Free Government Money? Uncle Sham Is Back!

Lucky me. Turns out I’m entitled to receive $3,200 in “free” government money. The reason, the caller explained: “Because you always file your IRS taxes on time.” Problem is, the named benefactor of that “specially selected federal grant” doesn’t pay his taxes because he doesn’t exist. Yes, the scammer dialed my actual phone number, but it’s listed under a fake name in public directories specifically to spot telephoning tricksters and Do-Not-Call no-goodniks. And like my phone directory pseudonym, unsolicited “free government money” is just …

We’re So Lazy. And It’s Getting Worse

How bad are Americans about not getting any physical activity whatsoever? Really bad. Like record-setting bad. The proof: A new survey by the Physical Activity Council (PAC) finds that the number of “totally sedentary” Americans is the highest it’s been since 2007. Roughly 83 million Americans ages 6 and up — about a third of the population — were physically inactive in 2014, nearly 3 million more than in 2013. That means they didn’t participate in any one of 104 …

A Mammogram at Age 50 or 40? The Debate Continues

Six years ago a federal panel of medical experts said women didn’t need to start getting routine mammograms until they were 50 — not 40, as other medical groups had long advised — and then only every two years. The announcement set off a heated debate, and most older women ended up ignoring the advice. This week, the panel released a proposed updated version of those 2009 recommendations, and not much has changed. Including the debate. The panel, the U.S. …

Workers More Upbeat About Retirement Prospects

More than one-third of workers say they won’t retire until after age 65, about three times the number saying so in the early 1990s. Another 10 percent say they won’t ever quit working. That’s according to an annual survey released Tuesday by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Back in 1991, when EBRI first conducted the survey, this idea of never retiring didn’t even come up, says Craig Copeland, a senior researcher at EBRI and coauthor of the study. That is one of …

Medicare Celebrates a Half Century

Give Medicare and Medicaid an AARP card — they’re turning 50 this year. At a special program on Wednesday commemorating the upcoming 50th anniversary, experts spoke about how the two federal programs have transformed both the country’s health care system and the health of its older citizens. “Medicare has been a health care lifeline for millions of older Americans and must be strengthened for the future,” AARP President Jeannine English said at the conference, sponsored by the LBJ Presidential Library, …

Spring Clean Your Identity Theft Risks

Spring cleaning should include more than decluttering your garage and closets. Take these simple steps to reduce your risks of identity theft: Shred — don’t just trash — unnecessary documents with your name, birth date, address, and account or Social Security numbers. Typically, bank deposit slips and ATM and credit card receipts should be shredded as soon as the transactions appear on statements, credit card statements within 45 days, and pay stubs and medical bills after one year. Never simply discard …