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Date: 4/30/2024
Subject: May Newsletter Village Santa Cruz County
From: Village Santa Cruz County

Village Santa Cruz County 
   Aging Better Togeth
   The Village News
      May 2024 
Happy Birthday!
Village Santa Cruz County
is 7 Years Old
All-member Picnic in the Park
Friday, May 31
noon - 2:00 PM
Anna Jean Cummings Park
Bring your picnic lunch and come celebrate. 
Birthday cupcakes & a small surprise to thank you all
for making Village Santa Cruz County a wonderful community of friendship, learning, and support.
A community where we can age better together!
Village Aptos Circle Field Trip
to Fioli Gardens
Friday, May 3
1 - 2 PM

How People are Using Generative AI:

A hands-on demonstration

At Community Foundation 

For many of us, Artificial Intelligence seems mysterious and scary. Seeing it used will give you an appreciation for its uses and an understanding of its limitations. In this conversation with Dylan Tweney, a writer and communications professional who works in the technology industry, you'll have a chance to see what generative AI can actually do.

coffee and tea provided.
Spaces limited. You must pre-register to attend.
Contact to check if there is any space left and to register.
Karst_Molten Death
Book Group May Book Activity

To celebrate the release of her brand new Orchid Isle mystery, MOLTEN DEATH, local author (and Village member) Leslie Karst will be in conversation with the marvelous Elizabeth McKenzie ("The Dog of the North") at Bookshop Santa Cruz on Thurs., May 9, at 7pm.

In addition to the conversation, there will also be a Q&A session as well as prosecco! And yes, she’ll be signing books! Good fun!


About MOLTEN DEATH: A glimpse of a quickly melting corpse at the foot of a volcano has amateur sleuth and food enthusiast Valerie Corbin shocked. But how can she investigate a murder, when there's no evidence the victim ever existed?

This first Orchid Isle cozy mystery set in tropical Hilo, Hawai'i, introduces a fun and feisty LGBTQ+ couple who swap surfing lessons for sleuthing sessions!

Register for the free event here: IN-STORE EVENT: Leslie Karst, Molten Death | Bookshop Santa Cruz

(not necessary, but BSSC likes to have an idea of how many will show up).

Volunteers brighten lives
Our Village members are amazing. So many of them, in addition to helping one another, also do volunteer work out in the larger community. This month I reached out to Bruce Berwald to tell us a bit about his volunteer work.
From Bruce:

For several years before COVID, I volunteered each week in a third grade classroom at Gault School. Gault has a student body that is diverse and much of its population comes from economically impoverished neighborhoods of Santa Cruz. 


As I got to know these students, it struck me that most of the kids, as bright and as hard-working as other kids in Santa Cruz, would have little chance to continue their education beyond high school. I contacted Cabrillo College and learned that although tuition was free, expenses such as books and fees weren’t covered. I also learned that I could fund a scholarship for a reasonable amount of money. Done!

I’ve let my family and friends know that their best holiday/birthday gifts to me are contributions to the Bruce’s Buddies Scholarship fund at Cabrillo. I continue to add tax-deductible funds myself and the fund has tripled in five years. We have been able to award $500. scholarships to two students in each of the last four years. 


I have made it a priority to get to know the recipients and I hope that I have given them support, both financially and emotionally, as they strive to work towards their educational goals. It has been a wonderful experience to be involved with these students as they work hard to succeed. To realize that I have had some small part in helping students secure positive futures is a gift in itself.


I encourage you to contribute to the scholarship program at Cabrillo, either to Bruce’s Buddies or to another fund by accessing the Cabrillo College Foundation website. Go to For Bruce’s Buddies, enter Bruce's Buddies Endowed Scholarship in special instructions or notes.


Recommendations from the TV/Movie Discussion Group
The TV/Movie Discussion Group meets monthly online to share their favorites. All Village members are welcome to drop in anytime you'd like.

