Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Income Taxes and Your Social Security Benefits

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

Income Taxes and Your Social Security Benefits

David Vinokurov, District Manager, Trenton, NJ, Social Security Administration

With tax season upon us, many of you have asked about Income Taxes And Your Social Security Benefits. Some people have to pay federal income taxes on their Social Security benefits. This usually happens only if you have other substantial income (such as wages, self-employment, interest, dividends and other taxable income that must be reported on your tax return) in addition to your benefits.

Note: No one pays federal income tax on more than 85 percent of his or her Social Security benefits based on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules. If you:

  • file a federal tax return as an “individual” and your combined income* is
  • between $25,000 and $34,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50 percent of your benefits.
  • more than $34,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits may be taxable.
  • file a joint return, and you and your spouse have a combined income* that is
  • between $32,000 and $44,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50 percent of your benefits
  • more than $44,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits may be taxable.
  • are married and file a separate tax return, you probably will pay taxes on your benefits.

 

How can I get a form SSA-1099/1042S, Social Security Benefit Statement?

An SSA-1099 is a tax form we mail each year in January to people who receive Social Security benefits. It shows the total amount of benefits you received from Social Security in the previous year so you know how much Social Security income to report to IRS on your tax return.

If you are a noncitizen who lives outside of the United States and you received or repaid Social Security benefits last year, we will send you form SSA-1042S instead.

Note: The forms SSA-1099 and SSA-1042S are not available for people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

If you currently live in the United States and you need a replacement form SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S, we have a new way for you to get an instant replacement quickly and easily beginning February 1st by:

Withholding Income Tax From Your Social Security Benefits

 

You can ask us to withhold federal taxes from your Social Security when you apply for benefits.

If you are already receiving benefits or if you want to change or stop your withholding, you’ll need a form W-4V from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

You can download the form, or call the IRS toll-free number 1-800-829-3676 and ask for Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request. (If you are deaf or hard of hearing, call the IRS TTY number, 1-800-829-4059.)

When you complete the form, you will need to select the percentage of your monthly benefit amount you want withheld. You can have 7%, 10%, 15% or 25% of your monthly benefit withheld for taxes.

Note: Only these percentages can be withheld. Flat dollar amounts are not accepted.

 

Sign the form and return it to your local Social Security office by mail or in person.

If you need more information

If you need more information about tax withholding, read IRS Publication 554, Tax Guide for Seniors, and Publication 915, Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits.

If you have questions about your tax liability or want to request a Form W-4V, you can also call the IRS at 1-800-829-3676 (TTY 1-800-829-4059).

 

 

The New Medicare Cards

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

The New Medicare Cards

By Charles Clarkson, Project Director, Senior Medicare Patrol of New Jersey

In 2015, Congress passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act. This law requires the removal of the social security numbers from all Medicare cards by April 2019. This new initiative is referred to as the Social Security Number Removal Initiative (SSNRI.) A new randomly generated Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) will replace the social security number. When the initiative gets underway all Medicare beneficiaries will be assigned a new MBI and be sent a new Medicare card.

The primary goal of the initiative is to decrease Medicare beneficiaries’ vulnerability to identity theft by removing the social security number from their Medicare cards and replacing it with a new Medicare MBI which does not contain any other personal information.

The new MBI will have the following characteristics:

i. The same number of characters as the current Medicare number, but will be visibly distinguishable from the Medicare number

ii. Contain uppercase alphabetic and numeric characters throughout the new MBI

iii. For providers, the new MBI will occupy the same field as the Medicare number on transactions

iv. Be unique to each beneficiary (e.g. husband and wife will have their own MBI)

v. Be easy to read and limit the possibility of letters being interpreted as numbers (e.g. alphabetic characters are upper case only and will exclude S, L, O, I, B, Z)

vi. Not contain any embedded intelligence or special characters

vii. Not contain inappropriate combinations of numbers or strings that may be offensive

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the agency that oversees Medicare, has established a transition period during which the Medicare number or MBI will be accepted from providers, beneficiaries, plans, and others. CMS expects the transition period to run from April 2018 through December 31, 2019. After the transition period only the MBI will be used.

