Ann's Choice
 Ann's Choice 

Today's Activities  

7:00 pm  Keystone Sing-a-

             Long, Lounge

On Thursday, October 18, the Fitness & Aquatic center will be closed from 11 am 4 pm to upgrade the lighting system.Wellness


If you wish to complete the Holleran survey on-line, click here, and you must enter the password.

You can now take a look at the new MyErickson web site for Ann's Choice in its early stages.  Click here, then Sign On As Guest, then click on Ann's Choice, and you can move around.  Remember, some things are still being built.

Getting close at Chestnut Pointe  - click on the image.


Ivy Glen carpet information.

Check Here

If you liked Elvis Presley back in the day, click here.  We also got a letter from a new resident.  Take a look - scroll down a bit below the Elvis article.


Rocker/recliner, Never used Vera Bradley garment bag, Never used CD/DVD cases, lift chair, health meter. Car, Towle ornaments. Used Car wanted.     BUY/SELL

Want to laugh today?  You had only one job and best friends. church poster, pics of animals in tight spaces, sayings and cartoons.  

Humor to enjoy








Fraud Alert 






April 2018



Jury Duty No-Show 




The "jury duty" scam has returned to Bucks County once again. Several residents have reported to the Bucks County Court Administration Office that they have received phone calls claiming that the resident had failed to show up or report for jury duty.                      


The would - be victim of this call may be caught off guard and reply that they had never received notice to serve on jury duty. The scammer may then try to convince him/her that they need to verify information such as Social Security numbers, birthdates and bank account information. They may also tell them that they will be fined and that payment must be sent right away or the fine could go up significantly.


Don't become a victim of this scam.


Bucks County Consumer Protection and the Bucks County Crimes Against Older Adults Task Force staff want you to know that there are many variations of this scam but, basically, you receive a telephone call from someone posing as law enforcement officials, members of the U.S. Marshals Service, bailiffs or court clerks. They tell you that you have failed to appear for jury duty or answer a court summons, and that there is an active warrant out for your arrest.


You may see that on your caller ID this call's number show as originating from a courthouse or police department as these scammers use "spoofers" to alter the real number they are calling from.

Scammers may put further pressure by mentioning the names of actual officers, court representatives or town officials. Their aim is to get the victim to pay a "fine," and divulge personal information.


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns:

If a fake Marshal - or any other government imposter - calls and tells you to send money to avoid arrest:


  • Don't send money by prepaid card and do not wire money. Wiring money is like sending cash. You usually cannot reverse or trace the transaction.
  • Don't share your financial or personal information. Scammers can use your information to commit identity theft. 
  • Don't trust a name or number that appears on your phone. Scammers can fake caller ID information.

If you received a call like this, please report it to the FTC at or call 1-877-FTC-HELP.



Using your new Medicare card

Once you get your new Medicare card in the mail, you can start using it right away!  Here are 3 things to do when your new card arrives:

  1. Carry your new Medicare card with you. Your doctors and health care providers know it’s coming and will ask for your new Medicare card when you need care.
  2. Destroy your old Medicare card. No need to hold onto it — it’s time to say goodbye!
  3. Keep your Medicare Advantage Plan card. If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan, like an HMO or PPO, keep using your Medicare Advantage Plan ID card whenever you need care. However, you should also carry your new Medicare card — you may be asked to show it.

You might have noticed your new Medicare card looks a little different, but rest assured your Medicare coverage and benefits will stay the same. Visit to learn more about your new Medicare card.

Note: If you also have a Medicare drug plan card, keep that, too!


The Medicare Team



(Not) Fraud Alert - American Community Survey



We have received a few telephone calls with concerns relating to a survey mailing sent out by the Census Bureau. As it gets increasingly difficult to sort out what U.S. mail is legitimate and which are scams, we share with you the following as it relates to this particular mailing.

Is "The American Community Survey" a legitimate survey conducted by the Census Bureau?

Yes it is.

  • Every year, the U.S. Census Bureau contacts over 3.5 million households across the country to participate in the American Community Survey. When you respond to the survey, you are doing your part to ensure decisions about your community can be made using the best data available.
  • Unlike the every-10-year census, this survey continues all year, every year. They randomly sample addresses in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
  • Answers are collected to create up-to-date statistics used by many federal, state, tribal, and local leaders. Some American Community Survey questions have been asked in the decennial census since it first began in 1790.
  • When you respond to the ACS, you are doing your part to help your community plan hospitals and schools, support school lunch programs, improve emergency services, build bridges, inform businesses looking to add jobs and expand to new markets, and more.

Do you want to verify that mail, phone calls or in-person interviews are legitimate? 
If your household has been contacted to complete the American Community Survey and you would like to verify that this survey is legitimate, you can call toll-free 1-800-354-7271.


Is my response to the American Community Survey required?

  • If your address was selected for the American Community Survey, you are legally obligated to answer all the questions, as accurately as you can. The relevant laws are Title 18 U.S.C Section 3571 and Section 3559, which amends Title 13 U.S.C. Section 221.
  • Your answers are important. The American Community Survey is sent to a small percentage of our population on a rotating basis. As part of a sample, you represent many other people.

Why is the ACS required by law?
Response to the survey is required by law because the American Community Survey is part of the decennial census, replacing the "long form" that previously was sent to a percentage of households once every 10 years.


Why was I selected?

Your address was randomly selected through a process of scientific sampling and represents thousands of other households like yours. They randomly select about 3.5 million addresses each year to respond to the survey.


Can my address be removed?
An address may not be removed from the American Community Survey sample as the validity of the sample data would quickly deteriorate if selected households were exempted.


They try to keep the number of households in the sample as small as possible in order to limit the cost of the survey and reduce the impact on respondents. They also take steps to reduce the chance that a household will get the survey more than once in a 5-year period.


Is my privacy protected?

The Census Bureau is legally bound to strict confidentiality requirements and we never reveal your identity to anybody else. When you respond to the American Community Survey, your individual records are not shared with anyone, including federal agencies and law enforcement entities. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents' answers with anyone, -- not the IRS, not the FBI, not the CIA, and not with any other government agency.


All Census Bureau employees take an oath of nondisclosure and are sworn for life to protect all information that could identify individuals. Any employee who violates the provisions of the oath is subject to a fine up to $250,000 or a prison sentence up to 5 years, or both.


They never reveal your identity to anybody else. When they process the information collected on the American Community Survey (ACS), individuals' names and other personal identifiers are deleted from the files used to tabulate this data. They do not maintain a national database with the names, addresses, and personal information collected by the ACS.


Additional information can be found at




The June 2018 issue of Consumer Reports states that by now, most of us have learned to ignore emails from Nigerian princes seeking investors and we decline digital pop-up solicitation for a bargain vacation in exchange for our bank information.  However, these con artists are still successful.  They come up with new schemes as soon as old ones are exposed.  


We seniors know about smishing and spoofing but how about Shimmer Scams?  Some con artists attach devices to ATMs to capture data from debit cards they can use to create a replica of the card.  Enter the "shimmer," a thin card-sized gadget that con artists install on ATM machines or gas pumps.  The "shims" contain a microchip that can read and transmit information from your card.  Though your chip card cannot be cloned in the same way that a strip card can, bad guys can glean enough information to make purchases using the extracted data.


To protect yourself, whenever possible, use an ATM installed at a bank.  Stand-alone cash machines that you may come across in a convenience store or a mall or an unattended gas station pump are easier for fraudsters to tamper with.  Always cover the PIN pad when entering your number in case there's an unauthorized camera nearby.  If your card encounters any physical resistance when you insert it into the slot, that may well mean a shimmer has been installed--so don't proceed.  Then notify your bank.  Keep a close watch on your statements.


Who Gets Scammed?

 The most dangerous attitude any consumer can have is the "illusion of invulnerability"--as in, "I'm too smart to ever fall for a con."  No, you're not, and all the data show that everyone, irrespective of age, education, ethnicity, or gender--has the potential to be scammed.  Believe it or not, it's millennials, not seniors, who are most vulnerable.  Among those who reported losing money to fraud, those in their 20s accounted for 40 percent, vs 18 percent for those 70 and older, according to 2017 Federal Trade Commission data.


