Are you age 65 or older?
If so, you may be targeted by a new Medicare scam.
Medicare is issuing new benefit cards with new benefit ID numbers.
Look at your Medicare card. Your social security number, which is also your benefits number, is printed on your card. This has led to growing rates of identity theft among those 65 years and older.
Its easy for a thief to get your number. Anyone who stands close to you when you check out at the pharmacy can see the number and use it to steal your identity and may even fraudulently claim benefits in your name. The same thing can happen if someone sees your card when you open your wallet at the cash register, or finds your missing wallet (with your Medicare card inside).
The government redesigned the Medicare card so that it does not reveal your social security number. You will be assigned a new personal benefits number. Here's what the new card will look like:
What do you need to do?
That's important because scammers may try to take advantage of someone who is not aware of the process for receiving their new card.
The new card will be sent to you. You do not need to fill out a form, pay a fee, or give someone your social security number. Here's what the Federal Trade Commission advises to protect yourself:
- If you get a phone call, email, text or letter claiming to be from Medicare and asking for your social security or bank account number...
IGNORE it! That's a scam. Medicare will never call (or send an email, text message, or letter) and ask for this information.
- If someone asks you to pay for a new Medicare card...
IGNORE them. That's a scam. Your new Medicare card is free.
- If someone threatens to cancel you benefits unless you give them information or send money...
IGNORE them.That's also a scam. There will not be any changes to your benefits.
When will this change happen?
Delivery begins in April 2018 and will be completed by April 2019.
Learn more at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. https://www.cms.gov/medicare/new-medicare-card/nmc-home.html
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A residential grapefruit tree in the city of Riverside has tested positive for the incurable citrus disease Huanglongbing, or HLB, which causes the citrus greening disease. This is the first case of the disease in Riverside. It has already been detected in LA and Orange Counties. It was found after several Asian citrus psyllids (or the insect that moves the bacteria from tree to tree) trapped in the area tested positive.
After the results came back July 25, the tree was removed the following morning. A nearby tree is also being tested and all trees within an 800-meter radius from the infected tree that are susceptible to the disease will be treated to reduce the numbers of Asian citrus psyllids.
Infected trees have mottled leaves and fruit that is misshapen the fruit stays green and has a bitter taste. There is no known treatment for the disease and trees usually die within three to five years.
Researchers at UC Riverside and in UC ANR are working on biological controls, testing for effective insecticides, developing resistant citrus trees, and finding ways to detect infected trees earlier.
Information sheets, videos in English and Spanish, and other resources can be viewed and downloaded here. They can help in identifying the Asian citrus psyllid and the disease symptoms and how you can help in the fight against this devastating disease.
If you see any trees that have any symptoms, contact your agriculture commissioner.
Information is also available on the state's Dept. of food and agriculture website. If you believe you may have an infected tree, call the California Department of Food and Agriculture at 800-491-1899.
The Italian white snail aka white garden snail (WGS)(Theba pisana) has been in San Diego County for about 100 years. However, it has rarely caused significant damage to crops or gardens. Historically, it climbs up on weeds like mustards or fence posts in the day and during hot periods of the year and does not really move too far from abandoned fields or other relatively undisturbed areas.
In 20 years in my job here, I got a total of 1 call about it. However, about 6 weeks ago I went to a site in Escondido that bordered a weedy fallow field. That area had not been reported to have the WGS but they were clearly established there. The problem was that the snails had traveled to the adjacent property and were on almost all of the citrus and peach trees and groundcover. The avocado grove across the street was also impacted. WGS were on the tree trunks and leaves and this worried me more since they are not really a crop of choice for the more common brown snail. I thin drove down the street and observed small numbers of snails on walls and posts up to about 1/2 mile away. They are clearly expanding.
About 4 weeks later, I was at another small farm in Carlsbad and they asked me to the take a look at a snail problem. I expected it to be the brown snail and was shocked to it was also the WGS on their fruit trees. Even worse, that farm is next to cut flower growers who may be impacted not only from direct damage but restricted shipping since WGS is a B-rated pest.
B-rated pest (CDFA Pest Ratings): An organism of known economic importance subject to: eradication, containment, control or other holding action at the discretion of the individual county agricultural commissioner.
An organism of known economic importance subject to state endorsed holding action and eradication only when found in a nursery.
I am in the process of writing an advisory for ornamental plant growers. I am also doing some limited tests to see what can be done to reduce its impact. However, I wanted to get this out ASAP so people can be on the lookout. If you see it drop me a line here of by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I am very concerned that this snail will have a bigger impact on production and landscapes than the brown snail.
Description: White or light tan, about the side of a dime or nickel when full grown (sorry - I only had a quarter when I took the photo). May or may not have brown markings on the outside. Inside shell color of opening is light colored (milk snail looks similar but has a dark inside shell).