Starting around April 2018, CMS will start mailing new Medicare cards. There are approximately 60 million beneficiaries in Medicare. So, CMS will probably mail the cards in phases over a period of time. Remember, as a beneficiary you can still use your current Medicare number during the transition period if it takes awhile to receive your new Medicare card. If a beneficiary is new to Medicare after April 2018 and Medicare has started issuing the new cards, the beneficiary will receive the new MBI. Therefore, healthcare providers must be able accept the new MBIs by April 2018.

Fraud and the new Medicare cards.

The Senior Medicare Patrol of New Jersey (SMP) wants all Medicare beneficiaries to be aware of possible fraud and scams relating to the new Medicare cards. Remember, CMS and Medicare will never contact you by phone or email to ask for personal information relating to the issuance of the new Medicare cards. Any such contact is a scam. Don’t be taken in. Also, there will be no charge for the issuance of the new Medicare cards. Anyone seeking to have a beneficiary pay money for the new card is a scammer. Be especially careful of anyone seeking to have access to your checking account to pay any fee for the new card. Beneficiaries are especially vulnerable if they are isolated, frail or may have cognitive loss. Caregivers should be on the alert for these kinds of scams. The SMP is currently educating beneficiaries at its outreach events of the issuance of the new Medicare cards. CMS will also be conducting intensive education and outreach to beneficiaries to help them prepare for this change.

The issuance of the new Medicare card is a significant change. If a beneficiary or caregiver has any questions about the SSNRI, please don’t hesitate to call the SMP at 1-877-SMP-4359 (1-877-767-4359) or 732-777-1940. A beneficiary or caregiver can also email me at charlesc@jfsmiddlesex.org.

Phone Scams

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

Here are NJFA, we like to make sure we are keeping folks aware of scams and fraud issues. Our February episode of Aging Insights, is titled, Stop Identity Theft and features two guests that will help viewers to protect themselves. We also want to address a scam that’s been in the news.

Recently, news outlets across the United States reported on a new scam referred to as the “can you hear me?” telephone scam. According to those reports, the scam begins with an unsolicited phone call. After the caller makes contact they ask the recipient “Can you hear me?” to elicit a response of “yes,” and a potential onslaught of unauthorized charges ensues.

The story goes that if you get this call and respond “yes” to the question, “can you hear me?” that the scammer could be recording it and could use it against you. There is the possibility that you could receive a bill for something you did not purchase or agree to and when you go to dispute the bill you will be presented with your own voice saying “yes” on the recording.

The first thing we want to warn readers about is if you don’t know the caller or are suspicious of their intent, you should always hang up. Do not give personal information or engage the caller in conversation if you have doubts about the legitimacy of the call. You should also contact the appropriate authority to report any issues or to verify any information you are given on the call. For example, if the caller claims to be from your utility company, call the # on your monthly statement to verify your account status or any issues.

After some additional research, we’d also like you to know what some investigators have discovered about this scam. According to the fact-finding website, Snopes, “we haven’t yet been able to identify any scenario under which a scammer could authorize charges in another person’s name simply by possessing a voice recording of that person saying “yes,” without also already possessing a good deal of personal and account information for that person, and without being able to reproduce any other form of verbal response from that person.” That doesn’t mean it cannot happen, just that the reports thus far only support the threat and not any actual monetary charges.

The Snopes article adds, “In all the news reports we found, interviewees merely reported having been asked the common question (“Can you hear me?”) but did not state that they themselves had fallen prey to scammers.”

That being said, we still advice you to use caution when receiving unsolicited phone calls, hanging up is ok. And if you have any scams or crimes to report, contact your local police, the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov/complaint or 1-877-438-4338), and/or your local Better Business Bureau.

 

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Diabetes Self Management Courses

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

Holiday time can make it difficult to stick to your healthy eating plan, there are so many goodies to indulge in. And you want to participate and feel all the joy that comes from sharing a special meal with family and friends. With party after party, it can get tough. Even more so for those who need to watch their food intake due to a health issue. Particularly those with diabetes, all those sweet treats are hard to resist- holiday cakes and cookies around every corner.

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Having the right tools to manage your diabetes can help, not just at holiday times, but all year long. Luckily, our friends at HQSI (Healthcare Quality Strategies, Inc.) offer a six-week program to help people learn to manage their diabetes. Below is a schedule for the Diabetes Self-Management Program (DSMP) as well as more information and how to contact them.