However, older adults who fell victim to scams tended to lose

larger amounts of money, compared with younger adults, the FTC found.  Experts say losses by the elderly to financial fraud are not only attributable to age-related cognitive decline but also to the fact that the 65-plus generation controls trillions of dollars--and scammers follow the money.


Older Scams

Many scoff at the very idea of ever falling for the Grandparents Scam--until they get the call from a "grandchild" or other loved one in desperate need of money to pay for needed medical treatment.  "Victims will tell us, 'I knew everything about this scam, and yet when I picked up the phone and this person said she was my granddaughter and was in trouble, everything I had in my brain went out the window and my emotions took over.'"  says Amy Nofziger, a fraud expert at AARP.


Lotteries and sweepstakes nabbed nearly 10 percent of the fraud victims surveyed.  Typically, the con begins with a phone call congratulating you on winning a contest you probably don't remember entering--an objection the scammers skillfully overrule.  But before you can receive your winnings (a car, a vacation, a big check) you must first pay a fee, taxes, or other expenses via a wire transfer or prepaid debit card.  The "winner" sends off the money, but the jackpot never arrives.


What to do if you've been scammed.

Only an estimated 14 percent of victims report the scam, whether because they were embarrassed, felt it was futile, or simply didn't know to whom to report it.  Start with the police and report compromised credit or debit card information to the card issuers.  The AARP Fraud Watch Network also has a hotline available to anyone (877-908-3360), and volunteers there can advise you of the best next step if you're unsure of what to do.


You have little chance of getting your money back but many experts emphasize emotional recovery.  "Instead of yelling at the victim, "How could you be so gullible?" says the fraud experts at AARP, Say "I'm really sorry this happened to you, but it did, so now let's figure out how to get past it." 

Good tech advice:  Older adults are wising up to how iPads, smartphones and fitness trackers can improve their lives.  The Wall Street Journal says to get tech savvy, don't ask your children or grandchildren.  Their responses, often accompanied by an eye roll:  "Why is that so hard?" or "I already showed you!"  A key to conquering fears and thriving with new technology is knowing where to get help that won't run out of patience.  If at all possible, get an outsider involved. 


A note to family members:  Don't stick seniors with castaway gadgets.  If you no longer want that jittery old iPad, why would you expect your mom to have a quality experience with it? 


But for seniors, instead of treating relatives as tech-support hotlines, the better plan is to find help from people who are technically--and emotionally--ready.  Apple stores provide free setup for new products.  They also provide one-on-one help for a project like organizing vacation photos.  Microsoft stores offer personal classes for a fee.  Chances are, you can get free support at your public library:  62% offer training on new tech devices. 


Senior centers, too, are crafting tech-training programs that really work. The Ben Wilson senior center has two classes every week. Mondays from 1 to 2:30 PM they have computer classes and on Wednesdays from 1 to 2:30 they feature computer and device help sessions.  Membership is only $25 yearly. The senior center is located at 580 Belmont Avenue between York Road and Easton Road.  The phone number is 215-672-8380.  Free lunch is provided. 


There are are free lessons on the Internet, too.  Go to: 


Don't forget that Ann's Choice has a computer club right here on campus.  The Computer Club meeting is held on the first Thursday of the month at 9:30 AM in Room T08, Lewis Pointe.  The club conducts a number of training courses including Basic Computer, Introduction to Computers, Basic Email and Digital Camera.  For more information, contact Lou Maiorino at 215-674-2987.  Come join them and make that PC a friendly part of your life.

To avoid phone scams, remember this good advice:

When the telephone rings, do not pick it up even if the number looks like a local number.  Look at where the message is coming from.  If it is an unknown number, just let it go to voicemail.  Scammers give up after three rings and will not leave a message.  Anyone really needing to get in touch with you will leave a message.

 A New Credit Card SCAM...

 This is a heads up for everyone regarding the latest in Visa fraud.
 Royal Bank received this communication about the newest scam.
 This is happening in the Midwest right now and moving across the country.
 This one is pretty slick, since they provide YOU with all the
 information, except the one piece they want.
 Note, the callers do not ask for your card number; they already have it.
This information is worth reading.  By understanding how the VISA &  MasterCard telephone Credit Card Scam works, you'll be better prepared  to protect yourself.  One of our employees was called on Wednesday  from 'VISA', and I was called on Thursday from 'MasterCard'.
 The scam works like this:
 Person calling says - 'This is (name) and I'm calling from the
 Security and Fraud Department at VISA.  My Badge number is 12460, your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I'm  calling to verify.  This would be on your VISA card which was issued  by (name of bank).  Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for $497.99 from a marketing company based in Arizona ?'  When you say 'No', the caller continues with, 'Then we will be issuing a credit to your account.  This is a company we have been watching, and the charges range from $297 to $497, just under the $500 purchase pattern that flags most cards.
 Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address).  Is that correct?'  You say 'yes'. The caller continues  'I will be starting a Fraud Investigation.  If  you have any questions, you should call the 1- 800 number listed on the back of your card (1-800-VISA) and ask for Security.  You will need to refer to this Control Number.  The caller then gives you a 6-digit number.  "Do you need me to read it again?"
Here's the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works   - The caller then says, 'I need to verify you are in possession of your card'.
He'll ask you to "turn your card over and look for some numbers".
There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are part of your card number, the
last 3 are the Security Numbers that verify you are the possessor of the card.  These are the numbers you sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card.  The caller will ask you to read the last 3 numbers to him.  After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he'll say, "
That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still  have your card.  Do you have any other questions?"   After you say no, the caller then thanks you and states, "Don't hesitate to call back if you do", and hangs up.  You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the card number.  But after we were called on Wednesday, we called back within 20 minutes to ask a question.  We were glad we did!  The REAL VISA Security Department told us it was a scam and in the last  15 minutes a new purchase of

$497.99 was charged to our card.  We made a real fraud report and
closed the VISA account.  VISA is reissuing us a new number. What the Scammer wants is the 3-digit PIN number on the back of the card.  Don't give it to them.  Instead, tell them you'll call VISA or Master Card directly for verification of their conversation.
The real VISA told us that they will never ask for anything on the
card, as they already know the information, since they issued the
card!   If you give the Scammer your 3 Digit PIN Number, you think
you're receiving a credit.  However, by the time you get your
statement you'll see charges for purchases you didn't make, and by
then it's almost too late and/or more difficult to actually file a
fraud report.
What makes this more remarkable is that on Thursday, I got a call from a 'Jason Richardson of MasterCard' with a word-for-word repeat of the VISA Scam.  This time I didn't let him finish.  I hung up!  We filed a police report, as instructed by VISA.  The police said they are taking several of these reports daily! They also urged us to tell everybody we know that this scam is happening. I dealt with a similar situation this morning, with the caller telling me that $3,097 had been charged to my account for plane tickets to Spain , and so on through the above routine.
 It appears that this is a very active scam, and evidently quite successful....


According to Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine for January, 2018, a new twist in imposter scams involves crooks posing as tax collectors asking for money--they've even started posing as representatives of the Bucks County Treasurer's Office, says Michael Bannon, director of the Bucks County Office of Consumer Protection.  Just picking up the phone puts the consumer at risk of being placed on a list of potential targets to be shared with other scammers.  "These are professional con people.  It's important to take steps to protect yourself," he says. 


Bannon and his office help residents of all ages, but they spend a lot of time on scams that target seniors.  Retirees are prime targets for scam artists because they tend to be home when telemarketers call, and they often need help with tech support, or managing their finances as they get older.  Seniors generally have regular income from a pension or Social Security and savings that they're looking to maximize.  They're also a large group, with 10,000 people turning 65 every day.  Retirees have more at stake than younger victims because there's less time to make up for money that has been stolen.


Bannon runs a booth at the annual senior expo, recently held at the Lower Bucks Hospital.  He hears lots of stories of telemarketers annoying seniors.  One senior, Dennis, who lives in Bristol, says he received eight telemarketing calls the day before, starting at 8:20 A.M.  One included a recorded message from someone claiming to be from the IRS.  By afternoon, when yet another telemarketer called, he was ready to fight back.  "I said, "You're just in time for a parade!" and I blew a whistle into the phone," he says.