A Small Light - miniseries about the family who helped Anne Frank. Hulu and Disney+

I am a Noise - a documentary about Joan Baez and her struggles. Hulu

In Restless Dreams - a documentary about Paul Simon. MGM+ (through Prime)

The Highjacking of Flight 605 - tense mini-series thriller about the true story of the longest hijacking in history. Netflix

Thirty-Nine - Korean show focusing on 3 women friends in their 39th year. Sweet and sometimes sad slice-of-life drama. Netflix

Nolly - three episode show about the British actress Noele Gordon, her rise and the scandal of her firing played by Helen Bonham Carter. PBS/Passport

Poker Face - a weekly mystery is solved by a quirky woman on the run from casino bosses who can always tell when someone is lying. Peacock
NOTE Time Change for Keeping Current Meeting
Keeping Current has moved to a later time, so we can enjoy the mid-day outdoors, now that summer is upon us. Check out the Coming UP section for details. 
Attention Village Members!
Redwood Connection Mini-Retreat
A nature event for Village Santa Cruz County
co-hosted by Mountain Parks Foundation and Village Santa Cruz County.
Wednesday, May 15, 2024 10:30 am – 1:30 pm
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Would you like to discover peaceful, nourishing ways to connect with nature, yourself, and other seniors? Treat yourself to a relaxing and rejuvenating morning in the redwoods! Only a couple of spots still left! Contact Mary K. if you are interested in attending.
 Save the Date
June 18, 11:00am - 12:00pm
Janet Masters, Adult Geriatric Nurse Practitioner and Change AGEnt for Changing the Narrative, a national organization to end ageism, will lead a presentation and Q&A on ending ageism together: various ways it shows up and what each of us as individuals can start to change our own internal ageism and ageism in the community. FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.
Become a Member of Village Santa Cruz County
There are different levels of membership
Did you know that by choosing an annual membership, you receive an extra month FREE?

Visit us on Facebook
 by Dody Anderson 

The safety risks of expired drugs

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns against taking any expired medicine because it may not work as intended or may even be harmful to your health.


Some expired medications are at risk of bacterial growth, which can cause infection, irritation and other potentially harmful side effects. Other expired medications may be less effective as the strength of the drug decreases over time. For example, expired antibiotics can fail to treat an infection, potentially allowing the infection to spread and leading to antibiotic resistance or other complications. In addition, any medication that requires a precise dosage to treat a specific disease or condition should never be used beyond the expiration date.


Examples include: blood thinners, inhalers (especially rescue inhalers), seizure and thyroid medications.

You should never take tetracycline, liquid medications such as nitroglycerin, insulin, liquid antibiotics or injectable drugs such as epinephrine, past expiration dates. In addition, if a medicine appears cloudy or has a different smell, color or consistency than normal, you should not take it—regardless of expiration date.


Liquid medications tend to grow bacteria more easily than solid pills. Eye drops, ear drops and some antibiotics are some examples of liquid medicines that aren’t safe to use past their expiration date.  Anything you put in your eyes or ears should be sterile, so avoid expired eye and ear drops. Medications you swallow, such as liquid antacids or antibiotics, also have a higher risk of breaking down quickly.


That doesn’t mean expired solid pills are always safe, but they have a lower risk of going bad soon after their expiration date.

The safest option is to avoid taking any expired or questionable medicine. But if you already have or are curious about a medicine that’s about to expire, please talk to your prescriber for guidance.

by Leila Dunn

Increase safety by adding appropriate lighting.

It is important to determine the kind of lighting you want in order to get the best lights for your purpose. All of the examples here are very inexpensive lights that plug into a wall plug. Before purchasing, think about how much, how bright and how many. Decide if you want lights to be motion activated or activated by the change from dusk to dawn light. Also think about how far from the wall they project - is it likely you can brush against it with a robe and create a tumble.

Here are the basic types of lighting.


1. Up and down lighting. Lights upward (hand rails, etc) and downward (the surface you are walking on). Offer the most amount of light but can create unwanted glare. $

2. Down only lighting. This lights mainly the surface you are walking on, no harsh glare. $

3. Diffuse lighting. Offers all around low level lighting. $

4. Decorative lighting. This offers diffuse lighting and comes in many styles, shapes and sizes. Surface areas lit depend upon style of light. $-$$$

Tough to open medications? Did you know you can request that your pharmacist not use childproof caps on your medicine as these can be difficult to remove with weaker (or sore) hands.
However, if you do this, remember to keep them well out of the way of any children. 

Tripping Hazards – The older one gets the more things can become tripping hazards. Rug tape can be adhered to the corners of rugs, keeping them firmly in place. To be even safer, try removing rugs that you can live without as they are a big fall risk for older people. In addition, securely taping down any extension cords or trailing wires (or using cable ties to keep them all together) will reduce trip risks and electrical hazards. 


