Scam – Fake Support Contacts

A popular scam involves an individual or company contacting you claiming to be from “support” and urging you strongly to respond to their message ASAP. Recently, members have been contacted by “Apple support,” “Microsoft Support,” and “Amazon Support.” Often the contacts involve emails or texts asking you to click a link to fix a problem. Do not fall for this scam. Computer viruses and malware are downloaded via links and before you know it, a third party can access your computer, email, and every site you visit online, including Hudson Valley Credit Union’s Internet Banking.

You should NEVER respond to an email, text, or phone call from “support” that requests you to take quick action. This includes unsolicited pop-up messages when browsing the internet. Immediately close the pop-up window without clicking any links.

Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and other companies will not contact you in this manner because:

  • There’s a problem with your online order,
  • They have an issue with the credit card you gave them, or
  • Your computer software needs updating.

If you are ever directed to “contact us immediately” because there is a problem, ignore the message and any links you might be sent. If you’re truly worried there is a problem, call the company independently or contact their legitimate customer service on their website.

Finally, if you ever notice unusual transactions on Internet or Mobile Banking, or are contacted via text to provide your Internet Banking credentials or debit card PIN under the premise of verifying a transaction, please contact your bank immediately.

Scammers prey on people’s fears by making it seem like a problem demands your immediate action. Always take the time to consider what an unknown individual is asking of you. Pausing before clicking or responding favorably to the message can help prevent others from infiltrating your computer and using your information fraudulently to take your hard-earned money.

To stay abreast of the latest scams, sign up today for the Federal Trade Commission’s Scam Alerts.

Stand With Us – Putnam County’s Fall Prevention Expo

Putnam Seniors were thrilled to be able get together when the Putnam County Office for Senior Resources hosted 2 live outdoors events during this past Fall Prevention Week.  These events were aimed to educate and inform Seniors on the risks and dangers of falls and to develop fall prevention skills and awareness. They also served to bring seniors together after many months of isolation due to the corona virus.

Over 60 seniors attended the events Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park on Tuesday, September 22nd and Wednesday, September 23rd at Putnam Valley Town Park.  The events were supported by the Putnam County Department of Health, Nuvance Health Putnam Hospital Center and New York-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital.  Events featured balance and tai chi exercises by instructors Naomi Cohen and Kim Cercena, and lectures and fall risk assessments by hospital physical therapists Kirsi Vera of Putnam Hospital and Jaclyn Cameron of Hudson Valley Hospital.  Discussions on the impact of nutrition, medications, and home environment obstacles were  led by OSR’s nurse, Michael Lambe.  Lunch was provided and served by OSR’s nutrition staff.

This was the first in-person event hosted by OSR since March and it was blessed with sunny weather. Safe practices were readily adopted by the participating seniors – all wore face masks and readily maintained social distancing throughout the event.  Originally planned as a virtual program, Michael Cunningham, OSR Director, saw an opportunity to promote live programs with the prospect of more comfortable weather and the availability of large covered pavilions.  The idea was also adopted by neighboring Dutchess, Rockland and Orange Counties.

Putnam County asked for and received a Proclamation from New York State’s Office for the Aging and the Governor’s Office which highlighted:

  • Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries among older adults
  • Annually, in the U.S., there are 2.8 million injuries treated in ERs, over 800,000 hospitalizations, and more than 27,000 deaths
  • 26% of New Yorkers are 65 years of age or older and one-fourth will fall each year
  • The financial toll that results from falls may reach $101 Billion by 2030
  • The personal toll is equally serious with falls leading to social isolation, depression, and losses of mobility and financial independence
  • Falls were identified as a largely preventable community health problem and that efforts to provide exercise programs to improve balance and strength, medication management, vision improvement, reduction of home hazards, and fall prevention education are critical

The prevention of 1 fall could result in cost savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars in emergency medical treatment, hospitalizations, in-patient rehabilitation and convalescent care, and subsequent home assistance.  Multiply that by the numbers of seniors who participated in these 2 events and others statewide and the payback on the investment of time and effort in organizing these Fall Prevention Expos could be staggering.

