Tips from AARP

Margaret Brackett - Contributing Columnist

Teresa Arnold, AARP South Carolina State Director, is a special spokesperson this week. She announced the Governor’s Proclamation of February as Adult Awareness Month, AARP Tax Aide Program and Watchdog Alert Handbook for Veterans.

Governor Henry McMaster proclaims February 2018 State of South Carolina Vulnerable Adult Awareness Month throughout the state and encourages all South Carolinians to support the worth and dignity of all individuals, and to work together to secure the right of all our residents to live free of abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Arnold explained an appropriate and informative topic for Newberry County citizens. The AARP Foundation provides free tax assistance and tax form preparation for taxpayers 50 years and above. Since 1968 volunteer based programs has helped nearly 50 million low to medium taxpayers. AARP Foundation Tax Aide offers free, individualized tax preparation for low to moderated income this year with an adjusted gross income of $54,000 or less. IRS Volunteers are needed and will be trained for their duties. The office location will be announced. IRS certified volunteers will provide free income tax return preparation to qualified individuals in the community. Taxpayers will also learn more about tax credits, which they may qualify for such as Earned Income Credit, Child Tax Credit and credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. Individuals will need to bring their ID/Driver’s License as well as their social security card and other tax documents they have.

The AARP Watchdog Alert Handbook, Veterans Edition, is currently available.


Fraud Watch Network provides access to information about identity theft, investment fraud and the latest scams. Access at: Fraud Watch Network Helpline provides highly trained AARP Foundation volunteers who are available to answer questions and offer counseling, support and referral services.

Military Consumer :

This site operated by the federal government military and veteran communities with tips and tools to informed consumers. Access online at

Be Cautious of Scams & Frauds -Never give personal information to telemarketers who call you on the phone. To cut out unwanted telemarketing calls sign up for the Do Not Call Registry. Call 1-888-382-1222.

Check out a charity before donating to make sure they are legitimate at

General Fraud Prevention Tips

Protect your Social Security Number and personal information. Do not carry SSN card in your wallet. Don’t print your SSN or driver’s license number on your checks. Shred sensitive information. Limit the number of credit cards you carry. Keep copies of credit cards (front and back) in a safe place in case a card is lost or stolen.

Identity Theft occurs when someone steals personal information that could be used to apply for credit falsely or for government benefits. Scammers call veterans claiming they work for the VA and ask for personal information to update their records. If you get an unsolicited call from the VA, hang up.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

If you have a complaint about fraudulent activity involving a bank account or service, credit reporting, debt collection, among other areas, contact the CFPB to file a complaint. File online at


AARP began more than 50 years ago when its founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, discovered a retired teacher living in a chicken coop. She was appalled that a woman who worked her whole life couldn’t even afford a place to live. She started AARP to protect the financial security of older Americans. Fighting identity theft and fraud is part of that core mission.

Margaret Brackett

Contributing Columnist

Margaret Brackett is from Newberry. Her columns appear weekly in The Newberry Observer.

Margaret Brackett is from Newberry. Her columns appear weekly in The Newberry Observer.