If you do not see a program that is convenient to you, contact HQSI to ask about future programs. If you manage a Senior Center or other program and are interested in having someone come to talk to your group about diabetes, you can also contact HQSI directly to coordinate something. With a New Year beginning soon, it is a good time to plan and make new health goals.

Workshop Location Dates Time To Register
Spruce Street Senior Apts.

15 Spruce Street

Kearny, NJ 07032

Tuesdays

 

January 10, 2017 to February 14, 2017

10:00 a.m.

to

12:30 p.m.

Call Sonia Salazar at:

(201) 997-4270

Elizabethport Presbyterian Ctr.

(Spanish)

 

184 First Street

Elizabeth, NJ 07206-1855

Wednesdays

 

January 11, 2017 to

February 15, 2017

9:30 a.m.

to

12:00 p.m.

Call Beatrice Beard at:

(908) 351-4850

YMCA of Newark and Vicinity

 

600 Broad Street

Newark, NJ 07102-4504

Wednesdays

 

January 18, 2017 to

February 22, 2017

10:00 a.m.

to

12:30 p.m.

Call Jarmaine Williams at:

(732) 955-8168

Sayreville Public Library

 

1050 Washington Road

Parlin, NJ 08859-1091

Thursdays

 

January 19, 2017 to

February 23, 2017

10:00 a.m.

to

12:30 p.m.

Call Jennifer at:

(732) 727-0212 ext. 25 or go to sayrevillelibrary.org

Franklin Township Senior Center

 

505 Dermott Lane

Somerset, NJ 08873

Wednesdays

 

February 1, 2017 to March 8, 2017

9:30 a.m.

to

12:00 p.m.

Call Jarmaine Williams at:

(732) 955-8168

Shore Medical Center

Jenkins Room

 

100 Medical Center Way

Somers Point, NJ 08244-2300

 

Thursdays

 

February 2, 2017 to

March 9, 2017

 

10:00 a.m.

to

12:30 p.m.

 

Call Jarmaine Williams at:

(732) 955-8168

Little Egg Harbor Township Community Center

 

317 W. Cala Breeze Way

Little Egg Harbor Twp., NJ 08087

Thursdays

 

February 2, 2017 to

March 9, 2017

10:00 a.m.

To

12:30 p.m.

Call Jarmaine Williams at:

(732) 955-8168

Church of the Holy Spirit

 

220 East Main Street

Tuckerton, NJ 08087-2242

Thursdays

 

February 2, 2017 to

March 9, 2017

1:30p.m.

to

4:00p.m.

Call Jarmaine Williams at:

(732) 955-8168

Annabelle Shimkowitz Senior Center @ Municipal Complex

 

330 Passaic Street

Passaic, NJ 07055-5815

Mondays

 

February 6, 2017 to

March 20, 2017

9:30 a.m.

to

11:30 a.m.

Call Jarmaine Williams at:

(732) 955-8168

Montclair Public Library

 

50 S. Fullerton Avenue

Montclair, NJ 07042-2629

Fridays

 

March 3, 2017 to

April 7, 2017

 

10:00 a.m.

to

12:30 p.m.

 

Call Jarmaine Williams at:

(732) 955-8168

 

For each six-week workshop, we regret that there can be no new attendees after the second session.

 

For more information, please contact Jarmaine Williams:  (732) 955-8168

 

 

 

Foundation’s 2016 Honoree Event

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

The New Jersey Foundation for Aging (NJFA) will host its 2016 Honoree Luncheon Event on Sunday, Nov 13th at the Molly Pitcher Inn in Red Bank. This annual event is an opportunity to recognize the work of others that enable NJFA to advance its mission-aligned activities. NJFA focuses on policy to address senior and caregiver issues; public education to improve access to services; and professional education to support high standards of care. Aging Insights is a 30-minute monthly TV program broadcast across NJ. NJFA began producing the program in 2011 and now has released more than 60 programs which are also on NJFA’s website, www.njfoundationforaging.org and on YouTube.

This year’s distinguished honorees include:

Diane Riley, Anti-Hunger Advocate and Aging Insights Guest.  

For over a decade, Diane has been a leading voice for the hungry and poor in New Jersey. Joining the Community Food Bank in 2011, Diane led a coalition of stakeholders to raise awareness about hunger, engage in public dialogue, and influence policies that address underlying causes as well as solutions. As a member of numerous organizations and at every opportunity when Diane addresses hunger issues she always calls attention to the plight of seniors who face economic challenges daily.