The Biden-Harris administration has finalized new rules affecting patients in nursing homes and receiving home care and the workers who care for them, as well as bolstering the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

The first rule, “Minimum Staffing Standards for Nursing Homes”, sets minimum staffing requirements for facilities funded by Medicare and Medicaid. The rule is intended to limit cases of resident neglect or delays in care, a lingering issue that was exposed when more than 200,000 nursing home residents and staff died from COVID-19 in the first two years of the pandemic.


The second rule, “Ensuring Access to Medicaid Services” (“Access Rule”), seeks to bolster home care for seniors and disabled residents on Medicaid, the federal health program for low-income populations. The rule requires companies that provide home care services spend a minimum of 80% of Medicaid payments on workers' wages.


The third rule, “Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Managed Care Access, Finance, and Quality” (“Managed Care Rule”) will improve access to care, accountability and transparency for the more than 70 percent of Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries who are enrolled in a managed care plan. It will require a limit on how long enrollees have to wait for an appointment and allow people to compare plan performance based on quality and access to providers.


California 2030: Building an Equitable and Sustainable Future. As California prepares for a future with a larger, more diverse, and medically complex older adult population, there’s an opportunity to enhance the sustainability and equity of the state's aging network. The California 2030 project, a collaborative effort bringing together leaders in aging, is dedicated to preparing the state to serve this evolving demographic. Read Report CC CDA CA2030 Final Report

CalGrows helps you grow your career, develop your skills, and provide quality care to older adults and people with disabilities. CalGrows offers free training courses, and incentive payments to caregivers working in home and community settings, including unlicensed caregivers, certified home care aides (HCAs) and certified nursing assistants (CNAs), and friends/family caregivers. Find out more CalGRows | Free Training for CA caregivers


May is Affordable Housing Month. During the entire month of May, Housing Santa Cruz County (HSCC) brings together our County’s housing partners to host a variety of virtual and in-person events, workshops, webinars, and creative community engagement opportunities to activate and engage our community of housing advocates and the general public around our community’s housing challenges and solutions. List of Events Affordable Housing Month — Housing Santa Cruz County

Coming UP in May
Members will receive Zoom information in weekly eBlasts.
If you are not yet a Village member but would like to join one of our events, to meet some Village members, please contact

Wednesday, May 1,  Aptos Circle Chat, 1:00 – 2:30 PM, In person Aptos Methodist Church, 221 Thunderbird Drive, Aptos. Relax with a cup of coffee or tea and catch up on what's happening with your Circle friends. Curious about Village? Open to all. Non-members are welcome to join us. 

Thursday, May 2, Bocce, 10:30  - 11:30 AM, In person @ Felt Str. Park, 1904 Felt Street, Santa Cruz. Come play Bocce with us! All members welcome. Bocce Ball is simple to learn, it's a lot of fun, and good exercise (not to mention the great company). Come try it out. Cancelled in the event of rain or wet court. 

Thursday, May 2,
 Solo Agers, 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM , In person 
@ Aptos Library Conference Room, 7694 Soquel Dr. Aptos. 

Thursday, May 2, Westside Circle Chat, 1:00 - 2:00 PM, In person 
@ Iveta Coffee, 2125 Delaware Ave. Relax with a cup of coffee or tea and catch up on what's happening with your Circle friends. Curious about Village? Open to all. Non-members are welcome to join us. In the event of rain we will lunch together at Walnut Cafe in downtown Santa Cruz, on their outdoor covered patio.

Friday, May 3, Generative AI In person demonstation, 1:00 - 2:00 PM, In person. Open to the public, Registration required as there is a limited number of slots. Location information available upon registration. Register on our website, or contact

Monday, May 6, Guided Meditation, 4:00 - 4:15 PM, Join on Zoom. 

Wednesday, May 8,  SLV Circle Chat, 10:30 – 11:30 AM, In person @ Valley Women's Conference Center at Highlands Park Community and Senior Center, Ben Lomond. Relax with a cup of coffee or tea and catch up on what's happening with your Circle friends. Curious about Village? Open to all. Non-members are welcome to join us.  

Thursday, May 9, Bocce, 10:30 - 11:30 AM, In person @ Felt Str. Park, 1904 Felt Street, Santa Cruz. Come play Bocce with us! All members welcome. Cancelled in the event of rain or wet court. 

