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Friday, March 28, 2014

10 things to do this Spring



1)  Get registered for the Domestic Violence Education and Volunteer Training.  Registration begins on April 7 and the training will be held the end of May and first of June. 
2)  Get trained for the BABES, Beginning Awareness Basic Education Studies presentations for K-3rd graders.  You can help finish this school year and be ready for Fall 2014!
3)  We are celebrating Earth Day at the Recycling Center on April 25 and 26, 8:00 a.m. to noon.  You can cash in your aluminum cans and help out Dove! 
4)  Get a small group together and help us with some yard work / landscaping.  We have beautiful garden areas that will need some attention soon!
5)  Donate any children clothing that your family no longer needs to the Dove's Children's Clothing Room. 
6)  This weekend you can dine at Bob Evan's Restaurant and a portion of the ticket will be donated to the MAX, Macon County Assistance eXchange program.
7)  Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.  Send us an email to make sure you get our monthly newsletter.
8) Sign up for the DoveDash in Shelbyville, a 5K fun run or walk.  Supports our Domestic Violence Program.
9) Have an items drive at work or church to support the participants of the Domestic Violence Program.
10)  Check out our web site for additional details on all of these activities and more   www.doveinc.org

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Good Samaritan Experience

Today's Affordable Housing Breakfast was hosted by Good Samaritan Inn, a 365 days a year soup-kitchen serving lunch to about 350+ individuals each day.  Those gathered for this event were asked to take part at breakfast, much in the same way clients would in a few short hours for lunch.  We gathered in a large circle, linking arms for the blessing.  We also got in line with our numbered ticket and received a wonderful breakfast prepared by the cooking crew at GSI and served with the help of a few Homeward Bound staff members.  Great, hot food, served in a respectful way. 


Director Stacey Brohard spoke about the mission of GSI and a new training initiative in cooperation with Richland Community College.  The program is called Mercy Kitchen where trainees learn from the culinary arts instructors at RCC.  The first group of about 15 will begin in May.


Darsonya Switzer, Homeward Bound Program Director shared with participants ways to be come involved in the Homeless Council Continuum of Care Advisory Council and ways to assist agencies providing homelessness issues services.


Hilda Margerum, Homeward Bound Client Services Coordinator share the 2014 Point in Time Survey Results.  A few of the numbers are listed below.  The complete results, and of previous years are listed on Dove's website:  www.doveinc.org




Total Homeless Persons:  255


Total Homeless Households: 170


Total Persons in Shelters/emergency motel vouchers:  114


Total Households in Shelters/emergency motel voucher: 94


Total Persons in Transitional Housing: 75


Total Households in Transitional Housing:  26


Total Persons Unsheltered: 66


Total Households Unsheltered:  50

The next Homeless Council Continuum of Care Advisory Council Meeting will be held on Thursday, May 8, 1:30 p.m. at the Homeward Bound offices, 788 E. Clay Decatur.  There are plenty of opportunities to become involved:  volunteer for an agency, donate needed funds, become involved in planning awareness and educational events and more.

 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Domestic Violence Education and Volunteer Training




Have you noticed all of the domestic violence arrests lately in the newspaper?



Do you see that many of them have a long record of multiple domestic violence arrests?



Now is the perfect time to learn more about domestic violence isses, what causes it and how to help eliminate it in our community. If you were to be called to be a juror and the case was a domestic violence case, do you understand all the dynamics involved in these cases?

Get involved!!



Mark your calendars for our next training. We have a great need for volunteers in our program!! Some of the areas you could be of assistance after completing the required training are answering the hotline, covering the shelter, co-facilitating a support group, filing, assisting with orders of protection, assisting with groups, and more.



Please make every effort in helping us recruit participants for this training. Think about all the groups of people you personally are associated with at work, school, your friends/family, neighborhood, church and any kind of committee or organization you are a part of. Please do your part in spreading the word about this worthwhile training.


Teri Ducy, Domestic Violence Program Director


Registration for the DVEVT begins on April 7.  Training begins on May 19 and ends on June 4.  Please check our web site for addtional information.  www.doveinc.org

Friday, March 7, 2014

From the National Office of TRIAD

Silvia Comfort shares this information from the TRIAD National Office.  Contact Silvia for information about the DeWitt County TRIAD group, 217.935.2241.
 
