The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

March 29, 2014

Grandson stiffs couple of $30G

90-year-olds picked wrong relative to have power of attorney

BERRYSBURG — If and when you are unable to manage your finances by yourself, what should you do? One answer is to give “power of attorney” to someone to take over handling your financial affairs for a long — or short — time.

The document should provide a sense of relief and assurance that your money will be safe in case you are incapacitated.

Unless you give power of attorney to a thief.

It happens too often. An elderly couple in Berrysburg, Dauphin County, were recently victimized by their own grandson. The couple, ages 95 and 93, gave power of attorney to their 35-year-old grandson. State police in Lykens report that between September until his arraignment March 18, the grandson took $30,000 or more in cash from his grandparents.

He apparently used the money to purchase heroin.

Charged with theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception and receiving stolen property, his bail was set at $10,000. Unable to post bail, the grandson is now in the Dauphin County Prison.

When choosing someone to have power of attorney over your finances, it’s vital to select a person who can handle the responsibility and someone you trust completely.

It doesn’t have to be a relative. Your power of attorney selection might be a close friend.

More importantly, know that a power of attorney can be revoked any time you want it to be, for whatever reason.

For more information on powers of attorney, visit www.aarp.org and click on the Relationships/Caregiving Resource Center link.

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At 1:46 a.m. Friday, Jennifer S. of Lewisburg was awakened by a text message on her cellphone. It was from Yahoo and read: “Due to unusual activity on (yahoo account name), your account may be locked.” The message also urged her to click on a link to change her password.

She thought the message might be a scam attempt by someone trying to access her account but the next morning she received an email from Yahoo urging users to change their passwords “due to recent security incidents online.

“While Yahoo systems were not affected,” it read, “we may take extra precaution and lock user accounts when we detect unusual activity. Please sign in to Yahoo and change your password.”

She called The Daily Item, wondering whether this might be a cellphone/email scam. “I’m afraid to click on any of the links in the messages,” she said.

It may look like a scam, but it’s not.

A quick log in at Yahoo immediately redirected the user to answer a security question then change the password.

A couple of months ago, Yahoo said customers had been compromised in a cyber-attack. While Yahoo didn’t say how many accounts were affected by the security breaches, it did report its security team took “immediate action to protect our users.” How? By sending out email notifications and text messages telling customers to reset their passwords.

According to The Associated Press, Yahoo has the world’s second-largest email service after Google, with 273 million users worldwide and 81 million in the United States.

Avoid using the same password for all of your Internet accounts. It can leave you vulnerable — if your password information is stolen from one site, it could be used to comprise all the other online accounts using the same password.

Best advice: Change your password often.

 

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