Thursday, May 9, Book Discussion Special Event, 7:00 - 8:30 PM, In Person, @ Bookshop Santa Cruz, 1520 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 
To celebrate the release of her brand new Orchid Isle mystery, MOLTEN DEATH, local author (and Village member) Leslie Karst will be in conversation with the marvelous Elizabeth McKenzie ("The Dog of the North”). In addition to the conversation, there will also be a Q&A session as well as prosecco! And yes, she’ll be signing books! Good fun! To register for the event go to Bookshop Santa Cruz Free Event | Molten Death (not necessary, but BSSC likes to have an idea of how many will show up).

Thursday, May 9, Governing Board Meeting, 12:30 PM - 2:15 PM, Join on Zoom. All Village members are invited to attend our monthly planning meeting. Email if you plan to attend, so that we can send you the agenda.

Friday, May 10, Westcliff Walks, 10:30 - 11:30 AM, In person. We will walk along Westcliff Dr. Meet in the parking lot of Shrine Coffee. 544 Westcliff Ave.

Monday, May 13, Westside "Days of Our Lives" Discussion, 1:00 - 2:00 PM, Join On Zoom, Topic: Friends who have made a difference in our life.

Tuesday, May 14, Mid County Circle Chat, 1:30 - 2:30 PM, In person @ The Loft Coffee Shop, 2701 Cabrillo College Dr. Aptos.

Wednesday, May 15, Village Walks, 10:30 - 11:30 PM, In person @ Wilder Ranch State Park, Hwy 1 North of Santa Cruz. Cancelled in the event of rain. 

Wednesday, May 15, Aptos Circle Luncheon, 1:00 – 2:30 PM, In person, location TBA in an upcoming member weekend Eblast.

Thursday, May 16, Bocce, 10:30 - 11:30 AM, In person @ Felt Str. Park, 1904 Felt Street, Santa Cruz. Come play Bocce with us! All members welcome. Cancelled in the event of rain or wet court. 

Thursday, May 16, Movie/TV Discussion Group, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM, Join on Zoom.

Wednesday, May 22,  SLV Circle Chat, 10:30 – 11:30 AM, In person @ Valley Women's Conference Center at Highlands Park Community and Senior Center, Ben Lomond. Relax with a cup of coffee or tea and catch up on what's happening with your Circle friends. Curious about Village? Open to all. Non-members are welcome to join us.  

Wednesday, May 22, Keeping Current, 4:00 - 5:00 PM, Join on Zoom
. We will meet and
as a Group will explore ideas of Topics for Learning & Discussion, which would be led by an 'expert' in the field. We will exchange ideas about potential topics and potential experts on the topic who can inform us and lead a discussion.

Thursday, May 23, Bocce, 10:30 - 11:30 AM, In person @ Felt Str. Park, 1904 Felt Street, Santa Cruz. Come play Bocce with us! All members welcome. Cancelled in the event of rain or wet court. 

Thursday, May 23, Movie at the Theater, 2:30 - 5:30 PM, In person. Movie and details TBD when the movie list for this date comes out. 

Monday, May 27, Memoir Writing, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM, In person @ Seabright Area. Because of the very personal nature of our writings, which we share, this group is currently closed to new members. Want to start a 2nd writing group? Contact

Tuesday, May 28, Mid-County Luncheon, 12:30 - 1:30 PM, In person, @ Sugo Italian Pasta Bar, 1116 Soquel Ave. Please arrive a little early so we can eat together before they close at 2 PM.

Tuesday, May 28, Housing Group, 4:00 - 5:00 PM, Join on Zoom. We will discuss and explore continuing care and aging in place options, from living in our own homes to shared housing or communities.

Thursday, May 30, Bocce, 10:30 - 11:30 AM, In person @ Felt Str. Park, 1904 Felt Street, Santa Cruz. Come play Bocce with us! All members welcome. Cancelled in the event of rain or wet court. 

Friday, May 31, Village Birthday Celebration, 12:00 - 2:00 PM, In person @ Anna Jean Cummings Park (Blue Ball Park) 461 Old San Jose Rd. Soquel.

or sign up on the website events calendar

In Our Community

Saturday, May 4, Santa Cruz Welcoming Network Benefit Concert, 7:00 PM at the German American Hall, 230 Plymouth Street. Join us for a benefit concert for the Welcoming Network with the internationally renowned Persian singers Marjan and Mahsa Vahdat, accompanied on Setar by Atabak Elyasi. $20 minimum donation. All proceeds go to the Santa Cruz Welcoming Network, dedicated to welcoming and supporting asylum seekers and other refugees. Seating limited. Please reserve your seat by emailing Meg, Learn more Welcoming Network - Persian Music Benefit Concert (