 

Top 10 Scams Targeting Seniors
Financial scams targeting seniors have become so prevalent that they’re now considered “the crime of the 21st century.”
Why? Because seniors are thought to have a significant amount of money sitting in their accounts.
Financial scams also often go unreported or can be difficult to prosecute, so they’re considered a “low-risk” crime. However, they're devastating to many older adults and can leave them in a very vulnerable position with little time to recoup their losses.
It’s not just wealthy seniors who are targeted. Low-income older adults are also at risk of financial abuse.
And it's not always strangers who perpetrate these crimes. Over 90% of all reported elder abuse is committed by an older person’s own family members, most often their adult children, followed by grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and others.
Review our list below, so you can identify a potential scam.
1. Health Care/Medicare/Health Insurance Fraud
Every U.S. citizen or permanent resident over age 65 qualifies for Medicare, so there is rarely any need for a scam artist to research what private health insurance company older people have in order to scam them out of some money.
In these types of scams, perpetrators may pose as a Medicare representative to get older people to give them their personal information, or they will provide bogus services for elderly people at makeshift mobile clinics, then use the personal information they provide to bill Medicare and pocket the money.
2. Counterfeit Prescription Drugs
Most commonly, counterfeit drug scams operate on the Internet, where seniors increasingly go to find better prices on specialized medications.
This scam is growing in popularity—since 2000, the FDA has investigated an average of 20 such cases per year, up from five a year in the 1990s.
The danger is that besides paying money for something that will not help a person’s medical condition, victims may purchase unsafe substances that can inflict even more harm. This scam can be as hard on the body as it is on the wallet.
3. Funeral & Cemetery Scams
The FBI warns about two types of funeral and cemetery fraud perpetrated on seniors.
In one approach, scammers read obituaries and call or attend the funeral service of a complete stranger to take advantage of the grieving widow or widower. Claiming the deceased had an outstanding debt with them, scammers will try to extort money from relatives to settle the fake debts.
Another tactic of disreputable funeral homes is to capitalize on family members’ unfamiliarity with the considerable cost of funeral services to add unnecessary charges to the bill.
In one common scam of this type, funeral directors will insist that a casket, usually one of the most expensive parts of funeral services, is necessary even when performing a direct cremation, which can be accomplished with a cardboard casket rather than an expensive display or burial casket.
4. Fraudulent Anti-Aging Products
In a society bombarded with images of the young and beautiful, it’s not surprising that some older people feel the need to conceal their age in order to participate more fully in social circles and the workplace. After all, 60 is the new 40, right?
It is in this spirit that many older Americans seek out new treatments and medications to maintain a youthful appearance, putting them at risk of scammers.
Whether it’s fake Botox like the one in Arizona that netted its distributors (who were convicted and jailed in 2006) $1.5 million in barely a year, or completely bogus homeopathic remedies that do absolutely nothing, there is money in the anti-aging business.
Botox scams are particularly unsettling, as renegade labs creating versions of the real thing may still be working with the root ingredient, botulism neurotoxin, which is one of the most toxic substances known to science. A bad batch can have health consequences far beyond wrinkles or drooping neck muscles.
5. Telemarketing
Perhaps the most common scheme is when scammers use fake telemarketing calls to prey on older people, who as a group make twice as many purchases over the phone than the national average.
While the image of the lonely senior citizen with nobody to talk to may have something to do with this, it is far more likely that older people are more familiar with shopping over the phone, and therefore might not be fully aware of the risk.
With no face-to-face interaction, and no paper trail, these scams are incredibly hard to trace. Also, once a successful deal has been made, the buyer’s name is then shared with similar schemers looking for easy targets, sometimes defrauding the same person repeatedly.
Examples of telemarketing fraud include:
“The Pigeon Drop”
The con artist tells the individual that he/she has found a large sum of money and is willing to split it if the person will make a “good faith” payment by withdrawing funds from his/her bank account. Often, a second con artist is involved, posing as a lawyer, banker, or some other trustworthy stranger.
“The Fake Accident Ploy”
The con artist gets the victim to wire or send money on the pretext that the person’s child or another relative is in the hospital and needs the money.
“Charity Scams”
Money is solicited for fake charities. This often occurs after natural disasters.