Eileen Doremus, Advocate for Seniors and Caregivers and Aging Insights Guest

Eileen Doremus has served as a former NJFA Trustee and in her current role as the Executive Director of the Mercer County Office on Aging and throughout her career has championed the issues of aging and caregiver services especially when looking at the needs of fami­lies coping with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. She is a dedicated advocate and an expert on caregiving and creativity.

Piscataway Community TV Station, Technical Director and Aging Insights Partner

Piscataway Township became one of the first towns in NJ to have its own TV station. Over thirty years later, Piscataway Community TV (PCTV) is still producing local programming, sports coverage and providing local in­formation to the residents of the communities it serves. NJFA partnered with PCTV to initiate the monthly series Aging Insights. PCTV’s knowledgeable staff and dedicated volunteers produce a stellar program with NJFA staff each month.

The event will feature Jazz pianist Tara Buzach, a Silent Auction and a 50/50 raffle.

For tickets and sponsorships please contact NJFA’s office at 609-421-0206 or visit www.njfoundationforaging.org.

 

#hidingunderarock?

Monday, October 10th, 2016

Don’t hide your caregiving issues under a rock. A lot of caregivers downplay their roles. “Oh, me, I’m not a caregiver, I just take my mom to doctor appointments”. “I help my Aunt go grocery shopping and with housework, I wouldn’t say I’m a caregiver”. But these tasks are part of caregiving. Sure, some caregivers are providing hands on care or handling medical needs of family members, but anytime we take time from our daily lives to help out- that’s caregiving. So, don’t hide it under a rock- be proud of your role as a caregiver.

Don’t hide your concerns about the care of a loved one under a rock either. Or your need for help with their care for that matter. There is help. You can start by reaching out to your County Office on Aging to learn about available programs and services to help you or your loved one. You can find their contact information on our website- http://www.njfoundationforaging.org/services/

You could also contact your local Senior Center to find out what kind of programming they. This could help get your loved one out of the house and give you some respite. Senior Centers are much more than bingo these days! They have classes on everything from computers, to languages, art, exercise and more. Depending on what your town offers, it could be a great way to get involved and stay active. The best way to find your senior center is to call your municipality.

We also feature great, informative content online for both seniors and caregivers. There is our online magazine, Renaissance; our TV program Aging Insights; and this blog!

So, stop hiding under that rock and reach out for information and help! And show us that #agingrocks

Aging Rocks!

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

For our magazine, Renaissance, we feature a senior profile in each issue. The senior profile is a way to highlight positive aging and showcase seniors who are an inspiration to their community. Recently, we wrote a blog about a local community art project that has inspired one NJ town to share kindness through artwork- http://blog.njfoundationforaging.org/?p=622  #HamiltonRocks has included and encouraged those of all ages to paint, hid and hunt rock art.

Another example of art knowing no age limit is the NJ Senior Art show, which helps older adults with artistic talents to showcase those talents. Because of the art show, seniors are able to share their art with the community and their peers.

All of this has got us thinking. How can you show us that #agingrocks? Is it through art? Community involvement? Sports? Letting your hair go gray like Jon Bon Jovi?

We’d like you to tell us how #agingrocks. Share your thoughts with us here on the blog or send us an email at office@njfoundationforaging.org We would love to share your stories with our readers. We welcome photos too! Or share your own message on social media with the hashtag (#) #agingrocks

Look for more rock related posts coming soon, it will be full of rock puns (all intended!!)

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Rock Art Inspires NJ Town

Monday, October 3rd, 2016
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Example of a rock hidden, just waiting to be found

Never underestimate the power of community. Lora Durr did not expect that one little art project could grow into a community phenomenon and social media craze. Ms. Durr is an art teacher at Hamilton Township’s Crockett Middle School and she is always striving to bring her students fun, thoughtful lessons which also inspire the whole school and now the whole Township. That’s what led to the creation of #HamiltonRocks, which Ms. Durr describes as “Social Practice Artmaking”, meaning that an artist puts their work out in the world and it becomes art when society interacts with it”.

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Some examples of the super talented artists participating.