Putnam County’s Office for Senior Resources Over 3,000 Food Bank Grocery Bags Delivered to Seniors

This past Thursday marked the 3,000th grocery bag delivered by the Office for Senior Resources staff to the seniors of Putnam County.  In addition to the daily home delivered meals and program materials transported to homebound seniors, OSR’s drivers bring a special package every Thursday.   Those seniors who come to one of OSR’s 4 Friendship Centers to pick up a Grab n’ Go lunch during this pandemic also share in the bounty and receive a weekly grocery bag.

This bounty is courtesy of the United Way of Putnam and Westchester and the Food Bank of Hudson Valley under the direction of Food Drive Coordinator Faith Butcher. Each week the bag is different, and it might contain pieces of fruit, vegetables, onions (lots of onions!), yogurt, snacks, coffee, tea, a beverage, canned goods, eggs, bread, cheese and other items.  Each Thursday morning, dozens of volunteers from the United Way, local food banks, other community organizations and local government come together to sort and bag truckloads of goods.  The response of the Putnam County community to those in need during this coronavirus pandemic has been extraordinary and it is most appreciated by our seniors who look forward to each weekly surprise.

Our seniors are most at risk to dangers of the coronavirus, and the daily Home Delivered Meals, daily Grab n’ Go lunches, and the weekly United Way Food Bank Grocery Bag programs all work to help minimize the amount of shopping and the subsequent public exposure risk to our seniors.  OSR has focused not only on the nutritional needs of Putnam County’s seniors during this crisis which has forced the temporary closure of its senior Friendship Centers but also on combating the dangers of loneliness and social isolation through a variety of telephone and internet video programs: Coffee and Conversation, Brain Fitness, Virtual Bingo, Zoom Dancing, Book Club Chats, Caregiver Support Groups, Online Exercise Classes and is working on more creative resources.  50 classes a week are offered!  Any seniors interested in finding out more are invited to call the Office for Senior Resources at (845) 808-1700.

Office For Senior Resources Distribution of Farmers Market Coupons Via Drive-Thru Distribution Sites

Office for Senior Resources will be distributing Farmers Market Coupons this year via Drive-Thru Distribution Sites.  Due to COVID safety precautions, Farmers Market Coupons will not be distributed as we have done in the past.  Distribution will happen curbside from the convenience of your vehicle!

  • Who:  This program is for the benefit of Putnam County seniors of age 60 and older who meet eligibility requirements (see below for more information)
  • When:  From 12pm noon to 1 pm Friday, August 7, 2020
  • Where:
    Carmel Friendship Center, 110 Old Rt. 6, Bldg. 1, Carmel
    Koehler Senior Center, 180 Rt. 6, Mahopac
    Putnam Valley Senior Center, 117 Town Park Lane, Putnam Valley
    Friendship Center in Philipstown, 1756 Rt. 9D, Lahey Pavilion, Cold Spring

 

Clients are highly encouraged to attend our Drive-Thru Distribution as quantities of coupons are limited and will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis.  For more information or to schedule a pickup before that date, please call 845-808-1700.

Rules and Procedures For All Locations:

  • Clients will remain in their vehicles at all times. An OSR staff member will distribute the necessary eligibility paperwork and booklets via the vehicle’s window.
  • Clients and staff must be wearing masks at all times.
  • Please bring your own pen for sanitation purposes!
  • Only one coupon booklet for each eligible senior in each household – while quantities last.
  • The eligible senior must sign in person the Federally required STATEMENT OF ELIGILITY form affirming that you are low income based on the monthly income amounts (listed below).  An eligible Health Care Proxy or Power of Attorney with proper paperwork can sign for the coupons.

 

Farmers Market Coupon Eligibility Requirements:

  1. Must be age 60 or above
  2. Household Monthly Income at/or below 185% of Federal Poverty Level:$1,968 – 1 person household  $2,658 – 2 person household $3,349 – 3 person household

Face Coverings for Putnam County Seniors “Drive-by” Distribution

What:

The Putnam County Office for Senior Resources is pleased to announce that is has scheduled 2 Face Covering Distribution days for Putnam County seniors. The face covering is a white washable cotton fabric and will come with washing instructions.