Gerald, who lives in Croydon, PA says that he and his wife received a number of telemarketing calls over the last week because his wife is about to turn 65--and everyone seems to be trying to sell her a medigap or Medicare Advantage plan.  Some callers claim that they're from Medicare or Social Security and need her personal information.  He says a friend almost fell for a fake IRS call, complete with a Washington, D.C. caller ID.  "They said he had 24 hours to pay up or a U.S. marshal would come," he says.


Bucks County recently warned seniors about the "grandparent scam" which starts with a frantic call from someone claiming to be a grandchild who needs money because of an accident or other trouble.  Some crooks scour social media for names of the grandkids to make it sound legitimate.  Callers ask the grandparent to wire money or to send a gift card or iTunes gift card number, which is harder to trace.


Stay on top of the newest scams by signing up for alerts from the Federal Trade Commission at  Learn about new tax-related scams at (click on "tax Scams/Consumer Alerts").  

Sample of new Medicare Health Insurance Card

AARP recently reported on new Medicare scams for 2018.

  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced it will begin mailing out new cards in April 2018 to replace those with the recipient’s Social Security numbers. Designed to help curb identity theft, these new cards will have a unique, randomly assigned 11-character Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) comprised of numbers and uppercase letters – and not your SSN. Television ads have begun publicizing the new cards with the tagline “Guard Your Card.”
  • As efforts continue to repeal and replace Obamacare, so does confusion over the future of health insurance and Medicaid. (Confusion can be a fraudster’s best weapon.) And with growing talk of moving control of Medicaid funds to states, scammers may add another role to their imposter repertoire – that of self-described state health officials or middlemen navigating new insurance plans and initiatives.

Each scenario paves the way, even more than usual, for scammers to capitalize on the most common con: Phone calls and emails from self-described CMS employees who solicit sensitive information – including Social Security numbers – under the guise it’s needed to “verify our records” for a new card or not lose benefits. With the hurricane scams, fraudsters have also angled for $50 or so for the supposed plastic-encased replacement, requested via automatic withdrawal to gain access to recipients’ bank or credit card accounts.

Other scams are already in the works, according to the Better Business Bureau, adding to the timeless trickery of classic Open Enrollment schemes:

  • Bogus claims that Medicare and other health plans are issuing new cards – but they cost about $300.
  • Phone calls that you’re entitled to a refund from last year’s premiums, coverage or drug costs – but the phony payback must be a direct-deposit, another way scammers can siphon bank and credit card accounts.
  • Offers for “new,” “replacement” or “supplemental” coverage that may be fake or substandard – but require upfront payment.

What to know:

  1. You don’t need to do anything to get new Medicare MBI cards, issued beginning this spring and continuing through April 2019.


  1. Official correspondence regarding Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance is always mailed. Unless you initiate a phone call or write an email asking for a response, don’t expect to be contacted those ways.


  1. Never provide personal information – including your birthdate, MBI or other insurance account information and especially SSN – unless you initiate contact. Unless coming by mailed letter you can authenticate, don’t fall for any request seeking it, including those supposedly from the Social Security Administration, Internal Revenue Service or other government agencies.
  2. Although new Medicare MBI cards won’t have SSNs, they still should be guarded to prevent medical identity theft. So only share your MBI with trusted healthcare providers and rather than routinely carrying that new card in your wallet, consider making a photocopy with some characters blackened out. This way, if your wallet is lost or stolen, your MBI is less likely to be used to medical care and prescriptions in your name.


During the holidays coupons offering amazing deals at well-known stores are popping up on Facebook.  The logo looks real and the deal fantastic.


Who wouldn't look twice at the promise of a 50% off coupon on everything in the store?  Or $100 off $120 of groceries at a supermarket chain?  Just click on the link.


Shoppers need to take time for a reality check.  The deals are just scammers seeking personal information.  A neighbor saw a post from a friend for a coupon for 50% off at Kohl's.  It said Merry Christmas from Kohl's!  To get the coupon, she had to click through a three-step process.  

Step one:  Share on Facebook.

Step two:  Like on Facebook.

Step three:  Click here and take a survey, including a section that will ask for your personal information so you can be "sent" the coupon.

Even if you are suspicious of the coupon, by the time you hit step three, you have already shared the link to your friends.


Social media sites have been inundated with coupon offers claiming consumers can obtain an extremely high-value coupon at many locations.

Some of the chains are Aldi, Kohl's, Target, and ShopRite.


Consumers should avoid downloading Internet coupons.  If a friend emails you coupons, especially high-value coupons, they are most likely counterfeit.  The scammers use surveys to get personal information for ID theft.  Or malicious software can be downloaded onto your computer if you click on a link.  Some counterfeit coupons involve specific  products such as Coca-Cola or Kellogg Eggos.


Remember that plenty of real coupons exist in newspapers and on store websites, especially during the holiday shopping season. Stay safe.


Charity Fraud is more prevelent around the holidays:  Someone contacts you asking for a donation to their charity.  It sounds like a group you've heard of and seems real.  How can you tell what charity is legitimate and what's a scam?  Scammers want your money quickly.  They often pressure you to donate right away.  They might ask for cash and might even offer to send a courier or ask you to wire money.  They often refuse to send you information about the charity or tell you how the money will be used.

Slow down.  Tell callers to send you information by mail.  For requests by mail, is it a real group?  What percentage of your donation goes to the charity?  Is your donation tac-deductible?  How do they want you to pay?  Rule out anyone who asks you to send cash or wire money.  

If you spot a scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission.  Call the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or TTY1-866-653-4261.  You can also go online: 


New information is out on strong passwords.  It is highly recommended that you use a passphrase instead of a password.  Passphrases are usually longer than the traditional password and adds an additional layer of safety since they can't be easily guessed by a scammer.


Please use different passwords for each of your online accounts.  Never reuse your email password when signing up for any account online.


Tips for creating passphrases: Take an expression such as "You can't teach an old dog new tricks".  Use the first letter of each word in the password.  This password would read yctabdnt.  Then add a number, special characters and capitalization.  You can also use a favorite quote as your passphrase such as "Helen Keller is my favority hero".  Add a few numbers or add special characters.  HelenK1s my FavHerO.  This is easy to remember but tough to break.

Scam Alert:  I recently received an email supposedly from Microsoft Account Team, ID 133 Email Security Alert (Sept. 2017).

Unusual activity detected--I did not open this but instead took my mouse and hovered over the address.  It read From

The misspellings in the address were enough to keep me from clicking on the email.  Always check the sender when you get a strange email.  Do not open it up but delete it right away. 

AARP recently reported on new scams just in time for summer trips.  Vacations put you in the path of scam artists who want to separate you from your travel dollars.


There is a new samaritan scam.  You may be boarding a flight overseas and discover your wallet is missing.  Your cellphone rings. A guy on the other end says he found it in the airport.  But don't worry, the Samaritan has your name and address and can drop the wallet in the mail today.  No need to postpone your trip to deal with canceling credit cards.  The point of the call--which came from a disposable phone that can't be traced--is to lull you into giving the thief  lots of time to ravage your accounts while you wait for the package that never arrives.  You don't find out you've been conned until the bogus charges show up.


Be careful at hotels.  Make sure the doors have adequate locks.  One scam at hotels:  A few minutes after you check in, you get a call from someone pretending to be from the front desk asking you to repeat your credit card number and security code--claiming it was written down wrong.  A crook was lurking when you checked in and they need the information to rip you off.


Be alert to strangers claiming that there is a spill on your clothes.  This is often a ploy to get close enough to grab your wallet or purse.  Also, someone may approach you and offer to take your photograph with your friend or spouse.  That's a good way to have someone dash off with your camera or smartphone! 

Here are five tech activities to say NO to:


1.  Giving strangers access to your computer.  You might get an email that looks like it's from Microsoft and claims your account was compromised.  It seeks permission "to remove the malware."  Instead they just steal your personal data.


2.  Opening an email attachment from a stranger.  They may post something intriguing in the subject line to entice you to click on an attachment.  It may say something like "I love you."  If you do, it will install malware allowing them to take over your computer.


3.  Using a thumb drive you got for free at a store or computer convention.  It may contain malware.  


4.  Conducting private business on a public Wi-Fi system, such as Starbucks.  A skilled hacker sitting near you can pick up everything you type.


5.  Posting something on Facebook you might someday regret.  Even if you delete the post, it will still be retrievable.  Hackers can bypass even privacy buttons.  