Ms. Durr was inspired to create this project by a fellow educator from Jefferson City, Missouri (#JCRocks) that she met over the summer at a National Art Education Association conference.  She has also received guidance and inspiration from another project in Tennessee, #901rocks. The project, #HamiltonRocks! is simple, you find rocks (from a public, safe place) paint them, write #HamiltonRocks on the back and hide them in plain sight throughout Hamilton Township. When people find the rocks they can keep the rock if they love it, leave it where it is for someone else to find, or re-hide them in a new location.  And of course, all are encouraged to be inspired to paint and hide their own rocks! There is a Facebook group and Instagram account where people can share their creations and finds. Ms. Durr adds, “Social Media has been key to getting the word out”, however she also notes that it is not required to participate. People can still paint rocks, hide rocks and find rocks and spread the project by word of mouth.

The mission behind #HamiltonRocks and other community-based art projects is to spread creativity and kindness throughout the town.  What Ms. Durr did not expect was that this project would grow so quickly and spawn a real sense of community. “I didn’t think people would have time for it” Ms. Durr commented when asked about the quick growth of the project. Yet, it seems many have found time for it. It’s even sparked community activities. Some families have begun to make an effort to clean up local parks after discovering a lot of litter on their rock hunts. Now many are bringing bags to collect litter and encouraging others to do so as well. And this project is really for all ages. Families are having rock painting nights, where kids and adults alike are participating. Adults without kids have been inspired to paint and hid rocks too! hamilton-rocks-1hamilton-rocks-2

At the request of Ms. Durr, the NJ Foundation for Aging, also connected the project to a local Senior Center. Kathleen Fitzgerald at the Hamilton Township Senior Center invited #HamiltonRocks participants to come and hide rocks at the senior center before their annual senior picnic. Ms. Fitzgerald was amazed with the response and the seniors were so surprised to find many beautifully painted rocks when they arrived for the picnic. Ms. Fitzgerald reports that there were more than 500 seniors at the picnic, when asked about their reaction, she stated “What a hit it was with the seniors when they spotted them in the flowerbeds! They were all talking about how cute they were and what a great idea this art teacher came up with to get our community all involved.”

The interaction with the Senior Center was such a success that Ms. Durr is joining them on Oct. 13th for a Pizza and Paint night. They are inviting Seniors and their families/friends to come for pizza and Ms. Durr will provide some information on the project and tips for rock painting. Kathleen expects around 100 people to attend.

Many people are amazed with how this project grew and the way it is bringing joy to so many in the community. Other towns are hearing about this and creating their own rocks projects. If you like the sounds of it, find out if it’s happening in your area, Facebook is a great place to start, but you might also consider paying extra attention to your surroundings in case there is art hiding in plain sight! hamilton-rocks-6

 

Medicare Reminders

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

Medicare Reminders

Some of us do not want to think about summer coming to an end, but surely it will soon. Before we know it, we’ll be talking about Medicare Open Enrollment (October 15-December 7).

In the meantime, we want to remind you about some of the Medicare benefits you should be taking advantage of.

First, don’t forget that you get a free Welcome to Medicare Wellness Visit.

If you are new to Medicare you get an Annual Wellness Visit at no cost to Medicare beneficiaries.  As part of that visit, beneficiaries and their physicians can review the patient’s health and develop a personalized wellness plan.  Over 780,000 beneficiaries received an Annual Wellness Visit between January 1 and June 10. Additionally, more seniors have used the Welcome to Medicare Exam this year. The Welcome to Medicare is a one-time preventive health exam available to enrollees in the first 12 months they have Part B.

The new annual wellness visit can help spark the beginning of an ongoing conversation between patients and their doctors on how to prevent disease and disability.  Patients should take advantage of this time by reviewing their histories and making sure their primary care doctor knows about their other providers and prescriptions. They can also talk about the pros and cons of getting an influenza, pneumococcal or hepatitis B vaccination, or find out whether a diabetes test, a bone mass measurement, or any of several cancer screenings would be right for them.

You can find additional information on prevention benefits on line at www.Medicare.gov

Second, don’t forget you can go paperless with Medicare.

Get your copy of the “Medicare & You” handbook or your Medicare Summary Notices (MSNs) electronically.

“Medicare & You” handbook

The Medicare & You handbook is a valuable resource. In an effort to save paper, Medicare is urging you to use the online version instead of the printed one.

You can do that by following 3 simple steps.  First go to https://www.medicare.gov/gopaperless/home.aspx  to sign up for the “go paperless” option of the “Medicare & You” handbook, you will see the three steps, which include entering your personal information (remember medicare.gov is a secure site, even more so if you have an mymedicare.gov account), confirming it and completing the request of the electronic version. Every year in the fall, they’ll send you an email with a link to the new online “Medicare & You.”

