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This Week's Facts:

  1. Zoeller announces top 3 telemarketing calls that break the law
  2. Older Americans Month
  3. MEMORIAL DAY

Volunteer and Donate Safely

Everyone has heard and seen the recent devastation of the Oklahoma community. This past week’s tornado left a city and state devastated and in need of support from global neighbors. When disasters strike, many of us want to leap into action, but may not know exactly what we can or should do. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has advice on how to volunteer and donate responsibly to the Oklahoma Tornado Survivors. FEMA advises the best way to help the survivors is by making a financial contribution. Unfortunately, some people try to take advantage of those who are giving and sympathetic in times of disasters. In order to ensure you’re donating to a legitimate agency, visit the National l Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) website. This site has a donate responsibly toolkit with videos, radio PSAs, Fact sheets, and other information to help guide your donations. There is also a link to reputable member agencies such as AmeriCares, the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities, Habitat for Humanity, and many other agencies that coordinate relief in times of disasters.

Our hearts and thoughts are with the Oklahoma community at this time.  


Friday Facts Editorial Team:

Katharine Springer
State Data Center Coordinator

Kim Brown-Harden
Federal Documents Coordinator

Andrea Glenn
State Documents Coordinator

Indiana Federal Depository Library Program


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Zoeller announces top 3 telemarketing calls that break the law

Cell phones and VOIP numbers are now eligible on Indiana’s Do Not Call list. Sign up today!

According to a May 17 news release submitted by Erin Reese, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced top telemarketing calls that break the law.

Since January, the Attorney General’s office has received more than 5,100 complaints from consumers who received telemarketing calls from either a live operator or prerecorded message.

“Indiana’s Do Not Call law protects registered numbers from receiving certain telemarketing calls,” Zoeller said. “Unfortunately, illegitimate businesses and scammers skirt the law by trying to deceive consumers with phony sales pitches. That’s why if you are on the Do Not Call list and receive a sales call or text message you can count on it being a scam.”

As of May 13, 2011, Indiana’s Do Not Call law was amended by House Enrolled Act 1273 to clarify that wireless and VOIP telephone numbers can be registered on the Do Not Call list. Consumers can register their residential landline, cell, VOIP or prepaid wireless numbers.

Sign up today for the October 1st list. Quarterly lists take effect each year on January 1st, April 1st, July 1st, and October 1st. (The deadline to make the July 1st list was Tuesday.)

Zoeller said the top three most annoying telemarketing calls aim to separate consumers from their money or collect consumers’ personal information.

1. Card Services
More than 920 consumers reported receiving an automated call from a woman who says her name is Rachel (or Kelly, Courtney, Heather, etc.) from “Cardholder Services,” offering to lower their credit card interest rates. Rachel warns that this “is your final notice,” but Zoeller says Hoosiers should just hang-up on Rachel and her sisters. If you follow through with the prompts, you will be connected with a representative who will collect an upfront payment from you without any intention of providing services or a refund.

2. Home Security
Since January, more than 370 complaints have been filed about an automated call which mentions an FBI report on the number of home break-ins and offers a “free” home security system. These telemarketers have no relationship with federal law enforcement agencies. The caller will take your information and sell it to a home security company that may charge up to $45 per month for monitoring services.

3. Prize/Sweepstakes Scams
So far this year, more than 110 consumers have received calls from a live operator that says “You have won $2 million from Publisher’s Clearinghouse. All you need to do is transfer $250 for fees and taxes via Moneygram, Western Union or GreenDot money card…” This is a scam designed to separate you from your money. Once you wire money, it’s like using cash and it’s nearly impossible to get back.

Zoeller said consumer complaints help the Attorney General’s office bring enforcement actions against violators and stop unwanted calls. Since 2009, the office has obtained 57 settlements or judgments against companies that violated Indiana’s telephone privacy laws. The total awarded to the state has been more than $4.9 million and the total collected is more than $791,800. Zoeller said this money collected is used to defray the cost of enforcing the state’s telephone privacy laws.

Individuals do not need to re-register unless their address has changed. To sign up or to confirm a number is already on the list, visit www.IndianaConsumer.com or call 1.888.834.9969.

Older Americans Month

Unleash the Power of Age! That is the theme for Older Americans Month! Since 1963, May has been a month to appreciate and celebrate the vitality and hopes of older adults and their numerous contributions to our communities. Congress passed the Older Americans Act (OAA) in 1965 in response to concern by policymakers about a lack of community social services for older persons. The original legislation established authority for grants to States for community planning and social services, research and development projects, and personnel training in the field of aging. The law also established the Administration on Aging (AoA) to administer the newly created grant programs and to serve as the Federal focal point on matters concerning older persons. Today’s older Americans are more productive, active, and social than ever! Statistics reveal that the older population-people over 65 years or older-numbered 39.6 million as of 2009, or 12.9% of the U.S. population. Older Americans provide valuable wisdom, resources, and information to families, friends, neighbors, and their communities. The Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging has information for older adults and families such as benefits, eldercare locator, long-term care planning, and other topics of interest to older adults. Celebrate Older Americans Month by hosting a community event or other activities to educate and inform about older Americans. For more information and ideas about Older Americans Month, please visit the Administration on Aging website. Let’s remember to honor, celebrate and appreciate those who have paved the way before us!
 

MEMORIAL DAY

The muffled drum’s sad roll has beat
The soldier’s last tattoo;
No more on Life’s parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.
     Bivouac of the Dead, Theodore O’Hara

For many Hoosiers, Memorial Day weekend means two things: the Indy 500 and spending Monday at a cookout instead of work. However, it’s important to remember the roots of the holiday. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for the men and women who died while serving in the United States military. As many people know, Memorial Day has its origins in the years following the Civil War, when local groups would decorate the graves of those killed in the war. In 1868, the head of the Grand Army of the Republic established Decoration Day as a time to place flowers on the graves of veterans. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, it is largely believed that the end of May was chosen because flowers would be in bloom around most of the country. American s continued to honor Civil War dead through the first World War, when the holiday was expanded to include all fallen veterans. In 1971, the name was officially changed from Decoration Day to Memorial Day. The VA has a great website on Memorial Day, including its history, information on military funeral honors, flag displaying guidelines, and the story behind the poppy. If you are unable to attend a Memorial Day service, the VA encourages you to observe a minute of silence at 3:00 PM, local time.

Of course, this does not mean that you can’t enjoy your day off! Be sure to check out USA.gov’s page on Memorial Day, which includes links to barbeque food safety, swimming safety, American recipes, and more.

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