Educational Events to Help Hoosiers Stay “Money Smart”

Posted On April 04, 2014

By Mary Kuhlman, Indiana News Service

(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Financial literacy is not just about saving dollars and cents.

Experts say it also includes protecting your savings and investments.

Money Smart Week begins Saturday, and at events throughout the state, Hoosiers can learn more about how to manage their personal finances.

Nancy Stone, program director with Indiana Senior Medicare Patrol, says discussions will include the growing problem of senior financial abuse.

“It’s just become really prolific that they target elderly because they know most people have a nest egg by the time they’re 65-plus and they’re also considered a vulnerable population,” she says.

Nearly 100 financial literacy events will be held over the next week in Indiana, led by community groups, educational organizations and financial experts.

Stone says there have been an increasing number of scams involving Medicare, and include phone and mail solicitations.

“They often pose themselves as Medicare reps, saying they need to update your information, and so forth,” she says. “But Medicare will never call you unsolicited. And, really, your Medicare card, you need to guard your card because it has your Social Security number on it.”

Some cases of Medicare fraud involve double billing, so she says be sure to review your service statements.

And if you have questions, call providers, or the Indiana Senior Medicare Patrol, to sort it all out. That number is 800-986-3505.

Vickie Bateman with Thrive Alliance in Columbus says financial security impacts the quality and security of a person’s life, so it’s important to have a public conversation in each community.

“Any breech of identity or any kind of a fraud that’s attached to your record just could lead to just absolute financial ruin and distress,” she says. “That’s not a good thing at a time when especially seniors are learning to live on a more reduced income.”

As part of Money Smart Week, on Thursday April 10, there will be a viewing of the documentary “Fleeced: Speaking Out Against Senior Financial Abuse,” at the Jewish Community Center in Indianapolis.

It will be followed by a panel discussion including Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, and representatives from the Attorney General’s office.