AARP reports that antifraud groups have raised public awareness that a request for payment by wire transfers and prepaid cash cards usually signals a scam, and the Federal Trade Commission has made it illegal for telemarketers to ask for payment that way.  As a result, many scammers have turned to iTunes gift cards as their preferred payment method.  Watch out for come-ons to purchase a card, load money on it and them provide the 16-digit code.  It's a fast and virtually untraceable way to steal your money. 

Don't get fooled by fake websites.  Suppose you made a typo and left out the letter "c" when typing "" into a web browser.  The website you landed on might have told you to update your software.


Sites like these with addresses that are only slightly different from those of real sites often are a scam.  This is sometimes referred to as "typosquatting" if you accidentally type an incorrect address or click a link in an e-mail or at a website, not noticing the minor change.  


These fake sites might ask you to enter financial information, such as a credit card number or you might be asked to update some software on your computer or download a file (which contains spyware or malware).  If you're looking for a product or service, they might redirect you to another similar site that is more expensive than the original one that you wanted.  


Victims think they are on the original website that they wanted and may comply.  Don't be a victim:  Double-check that you have typed the web address correctly before hitting enter .  An alternative is to create  bookmarks in your web browser for sites you visit often.

New Chip Cards

What is the new chip card?  I just received my new and improved Visa card from the bank.  How is it improved?  It has an EMV chip.

These chips store your data and replace the card's traditional magnetic stripe.  This makes it harder for hackers to make a counterfeit copy of your credit card if they steal your account information.  The chips generate a unique code for every transaction so if scammers steal data from a retailer, they won't be able to use that information to make future purchases.  The chips have become the standard in most of the credit-card-accepting world, leaving the U. S. as the only major economy that still relies on magnetic stripes.  

The EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa and is a big deal.  Half of the world's credit card fraud reportedly happens in the U. S.

Credit card issuers have begun sending out EMV-chip-enabled cards to people like me along with a letter that talks about the extra levels of security that these cards provide.  


So this is great news, right?  I recently went to the store and when checking out saw that the card reader isn't chip-enabled.  A chip-enabled reader has a slot into which you insert the card, similar to an ATM machine.  I'm able to swipe because my new Visa card still comes with a magnetic stripe on the back.


Because I swiped the card to make a purchase, the chip never came into play.  I may as well have had my old card.  Chip cards are great fraud fighters--but that is pretty much impossible in America right now.  They aren't any good if most places won't accept them.  Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express have told merchants that if they haven't upgraded their equipment to read chip cards, (Walmart is the big exception) they will be fully liable for their losses in any data breaches.


Most chip cards around the world are of the chip-and-pin variety, most chip cards produced in the U.S. are chip-and-signature cards.  There's no PIN involved.  You sign for your purchase, as you always have, with your mag stripe.  


Putting a chip in a card without also attaching a PIN to it is a wasted opportunity.  Why?  It's much easier to forge someone's signature than to hack their PIN.  The PIN and the security that it offers are the key to making all of this work most effectively.  Credit card fraud in the United Kingdom fell by more than a third after chip-and-PIN was implemented.


I'm looking forward to the day when I can break out a chip-and-PIN card to pay for anything, anywhere.  Then we will see just how powerful a fraud-prevention tool this technology can be. 





SCAM UPDATE:  Personal reports of phishing loan rip-offs, tech support schemes and other con games.  Search by location or type, or send in your own reports.  New from the Better Business Bureau.


 Top Scams to Look out for Following the Death of a Loved one


The Bucks County Crimes Against Older Adults Task Force lists the  most frequent scams to look out for following the death of a loved one.


After her husband died, a fraudulent insurance agent called the widow.  He claimed that her husband had fallen behind in making payments on a life insurance policy that he had purchased a few months earlier.  If she paid him $250 in cash to bring the policy current, she would receive a death benefit of $25,000.  He even offered to come to her home to accept the payment.  Fortunately, she was too smart to fall for the scam.


It's a shameful story.  Scammers like to target people who are recently bereaved--especially widows and widowers who might be especially vulnerable when they are grieving.  The crooks read obituaries, skim information about recently deceased people and their families and use it dishonestly.


Identity Theft --You should alert your relatives to hang up the phone if someone calls and requests personal or financial data for any reason.  Some scammers have reasonable-sounding reasons for requesting data.  They could say that your loved one has not yet paid for a magazine subscription and all that is needed to bring the account current is a credit card number, that a utility bill is past due, or that bank data needs to be "updated."  Never provide credit card data in response to an incoming email.  If you get an email from your bank that claims that you owe money or need to update data, call or visit your bank to ask whether you really need to.


Fraudulent "Bills Due" is one of the oldest scams directed against grieving people.  The scammer calls a recently widowed person and claims that the deceased individual owed money for something.  The fraudster could claim that the deceased person put down a deposit on a piece of real estate, a vacation, an insurance policy, or a piece of jewelry that was supposed to be a surprise gift to the widow or widower.  If the scammer is also an identity thief, he or she will offer the option of paying over the phone by credit card.


Inflated Bills from Funeral Homes-- The overwhelming majority of funeral homes are run by honorable professionals whose first concern is to provide caring service to families at their time of loss.  Even so, stories do occasionally make the news about funeral homes that have tacked on charges for services that people were not expecting.


Be sure that you receive a fully itemized statement of services and costs before those services are provided.  Even if you discuss arrangements over the phone, be sure to get a statement via email.  If you get everything in writing, you can point to the statement that you received and pay only for the specific services that you requested.  If you feel that a funeral home has attempted to engage in dishonest activies, contact the National Funeral Directors, a national organization that monitors the undustry.


Travel Scams -- Not long ago, a recently widowed man received a call from someone who identified herself as his granddaughter.  She even used his granddaughter's name when making the call:  "Grandpa, this is Sarah."

She said that she needed money to travel to his wife's funeral and asked him to wire funds to Florida.  Fortunately, he called Sarah's parents befure doing so.  The criminal had read his wife's obituary, which mentioned Sarah's name and hatched a plot. 


If a suspicious person calls, say you need to call him or her back.  The scammer will hang up, make up an excuse for why the number cannot be given out, or say that he or she needs to call you back later.  Note that scammers call from "spook" phone numbers that cannot be traced.


Never provide any information via email or phone, such as physical addresses or credit card data.


Immediately inform any banks, insurance companies, or other businesses that the scammer claimed to represent.  They know best how to investigate frauds that use their names.


Robocall Explosions

Are you getting more robocalls than ever before?  Robocalls are those unwanted, pre-recorded intrusions into our private lives.  You're not safe anywhere, not even on your smartphone.  These scams promise free cruises, debt relief, easy money and more.  


The Wall Street Journal of June 29, 2016 reports that over 10 billion robocalls have been placed to U. S. phones since the start of 2016, according to YouMail, a provider of cloud-based telecom services including call blocking.  Complaints to  the Federal Trade Commission about them are up nearly 50% since last year.  Tax scams are also up this year, according to the IRS, and have netted the crooks over $40 million since October 2013.


The Robocall increase is due to technology.  It's so easy--and cheap--for scammers to dial thousands of numbers that they're hitting more of us.  They plug lists of phone numbers into software and fire off calls over the internet.

They can even "spoof" numbers, falsifying caller-ID information so callers can disguise their identity or location, even overseas.  They can even spoof the IRS's toll-free number.


Here's your best plan of action:

When you receive a robocall, don't answer!  Letting the system know you're a real person may get your number placed on a valuable list of confirmed live humans.  If you don't recognize an incoming number, let it go to voicemail.  If you pick up then realize it is a robocall, just hang up. 


Last June, the FCC said carriers could legally block robocalls and automated text messages, if asked by a customer.  

Seniors Computer Use

The Mayo Clinic reports that seniors who used computers at least once a week had a 42% decreased risk for onset of mild cognitive impairment over a 4 year period.  Other mentally stimulating activities include magazine reading 30%, social activities 23%, crafts 16%, and games, such as cards 14%.

Beware Netflix and Flickr photo-sharing Scams


Cyberthieves aren't just invading financial accounts such as credit card and bank accounts--they are also trying to access accounts that most people don't think of as targets--Flickr, Netflix and other video-streaming services.


