Member Benefits E−Direct Spring 2012
A quarterly digest for all your Member Benefits news
10 Tips to Prevent ATM Fraud!
Inside this issue: Preventing Bank Fraud .....................pg 4 Life Insurance Myths ........................pg 7 Social Media Dangers.......................pg 8 Caring for your Child’s Teeth ............pg 9
800 Troy-Schenectady Road Latham, NY 12110 800-626-8101 M-F 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. memberbenefits.nysut.org
NYSUT Member Benefits Trust NYSUT Member Benefits Corporation ©Copyright 2012
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Table of Contents
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From the Director ...................................................................................................................... 3 Find out the latest Member Benefits news straight from the Director.
10 Tips to Prevent Bank Fraud.............................................................................................. 4 Protect yourself against criminals looking to victimize you.
Help Your Pet Reach and Maintain a Healthy Weight.....................................................................................................6 Weight gain in pets is nothing to take lightly; learn how to keep your pets looking and feeling their best.
The 4 Biggest MYTHS About Life Insurance.......................................................................7 Have you been misled about what type of and how much life insurance you need?
Is Social Media Putting You In Danger? .............................................................................8 Your use of social media sites may be compromising your privacy and security.
How to Care for Your Childâ€™s Teeth ......................................................................................9 Use these tips to ensure proper dental care for your children.
Member Benefits E-Direct is a quarterly publication produced by NYSUT Member Benefits designed to educate NYSUT members about a variety of topics and issues of importance to them and their families. The goal of this e-newsletter is to serve as an educational and informative piece that helps our hardworking members to make better-informed decisions in their lives. For information about any of our programs or about contractual endorsement arrangements with providers of endorsed programs, please contact NYSUT Member Benefits at 800-626-8101 or visit memberbenefits.nysut.org. Agency fee payers to NYSUT are eligible to participate in NYSUT Member Benefits-endorsed programs.
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From the Director... Welcome to the Spring 2012 edition of Member Benefits E-Direct, our quarterly electronic newsletter publication. With the warmer weather that arrived early this year comes the opportunity to get outside more, and Member Benefits is here to make sure that you are protected this spring and summer. We strive to help protect our members against fraud and other situations that could put them in danger. That’s why the theme of this issue of Member Benefits E-Direct is consumer awareness and protection. Our feature story offers 10 tips for protecting against bank fraud along with a description of some of the methods that criminals use to try to victimize you. Our goal with articles such as this is not to scare you, but rather to help our members become better-informed consumers. We also like to keep you informed about new and existing programs that could benefit you and your family while saving you some money. This has been an exciting year already with the endorsement of new level term life insurance and pet insurance programs. We are also looking into the possibility of endorsing new travel and trip insurance programs. Stay tuned for more information in the near future. MetLife Auto & Home recently announced the enhancement of its Towing & Labor Coverage to provide Roadside Assistance to all current policyholders. Look for a full-page article on this new offering in the next issue of Member Benefits E-Direct.
In other MetLife news, the company announced in 2011 that it will no longer be offering LongTerm Care Insurance moving forward, and the endorsed Long-Term Care Insurance Plan offered through MetLife became a grandfathered plan as of January 1, 2012. Be assured if you are a grandfathered participant that Member Benefits will still be acting as your advocate if you should ever have any issues or concerns with this program. The Trustees of the NYSUT Member Benefits Trust see the value of continuing to offer LongTerm Care coverage and are exploring other Long-Term Care options for a possible new endorsement later this year. GE Capital Financial Inc. – GE Capital’s bank – is in the process of purchasing MetLife Bank, the provider of our Preferred Savings Plus endorsed program. While the sale is subject to regulatory approval, the transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2012. The endorsement contract between the NYSUT Member Benefits Corporation and MetLife Bank will be assigned to GE Capital upon the closing of the sale. We are looking forward to our pending partnership with the new providers. All members are encouraged to contact us at 800-626-8101 or visit memberbenefits.nysut.org for information about the many endorsed programs and services that we offer. We hope that you will continue to provide us feedback about Member Benefits E-Direct so that we can continue to improve this publication. Have a safe and enjoyable spring season! -- Lynette A. Metz Director, NYSUT Member Benefits Trust CEO, NYSUT Member Benefits Corporation
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10 tips to prevent bank fraud! Here’s a question for you... just how safe is that ATM that you visit on a regular basis to make withdrawals? Are you aware that criminals are continually looking for new ways to victimize you? Thieves are using a variety of tools such as card skimming, fake PIN pads and email phishing to gain access to your banking information. Heard those terms before? Not sure? Read on... Skimmers are devices added to ATM machines to capture your card’s information, including the account number, balance and PIN number. These devices are often mounted alongside the machine and labeled “card cleaners.” Never use these! Criminals have also designed fake PIN pads that can be placed on top of the original ATM PIN pad. Want to hear something scary? Your transaction will still process as usual and you won’t even know you’ve been scammed until it’s too late.
