Quantities Printed: 50,000 Unit Cost: $.193 Publication Date: 3/10

								
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