Watch Out for Scams Targeting Military Members or Veterans
There are a number of scams currently circulating that target members of the military and veterans, such as fake military charities, identity theft targeting active service members, and veteran pension scams.
In general, all of these scams try to take advantage of military members by offering to provide a service and then taking your money, while you get nothing in return.
Many legitimate charities are soliciting donations to support the nation's military veterans as well as the families of active-duty personnel. And despite tough economic times, people reportedly are responding generously to these requests. However, not all "charities" are legitimate. Some are sham operators whose only purpose is to make money for themselves. The Federal Trade Commission, the nation's consumer protection agency, says there are several ways to make sure your donations go to a legitimate charity rather than a greedy scam artist trying to use the cachet of veterans and military families to cash in. For example, did you know that the words "veterans" and "military families" in an organization's name does not necessarily mean that veterans or the families of active-duty personnel will benefit from the money. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) does not endorse any charity, but recommends MilitaryOneSource, a DOD-funded program providing comprehensive information on every aspect of military life at no cost to active duty, Guard and reserve service members, and their families.
Having good credit is an important issue for all individuals and protecting that credit when your identity has been stolen is critical. Active service members who deploy can place what's called an "active duty alert" on their credit reports to help minimize their risk of identity theft. The alert requires creditors to take steps to verify your identity before granting credit in your name. it lasts for 1 year but can be renewed.
Payday Loans and Cash Advances
Have you ever heard about payday loans or cash advances? If you answered yes, you may know that they usually come with steep interest rates. If you are in the military, the average percentage rate charged on these types of loans cannot be more than 36%. The lender must give you documents that explain the cost of your loan and your rights. However, before you consider a payday loan or a cash advance, you may wish to consider other choices such as getting financial help from military aid societies. For example, you may wish to contact the Army Emergency Relief (703-428-0000), Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society (703-696-4904), Air Force Aid Society (800-769-8951), or Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (800-881-2462).
Unfortunately, veterans and their families are targets for some dishonest advisers who claim to offer free help with paperwork for pensions. In short, the scheme involves attorneys, financial planners, and insurance agents trying to persuade veterans over 65 to make decisions about their pensions without giving them the whole truth about the long-term consequences. The unscrupulous brokers claim to help veterans qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits, but in fact may cause them to lose eligibility for Medicaid services or cut off victims from their money for a long time.
Veterans IDs on Drivers License
id you know that many states now offer veterans designation on driver's licenses. These state programs now make it easier for veterans to receive access to government benefits, discounts at restaurants and retailers, to which they are entitled.
In the past, veterans had to carry their DD 214 around to prove veteran status. Currently there more than 40 states that provide the veterans designation and most of the remaining states have passed legislation and are in the process of implementing.
The states require varying proof of veterans status, so be sure to check with your DMV before applying. Many will only require your DD 214 but some states require additional documentation or will accept supplemental documentation to a DD 214. Some states do not charge for this designation but others do.
|Renew Memberships Online
t the request of our members, RAUS is pleased to provide the ability to renew their membership online and pay by credit or debit card. Just go to our website at www.raushome.com
and click on the Online Dues Renewal
If you are considering converting to a Lifetime Membership, click on the Membership
button and select Life Membership
The Heartbleed Bug
It's been a while since there was a computer security bug we all had to worry about. Unfortunately, it seems like we may all have been facing one for two years and not even realized it.
Recently, security researchers announced a security flaw in a popular data encryption standard that gives hackers who know about it the ability to extract massive amounts of data from the services that we use every day and assume are mostly secure.
This isn't simply a bug in some app that can quickly be updated. The vulnerability is in the machines that power services that transmit secure information, such as Facebook and Gmail.
What is the Heartbleed bug?
Heartbleed is a bug in OpenSSL, an encryption standard that many major websites use. OpenSSL is the way sites can take your passwords and other private information and jumble the data up so hackers can't access it.
Encryption works by making it so that data being sent looks like nonsense to anyone but the intended recipient.
According to the researchers who discovered the flaw, the code has been in OpenSSL for about two years, and using it doesn't leave a trace.
What can I do to protect myself?
Since the vulnerability has been in OpenSSL for about two years and using it leaves no trace, assume that your accounts may be compromised. You should change your online passwords, especially for services where privacy and security are major concerns.
The bug has been fixed, but it did open up the opportunity for hackers to access encrypted passwords, messages, and possibly even credit-card information.
The best way to protect yourself is to change your passwords for important sites.
Keep Us Accurate|
To be sure your benefits are properly recorded, please advise the association when you change your name or address. If you receive inaccurate membership cards or other correspondence, we want to know. We do not mind reissuing membership cards.
Not again! Why spring allergies could be (even) worse this year
Excerpt from Today.com
By Amy Capetta
lready suffering with allergies? It's not just you. It's really bad out there.
If you feel hay fever has been starting earlier and lasting longer, you're correct. The severe winter weather experienced by most of the country this year is helping turn this spring into one of the toughest allergy seasons ever.
"While trees are dormant in the colder months, the wet weather - rain, snow and ice - is absorbed by the trees and makes them flourish," says Dr. Stanley M. Fineman, past president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) and in private practice with the Atlanta Allergy & Asthma Clinic in Marietta, Ga. "So when the warmer weather rolls around, it signals for the trees to release the pollen, and they're going to be ready."
Dr. Ravi Gutta, head of Allergy Clinics at University of California, Irvine, firmly believes 2014 will be one of the most difficult seasons on record.
"The main reason why allergies are becoming more prevalent is because of the changes caused by global warming," Gutta says. "Not only has there been an increase in the release of pollen, but the pollen itself is more allergenic, more potent. These two factors play a role in terms of increasing the intensity of symptoms in patients."