Have an eReader (like an iPad, NOOK, Sony Reader, or Kindle)?

Visit Medicare.gov/publications to download a free digital version of this handbook to your eReader. This option is available for all eReader devices. You can get the same important information that’s included in the printed version in an easy-to-read format that you can take anywhere you go. You’ll still get a printed copy of the handbook in the mail if you choose to download the digital version.

Medicare Summary Notices (MSNs)

You can get your MSNs delivered as electronic MSNs (eMSNs).

How to sign-up for eMSNs

You’ll need a MyMedicare.gov account to sign up for eMSNs. If you don’t have an account, visit MyMedicare.gov and select “Create an Account”.

Once you’ve signed up for your MyMedicare.gov account (or if you already have an account), complete these 5 steps between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. (Eastern Time):

  1. Visit MyMedicare.gov, and login to your account.
  2. Select “My Account” from the menu.
  3. In the “User information” tab, select “Email and Correspondence Settings.”
  4. In the “Electronic Medicare Summary Notices (eMSNs)” area, select “Edit.”
  5. Select “Yes” and then “Submit” and you’re done.

Always remember to visit www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE to get answers to all your Medicare questions.

Stay tuned to NJFA’s blog, Renaissance magazine and the Aging Insights TV program for Medicare Open Enrollment information.

medicare

 

ATM Safety

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

ATM Safety

Despite all the advancements in credit/debit card protections- like the new chip system- scammers are still targeting consumers in one of the most vulnerable transactions- the ATM.

You may have noticed when you got a new credit or debit card or noticed at the store that they have a new machine. It’s all for this chip technology, where you insert your credit card and that machine reads the chip instead of the magnetic strip on the back on the card. This technology is more difficult for thieves to counterfeit, hopefully protecting you from theft or fraud.

However, even with this technology, there is still one area where criminals have success and that is stealing information right from the ATM as you use it. According to the FICO Card Alert Service, the number of ATMs compromised rose more than 500 percent last year over 2014. Just as credit card companies and banks are developing new technology, so are scammers and thieves. There has been an increase in the number of sophisticated (and cheap) devices out there that make it easier for criminals to access your protected information. ATMs are susceptible to these devices known as skimmers. The skimmers are card-reading devices that fit over the existing ATM slot. When you put your card in the skimmer reads the information and copies the magnetic strip. In addition, the thieves usually install a hidden video camera installed the records you entering your pin. There are even devices available that can read the new chip technology, these are known a shimmers and work in a similar way as the skimmers.

The average thief takes $650 from each skimmed account. Getting your money back is possible, however it is important to report the crime quickly.

Here are some ways to protect yourself from skimming or shimming.

Use the ATM at your bank. The ATM at your bank is less likely to have been tampered with. And often have their own 24/7 camera surveillance for your protection.

Be alert. Take a look at any ATM before you use it. Is the card slot a different color than the rest of the machine? Are any parts of the machine off? Is the light obscured? Is something off center or hanging over the keypad? These are all signs the machine could have been tampered with. If the machine doesn’t take your card easily or anything looks off about the ATM, do not use it.

Take extra caution to guard your PIN. Use your hand to cover the keypad, be cautious of anyone standing too close. If something or someone feels suspicious, walk away.

Sign up for alerts and monitor your account. Checking with your bank about programs that provide transaction alerts. And be sure to check your statement on a regular basis to make sure all transactions were authorized by you.

To prevent big losses- you could create another account specifically for ATM withdraws and keep a low balance in that account. This way if your account is compromised the thief won’t walk away with all of your money.

You can also ask the bank to lower your daily limit for ATM withdrawals. A lot of these scams involve multiple withdrawals within minutes, having a low limit, like $100 a day, means the scammers wouldn’t be able to drain your account.

However, if you do fall victim to an ATM scam make sure you report it. It is important to do so immediately. Acting fast limits your liability for charges you didn’t authorize. Report the loss or theft of your card to the card issuer as quickly as possible. Many companies have toll-free numbers and 24-hour service for such emergencies. Once you report the loss of your ATM or debit card, federal law says you cannot be held liable for unauthorized transfers that occur after that time.