This trend comes at a time when credit card providers, banks and various other businesses, including retailers, have beefed up the safeguards to protect account information and detect fraud.


The thieves are selling the account information, including user names and passwords, on the Internet underground market (the Dark Web.)  Scammers then use the information to hijack your account.  


In Netflix, scammers might use your user name and password to access Netflix or other video-streaming services.  They can hijack your Flickr account and withhold your pictures from you until you pay a ransom.  It could be used as part of a larger identity theft scheme.


Many people are less careful about security for these types of services thinking that cyberthieves wouldn't be interested.  Wrong!  Don't disregard security precautions when creating accounts for these services.  Avoid easily guessed passwords and check your transactions and other activities on your account.


Don't use the same passwords for multiple accounts.  Cyberthieves can steal the password and use it to try to access your other accounts.  Always back up your photos on a hard drive or a flash drive, not just in the cloud.

Did you know that Gmail and Yahoo Mail scans every word you write?


Then they sell the information to advertisers (although no humans read the text.)  Did you know that a software program searches for keywords and compiles data for sale?  This is called contextual ad targeting.  You have to agree to this practice to be able to use these e-mail services.  You may have missed this line hidden in the small print when you signed up for the e-mail.  If you reveal private information, let's say you are planning a divorce, you and anyone else who uses your computer may see ads for divorce attorneys in your browser.  If this really bothers you, try using Outlook (Hotmail) instead.  Microsoft does not target ads to you based on your e-mail content. 


Scams involving chip-enabled cards


No doubt you have been or will be issued new credit and debit cards--which is meant to increase security and deter counterfeiting.  This has led to new scams.  Thieves disguised as banks and credit card issuers send e-mails asking victims to update their account information in order to get a new chip-enabled card.  Giving these thieves existing card numbers and personal information leads to card fraud and identity theft--and clicking on a scammer-provided link downloads malware onto the victim's computer.  If you get unsolicited e-mail supposedly from your bank or card issuer, do not respond.  Call the number on your existing card to find out if the contact is legitimate and to report any fraud.

Check out for more information.

What not to put in an e-mail


Quirky text and punctuation can trigger spam filters.  This may prevent someone from receiving your e-mail.  These include:

  • Using more than one exclamation point (!!!)
  • Putting a sentence in ALL CAPS
  • Using unusual spellings of words such as speci@l
  • Using spam-associated "trigger words" such as Viagra, drugs, porn, guaranteed winner, prize, free, act now, limited time, or $$$.

If you think that your e-mail did wind up in someone's spam folder, ask the recipient to add you to his/her contact list or address book.

Latest News on Passwords


The Wall Street Journal for January 20, 2016 reports that passwords are getting longer, but not getting stronger.  For the first time last year, "1234567890" "quertyuiop" (top row of keys on a standard keyboard) and "welcome" landed spots on the list of the years most common passwords, according to data from SplashData a company that makes password-management applications.  These examples are longer than perennial favorites "1234" "12345" and "querty," which still rank high.  SplashData CEO Morgan Slain said that if these longer passwords are based on simple patterns they will put you in just as much risk of having your identity stolen by hackers.


This dangerous malware is known as the Cryptolocker Virus.

Melissa was stunned when an "FBI" alert popped up on her computer saying her files had been locked due to illegal activity.  The sender demanded $400 to release her files.  She Googled the alert and realized she wasn't dealing with the real FBI.  She had been targeted and was the victim of a ransomware attack. 


After you click on an infected ad, e-mail attachment or website, hackers access your computer via malicious software (malware), locking or blocking access to files.  Fail to pay by the deadline and they'll leave data irretrivable.  Many hackers require Bitcoin, an untraceable virtual currency.  McAfee Labs reported attacks rose 165% in the first quarter of 2015!


How to protect yourself:

  • Be smart online.  Never open e-mails or attachments from unknown senders.  Be careful clicking on ads--enter a company's site via its home page.  Make sure your pop-up blockers and antivirus software are enabled.  Tech pros recommend McAfee or Symantec.
  • Back everything up on an external hard drive.  Unplug the drive after backup--malware can hit any device connected to the computer.   If you are hacked, disconnect from the Internet.  Call Ann's Choice computer tech at (800) 677-0211 to schedule a visit to wipe your hard drive or do it yourself.  (Follow steps for a factory reset; restore from a previous backup.)  Resist paying.  It is no guarantee that items will be unlocked.


I'm so old I remember when a hashtag was a pound sign AND we played tic-tac-toe on that!

New SMIShing Scam

Most people are alert to suspicious e-mails and phony phone calls, so scammers are trying new ways to con you.  The latest is the "SMIShing" scam--the term for a phishing (or phone) fraud.  It starts with a text (also called SMS)--that relies on our tendency to automatically reply to a text without a second thought.


Here's how it works.  You receive a text message that appears to come from Google and contains a verification code.  Then you get another text saying, "Google has detected unusual activity on your e-mail account.  Please reply with the verification code sent to your mobile device to stop unauthorized activity."  DO NOT REPLY TO IT. If you type in and send the code, the scammer will now be able to access your e-mail, gather information about you, and even change your account settings.  They may even be able to forward future e-mail messages to their account!


Never send a verification code to anyone by text or e-mail.  Use those codes only on the log-in page of the account for which they were sent.  If you get a verification code that you didn't request, it could be that someone is tampering with your account.  Contact your e-mail provider.


This scam uses Google in order to look legitimate.  In the future, it may pretend to be your bank or brokerage account.  Always be on the alert and when in doubt, contact your real account provider.



There are hundreds of Web trackers checking on you as you browse the Internet.  One way to know is to install Ghostery.  It is a browser extension that has a pop-up on your computer screen and it shows who is watching what you do online. 

Web searchers accept Web trackers.  The Web trackers assure us that we get benefits such as discounts and more relevant ads.  Most Americans are unhappy with the trade-off but are resigned to it, thinking that they are powerless to do anything to protect their online privacy.

Ghostery is one way to enhance your Internet privacy.  You can find it among Add-Ons in Firefox or Extensions in Chrome.  You can also download it from for Safari or Internet Explorer.  It has an “Alert Bubble” feature, which displays a list of trackers active on each site you visit.  Sometimes there will be dozens on a single page.  Ghostery can be set up to block tracking, also.

There are similar add-ons called Disconnect and Privacy Badger.  If you take advantage of these tools to block tracking, you will find that ads no longer seem to follow you around from site to site.

Gabriel Weinberg, the founder of DuckDuckGo, a Paoli-based company that offers tracking-free Internet searches said that “People think of Google as a search engine, but really it’s an advertising company.” 

Don't Get Fooled by Fake Survey Calls


The  Federal Trade Commission warns that people are getting automated calls that claim to want your opinion but they may be after your money instead.  Phone surveys are exempt from rules that ban automated “robocalls” and calls to numbers on the federal Do Not Call Registry.   One cruise line robocalled millions of phone numbers with what seemed to be a political survey.  People who responded were told that they could receive a free two-day Bahamas cruise for their trouble.  They were then connected to a salesperson who tried to talk them into paying for parts of the “free” cruise.  What should you do if you get such a call?  If someone tries to sell you something during a phone survey, hang up immediately. 

If a robocall tells you to press a button on your keypad to be removed from the call list, don’t do it!  Pressing this is likely to increase the number of calls you receive.  First visit to confirm that your phone number is on the Do Not Call Registry.  Next, visit to find out if its free robocall-blocking service is available for your landline and/or cell phone carrier.


Did you know that phone scams cost consumers nearly $8.6 million in 2014?  The average loss was $488.80.  You can protect yourself:

  • Never return calls from unknown numbers
  • Use a search engine to research suspicious numbers
  • Check your phone bill monthly for fraudulent charges

Are you on Facebook?

Check your privacy settings.  Here’s how to manage privacy settings.  Click “Timeline and Tagging,” then set “Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your timeline?” to “Enabled.”  Also set “Who can post on your timeline?” to “Only Me.”  Also, click “Privacy,” then set “Do you want other search engines to link to your timeline?” to “No.”


Here’s a Great Trick to Protect Your Password


When signing up for a website, don’t answer security questions honestly—such as your birthplace or first school.  Write these wrong answers down and use them for all future security questions.


What is the difference between http and https?

