Beware of vaccine scams

A new set of scams has arrived on the scene along with COVID-19 vaccines, according to several news releases shared with Golden Times.

Current pandemic-related cons include offers to avoid lines and get vaccines sooner; bogus promises of COVID-19 testing; the sale of fake and potentially harmful cures or treatments; people claiming to collect money for people hard-hit by the virus; and phony “contact tracers.”

According to information from AARP, federal officials advise the public to:

Go to a trusted source for all vaccine information (e.g., your doctor or local health department). Legitimate information regarding the COVID-19 response and updated vaccine distribution details also can be found at CDC.gov and the FDA vaccine webpage.

Avoid buying treatments or vaccines off the internet. There is no cure for the coronavirus. The vaccine is provided at no cost, although providers may charge a reimbursable administrative fee.

Beware of solicitations, whether in person or via text, email or phone, asking you to provide account information (financial or medical)

Avoid clicking unfamiliar or unexpected links, or visiting unfamiliar webpages, which can load malware onto your technological devices.

Contact local law enforcement agencies if you think you’ve received fraudulent communication regarding COVID-19 treatment.

Contact your financial institutions as soon as possible if you believe your accounts have been accessed.

A related story on fraud in Idaho can be found on Pages 8-9.

Limited, drop-off tax prep help available in region

AARP Foundation Tax Aide IRS-certified volunteers are unable to offer in-person service because of the coronavirus pandemic at this time.

The service opened Monday at the Salvation Army meal site in Lewiston, using a drop-off model by appointment only, according to a news release from the free, volunteer-staffed program.

Taxpayers may call (208) 717-4520 to schedule an appointment. Packets of information will then be mailed to participants. Taxpayers should bring their completed packets and tax documents to their appointments with an in-take counselor. A preparer will accept the documents, the taxpayer will leave, and then be called back to pick up the return and documents the same day.

The scope of returns will be limited this year, and the needs of each taxpayer will be discussed when appointments are set.

Because of COVID-19 protocols and time constraints, program volunteers won’t be able to prepare the returns of everyone who calls, according to the news release.

Support group for caregivers of dementia patients

Online support groups take place monthly for caregivers of dementia suffers within the Quad Cities region.

The Lewiston-Clarkston Valley area support group meets from 1:30-3 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month. A Moscow area group meets from 1-2:30 p.m. the second Thursday.

Alzheimer’s Association family caregiver support groups provide a consistent and caring place for people to learn, share and gain emotional support from others who are also on a unique journey of providing care to a person with memory loss, according to a news release.

These groups, organized by the Alzheimer’s Association, are conducted by trained facilitators and are a safe place for caregivers, family and friends of persons with dementia to share.

Participants may join the group from home via telephone or video conferencing. Access links are available by calling facilitators Mona Jack in Lewiston at (208) 798-4197 for the access link, and Tammie Poe in Moscow at (208) 874-2667.

More information and additional resources can be found at www.alzwa.org or by calling (208) 666-2996 in Lewiston, (208) 874-2667 in Moscow or the 24/7 helpline at (800) 272-3900.

Free caregiver class planned

A free online class is available to northern Idaho caregivers this month and next.

Powerful Tools for Caregivers is a six-session workshop is presented by the Alzheimer’s Association and Area Agency on Aging from 1-2:30 p.m. Wednesdays from March 24-April 28.

Family members caring for someone with any type of chronic illness are eligible to attend. Registration is mandatory and is available by calling (208) 666-2996.

TO SUBMIT BRIEFS: Groups and organizations may submit event information pertaining to seniors in the region for free publication in the monthly Golden Times magazine. All submissions are subject to editing and space restraints and must include the name and phone number of the person submitting the information. Questions may be directed to editor Julie Breslin at jbreslin@lmtribune.com or (208) 791-6635. Submissions may be sent to goldentimes@lmtribune.com or Golden Times, P.O. Box 957, Lewiston, ID 83501. Information for the April issue must be received by 5 p.m. March 15.