Aging Well in the Gorge ~ May 24th, 2023

With identity theft rampant, identity fraud is costing 40 million Americans a combined $43 billion in 2022 according to an AARP-sponsored report from Javelin Strategy & Research. One safeguard is to keep only the essentials in your pocket or purse.

According to her article, “10 Worst Things to Carry in Your Wallet,” Katherine Skiba lists those items to keep at home in a safe place and grab only when needed – which I imagine is easier for men than for women because there is only so much you can carry in your back pocket!

Check out this list and see if your wallet or purse contains any of these items.

  1. Social Security card.
  2. Multiple credit cards. Choose one credit card and one debit card you wish to use the most and leave the others at home. And you may want to take smartphone photos of the front and back of all your cards, so you know whom to contact if one does go missing.
  3. Checkbook or even one blank check. Okay, this one I failed. I often carry a blank check for those rare times when a credit card is not accepted.
  4. Library card. Failed this one also. But who would use my library card to check out books and sell them online? A well-read thief?
  5. Work ID card. I don’t think many of us work anymore where we would need IDs.
  6. Gift card not fully redeemed. But if it’s not in my wallet I’ll never remember it!
  7. House key. Thieves could find your address from the contents of a stolen wallet.

And under the category “What are you thinking?”

  1. Your passport,
  2. Your passwords,
  3. Your birth certificate.

And your Medicare card? Only carry it when going to a medical appointment when you might need it. And if anyone contacts you out of the blue and asks for your Medicare information or money or threatens to cancel your benefits, immediately report it by calling 800-633-4227 (800-MEDICARE).

One exception is when you are traveling. Keep your Medicare card handy and secure in case you need it. And if you don’t have the information on your smartphone, you may want to leave a copy with a loved one in case you lose yours.

When it comes to carrying identity data in your wallet or purse, “less is significantly safer.” If you feel you have been targeted by any kind of scam or fraud, you can find free support and guidance on what to do next at AARP’s Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 877-908-3360. Last October I gave you an example of the Caesar Shift that involves replacing each letter of the secret message with a different letter of the alphabet. See if you can decode this gardening quote by Doug Larson.

“C yggf ku c rncpv vjcv jcu ocuvgtgf gxgta uwtxkxcn umknn gzegrv hqt ngctpkpi jqy vq itqy kp tqyu.”

The crew-cut comedian who starred in his weekly show from 1954 to 1960 that included stories and sketches allegedly about his real-life wife, Alice (nicknamed “Spooky Old Alice”) was “Lonesome” George Gobel. Although he may be way before their time, I received correct answers from Lana Tepfer, Jess Birge, Rhonda Spies, Marny Weting, Dave Lutgens, Rebecca Abrams, and Jane Nichols who is this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Sandra Fritz.

This may take you back to your grade school days watching short films such as Disney’s Donald in Mathmagic Land on a 16 mm projector. Or this short film which is this week’s “Remember When” question. What was the 1956 thirty-four-minute short French film popular with children and educators which follows the adventures of a young boy who makes friends with an object that seems to have a mind of its own and begins to follow him through the streets of Paris? Email your answer to, call 541-296-4788, or send it with an original poster for the film Le Ballon Rouge.

Well, it has been another week, looking forward to the holiday. Until we meet again, stay as cool as a fresh cucumber.

“Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?” George Gobel

Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted.

Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Mondays and Wednesdays; Hood River Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center (541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333)

For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services – Goldendale office (509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068); Skamania County Senior Services (509-427-3990).

Answer: “A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.”