Http stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol.  The S stands for "secure".  Most websites begin with http://.  This means that the website is "unsecure". The website is talking to your browser and it is possible for someone to eavesdrop on your computer's conversation.  If you fill out a form on the website, it is possible that someone could see that information.  This is why you never, never enter your credit card on an http website. If you need to enter your credit card info, look to see if the web address begins with https://.  If it doesn't, do NOT enter your credit card number.  There is one caveat:  even scam artists can have https sites so make sure you only do business with reputable firms.  

Enjoy a blast from the past! Listen to music from the year of your choice.  Note: There is a short ad before each song.


"Never believe every quote you read on the Internet."

(Benjamin Franklin)

Cybercriminals and Malicious Websites

Be careful searching online for comedian Jimmy

Kimmel or singer Bruce Springsteen! Searching for these celebrities online could expose your computer to a virus or something worse.  According to Google statistics, on average there are almost a quarter-million searches for Kimmel every month.  Cybercriminals know this, so they create malicious websites.  When you go to such a site, you might end up downloading malware that lets criminals steal your personal information.  Other celebrities on the most dangerous list include singers Christina Aguilera, Jon Bon Jovi, Blake Shelton and Britney Spears.

How can you avoid celebrity traps? 

  • Use Official Websites – such as for Jimmy Kimmel.  Do not open unknown third-party links.
  • Use Antivirus Software – Make sure it is running and you have it set to update automatically.
  • Don’t provide personal information.
  • Do not give out your e-mail address on a website, Facebook or other social media, or in response to a request in an e-mail or text message.
  • Don’t download software, music or videos from unknown sites.
  • Do not open e-mail attachments from unknown sources, even if the subject line reads Look—cute kittens! or Jimmy Kimmel Live.
  • Surf with a safe browser plug-in.  Use a browser plug-in, such as McAfee’s free Site-Advisor, that warns you about dangerous websites.  You might have such apps built in to your browser, such as the phishing filter in Internet Explorer 7 and the SmartScreen filter in Internet Explorer 8 and 9. 

Cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to put a virus on your computer or some other nasty surprise.  Don‘t be a victim.  Look for a site with a picture of a lock at the beginning of the address or the words https, not just http.  Even https isn't foolproof--scammers have https websites too.  Know what you are getting into.  





I just saved a bunch of money on Christmas presents by discussing my political views on Facebook.

Donating a cell phone?

Make sure you secure your old phone beforehand. Remove any SD or Micro SD memory card.  Take out the SIM card, which gives your phone its number and identifies it on your cell network.  Use a pin or open paper clip to pop it out.  Make sure you wipe the phone's built-in memory and return it to factory setting.  To do this in iOS, choose "Settings/General/Reset/Erase All Contents and Settings."  In Android  look in "Settings" for words such as "Backup & Reset"--exact words vary for different manufacturers.  In a Windows Phone, go to "Settings/About/Reset Your Phone." 

Malware - get rid of it

A type of virus is hitting many of our fellow residents.  It runs in the background and causes numerous pop-ups, like one that tells you that you need computer help.  It also sets up certain words on your browsers to look like links to other web sites - they are, but you really don't want them.

To get rid of malware, first download the free version of malware bytes - go to and click on free download.  When that happens, run it.  It should clear away the malware.  If it doesn't you will likely have to call for tech help.

Best Websites


Many YouTube videos are not worth viewing but now you can see the best ones on Devour picks the best ones daily and posts them to the site.

How about comics? Try this site:
Daily updates of newspaper comic strips (also web comics).

Retronaut: images, audio and video from the past. Reels from old Warner Brothers films—also, bloopers.

Buzzfeed: Fascinating stories of adorable animals, celebrities, etc.


Press any key---no, no, no, not that one.

The definition of an upgrade:  Take old bugs out, put new ones in.


 "64K ought to be enough for anybody."  Bill Gates, 1981

Women's Computer Mouse

Getting lots of junk phone calls?


On a single day recently, a resident of Ann’s Choice had three phone calls with the same pre-recorded message. It claimed that she could win $3,000 worth of groceries if she’d answer a few questions. “I tried to opt out and got a message that they were removing my number from the list but the calls kept coming.”

You might feel smug and think: I put my telephone number on the Do Not Call List last year. Think again. Scam artists don’t care about screening out the more than 220 million phone numbers on that list. They are often overseas and enforcement is challenging.   Calling 888-382-1222 may help a little but scammers are ahead of the game. Advances in technology have made it easy and cheap to send thousands of pre-recorded calls per minute using autodialers and fake caller IDs that make tracing hard.  The Federal Trade Commission receives more than 150,000 complaints about robocalls each month.


IF YOU PICK UP A ROBOCALL, HANG UP IMMEDIATELY. Pressing a number signals that the autodialer has reached a live number and can lead to more calls.



If you go online to shop, most sites include a photo of the item for sale, but a few say “E-mail me for a photo.” DON’T. There’s a good chance that they’re trying to scam you. If you request a photo of the item, opening that photo might load a virus onto your computer. Or you might see a web page that looks like a well-known shopping site—perhaps eBay or It will ask you to enter your user name and password. Then it will fall into the hands of the scammer. Don’t let them E-mail you a photo.

Lottery Scam - READ

Jamaican scammers took $1 billion from Americans, mostly the elderly, in the past four years! One in every five Americans age 65 or older has been abused financially. The ability to recognize fraud can fade with aging, even among people without dementia and seniors can lose thousands of dollars or more before their families notice. Law enforcement is lax. There were 36,000 cases in the last six months alone and they are expensive and difficult to pursue by law enforcement! Federal authorities often decline to investigate cases involving less than $100,000.

Here’s how it works. First the scammer phones the victim. They use a contact list with the victims name and phone number on it. They may say cheerily, “Great news! You have won $1.5 million and a car in a lottery.” If you reply, “I didn’t enter a foreign lottery.” They will respond, “You probably were entered automatically at a store. What color car do you want? Oh---there is the matter of a few small fees.” The victim then goes to the bank to buy a payment card to send money.

Scammers sometimes phone a dozen times a day, forging personal relationships with lonely victims. The con artists pretend to be car transporters, lawyers, bankers, even an FBI agent and a U.S. Marshal, all needing funds to solve problems.
Other common scam lines: “Your check was misplaced. We need another.” “This is the IRS. You have to pay withholding tax.” The scammer may get belligerent and say, “You had better pay those fees!”
The elderly victim may become frantic as scammers phone repeatedly, escalating their demands or pretending to be a government official.
After the victim sends thousands of dollars, the family may finally find out and step in to freeze bank accounts and change the phone number.

THE GRANDPARENT SCAM features a scammer pretending to be a grandchild on the phone.
“Is that you, Billy?” the grandparent responds. “Yes!” says the scammer. “It’s Billy. I’ve been kidnapped in Mexico. Wire $2,000 or they will hurt me! Don’t tell my parents.” A surprising number of people send money.  Now scammers are pretending to be a friend of the grandson and call during spring break or during summer months when they are more believeable. "Hello.  This is Sam.  I'm a friend of your grandson. He's been hurt in an accident..."

New scammers came out of the woodwork with the new Affordable Care Act. Here’s how it starts:
A friendly voice is on the phone claiming to be from the government, calling to tell you about the great new services for Medicare recipients under the Affordable Care Act.
To get those new ACA benefits, there’s a one-time fee, which you can pay with a credit or debit card. And, oh, the caller can help by taking your information right over the phone! Don’t reach for your wallet. This is a new scam. You do not have to log on to, pay a fee, get a new Medicare card, or sign up for a special ACA/Medicare card.

But scammers aren’t deterred. They’re riding the confusion from the rollout of the ACA website to steal money from the trusting elderly. These scams are used to get your Social Security and Medicare numbers or bank account and credit card numbers. Many seniors are scared that they will lose coverage, or they are confused about the changes. Some scammers are sending out mass mailings that look official. They almost always ask for personal information. Some resort to outright threats that the senior will lose their benefits if they don’t sign up. Never talk to someone on the phone who asks for personal information. Just hang up.

Scammers in general are getting more sophisticated in their approach. The misspellings or poor English from the African prince who wants to share his wealth are gone and the letterheads now look authentic.