Saturday, May 4, 10:30 AM - 3:30 PM, at Sky Park, 361 Kings Village Road, Scotts Valley. The Scotts Valley Multicultural Fair.  The community is invited to join this fun, educational, interactive, free event with your family, friends and neighbors. This event is all about building community and celebrating diversity. This year’s event theme is festivals celebrated around the world. For event information, visit Home | Scotts Valley Multicultural Fair (

May 2 - 5, White Sky, Falling Dragon. Steve "Spike" Wong's original play White Sky, Falling Dragon, along with the original cast, at the Santa Cruz Actors Theater, 1011 Center Street. Inspired by the playwright's father, Captain Ernest Wong, USAAF, the play tells the story of a young Chinese-American man's return to small town Watsonville, California, in 1944 after his WWII service as a bombardier. As he struggles to come to terms with the tragedy of his last mission, his Chinese family obligations clash with his search for a path to his future, and the way forward depends on a secret from the past. With its focus on Chinese-American culture, immigration, and military service during wartime, the play is a unique blend of drama and comedy, and a moving tribute to the complexities of what it means to come home. Get Tickets AudienceView Professional ( 

Santa Cruz County NAACP May 6 Meeting at 7:00pm. UCSC Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Sociology John Brown Childs will address the membership on the topic of “Voting Rights Must Be Protected--Some Lessons from the Civil Rights Movement in Today’s USA." On zoom. Register here Meeting Registration - Zoom

May 7, Home Equity in Retirement, 10:30 am at the Aptos Public Library Community Room, 7695 Soquel Drive, Aptos. Local mortgage loan originator Marina Watts will give an educational presentation titled “Home Equity in Retirement”. This is a no obligation, information seminar to educate retirees, pre-retirees, and professionals working with seniors to help understand home equity conversion mortgage which is also known as a “reverse mortgage.” Attendees will learn who is eligible and what’s new for 2024. The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited. To RSVP, call 831-535-9760 or email

Saturday May 11, All Santa Cruz County Clean-Up Day,
Pitch In Santa Cruz is looking for individuals, groups and organizations to organize their own cleanups or join an existing cleanup.  Go to to learn more.

Saturday & Sunday, May 18 and 19, SLV Art Tour 2024, 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM. Come and enjoy art of all media, and discover the abundance of artistic talent in the San Lorenzo Valley. Admission to all studios is free. Learn more Original Art | San Lorenzo Valley Art Tour (

Saturday, May 18, March to End Homelessness, 10 AM - 12:30 PM. A coalition of local businesses, nonprofit organizations and hundreds of supporters will participate in the March to End Homelessness in downtown Santa Cruz. The event begins at Santa Cruz City Hall, 809 Center St., Santa Cruz. The march is the second gathering organized by Housing Matters. This event is anchored in inspiring hope for actionable solutions to homelessness through the advancement of public policy. For information on the event, visit Resolving Homelessness Together - Housing Matters (

Wednesday, May 22, San Lorenzo Valley Music and Art Festival, 4 - 8 PM at Roaring Camp Railroads, 5401 Graham Hill Rd. Felton. Enjoy a fun evening of music and student art while supporting SLV High School's music program. There will be food vendors as well as a silent and live auction. Bring a blanket and a chair and enjoy the evening. 

 Articles, Videos, and Listening
Meet the New Women's Alzheimer's Movement (WAM) Grant Recipients Who Are Changing the Game With Their Groundbreaking Research in Women’s Health, from Marie Shriver’s Sunday Paper, April 27, 2024. What happens to the brain when you eliminate ultra-processed food from your diet? Could a special screening assessment help diagnose women with Alzheimer’s disease before they start showing symptoms? Might a specific, inflammation-related oxidation process that’s common in Alzheimer’s disease affect men and women differently—and can its harmful effects be blocked? Read the Article
Meet the New WAM Grant Recipients Who Are Changing the Game With Their Groundbreaking Research in Women's Health (

The Grandmother Project. Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt and her mom, Maria Shriver, are celebrating Mother’s Day this year with “The Grandmother Project,” a heartwarming interview series about grandmothers, mothers and the many aspects of multi-generational parenting. In this first of the series, they talk with Gayle King and her daughter Kirby Bumpus. Watch on You Tube SPECIAL EDITION OF BDA BABY: The Grandmother Project: Gayle King and her daughter, Kirby

What is Generative AI? ChatGPT is rapidly becoming ubiquitous. Some college professors are even altering their course requirements so students can't turn in AI generated papers. Basically, Generative AI can be thought of as a machine-learning model that is trained to create new data, rather than making a prediction about a specific dataset. Learn more about AI in this article from MIT news.