Have you ever gotten an email notice from your “bank” claiming that you have incomplete account information and to click a link on the email? You follow the link and you’re taken to your bank’s website... only it’s not your bank. You’ve actually been taken to a site designed by thieves to look like your bank. Your account information could now be in danger of being compromised. This is an email phishing scam. Phishing can also happen by phone. Be leery of phone calls from individuals claiming to represent a company or government agency asking you to verify your personal information. Trust your instinct if something doesn’t feel right. With help from scambusters.org and the Consumer Insurance Blog, we have assembled 10 tips to help protect you against ATM and bank fraud.
Keep in mind that we’re not trying to frighten you with articles like this. Our goal in Member Benefits is to help NYSUT members become better-informed consumers – especially when it comes to protecting against fraud. ATM banking is a convenient and integral part of our everyday lives. We encourage you to practice the following 10 safety tips to help limit your exposure to fraud.
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10 safety tips to help prevent bank fraud Use a unique PIN number that is NOT your birthdate, phone number, Social Security number, license number, etc. Try to use ATM machines inside banks or well-lit, well-trafficked areas rather than areas that seem suspicious (like in the middle of a parking lot). When using an ATM, keep an eye out for anything unusual on the machine and look for items that may have been attached to it. Also look for any nearby objects that could house a camera. Always cover the keypad with your hand to shield away from cameras that may be trying to record your PIN or strangers in the area. Never rely on the “assistance” of strangers to retrieve a card that has been trapped in an ATM.
Get in the habit of using the same ATM for your transactions; this way, you’ll become familiar with it and be able to more easily recognize any changes to it. Report confiscated cards immediately to your bank. Check your bank account regularly to ensure that funds have not been taken. If you notice anything suspicious at an ATM, contact the bank or the police immediately. Never follow a link in a supposed bank email notice. If you’re wondering if your bank has really contacted you through email, type your bank’s website address directly into your browser. Visit your account and look for any update notices from the bank.
For more information about our endorsed Equifax Credit WatchTM Gold program, please call 800-626-8101 or visit memberbenefits.nysut.org.
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Help Your Pet Reach and Maintain a Healthy Weight Weight Gain in Pets Is Nothing to Take Lightly Pets have the same weight-related problems we do: diabetes, heart problems, joint issues, and cancer. And while people have the option to go to the gym, pets do not. The good news is that with a few simple changes, you can help your pet reach and maintain a healthy weight. Feed your pet a balanced pet food diet. Do not give your dog or cat table treats. He might not like it at first, but this is the only way to maintain a healthy weight. This is tough love, and your pet will benefit from a nutritionally balanced diet. And remember to count any treats as part of your pet’s total daily food intake; if you are giving treats, meal amounts should be decreased accordingly.
Then, proceed to a 25-75 split. On day four, go to 100 percent of the new food. Seek your veterinarian's advice before deciding which pet food to buy. Instead of treats for praise, try play. Treats add up fast, so when your pet is good, play or pull out a new toy instead of always rewarding with food. Set a deadline for your pet reaching a certain target weight. That will keep you motivated and focused, and might help you shed a few pounds, too!
Step up the exercise. Longer walks or play times will be good exercise for both of you. If you live in a cold climate, there might be an indoor facility that will let you walk your dog, or try walking flights of stairs with your dog.
Before you make any dietary changes, discuss your plans with your veterinarian.
Try changing to a premium brand ‘light’ pet food. When switching, it’s important to change the food gradually. Provide your pet’s daily food portion as 75% of the old food and 25% of the new formula on the first day. For day two, try a 50-50 ratio.
For more information about our endorsed pet insurance program, please call 800-626-8101 or visit memberbenefits.nysut.org.
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4 biggest myths about life insurance
By John Zarubnicky & Steve Levy, USI Affinity
Choosing the right type of coverage is difficult. Again, not true! Remember the gap you just calculated? If it’s large, term life will most likely provide the basic coverage you need right now at the most reasonable cost. If your need is smaller and focused on the longer term, a permanent or cash value policy is probably right for you.
I can put off buying it until tomorrow. Aging is good for cheese and wine... but not for purchasing life insurance. This is especially true if you become less healthy as you get older. For the present, term life insurance is always the more economical choice.
Asking someone to think about life insurance is like asking them to go to the dentist on a sunny day when their teeth feel fine. Here’s the problem: if you wait too long to get your life insurance house in order, you can be certain that you or someone important in your life will one day wish it had been taken care of long ago. No, it may not be you... but it will be someone whose well-being really matters to you. So, before your thoughts wander to what movie to see tonight or where you left your car keys, here are the four biggest myths about life insurance (and the truth you need to know):
I have enough or don’t need life insurance. Wrong! Statistics consistently show there are millions of people who are either not insured, woefully under-insured or only have the coverage they get through their employer. Choosing the right amount of coverage is complicated. A myth! Start by thinking about the financial gap that would exist for your loved ones if you weren’t around anymore. Usually, the younger you are, the more financial responsibilities you have.