The February 2016 issue of Consumer Reports Magazine advises people to file long before the tax deadline.  Thieves usually claim tax refunds by filing returns before their victims do.   You may not know you've been a victim of tax-related ID theft until you get an IRS notice.  It may say that you collected wages from an employer you don't recognize, for example, or that your Social Security number has been used on more than one return.  Report incidents of ID theft to the Federal Trade Commission at  Then set up a fraud alert with one of the three big credit bureaus: Equifax ( 888-766-0008); Experian (, 888-397-3742); or TransUnion (, 800-680-7289). The bureau you choose will share your alert with the other two; all three will give you a free credit report.  You can also request that the bureaus issue security freezes to prevent any new credit from being issued without your permission. 

At, fill out Form 14039, an Identity Theft Affidavit.  The IRS will issue you an "identity protection personal identification number" (IP PIN) intended to prevent further fraud.

The Internal Revenue Service urges taxpayers to be aware that tax-related scams using the IRS name proliferate during tax season.  Tax scams can take many forms, with perpetrators posing as the IRS in everything from e-mail refund schemes to phone impersonators. The IRS warns taxpayers to be vigilant of any unexpected communication that is purportedly from the IRS at the start of tax season.

The IRS encourages taxpayers to be on the lookout for phone and email scams that use the IRS as a lure. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. The IRS also does not ask for personal identification numbers (PINs), passwords or similar confidential access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts. Recipients should not open any attachments or click on any links contained in the message. Instead, forward the e-mail to


Evolution of Computers

If you have any advice, shortcuts, tidbits, anything about the Internet, PC's, and even appliances that we use, etc. that could help all of us, send it to us using the Contact Us page.



Several residents have reported receiving calls supposedly from Microsoft saying that there was something wrong with their computer - either a Microsoft problem, a security issue or the expiration of some software. One resident reported that the person who called specifically said that they were contacting people at Ann’s Choice. The caller then asks to be connected to the computer to “correct the problem”. This is probably a scam. Do not allow anyone to connect to your computer unless you have initiated the call. Do not use a number that the caller gives you but contact the company using a number that you have independently obtained.

Granny and Grandpop got their daughter's old computer

 How the Internet Started 


In ancient Israel, it came to pass that a trader by the name of Abraham Com did take unto himself a young wife by the name of Dot. 

Dot Com was a comely woman, broad of shoulder and long of leg. Indeed, she was often called Amazon Dot Com.

And she said unto Abraham, her husband, "Why dost thou travel so far from town to town with thy goods when thou canst trade without ever leaving thy tent?"

And Abraham did look at her as though she were several saddle bags short of a camel load, but simply said, "How, dear?"

And Dot replied, "I will place drums in all the towns and drums in between to send messages saying what you have for sale, and they will reply telling you who hath the best price. And the sale can be made on the drums and delivery made by Uriah's Pony Stable (UPS)." 

Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with the drums. And the drums rang out and were an immediate success. 

Abraham sold all the goods he had at the top price, without ever having to move from his tent. 

To prevent neighboring countries from overhearing what the drums were saying, Dot devised a system that only she and the drummers knew. It was known as Must Send Drum Over Sound (MSDOS), and she also developed a language to transmit ideas and pictures - Hebrew To The People (HTTP).

And the young men did take to Dot Com's trading as doth the greedy horsefly take to camel dung. They were called Nomadic Ecclesiastical Rich Dominican Sybarites, or NERDS.

And lo, the land was so feverish with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums that no one noticed that the real riches were going to that enterprising drum dealer, Brother William of Gates, who bought off every drum maker in the land.

And indeed did insist on drums to be made that would work only with Brother Gates' drumheads and drumsticks.

And Dot did say, "Oh, Abraham, what we have started is being taken over by others."

And Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel , or eBay as it came to be known. He said, "We need a name that reflects what we are."

And Dot replied, "Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators." "YAHOO," said Abraham. And because it was Dot's idea, they named it YAHOO Dot Com.

Abraham's cousin, Joshua, being the young Gregarious Energetic Educated Kid (GEEK) that he was, soon started using Dot's drums to locate things around the countryside. It soon became known as God's Own Official Guide to Locating Everything (GOOGLE). . . . and that is how it all began.

And now you know how the internet started.  

What you also know is Al Gore was temporarily assigned the position of GOD during this time frame.




A new scam is called “smishing” which means fishing for personal information. A resident from Ann’s Choice received a text message on his cell phone from Best Buy letting him know he had won a $1,000 gift card! His first reaction was, “What great news; just in time for the holidays!”

The text directed him to follow the link to their website in order to enter the code # that was included in the text message. If he had followed the link, it would have led him to a page set up to look very similar to the legitimate Best Buy web page. He would then be required to enter information such as his birthdate, Social Security number and credit card number in order to claim the “gift card.” This would make him a victim of identity theft.

Always ignore a “smishing” message. Do not respond at all. Even simply replying “get lost” or “I know this is a scam” could lead the con artist to think they have reached a person who is willing to engage with them somehow. If they know the phone number is active, they may load you with other scams. Contact your cell phone provider to inquire about blocking unwanted messages.

Good Tech Habits

Six Wholesome Habits for Computer Users

Back up your data. It could save you hours of time in lost work, not to mention valuable family photos.

Keep your apps updated. Windows, Adobe Acrobat, your Web browser and your security suite should all have automatic update options and you should use them to keep your PC safe.

Always use safe passwords. Have you been using your name spelled backward, your pet’s name or the word “password”? Shame on you. Use a different password for each important account. It should be at least eight characters, including numbers and letters.

Avoid e-mail attachments. Never, never open e-mail attachments from an unknown e-mail address.

When sending e-mails, never hit ‘reply all’ in response to a message unless every single person needs to see it. Don’t send messages with large attachments. 5MB to 10MB should be the limit. Never send messages written in all caps.  When forwarding e-mails, please remember to delete all previous recipients before sending.

Want to get rid of old electronics?

Recycling Electronics

Ann’s Choice residents know they should recycle their old or unwanted technology products. But how do we do it?

Best Buy has a recycling program. They have in-store kiosks for ink and toner cartridges, rechargeable batteries, wires, cords and cables. Their location is 1130 Easton Road in Willow Grove.

Amazon doesn’t charge people to recycle Kindle e-readers or batteries (working or not). You can print free UPS labels for shipping old Kindles to be recycled. Just go to Then you simply drop the Kindles off at a UPS store.

Staples stores will accept a variety of products, including laptops, monitors, mice and GPS devices but not TV’s. Our local Staples is located at 1075 Main Street in Warrington, near Wegmans.

If you buy a new Dell computer, just select “free recycling” and the company will take the old one, even if it is not a Dell.

Goodwill will take PC’s, laptops, tablets and keyboards, but not mobile phones. A Goodwill store is nearby at 1487 West Street Road.


Web pages aren’t always as easy to read as they should be. You can zoom in or out of any Web page by holding down <Ctrl> and rolling the scroll wheel up or down to zoom in and out as you like.

Another way to enlarge the print on web pages:  In Internet Explorer, click on 'view' from the toolbar>select 'text size'> and click on the text size that you want.  If you are using Firefox, Opera, Safari or Chrome, press and hold Ctrl while pressing + to increase the font size.  Press and hold Ctrl while pressing - to decrease the font size.


The wonderful world of squiggly CAPTCHAs

If you are on the Internet, you have most likely seen a CAPTCHA. They are the crooked and stretched collection of letters that you have to type before you can post a comment or send an email.

The CAPTCHA was created at Carnegie Mellon University in 2000. The name is short for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. Websites need CAPTCHAs to prevent the bots of spammers. The little puzzles work because computers are not as good as humans at reading distorted text. Google reports that people are solving 200 million CAPTCHAs per day.

There are hundreds of different kinds of CAPTCHAs and one of the biggest is called reCAPTCHA. You will find it on Google who offers it for free. People spend nine seconds solving a reCAPTCHA, and 92% get it right. The letters will only get more distorted as more spammers come aboard. Some spammers now employ people in foreign countries to solve the CAPTCHAs.

Seniors have the most trouble reading a CAPTCHA. They are more likely to have cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration—eye diseases that can make vision blurry. Older people read best when there’s high contrast and more space between letters. The trick to solving CAPTCHAs is to just type what you see. Don’t think about it too much and you’ll have better success.

