May 20, 2024

Senior News Line: Beware of signing up for senior discounts

We all want to save a dollar every place we can. Discounts aimed at seniors are a good way to get our attention, but now and then it’s just not a good idea to sign up.

For example, if you’re low income, Amazon Prime offers a reduced-price membership. With Prime you get free shipping, access to movies and music, and more.

Your membership is only $5.95 per month — after you furnish an image of your Social Security, Medicaid, TANF or SNAP card.

You’ll need to renew this every year to keep getting the discount to ensure you’re still on the program. You can stay on this reduced rate for four years.

The dilemma is that you’re providing your personal information — Medicaid number, Social Security number and so on — to people you don’t know.

Where does that information end up? If you cancel your membership, is that information destroyed?

Reduced prescription costs are available at certain drugstore chains, but generally on a limited basis, perhaps one day per month. One chain will offer to let you link a new account with them to your existing AARP membership.

With another one, should you prefer not to give them your email address, they’re more than happy to take your name and phone number instead.

A number of phone companies have reduced plans for seniors. But they do verify your age. With two of them you need to go into the store with a valid ID.

With another they’ll use the information they already have on file from when you started your original service with them. How securely have they kept that information?

Before you snap up a senior discount deal, consider what you need to give up to get that discount. Think about whether the information you give can be used for identity theft.

Matilda Charles

© 2024 King Features Synd., Inc.