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HAPPENINGS: Stay safe, physically and financially

By Janice Crose | Special to Gannett

As if dealing with COVID-19 wasn't enough, we are dealing with the aftermath of hurricanes and watching for potential hurricanes.

Make sure you keep your gas tank full, have plenty of canned food, water and pet food on hand and keep your prescriptions filled in case we get a hurricane. Hurricane season runs through Nov. 30.

We are also dealing with criminals trying to perpetuate scams that take advantage of the vulnerable among us.

Now that Medicare has given different numbers out for medical insurance, don't provide your Social Security number unless there is a very good reason for it.

Your number is needed to open a bank account, get a loan, file your taxes, for employment and some other financial transactions.

It is not needed by your doctor, the hospital, pharmacy or other medical facility. If someone demands your Social Security number, ask them why they need it and it if isn't for a legitimate reason, don't give it to them.

Years ago, Jim took me to an urgent care in Fort Walton Beach as I needed a prescription for physical therapy. The women working the front desk were extremely rude and condescending. They told me that I wouldn't be seen unless I gave them my Social Security number.

When I asked why they needed it, their answer was, "We might need to sue you." We had good insurance and paid the co-pay at the time of service, so I knew they were doing something underhanded. Always be on your guard.

Remember, if an investment or arrangement seems too good to be true, it undoubtedly is a set-up to part you and your hard-earned money.

Before you invest in anything, talk over the details with your family and trusted friends, and ask for references from the person making the sale. Many times your family will bring needed information to the table — which may keep you from having your money stolen.

Janice Lynn Crose

While we have the desire to help those affected by Hurricane Laura, please give through your church or a reputable charity such as the Salvation Army, Samaritan's Purse or others.

Don't give out your credit card information to anyone that calls soliciting relief money for families affected by the hurricane.

Someone calling and claiming they are with a certain charity may be looking for a quick buck by stealing your credit card or banking information. Keep your personal information safe. Don't carry your Social Security card in your wallet.

Remember that the Social Security office doesn't call and claim that your number will expire if you don't verify it with them. The IRS doesn't call and ask for payment with iTunes gift cards or any other type of gift card.

Scammers can fake their caller ID, making it look as though they are legitimate.

If you are the victim of a crime such as these or any others, please call the Crestview Police Department at 850-682-2055 or the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Department at 850-689-5650.

Janice Lynn Crose, a former accountant, lives in Crestview with her husband, Jim; her two rescue collies, Shane and Jasmine; and two cats, Kathryn and Prince Valiant.