6. Internet Fraud
While using the Internet is a great skill at any age, the slower speed of adoption among some older people makes them easier targets for automated Internet scams that are ubiquitous on the web and email programs.
Pop-up browser windows simulating virus-scanning software will fool victims into either downloading a fake anti-virus program (at a substantial cost) or an actual virus that will open up whatever information is on the user’s computer to scammers.
Their unfamiliarity with the less visible aspects of browsing the web (firewalls and built-in virus protection, for example) make seniors especially susceptible to such traps.
One example includes:
Email/Phishing Scams
A senior receives email messages that appear to be from a legitimate company or institution, asking them to “update” or “verify” their personal information. A senior receives emails that appear to be from the IRS about a tax refund.
7. Investment Schemes
Because many seniors find themselves planning for retirement and managing their savings once they finish working, a number of investment schemes have been targeted at seniors looking to safeguard their cash for their later years.
From pyramid schemes like Bernie Madoff’s (which counted a number of senior citizens among its victims) to fables of a Nigerian prince looking for a partner to claim inheritance money to complex financial products that many economists don’t even understand, investment schemes have long been a successful way to take advantage of older people.
8. Homeowner/Reverse Mortgage Scams
Scammers like to take advantage of the fact that many people above a certain age own their homes, a valuable asset that increases the potential dollar value of a certain scam.
A particularly elaborate property tax scam in San Diego saw fraudsters sending personalized letters to different properties apparently on behalf of the County Assessor’s Office. The letter, made to look official but displaying only public information, would identify the property’s assessed value and offer the homeowner, for a fee of course, to arrange for a reassessment of the property’s value and therefore the tax burden associated with it.
Closely related, the reverse mortgage scam has mushroomed in recent years. With legitimate reverse mortgages increasing in frequency more than 1,300% between 1999 and 2008, scammers are taking advantage of this new popularity.
As opposed to official refinancing schemes, however, unsecured reverse mortgages can lead property owners to lose their homes when the perpetrators offer money or a free house somewhere else in exchange for the title to the property.
9. Sweepstakes & Lottery Scams
This simple scam is one that many are familiar with, and it capitalizes on the notion that “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
Here, scammers inform their mark that they have won a lottery or sweepstakes of some kind and need to make some sort of payment to unlock the supposed prize. Often, seniors will be sent a check that they can deposit in their bank account, knowing that while it shows up in their account immediately, it will take a few days before the (fake) check is rejected.
During that time, the criminals will quickly collect money for supposed fees or taxes on the prize, which they pocket while the victim has the “prize money” removed from his or her account as soon as the check bounces.
10. The Grandparent Scam
The Grandparent Scam is so simple and so devious because it uses one of older adults’ most reliable assets, their hearts.
Scammers will place a call to an older person and when the mark picks up, they will say something along the lines of: “Hi Grandma, do you know who this is?” When the unsuspecting grandparent guesses the name of the grandchild the scammer most sounds like, the scammer has established a fake identity without having done a lick of background research.
Once “in,” the fake grandchild will usually ask for money to solve some unexpected financial problem (overdue rent, payment for car repairs, etc.), to be paid via Western Union or MoneyGram, which don’t always require identification to collect.
At the same time, the scam artist will beg the grandparent “please don’t tell my parents, they would kill me.”
While the sums from such a scam are likely to be in the hundreds, the very fact that no research is needed makes this a scam that can be perpetrated over and over at very little cost to the scammer.

 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

More about MAX


We at MAX are helping as many people as we can in the Macon County area. In January we were able to help about 120 families with about $3800 in assistance.  This assistance was in the form of dental and clothing vouchers, vision vouchers, bus cards, prescription help, and other specific needs. We are also the local site to check into Warm Neighbors/Cool Friends Program funding for power bill assistance in Macon and DeWitt Counties.
MAX funding comes from a mix of generous churches, individuals, foundations, and corporate grants.MAX would not exist without the support of so many great people and groups and volunteers.

For the month of March you can support MAX by eating at the Bob Evan's Restaurant.  Easy way to support the program! 

Rev. Shane Hartman, MAX Coordinator