Every year, millions of American consumers — nearly 7% of the population — are victims of scams and fraud. In 2017, the number of fraud victims in the US reached 16.7 million, with $16.8 billion lost.
For more than 45 years, I’ve worked with, advised and consulted with the FBI and hundreds of financial institutions, corporations and government agencies around the world to help them in their fight against fraud.
But my expertise began more than 50 years ago, in an unusual way: I was one of the world’s most famous con artists. While I’m ashamed of what I did as a young man — cheating, stealing and, along the way, deceiving and hurting people — I was grateful for the opportunity to turn myself around.
My story, which is depicted in my 1980 memoir, “Catch Me If You Can,” gave me a wider audience to talk about fraud prevention.
Protect your identity
Identity theft is the deliberate use of someone else’s identity (e.g., name, address, Social Security number, bank accounts) to get money and credit, obtain employment, steal property, falsify educational and other credentials, access healthcare and more.
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"I don’t need to worry about drug prices. I have insurance!”
At GoodRx, we hear people say this all the time. After all, isn’t that what health insurance is for? You pay your premium and then insurance pays for your medical bills. Right?
If you use GoodRx, you probably already know that prescription drug insurance isn’t what it used to be. Not long ago, most Americans had generous prescription benefits as part of their insurance. You probably remember $10 copays and never being shocked at the pharmacy counter.
So, what’s changed? In general, health insurance is simply paying for less than it used to. The cost of healthcare has gone up, payors (whether the insurance company, your employer, or even the government) need to control their costs and they shuffle that cost to you, the patient, in different ways. As a consumer, you need to watch out for these “features” of your insurance policy, all of which could cost you at the pharmacy counter:
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Medicare Part D is the federal government health insurance plan that covers prescription medications. Maybe you just enrolled, or you’ve been on a plan for a while and were recently prescribed an expensive brand name drug. Whatever the case, you might be surprised by your out-of-pocket costs. Even with Medicare, medication expenses can pile up, costing some patients several thousand dollars a year.
Unfortunately, drug manufacturer discounts and copay coupons can’t help since they’re not available to people who have health coverage through the government. But there are still many resources available if you’re looking to save on your medications.
Depending on where you live, your state may offer programs to help. A good place to start is your local Department of Aging. This office of the United States Department of Health & Human Services can help you find the best Medicare plan for the coverage you need.
Some states even have their own cost-savings programs for older adults. For example, Pennsylvania runs PACE and PACENET. These programs offer low-cost prescription medications if you meet certain qualifications.
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Call me at
• Independent Life & Health Insurance Agent
• LegalShield & IDSheld Independent Associate & Director