edited by Cynthia Hawkins
The announcement of products and services in this column does not represent an endorsement by the American Council of the Blind, its officers, or staff. Listings are free of charge for the benefit of our readers. “The ACB Braille Forum” cannot be held responsible for the reliability of the products and services mentioned. To submit items for this column, send a message to [email protected], or phone the national office at 1-800-424-8666, and leave a message in Sharon Lovering’s mailbox. Information must be received at least two months ahead of publication date.
Beware of Social Security Scams
The Social Security Administration recently launched a new campaign to continue warning people about the ongoing nationwide telephone impersonation scheme. The PSAs feature a message from Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul. Social Security and its Office of the Inspector General (OIG) continue to receive reports about fraudulent phone calls from people falsely claiming to be Social Security employees. The scammers mislead victims into making cash or gift card payments for help with purported identity theft, or to avoid arrest for bogus Social Security number problems.
People should also be on the lookout for a new version of this scam. Fraudsters are now emailing fake documents in attempts to get people to comply with their demands. Victims have received emails with attached letters and reports that appear to be from Social Security or the OIG. The letters may use official letterhead and government jargon to convince victims they are legitimate; they may also contain misspellings and grammar mistakes.
Social Security employees do occasionally contact people by telephone for business purposes. However, Social Security employees will never threaten a person, or promise a Social Security benefit approval, or increase, in exchange for information or money. Generally, the agency calls people who have recently applied for a Social Security benefit, someone who is already receiving payments and requires an update to their record, or a person who has requested a phone call from the agency. If you are not in one of these situations, you normally would not receive a call from the agency.
Social Security will not:
- Tell you that your Social Security number has been suspended.
- Contact you to demand an immediate payment.
- Ask you for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Require a specific means of debt repayment, like a prepaid debit card, a retail gift card, or cash.
- Demand that you pay a Social Security debt without the ability to appeal the amount you owe.
- Promise a Social Security benefit approval, or increase, in exchange for information or money.
If you receive a call from someone who states there is a problem with your Social Security number or account, hang up! Do not give the caller money or personal information. Then immediately go online to oig.ssa.gov to report the call.
Accessible Products Hotline
Envision recently launched an Accessible Products Hotline for people with vision loss. The hotline will be operated by the William L. Hudson BVI Workforce Innovation Center, connecting callers with professional advice about purchasing and operating the top home, office and personal use products on the market today. The new hotline, (316) 252-2500, is staffed by trained customer service representatives who are blind or visually impaired. For more information, visit https://www.workforceforall.com/Accessible-Products-Hotline.
Dallas Lighthouse Is Now Envision Dallas
Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind has officially changed its name to Envision Dallas. The name change formalizes its relationship with Wichita, Kansas-based Envision. With locations in 11 states, Envision is one of the country’s largest employers of people with visual impairments. Established in 1931, Envision Dallas currently serves 150,000 people who are blind or low vision living in 11 North Texas counties.
New from National Braille Press
Know someone who wants adventure, who wants to see the world? Now available is “Dodsworth in New York,” by Tim Egan. It’s available in contracted UEB for ages 5 to 10. Find out what happens when Dodsworth goes to New York City.
Also new is “That’s Not My Owl ...” It’s available as a print-and-braille and touch-and-feel book for ages baby through preschool.
Over in the adult section are two new books. One is “Dinner Delivered: Accessible and Easy Ways to Receive Meals Direct to Your Door,” by Kim Loftis and Chris Grabowski. It’s available in braille (one volume), BRF, DAISY, and Word. It covers GrubHub, Postmates, Amazon Fresh, and Uber Eats. The authors detail 11 food or delivery services. In addition, where applicable, they provide tips for browsing and navigating the website and app versions.
Also new is Deborah Kendrick’s “Navigating Healthcare When All They Can See Is That You Can’t.” It comes in braille (one volume), as well as BRF, DAISY, and Word. This book explores various health care situations, physically and programmatically, and discusses which approach or setting is most appropriate and what the patient might expect.
For more information on any of these books, call National Braille Press at 1-800-548-7323, or visit https://www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/publications/index.html.
Lipofsky to Receive Award
The Board of Regents of the American College of Trial Lawyers has voted to award David Lipofsky of Toronto, Ontario, Canada the Samuel E. Gates Litigation Award.
The award was established in 1980 “to honor a lawyer or judge who has made a significant contribution to the improvement of the litigation process.” The board recognized his work as a pioneer in the field of human rights and disability law. The award will be presented sometime this month.
ACB Member’s Book Out
Have you ever had questions about how a blind person survives in a sighted world? Have you ever wanted to know more about guide dogs or service animals? If so, did you think that asking such questions would be rude or inappropriate? Have you ever avoided a conversation with a blind person because you didn’t know what to say? Or have you made assumptions that you found out too late really didn’t apply?
“Insight Out: One Blind Woman’s View of Her Life” gives you a peek inside the life of Mary Hiland, an ACB member from Ohio. Each chapter reveals a new facet of how she meets the demands of living without sight. You’ll gain new understanding of how blind people are different and how they are not. Myths and misperceptions are explored through thoughtful, sensitive, and personal stories.
This book is for you if you know someone who is blind and would like to understand that person better. It’s for those who are experiencing vision loss and need a positive perspective to deal with this traumatic time in their lives. It’s for sighted people who want to learn more about people who are not like them. And it’s for people who are blind, so they can say with the author, “Yes. This is how it is.”
To get your copy in print or in e-book form, go to dldbooks.com/maryhiland, or look for it on Amazon.