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TSA PreCheck Scams

By
June Adams
December 20, 2021
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TSA PreCheck Scams

 

TSA PreCheck is garnering a lot of interest, from both travelers and scammers alike. In addition to pocketing your renewal/application fee, these scammers take your personal information to sell on the dark web or create false identities that can be used illegally. TSA PreCheck scam emails are quite sophisticated, lacking many of the typical red flags such as misspellings, grammatical errors, and slightly-off-looking versions of TSA logos. We recommend that you continue to check the email address and web address of the sender, as well as how they’re asking for payment.

Always verify that the TSA PreCheck web and email address ends in ‘.gov’ – not ‘.com’, ‘.org’ or anything else. If they don’t, these are not official TSA PreCheck communications and you should not provide personal information or payment information. Additionally, don’t purchase or renew a TSA PreCheck membership by clicking on a link you were sent via an email. Instead, go directly to the TSA or Homeland Security website.

The other major red flag comes when it’s time to pay for your renewal or application fees. While there are multiple ways to make a payment for government services, scammers typically only give you the option of using PayPal. If you get an email and suspect it’s a scam, or end up clicking on a bad link yourself, TSA says to do the following:

  1. Report the fraud to your local Police Department.
  2. File a report with the Federal Trade Commission website.
  3. Contact your credit card company or bank and let them know about any fraudulent charges.

In the event that your credit card information ended up in the wrong hands, you will need to work through your bank or credit card company. TSA specifically states on its website that it “will not issue a reimbursement to applicants who attempt to enroll in TSA pre-check through a fraudulent website.”

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By
Jeff Motske, CFP®
November 26, 2018

Money is a commonly held taboo topic, like politics and religion. We just don’t feel comfortable talking about them – especially to people we care about. That’s because these topics are tied closely to how we view ourselves. These topics also garner a lot of judgment, and the last thing we want is to be judged on something that we feel is intrinsically linked to our intelligence or sense of maturity. Yet, by practicing a few simple tips, we can start tackling the taboo topic of family finances and get on that path to financial independence.

Be Honest

It is human nature to want to hide things we may not be proud of or want to avoid. Perhaps you charged a bit too much to your credit cards or haven’t saved as much as you planned for all of your family’s goals. You may want to avoid addressing such issues, but those who are part of your financial household need to know the honest, unvarnished state of your finances. Trying to hide the facts will just compound your issues when they come to light – and they will.

Be Frequent

Don’t just talk about money when money is a problem. That’s when stress levels are high and emotions are frayed. What needs to be a level-headed discussion can quickly escalate into an emotional shouting match. Instead, conversations about finances should become routine. If you schedule a monthly financial date night with your spouse, the frequent exposure will minimize the surprise and anxiety from these talks. Ultimately, there will be fewer surprises and more planning to help when unexpected or hard decisions need to be made.

Be Open to Feedback

You and your spouse are a team. Teams succeed by working together towards the same goals. Teammates, though, don’t always see things the same way and may have different approaches to the same objective. That’s why it’s important to get your spouse’s input on how your finances are being managed. Not only does your spouse’s input ensure you’re working towards the same goals, but different perspectives can also provide multiple solutions to financial issues. Most importantly, your spouse feels heard and validated, which is a precious thing to give to the one you love.

Be Non-Judgmental

What causes many to shy away from discussing finances is the idea that they will be judged for things they did or did not do with their money. Did you mismanage your funds and refrain from saving sufficiently? Were you too risky with your investments or not risky enough to provide for the household? To avoid the judgment, most will just avoid talking about their finances all together, which doesn’t often have good outcomes. Avoidance doesn’t help financial situations – it often just prolongs the mess. To help your spouse open up, it is beneficial to allow them to speak openly and freely and to listen without judgment.

I do believe that it is imperative to take the taboo out of talking about money with your spouse. Both of you should foster frequent and honest financial discussions, free of strife and judgment. Doing these things will allow you to solidify yourselves as a strong financial team and set you on your path for collective financial independence.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

By
Rebecca DeSoto, CDFA®
September 18, 2017

Generally, people purchase life insurance because they have a spouse or child they want to protect financially in case they pass away. But, there are several other reasons to buy life insurance that can benefit more than just those who need to protect their family. One of those benefits is accumulating tax-deferred, tax-free, cash value.  Just like a Roth IRA, the cash value in a permanent life insurance policy can grow on a tax-deferred status and be accessed tax-free, but without the consequence of incurring a 10% penalty if accessed before attaining age 59.5. “Living Benefits”, also known as “Accelerated Benefit Riders” are another advantage of life insurance other than the death benefit. As the name suggests, “living benefits” can be utilized in certain circumstances by the policy holder without passing away.

Common living benefits allow the policy holder to access all or some of the death benefit of their policy to help provide managed care if they are diagnosed with a critical or chronic illness. ABRs originated in the 80s and 90s when companies called “viaticals” found a market for purchasing life insurance policies from people that were very sick who realized they needed money now to help pay their medical bills more than their beneficiaries needed the death benefit. The insurance industry realized what was happening and started adapting policies to include Accelerated Benefit Riders to help their consumers get access to expensive medical care, outside of what health care would cover, while they were sick.

Living Benefits that are common today are terminal, chronic and critical illness or critical injury riders. It is important to talk to your advisor and read the fine print when considering different insurance policies because riders can differ significantly between insurance companies and policies. Terminal illness riders will allow the insured to accelerate a portion of their death benefit, tax-free if they are diagnosed with a terminal illness. Some companies require a diagnosis of 24 months or less to live while others require 12 months or less to live. A chronic illness rider is generally triggered when the insured has a long-term illness in which they are unable to perform two of the six “Activities of Daily Living” including eating, dressing, toileting, transferring, bathing, and maintaining continence. Some companies structure these riders to pay a large benefit upfront and some will provide a much smaller amount but spread over a long period of time. Lastly, critical illness/injury can include many things – heart attacks, stroke, cancer, brain trauma, severe burns etc. and the amount of benefit that is paid out depends on how critical the injury/illness is and how much it will affect the insured’s life span.

Because medicine and medical technology have advanced so rapidly, people are living much longer lives than they used to live. The US Census Bureau reports that at least 70% of people over age 65 will require some long-term care at some point in their lives . In 2014, the annual rate for a skilled nursing facility was $95,707 .  Because traditional, stand-alone Long-Term Care policies can be incredibly expensive, utilizing life insurance can be a great way to build assets throughout your income-earning years that are earmarked for advanced medical costs later on and can protect yourself and your loved ones from unknown health scares.

Riders are additional guarantee options that are available to an annuity or life insurance contract holder. While some riders are part of an existing contract, many others may carry additional fees, charges and restrictions, and the policy holder should review their contract carefully before purchasing. Guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the issuing insurance company. Withdrawals from the policy may result in the reduction of the death benefit.

  1. US Census Bureau, American Community Survey 2013
  2. Univita Cost of Care Survey, Feb 2014

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