Seniors have been identified as being a group that is very vulnerable to the COVID-19 or Coronavirus. Putnam County Department of Health and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance recommends that we wear face coverings when in groups and in public settings.

Who: This program is for the benefit of Putnam County seniors of age 60 and older

When: From 12pm noon to 2 pm on

  • Friday June 5, 2020 and
  • Monday June 8, 2020

Where:

  • Carmel Friendship Center, 110 Old Rt. 6, Bldg. 1, Carmel
  • Koehler Senior Center, 180 Rt. 6, Mahopac
  • Putnam Valley Senior Center, 117 Town Park Lane, Putnam Valley
  • Friendship Center in Philipstown, 1756 Rt. 9D, Lahey Pavilion, Cold Spring

How:

The health and safety of our seniors and staff is paramount during this distribution program so we will have signage posted directing cars and walk-ins where to go. Staff will also be outside our centers during the distribution period. Seniors driving in are to remain in their cars and the face coverings will be handed to them on a tray by OSR staff and volunteers wearing face coverings and gloves.

Senior Programs Go Remote Putnam Office for Senior Resources Gets Innovative

BREWSTER, NY— Seniors have been singled out as “vulnerable” since the COVID-19 outbreak first began. The physical health of older Americans necessarily became a priority, but as the benefits of staying at home are obvious, so are the troubling social and emotional effects of isolation. Every May, the national Administration for Community Living brings into the spotlight the observance of Older Americans Month. The theme for 2020 is “Make Your Mark,” paying tribute to the countless contributions seniors have made in their communities, and invites communities, in turn, to pay it forward by supporting the health and well being of the older generation.

“The connections created by our senior programs are truly a bright spot during this difficult time. We know our seniors are anxiously waiting to be able to reconnect in person at their local centers. The staff at our Office for Senior Resources have designed and implemented wonderful ways to serve the community. From fresh, home-delivered meals to connecting seniors with pen-pal groups in their local towns, we are supporting our seniors in ways we may never have imagined before,” says Putnam County Executive, MaryEllen Odell.

            “Many of us are counting down the days until we will again be able to visit with the seniors in our lives,” says Michael Cunningham, Director of Putnam County’s Office for Senior Resources (OSR). “The reality is, we aren’t sure yet when our doors will safely reopen— but that uncertainty drove us to create and implement innovative program offerings for all Putnam seniors using both voice and video conference calling tools.”

            All seniors in Putnam, whether or not they have previously participated in a senior center program are encouraged to call the OSR. Their staff, currently working remotely, will assist in identifying programs that suit both the callers’ needs and their interests.

            “It is important to remember that social distancing does not have to mean isolation, especially for seniors. Loneliness is bad for your health, but you don’t have to face the uncertainties alone. It is our goal to support seniors and offer them various ways to connect with one another, connect with professionals and connect with their larger community all while staying safe at home,” adds Michael Cunningham.

            “The response to our one-on-one wellness calls and remote group events such as ‘Coffee and Conversation,’ have been very positive,” continues Michael Cunningham. Other popular programs include: Book Club meetings, Brain Fitness Activity Groups, Zoom Social Dancing, Strength and Balance Exercise and Caregiver Support Groups. TeleBingo and other new programs are being rolled out as well.

An innovative program called robotic pet companionship is one of the many new offerings from OSR. Robotic pets look, sound and feel like real pets. This alternative form of pet therapy has been proven to enhance the well-being, sense of purpose and quality of life of individuals living with dementia. During COVID-19, these robotic pets are being utilized to address the emotional challenges that often accompany social distancing. To learn more about the programs offered visit putnamcountyny.com/OSR or call 845-808-1700.

Putnam County Office for Senior Resources is responsible for stimulating, promoting, coordinating and administering local programs and services for older Putnam County residents.  In carrying out this responsibility, the Office for Senior Resources’ primary emphasis is on the development of long-term care programs and services necessary to meet the long term care needs of Putnam County’s elderly and to support informal caregivers.