An allergy is the body's immune system responding to a foreign, usually harmless substance. In the case of seasonal allergic rhinitis (the fancy name for hay fever), the allergen is pollen, the male fertilizing agent of flowering plants, trees, grasses and weeds.
When it comes to treatments, antihistamines and decongestants are the traditional over the counter methods, while allergy shots are the most common prescription recommended by doctors.
One of the most popular terms during this time of year is pollen count, which is a measure of a quantity of air over a 24-hour period, says Fineman.
Since the pollen count differs each day - pollen is higher on windy and humid days and lower on rainy and cooler days - he advises allergy sufferers to check the pollen count each morning so they can take extra precaution.
Two reputable sources include the National Allergy Bureau (NAB) - which is associated with the AAAAI - and The Weather Channel, which projects a two-day "Pollen Hotspot" forecast.
Identity Theft Protection Service For RAUS Members
AllClear ID is the technology leader in the identity protection and credit monitoring market. The patented identity protection technology developed by AllClear ID makes it simple for you to protect your identity, and easy to take action if your personal information is compromised. RAUS members will enjoy a 20% discount off the regular monthly rate.
Just go to our website at www.raushome.com
and click on the Discounts
button and select Technology & Security
. From there, go to the AllClear ID login page and input the following Activation Code: "raus". This will allow you to register and receive the discounted rate.
Your Free Credit Report
Federal Trade Commission
he Fair Credit Rep
orting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion - to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. The FCRA promotes the accuracy and privacy of information in the files of the nation's credit reporting companies. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, enforces the FCRA with respect to credit reporting companies.
A credit report includes information on where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you've been sued or have filed for bankruptcy. Nationwide credit reporting companies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or renting a home.
Here are the details about your rights under the FCRA, which established the free annual credit report program.
Q: How do I order my free report?
The three nationwide credit reporting companies have set up a central website, a toll-free telephone number, and a mailing address through which you can order your free annual report.
To order, visit annualcreditreport.com, call 1-877-322-8228. Or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. Do not contact the three nationwide credit reporting companies individually. They are providing free annual credit reports only through annualcreditreport.com, 1-877-322-8228 or mailing to Annual Credit Report Request Service.
You may order your reports from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies at the same time, or you can order your report from each of the companies one at a time. The law allows you to order one free copy of your report from each of the nationwide credit reporting companies every 12 months.
A Warning About "Imposter" Websites
Only one website is authorized to fill orders for the free annual credit report you are entitled to under law - annualcreditreport.com. Other websites that claim to offer "free credit reports," "free credit scores," or "free credit monitoring" are not part of the legally mandated free annual credit report program. In some cases, the "free" product comes with strings attached. For example, some sites sign you up for a supposedly "free" service that converts to one you have to pay for after a trial period. If you don't cancel during the trial period, you may be unwittingly agreeing to let the company start charging fees to your credit card.
Some "imposter" sites use terms like "free report" in their names; others have URLs that purposely misspell annualcreditreport.com in the hope that you will mistype the name of the official site. Some of these "imposter" sites direct you to other sites that try to sell you something or collect your personal information.
Annualcreditreport.com and the nationwide credit reporting companies will not send you an email asking for your personal information. If you get an email, see a pop-up ad, or get a phone call from someone claiming to be from annualcreditreport.com or any of the three nationwide credit reporting companies, do not reply or click on any link in the message. It's probably a scam. Forward any such email to the FTC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What information do I need to provide to get my free report?
A: You need to provide your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. If you have moved in the last two years, you may have to provide your previous address. To maintain the security of your file, each nationwide credit reporting company may ask you for some information that only you would know, like the amount of your monthly mortgage payment. Each company may ask you for different information because the information each has in your file may come from different sources.
Q: Why do I want a copy of my credit report?
A: Your credit report has information that affects whether you can get a loan - and how much you will have to pay to borrow money. You want a copy of your credit report to:
- make sure the information is accurate, complete, and up-to-date before you apply for a loan for a major purchase like a house or car, buy insurance, or apply for a job.
- help guard against identity theft. That's when someone uses your personal information - like your name, your Social Security number, or your credit card number - to commit fraud. Identity thieves may use your information to open a new credit card account in your name. Then, when they don't pay the bills, the delinquent account is reported on your credit report. Inaccurate information like that could affect your ability to get credit, insurance, or even a job.
|AGE RANGE||LIFE DUES|
|40 or less||$325|
|41 to 45||$300|
|46 to 50||$275|
|51 to 55||$250|
|56 to 60||$225|
|61 to 65||$200|
|66 to 70||$175|
|70 and up||$100|
Annual dues are $10 per year. Discounts apply for multiple year memberships: 3 years for $25 and 5 years for $40. Like memberships are available based on the age of the member at the time of the Life conversion. A Life Membership is exempt of dues increase and covers both the member and the spouse.
We are a non-political military association organized in 1970 to secure quality benefits for our members at rates only available to groups. Qualified retired and active members of the United States armed forces and related departments may join.
Membership benefits include discounts and perks, self-help and financial calculators, time-savings and educational resources, along with TRICARE Supplement, CHAMPVA Supplement and other insurance products.
RAUS is partnering with other organizations to establish a long term win-win relationship based on mutual benefits and information available to military families.
For more information, visit our website at www.raushome.com.
RAUS Eligible Defense Departments
* AIR FORCE * ARMY * MARINES * NAVY * NATIONAL GUARD *
* COAST GUARD * NOAA * CIVIL AIR PATROL *
* PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE * COASTAL & GEODETIC SURVEY *
* ACTIVE & RETIRED * OFFICERS & ENLISTED *
DONALD T. RUCK, President
Retired Association for the Uniformed Services, Inc.
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