Five Ways to Protect Yourself from Fraud


five ways to protect yourself from fraud

International Fraud Awareness Week: November 15–21

By the time you finish reading this sentence, a financial crime will have been committed somewhere in the United States; if you can believe it, financial fraud is committed every 15 seconds. Let that sink in. Every. 15. Seconds. The elderly population is especially vulnerable, and it’s been estimated that seniors lose $2.9 billion a year. In honor of Fraud Awareness Week, we’ll share five ways to protect yourself from fraud, and ways our office can assist should you fall victim.

1. Shred sensitive documents

Documents containing social security numbers or bank account information should never be recycled. If this type of paperwork falls into the wrong hands, you could fall victim to identity theft or your credit score could be adversely affected if accounts are opened in your name. Paper shredders are relatively inexpensive and found at most retail stores, however, if you aren’t interested in making a purchase, some financial institutions host free shredding events at their branch locations.

2. Choose a credit card with fraud protection

Most credit card companies offer fraud protection among member benefits. Other payment methods like cash or wire transfers are riskier in that the cash can be lost and money wired to the incorrect recipient is unlikely to be recouped. Reputable businesses will accept multiple payment options, so choose the one that leaves you the least vulnerable.

3. Do your homework

Use the power of the internet and your network of friends to inquire about companies you are considering doing business with. If an online search reveals negative reviews or makes mention of a company being part of a scam, it might be a good idea to consider an alternative.

4. Don’t be blinded by love

Internet dating has risen in popularity in recent years. As more platforms arise, more opportunities exist to find love—and yourself in trouble, if you aren’t careful. Sweetheart scams occur when someone in an online relationship preys on a victim for financial gain. Remember, you can’t be sure who you are talking to if you haven’t met them in person. Be careful with sharing personal information with strangers, even if they feel like friends.

5. Be skeptical

If something seems too good to be true, it likely is. Likewise, if something feels “off” it just might be. Trust your intuition, and be cautious about giving out personal information unless the request is from someone you know or do business with.

What if you’re a victim of fraud?

If you spot a scam, or have fallen victim, you can report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission at You can also contact us and we’ll do our best to help.

Be Prepared: September is National Preparedness Month


Image of compass for blog about national preparedness month

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s this: expect the unexpected. From a global pandemic to murder hornets to tornado watches, warnings and touchdowns, it’s been a bumpy ride, to say the least. On the flip side, however, have come plenty of positive things: lazy mornings, appreciating family and friends, and for many, an abundance of free time. Bringing all this full circle, and in recognition of National Preparedness Month, I’d like for you to use your free time to help your family and friends prepare for the unexpected.

How, you ask?

Having thoughtful and deliberate conversations with those closest to you, and working with a team of experts to prepare important estate planning documents.

Starting the Discussion

We recognize that for many, discussing topics as sensitive as end-of-life care or a will can drum up emotions that are unpleasant. We have a remedy for this, however. Instead of focusing on loss or sadness, focus on the love you hold for your family and friends. If you possess a sentimental item that you wish to pass down or a family member you’d like to send through college, creating legal documents that spell out these wishes will ensure that they are carried out upon your passing or incapacitation.

Some of our clients use these discussions to take a walk down memory lane either by pulling out family photo albums or simply reminiscing about the good times. This activity, if carried out in a stress-free and positive environment, can be therapeutic, and believe it or not, rather pleasant.

What to Discuss

There are three primary considerations, at least in the early planning stages: power of attorney, health care proxy and last will and testament. To start, you should consider who you wish to entrust with your decision-making if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. This person will be given your power of attorney. The person you select could be a family member or close friend that you trust. Ideally, they are even-tempered and able to make decisions quickly and confidently.

The next step is to name a health care proxy who will carry out your wishes when it comes to your health, including your feelings about:
• Comfort (palliative) care
• Life-sustaining care
• Religion
• Specific health care providers or institutions

Finally, a last will and testament is prepared and notarized by a lawyer to divide your assets and personal property to designated beneficiaries. Earlier this year, many took to home decorating or trying new recipes or hobbies—this was a perfect time to take inventory of possessions. But not to fear—the opportunity is not lost. Take out a pen and paper, and make a list. This can be a fluid document that you give thought and amendments to. Once it is in a good place, and you feel comfortable with your list, this is a helpful document to bring to a lawyer to discuss.

What Now?

Contact us and let us know how we can help. While we still are navigating our “new normal,” we have primarily taken to conducting meetings by phone. This helps to keep everyone safe and moreover, comfortable. We know these can be scary discussions, but we are knowledgeable, understanding and ready to help you prepare.

National Law Day 2020: Celebrating the Right to Vote


“We the People” detail of the U.S. Constitution and American flag to accompany blog about national Law Day

May 1 was national Law Day, encouraging Americans to reflect upon the importance of law in society and its role in the foundation of the country. It’s an opportunity to consider the personal rights and liberties we enjoy and continue to exercise daily and to honor the impact of founding documents like the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights on the development of our nation.

Each year, the American Bar Association selects a theme for Law Day. For 2020, the theme is “Your Vote, Your Voice, Our Democracy: The 19th Amendment at 100.” This theme commemorates the centennial of the ground-breaking constitutional amendment that guaranteed that the right to vote would not be denied or abridged on account of sex by the United States or any individual state.

A Movement Decades in the Making

Through tenacious work, protest and advocacy over decades of struggle, American women secured the right to vote. Known as the women’s suffrage movement, this battle and victory inspired other popular movements for constitutional change and reform. This endeavor took so long, in fact, that few of its early supporters lived to see it realized, and often faced fierce resistance by opponents, who insulted, jailed and sometimes physically abused them.

The culmination of the suffrage movement was the 19th Amendment, officially adopted on August 26, 1920. That year, on November 2, more than eight million women across the country voted in elections for the first time, but it would take over 60 years for all of the 50 states to ratify the amendment.

Rights: Then and Now

Today, it’s hard to imagine a country in which women weren’t allowed to vote, but the 19th Amendment is a reminder of how rights—and the people to whom they’re granted—have changed over the nation’s history. Law Day is the perfect time to reflect on that evolution.

On National Law Day and every day, we at Powers Law Group help our clients understand and fight for their rights in areas such as estate planning and elder law, personal injury, property litigation and more. With up-to-date expertise on legal changes, we can help you understand your options and navigate the process. Contact us today and let us know how we can help.