Choosing More Secure Passwords

Step 1: Choose a phrase

You can create a more secure password by starting with a simple phrase. For example, let's use a quote from Ogden Nash: "Happiness is having a scratch for every itch."

If we use the first letter of each word, and substitute 4 for "for", we get:


Step 2: Add special characters

This is a reasonably strong password but we can improve it a bit by adding some special characters:


Step 3: Associate it with a website

We can use our new password on several different websites by adding a prefix or suffix with a mnemonic link to a particular site. Let's use the first letter and the next two consonants in the site name.

Just to add a bit more randomness we'll alternate upper-case and lower case, and if the first character in the site name is a vowel we'll start with upper-case. To mix things up a bit more we'll use the same rule to decide whether to add the site mnemonic to the left side or the right side.

#Hihas4ei:AmZ for Amazon
fCb#Hihas4ei: for Facebook
#Hihas4ei:YtB for YouTube
dRm#Hihas4ei: for Drumbeat

This is just one possible rule for picking the prefix or suffix that you use to customize your password for each web site. Reversing the order of the letters in the suffix, using only vowels, only consonants, or adding some other characters that come to mind when you think about the web site are all possible approaches that will improve security.

While this technique lets us reuse the phrase-generated part of the password on a number of different websites, it would still be a bad idea to use it on a site like a bank account which contains high-value information. Sites like that deserve their own password selection phrase.

Try It Yourself!

Take a moment to think of a phrase that's meaningful to you. Use that phrase to create a secure password that you can customize for each website you visit.

For more information on choosing secure passwords, check out the blog post on Shiny Pebbles.

Mozilla offers this guide as a public service. No approach to security can guarantee 100% security, and nothing in this publication is meant to provide any warranty or guarantee of the security of your passwords.

Google Privacy - Watch Out

On March 1st, 2012 Google implemented its new, unified privacy policy, which will affect data Google has collected on you prior to March 1st as well as data it collects on you in the future. Until now, your Google Web History (your Google searches and sites visited) was cordoned off from Google's other products. This protection was especially important because search data can reveal particularly sensitive information about you, including facts about your location, interests, age, sexual orientation, religion, health concerns, and more, which they then sell to advertisers, organizations, politicians, etc, etc. If you want to keep Google from combining your Web History with the data they have gathered about you in their other products, such as YouTube or Google Plus you may want to remove all items from your Web History and stop your Web History from being recorded in the future.
Better yet, don't use Google.  Use ASK, Yahoo, Bing or any other search engine, like the one below.

A more private search engine for private Internet searches.  It does not track what you do.  Give it a try.

Download E-Books from the Bucks County Library

To download for a Sony Reader or a Nook
ebooks 3 Sony Reader and Nook.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [403.0 KB]
To download e-books for a Kindle
ebooks 2 Kindle Instructions.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [444.5 KB]
To download for an iPhone, iPad, or iPod.
ebooks1 iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [256.8 KB]
No, Grandma, listen. Double-click on the Internet Explorer icon.

Cleaning your Monitor

Cleaning a flat screen (LCD, LED, or Plasma) monitor:

  1. Turn off the monitor. Use a dry, soft cloth and very gently wipe the screen. A great choice would be the microfiber type of cloth used to clean eyeglasses.
  2. If the dry cloth did not completely remove the dirt or oil, do not press harder in an attempt to scrub it off. Pushing directly on the screen can often cause pixels to burn out. If necessary, dampen the cloth with an equal amount of water and white vinegar.
  3. Do not use any other cleaner. Never spray liquid directly on the screen. It could run inside the monitor and cause damage.
  4. Do not use paper towels, toilet paper, tissue paper, or your shirt. These can scratch the display.


Computer Tips

Has Your Email Address Been Compromised?

There is a new online service called PwnedList ( where you can find out. PwnedList has nearly 5 million names in its database of stolen personal data. Just type in your information and click check. If you are listed in the database, it does not necessarily mean someone has tried to break into your account; however, you should consider changing your passwords.


Quick Fixes for Browser Annoyances

Recover your URL bar. If your grandkids used your computer and your URL bar disappears, here’s what to do: In Internet Explorer, right-click on any toolbar and check Address bar to bring it back. In Firefox, go to View Toolbars and check Navigation Toolbar. And in Safari, press <Ctrl>-<Shift>-\ (or <Command-<Shift>\, if you are on a Mac.


Bring your tabs back. Did you accidently close a tab or more? Each browser has an easy way to get them back: In Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome use <Ctrl>-<Shift>-T; Safari uses <Ctrl>-Z.


Print only what you want. Most often, printing a Web page results in ink and paper wasted on images, Links, and ads. A good solution is a handy bookmarklet called PrintLiminator. (

First, install the PrintLiminator bookmarklet in your browser by dragging it to your bookmarks bar.

The next time you want to print a page, select the Printliminator command instead of Print. A small toolbar will appear in the left corner of your browser. You’ll have four options: ‘Remove All Graphics’, ‘Apply Print Stylesheet’, ‘Send to Printer’, and ‘Undo Last Action’. To remove the graphics on the Web page, click Remove All Graphics’. To delete certain elements of the Web Page---links or buttons, for instance—click Apply Print Stylesheet. Printliminator will organize all of the printable elements into sections on the page. To remove a section, put your mouse over it, and a red box will appear around it. Left-click the selection and the object(s) in the box will vanish.

When you’ve finally configured the page as you want it to appear and are ready to print, just click the Send to Printer button.  


Another free resource for removing ads and other elements before you print is


How to copy an email to Word:  Highlight the words you want to copy.  Press CTRL C.  Minimize the screen.  Open a new word document.  Press CTRL V.


Get less e-mail.  A free service to manage e-letter subscriptions and junk e-mail.  Choose to get them all together as a single daily message or unsubscribe to any that you no longer want:


I feel a wee bit better about my computer skills now!
Tech support: What kind of computer do you have?
Customer: A white one...
Tech support: Click on the 'my computer' icon on to the left of the screen.
Customer: Your left or my left?
Customer: Hi, good afternoon, this is Martha, I can't print. Every time I try, it says 'Can't find printer'. I've even lifted the printer and placed it in front of the monitor, but the computer still says he can't find it..
Tech Support:  "I need you to right click on the open desktop."
Customer:  O.K.
Tech support:  Did you get a pop-up menu?
Customer:  No
Tech support:  O.K. sir.  Can you tell me what you have done up until this point?
Customer:  Sure, you told me to write click so I wrote 'click'.
Tech support: What's on your monitor now, ma'am?
Customer: A teddy bear my boyfriend bought for me at the 7-11.
Customer: My keyboard is not working anymore.
Tech support: Are you sure it's plugged into the computer?
Customer: No. I can't get behind the computer.
Tech support: Pick up your keyboard and walk 10 paces back.
Customer:  OK
Tech support: Did the keyboard come with you?
Customer: Yes
Tech support: That means the keyboard is not plugged in.
Customer: I can't get on the Internet.
Tech support: Are you sure you used the right password?
Customer: Yes, I'm sure. I saw my colleague do it.
Tech support: Can you tell me what the password was?
Customer: Five dots.
Tech support: What anti-virus program do you use?
Customer: Netscape.
Tech support: That's not an anti-virus program.
Customer: Oh, sorry... Internet Explorer..
Customer: I have a huge problem. A friend has placed a screen saver on my computer, but every time I move the mouse, it disappears.
Tech support: How may I help you?
Customer: I'm writing my first email.
Tech support: OK, and what seems to be the problem?
Customer: Well, I have the letter 'a' in the address, but how do I get the little circle around it?
This one and the next are our personal favorites!
A woman customer called the Canon help desk with a problem with her printer.
Tech support: Are you running it under Windows?
Customer: 'No, my desk is next to the door, but that is a good point. The man sitting in the cubicle next to me is under a window, and his printer is working fine.'
And last but not least!
Tech support: 'Okay Bob, let's press the control and escape keys at the same time. That brings up a task list in the middle of the screen. Now type the letter 'P' to bring up the Program Manager.'
Customer: I don't have a P.
Tech support: On your keyboard, Bob.
Customer: What do you mean?
Tech support: 'P'.....on your keyboard, Bob.

More on the way...........

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