The mission of the Putnam County Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services, provided directly and through collaboration, include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our County website at www.putnamcountyny.com/coronavirus; or visit our social media sites @PutnamHealthNY on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 BEWARE OF SCAMS  3 New Scams have been identified.  Here is some information to help you avoid being a victim

 BEWARE OF SCAMS  3 New Scams have been identified.  Here is some information to help you avoid being a victim

 

 SCAM #1

Homeowner Repair Grants

Earlier this week our office was notified by the Montgomery County Office for the Aging that they have been getting a large number of NY Connects calls from older adults who had received a postcard mailing addressed to “resident” from the National Residential Improvement Association offering to help them get a grant to repair their home. The postcard looks official, but it is not a government program, and the company currently does not have a valid business license. National Residential Improvement Association has been reported to the Better Business Bureau multiple times since 2008. This is a scam.

Government grant scams are on the rise. With the recently passed federal stimulus bill, scammers are taking advantage of homeowners of all ages by making bogus offers to secure generous grants for home repairs.

What to look out for:

  • Unsolicited phone calls or emails from someone claiming to be an official from the Federal Grants Administration (which does not exist), or a nonprofit organization like the National Residential Improvement Association offering grants or funding for repairs.
  • Social media messages or posts from people excited to share the thousands of dollars they claim to have received from an organization that secures grants for homeowners.
  • Callers who ask you to pay a fee in order to receive a grant. Federal grants never charge for grant applications.
  • Magazine or newspaper ads that offer “free grants.”
  • Calls or emails that claim you’re eligible for a personal grant that does not restrict how you spend the money.

Protect yourself:

  • Do not answer your telephone if you do not recognize the caller or number.
  • Never share personal information over the telephone, like your Medicare number, Social Security number or banking information.
  • Never pay a fee to a company that says it will help you get a grant.
  • Block or unfriend anyone who offers unsolicited grant information on social media. Even if you are “friends” with that person – they may have been hacked.
  • Only use local contractors with validated references to do work in your home.

If you have been a victim of such a scam:

 

SCAM #2

Corona Virus Scam

Police are warning cell phone users of a new text message scam during the coronavirus pandemic.  The Thomaston Police Department in Maine posted on Facebook a photo of the alert being sent to people in a text message.

The message was sent to someone in Maine from an Indiana area code telling them they need to self-isolate because they came in contact with someone who tested positive or has shown symptoms for coronavirus.

The alert also tells you to get tested.

“If you receive a text message like the one pictured, DO NOT click the link!” police wrote on Facebook. “It is not a message from any official agency. It is however a gateway for bad actors to find their way into your world.”

Police said it could be a phishing scam to get your personal information.

“The virus is not the only invisible enemy,” police said. “Be vigilant against all threats!”

The BBB said scammers have also been targeting seniors with text messages posing as the U.S. Department of Health, and telling them they need to take a mandatory online COVID-19 test in order to receive the recently approved government stimulus payment.

 

SCAM #3

Stimulus Check Scam

Ugh. The ink is barely dry on the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” or the “CARES Act” – and scammers are already coming up with schemes to defraud taxpayers. Specifically, identity thieves are using confusion over the stimulus checks to convince potential victims to turn over personally-identifying information.

The Better Business Bureau is already reporting that government imposters are calling about COVID-19 relief. As part of the scam, callers suggest that you might qualify for a special COVID-19 government grant and that it’s necessary to first verify your identity and process your request. Variations on the scheme involve contacts through text messages, social media posts, and messages.

Other twists on the scam suggest that you can get more money from the government – or get your stimulus check faster – if you share personal details and pay a small “processing fee.” Don’t take the bait. Stimulus checks are free money from the government. You don’t need to spend money to receive your check. And there are no short-cuts – even for a fee.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will deposit your check into the direct deposit account you previously provided on your tax return (or, in the alternative, send you a paper check). The IRS will not call and ask you to verify your payment details. Do not give out your bank account, debit account, or PayPal account information – even if someone claims it’s necessary to get your stimulus check. It’s a scam.

If you receive a call, don’t engage with scammers or thieves, even if you want to tell them that you know it’s a scam, or you think that you can beat them. Just hang up. If you receive texts or emails claiming that you can get your money faster by sending personal information or clicking on links, delete them. Don’t click on any links in those emails.