Do you know how much life insurance you need? Click here to access a Life Insurance Needs Calculator!
For more information about our endorsed Life Insurance programs, please call 800-626-8101 or visit memberbenefits.nysut.org.
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Is social media putting you in danger? Even if you’d never leave the house for any period of time without locking the doors, your use of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter has the potential to compromise your privacy and safety. Police in Nashua, NH recently made a breakthrough in a string of burglaries and discovered that several were tied to information pulled from Facebook status updates.
Twitter As it began to go mainstream, Twitter added a geographical feature that allows followers to see where you were when you tweeted. If you post from home, you should disable this. Even if you’re not on a device with GPS, Twitter can still determine your location via your Internet connection from a home computer.
Photos It only takes one unwanted “friend,” though, to put your home – and family – in danger. Rather than giving up social networking entirely, avoid many of the dangers by being aware of the risks and smart about what you post.
Facebook Managing Facebook’s privacy settings can be a challenge since they seem to change every few months. The most important thing you can do to protect yourself is to be aware of who can see your status updates and profile information.
Popular photo sharing sites like Flickr and Google’s Picasa allow you to post “geo-tagged” photos; they include information that can easily be shown on a map. If you take a lot of photos in your house or yard, it's like handing a street guide to potential thieves. Disable geotagging for any photos you take at home.
Location Services On location-based social networks such as Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook’s Places, you should be even more careful about adding friends. Change settings to limit what’s posted publicly and never, ever create a check-in spot out of your home or anyone else’s home.
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How to care for your child’s teeth By age 3
Start dental visits during infancy The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends bringing your child to the dentist before his or her first birthday. At this initial visit, the dentist will: • Check your child's teeth for decay and signs of early developmental problems.
Children should be brushing their own teeth under adult supervision. Onl y a pea-sized amount of toothp aste is necessary. Star t flossing your child's teeth da ily when all the primary teeth ar e in or when teeth are touching each other.
• Explain how to care for your child's teeth. • Answer any questions or concerns you might have.
Children should visit the dentist every six months. To help your child develop a positive attitude about the dentist: • Take your child with you when you go in for a checkup so he/she can get used to the office and its staff. • Avoid using negative words such as "needle" and "hurt." • Familiarize your child with what takes place during a visit. • Ask your dentist how he or she explains procedures to children. • Answer your child's questions honestly and sensitively.
Eating and drinking habits are key to healthy teeth Studies have shown that children who drink fluoridated water from birth have up to 65 percent fewer cavities, and by the time they become teenagers, many of them still have no tooth decay. If you live in a community without a fluoridated water supply, you can make sure your children get their fluoride by using tablets, drops or gel and by having topical fluoride treatments applied at the 8 dental office (to check whether your drinking water contains fluoride, call your local water company By age le to ab be ld or health department). Using a fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse is also effective. ou sh n Childre s,
by themselve brush and floss l checks. Turn na sio ca oc with ssing into a flo d brushing an make it fun by daily routine — ild a colorful ch ur yo giving bubble an toothbrush d ss. gum-flavored flo
A balanced diet is also an important contributor to healthy teeth and gums. Children especially need calcium, which helps build strong teeth. Good sources of calcium are milk, cheese and yogurt. Research shows that eating cheese after meals seems to inhibit the effects of decay-causing acids. Avoid snacks containing sugar or starch.
With a parent’s guidance and proper personal and professional care, children have a good foundation for maintaining healthy teeth.
For more information about our endorsed Dental Plan, please call 800-626-8101 or visit memberbenefits.nysut.org.
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Attention NYSUT Members: Special MAP Prize Drawing Our free MAP Alert email service helps thousands of NYSUT members stay informed about all of the endorsed programs and services that NYSUT Member Benefits offers. We believe so strongly in our MAP Alert service that we have launched a special prize drawing to encourage greater participation. All current and new MAP members who open at least one MAP Alert before August 15, 2012 are eligible to win these prizes:
Grand Prize -- Bose Home Theater System First Prize -- iPad Second Prize -- Kindle Fire Third Prize -- Set of Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones Fourth Prize -- $50 Powell's Books Gift Card You will receive one entry in the drawing for every MAP Alert that you open and read before August
15. Winners will be announced on August 16 on the Member Benefits website! If you are not already a MAP member, visit memberbenefits.nysut.org and click on the MAP graphic in the upper right hand corner of our homepage to join this free service. For more information about this drawing, call 800-626-8101 or visit the Member Benefits website. Exclusions: Please note that you must be a NYSUT member to be eligible to win any of the prizes in this contest. Only one prize per winner. Current or retired NYSUT employees, NYSUT Member Benefits vendors, or their family members are not eligible to win.