Is there a right way to fight with your partner (or just someone close to you?) Yes, there is. And, if fighting is done right, it can lead to an even closer relationship. Learn some tips for how to have a fight or disagreement with your partner (one tip-never try to "win") in this article from Next Avenue

Changes at the US Postal Service

1. Stamp prices are going up

Effective Jan. 21, a first-class Forever stamp increased 2 cents to 68 cents. On July 14, first-class Forever stamps will increase to 73 cents. A first-class stamp covers the cost to mail a 1-ounce letter; the cost of an additional ounce will rise from 24 cents to 28 cents. 


2. ID is required for forwarding mail

In order to clamp down on identity theft and protect customers’ information, USPS is adding to its procedures to verify your identity when you request a change of address. Now you must either show ID in person at your local post office or verify your identity online. A change of address request, or COA, has to be submitted 90 days before the date of your move or up to 30 days after your move.

If you are doing it in person bring one of the following to your local post office:

 - State issued driver’s license or nondriver’s license identification card (name and address must match the old or new address on your request).

 - Uniformed Services Identification Card (requires a secondary form of identification)

 - U.S. passport (requires a secondary form of identification)

Secondary forms of identification include ; Lease, mortgage or deed of trust, Voter or vehicle registration card, Home or vehicle insurance policy or card. The name and address on any secondary ID must match the old or new address on your change of address request.

If you are doing it online:

 - An email address is required for online COA submission.

 - A onetime passcode or verification link will be texted to your cellphone.

 - A $1.10 credit card identity verification fee will be charged to your credit card. The billing address on the credit card must match either the old or the new address used in the COA request. Prepaid cards and gift cards are not accepted.

If the online verification fails, you’ll have to visit the post office.


3. The post office launched USPS Ground Advantage, which is a cheaper way to ship packages in two to five business days across the United States.


4. Better service and speedier delivery are expected with its Delivering for America plan. USPS is consolidating its 19,000 delivery centers into new, larger and more centrally located sorting and delivery centers. USPS says the actions will enable it to expand same-day/next-day shipping and improve on-time performance. No post offices will be closed or services impacted.


Avoiding Mail Theft and Financial Loss: Some tips to lower their risk of mail theft and its financial loss:

1. Deposit mail in collection boxes as close to the indicated pickup time as possible — or bring it inside the post office for mailing.

 - If you choose to leave outgoing mail in your mailbox, don’t put up the flag.

2. Try not to leave incoming or outgoing mail sitting in your mailbox for an extended time, particularly overnight.

3. Sign up for Informed Delivery. With this free service, the USPS will email you images of everything that will be delivered to your home that day, so you’ll know what to expect (and what’s missing when the carrier drops off your mail). About 44 million postal customers have signed up. “It’s an added security benefit that many people have not heard about,” Donahue says. 

4. Use the USPS Hold Mail service (you can sign up online) if you’ll be away from home, or have a neighbor collect your mail.

 - Keep an eye on your bank accounts for potential fraud, and report suspicious activity as soon as possible.

5. When making out a check, write out the amount — “One hundred and twenty dollars and ten cents,” for example — so the words fill out the line. This makes it more difficult for someone to alter it without washing off the ink. Also make sure the numeric amount fills the box on the far-right side of the check.

6. If you think your mail has been stolen

 - Report suspected mail losses to the USPIS, which uses such reports to identify problem areas and where to focus crime investigations, at Report - United States Postal Inspection Service ( or by calling 877-876-2455.

 - Notify your bank. If you’re a victim of check fraud, “you’re usually not held responsible,” Solomon says. “Most of your financial institutions will make you whole.”

 - Report the theft to local law enforcement, so you’ll have a police report documenting the crime.

Even if you follow the proper reporting procedures, it can be extremely inconvenient trying to get your money back, Solomon notes, particularly when “sometimes people don’t realize for a long period of time that the checks have been stolen. It might be a month before you find out your mortgage check was never received by your financial institution.”

Village Santa Cruz County
1740 17th Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95062
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