 

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell declares State of Emergency and issues an Emergency Order to close all schools in the County to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

In an abundance of caution, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell has declared a State of Emergency for Putnam County effective 5 p.m. today, March 13 through March 27 at 11:59 p.m.

The State of Emergency will allow the county to share resources more efficiently and better respond to the rapidly evolving epidemic of Coronavirus, or COVID-19.

With the State of Emergency declared, Odell issued an Emergency Order to suspend all classroom and extracurricular functions and close all public and private schools throughout the county as of Monday, March 16 for an initial five day period, with an option to extend it for another five days.  No classroom or extracurricular activities may take place at the schools.

“Schools throughout the county are facing their toughest test yet,” Odell said. “While they need to educate students, they also need to keep them safe and prevent the spread of the virus to family members and the community at large. This order will help them do that.”

Anthony DiCarlo, Superintendent of Mahopac schools praised the move.

“I want to thank County Executive Odell and County Attorney Jennifer Bumgarner for working hard to keep our children and staff safe,” DiCarlo said.

In addition, Putnam County Sheriff Robert Langley suspended all visitation to the Putnam County Correctional Facility effective Monday,  March 16th.

“The emergency declaration will give the county the most flexibility possible to deal with a potential crisis,” Putnam County Legislature Chairwoman Toni Addonizio said. “These are unusual times.”

Adjacent Westchester County continues to have the highest concentration of Coronavirus cases in the state. Dutchess, Orange and Ulster counties have also each issued emergency orders.

The State of Emergency and Emergency Order are pursuant to New York State Executive Law and enforceable by local, county and state law enforcement agencies.

Putnam County has established a website to provide residents with the latest information about Coronavirus, COVID-19.  https://www.putnamcountyny.com/health/coronavirus/

Putnam Senior Centers and adult day service sites closed for two weeks

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell has announced that all senior centers and adult day service sites will be closed for two weeks from Monday, March 16 through and including Friday, March 27. Meals will instead be delivered at home for those who need them.

“We made this difficult decision out of an abundance of caution and concern for the health and well-being of our seniors due to the growing Coronavirus outbreak,” Odell said. “It is based on the recommendations of the medical community, which is telling all of us to avoid crowds. Since seniors are particularly vulnerable to this virus, it is just better to be safe than sorry.”

The Office of Senior Resources will expand its home delivered meal services while the senior centers are closed. Those who currently receive home delivered meals will continue to do so. In addition, seniors who regularly attend the nutrition sites and who have been identified as in need of continued nutrition support will get meals delivered, OSR Director Michael Cunningham said.

“No one in need will go hungry because of this necessary decision,” Cunningham said. “Our staff will continue to work throughout this period, delivering more meals than ever before. Plus, we are always just a phone call away.”

In addition to meals, the following services will also still be available to the county’s seniors during this time:

  • Telephone reassurance and expanded outreach to our at-risk seniors and site participants
  • Caregiver support
  • Legal Services
  • HIICAP health insurance counseling and assistance
  • EISEP and home health aide support
  • HEAP home energy assistance

The sites affected are the Carmel friendship Center, the Putnam Valley Friendship Center, the Friendship Center at Philipstown and the William Koehler Senior Center in Mahopac.

Here is the most recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • The following people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness:
    • Older adults
    • People who have serious chronic medical conditions such as:
      • Heart disease
      • Diabetes
      • Lung disease
  • Those of us who are at higher risk should:
    • Stock up on essential supplies and have adequate medications at home.
    • Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
    • When you go out in public
      • keep away from others who are sick,
      • limit close contact and
      • wash your hands often.
    • Avoid crowds as much as possible.
    • Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
    • During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.

 

Seniors who have questions can call the Office of Senior Resources at (845) 808-1700.

National Hat Day at the Putnam Valley Senior Center

Wednesday, January 15th, was National Hat Day!  The attendees at the Putnam Valley Senior Center thought why not celebrate the day with fun hats!  Here are a few pictures of our Seniors enjoying our silly day!!  It really brightened up the day!  Everyone wore their smiles along with their hats making a dull winter day so much more fun!!