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Seniors beware before you pay that bill

After the holidays, many consumers expect additional bills to come through the mail. However, take a second look to make sure the bill is legitimate. Fake bills can take on different forms. Here are some examples of what to look out for.

Beware of:

• Pro forma invoicing, in which you receive a bill for goods or services you never requested. Pro forma invoicing can also look like a bill, but it’s actually an ad, trying to sell a product.

• A bill from a familiar company, but the amount due is not the usual payment you typically make.

• Bills for a product you ordered, such as a magazine, in which the time has been extended without your consent.

• A company threatening to send you to a false debt-collection agency if you do not pay immediately.

• Additions to your bill from third parties on accounts you already have established, such as your cable and telephone bills.

Before you pay that bill, make sure you:

• Check the address, telephone number and account number listed on the bill.

• If you have an existing account with the company and feel you’ve already made a payment, check with the company and verify. Use the telephone number from your records, not the fraudulent bill.

• Ask for proof of your agreement. No proof, no payment.

• Keep records of conversations.

• Obtain proof of the company’s registration with the Secretary of State, and;

• Inform the company in writing that you did not agree to purchase the product.

If you find the company to be fraudulent, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftc.gov.

AARP ElderWatch is also here to help Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at (800) 222-4444, www.aarpelderwatch.org.

Come and get ’em

We still have the United Way dining gift certificates available. Just $20 will get you a gift certificate to one of almost 30 participating restaurants right here in our community.

Why should you choose to use one of the gift certificates? Because, if you go out to eat, why not use a dining certificate instead of cash? Four dollars will be donated by the restaurant to United Way, at no cost to you, just for using the gift certificate. The Senior Center receives funding from United Way. And, hey, the certificates don’t expire until April 30, 2012.

For more information, call me at 264-2167.

Special events

• Poker, Texas Hold ’em style, returns the last Tuesday of the month at 1 p.m., this month Tuesday, Jan. 31. Get ready for some great competition, all levels welcome.

Any other card games you’d like to play? Let us know.

• Habitat for Humanity: Neighborly Assistance. Monday, Feb. 6, at 12:30 p.m. Executive Director Cindi Galabota, along with Volunteer Coordinator Terry Pickett, will share information on their new program. Neighbors Helping Neighbors is a program that helps preserve home ownership by partnering with homeowners struggling to restore and maintain a safe and decent place to live. When basic expenses exceed income month after month, home maintenance is the usual casualty. Years of deferred maintenance can cause a downward spiral of home deterioration and unsafe living conditions.

Have you had to choose between paying for food, medication, taxes and basic utilities?

Are you facing city code violations or insurance cancellation due to the condition of your home?

Income must be below 50 percent of the Area Median Income, depending on family size. This is approximately between $20,000 and $35,000.

Learn how Neighbors Helping Neighbors can help you.

• Nutrition Education-Cooking for One or Two plus bonus, Q & A session with Registered Dietician Jenny Pritchard, Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 12:30 p.m.

• Bring your sweetheart(s) or meet a sweetheart and celebrate Valentines Day a tad early, Thursday, Feb. 9, 5-7:30 p.m. in the dining room of the Ross Aragon Community Center. Enjoy a romantic setting while dining to the soft piano tunes of Dennis Driscoll. Spaghetti, meatballs or vegetarian, Caesar salad, garlic roll and sherbet topped with a cookie. $10 adults, $5 children 12 and under.

Proceeds benefit the Senior Center meal programs.

• Dog Guardians. Meet Dina Liniger and her furry friends on Wednesday, Feb. 1, at 12:30 p.m. Dog Guardians focuses on rescuing, “the forgotten dogs” — good dogs placed on death row waiting euthanasia in high-kill shelters, through no fault of their own. They specialize in dogs that are 15 pounds or under, but will assist any dog in need. They love all breeds. Senior dogs and dogs with medical concerns are given priority. Dog Guardians Animal Rescue is a nonprofit Colorado corporation founded in June 2011. They are 100-percent donation based, with no paid employees.

They are not a shelter and do not operate out of a central boarding facility. All rescued dogs are housed in loving foster homes until adopted. Over 25 years of research has shown that living with pets provides certain health benefits. Pets can help lower their human friends’ blood pressure and lessen anxiety; they also boost our immunity. Join us and learn how you can adopt one of these loving pets or become a foster home.

Bus service

Lonely? Need to hang out with us? Not driving anymore? Car in the shop? Get to where you need to go; available Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday to seniors age 60-plus. Suggested donation is $2 per day. Call for details, 264-2167.

Home meal delivery

Are you homebound, recovering from surgery or an illness? Let us do the cooking. Enjoy Senior Center meals delivered to your door. Our hot meal home-delivery program is available to those living closer to town four days per week, with frozen meals for Thursdays and weekends. Those living further out of town might be eligible for the frozen meal program. Meals are available to people age 60-plus for a suggested donation of $3 per meal. Give us a call at 264-2167 for further information. Donations are greatly appreciated.

Weekly Activities at The Den

Friday, Jan. 27 — 9 a.m. Geezers; 10 a.m. Stitchin’ in the Kitchen; 10:30 a.m. Book Club; 12:30 p.m. Gym Walk.

Monday, Jan. 30 — 12:30 p.m. Gym walk; 1 p.m. Canasta

Tuesday, Jan. 31 — 12:30 p.m. Gym walk; 1 p.m. Meditation for healing; 1 p.m. Texas Hold ’em

Thursday, Feb. 2 — Closed for administrative day.

Friday, Feb. 3 — 9 a.m. Geezers; 10 a.m. Stitchin’ in the Kitchen; 12:30 p.m. Gym Walk.

This week’s menu

Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus is $3, kids 12 and under and guests $6. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act via the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging, United Way, Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other donations and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $11.51. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served from noon to 12:30 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 27 — Birthday meal: barbecue brisket, tossed salad, baked beans, fresh orange wedges, bread pudding with topping.

Monday, Jan. 30 — Honey barbecue chicken, oven browned potatoes, spinach, fresh apple, bran muffin.

Tuesday, Jan. 31 — Sloppy Joe, mixed vegetables, spinach-mandarin salad, brownie.

Wednesday, Feb. 1 — Smothered chicken, cornbread stuffing, plums, peas, creamy coleslaw, whole wheat roll.

Thursday, Feb. 2 — Closed for administrative day.

Friday, Feb. 3 — Porcupine meatballs, whipped potatoes, almond peaches, peas and carrots, whole wheat bread, tossed salad.

Arboles meal program

Lunches are served in Arboles on the first and third Thursdays of each month, weather permitting, in the basement of the Catholic Church. Reservations are required the preceding Monday. The suggested donation is $3 for age 60-plus. Call 264-2167 for more information or to make a reservation.

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