Spotting Scams: Robocalls

Robocalls are phone calls that play a recorded message when you answer. They can be easy to identify when they use an automated, robot-like voice, but some use a recording of a real person timed with breaks in the audio to make it sound like you’re talking to a real person.

There are some legal reasons for robocalls, but if you are getting a lot of these calls trying to sell you something, they are likely illegal or even a scam. Even from real companies, robocalls trying to sell you something are illegal unless they have your express written permission to contact you with robocalls. However, if someone is already willing to break the law to illegally contact you, it’s likely to also be a scam.

If you get an illegal robocall, just hang up. Do not press any numbers, even if the recording claims that you can do so to stop the calls. You can help fight robocalls by reporting those you receive to the Federal Trade Commission at The FTC will want to know your phone number, the number that called you (even if you think it’s fake), and any phone numbers the robocall may have told you to call back. They will also want the exact date and time of the call if you know it.

For more information about robocalls, visit the FTC’s website.

Money Saving Tip: Keep an Eye out for Coupons

Many businesses send out coupon mailers for products and services you may already be using. Some stores also print coupons on receipts that can be applied to future purchases and many businesses offer price matching with competitor stores. You can also go for the good, old-fashioned Sunday edition of the newspaper, which usually features lots of coupons for brand name household items like groceries and hygiene products. Finally, if you have a smartphone or a computer, there are many apps and online resources to help locate discounts and coupons, such as Retail Me Not and Honey, or that pay you back for shopping, like Rakuten, Drop, and Checkout 51. And many stores have individual rewards programs or additional savings through their website or mobile app.

Governor Newsom: Aim to fully reopen California by June 15

On April 6, following the administration of over 20 million does of COVID-19 vaccinations, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the state’s next step in pandemic recovery: the state will fully open the economy on June 15, 2021 if two criteria are met.

The requirements are as follows: first, vaccine supply must be sufficient for Californians 16 years and older who wish to be inoculated and second, hospitalization rates must be stable and low.

Since this announcement, California has remained on track to reach this milestone, meaning that most everyday places will be open without capacity limits or social distancing requirements. Masks may still be required indoors or at large events, depending on current state and local guidelines.

Stay up to date with California’s reopening plan by checking out Beyond the Blueprint. See the flyer about the June 15th reopening here.

You Could Be a Millionaire Just by Getting Vaccinated!

As part of California’s initiative to get as many people vaccinated as possible, the state has announced an incentive program called Vax for the Win. The program includes a lottery for California residents who have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Vaccinated Californians are eligible to win up to $1.5 million!

What are the prizes?

Ten winners will be selected to receive $1,500,000 each. Thirty winners will receive $50,000 each.

When are the winners selected?

The drawings will occur on two days – June 4 and June 11. Fifteen winners for the $50,000 prize will be selected on June 4, 2021. On June 11, fifteen more winners will be chosen for $50,000 and ten winners will be selected for the $1,500,000 prize!

How do I enter?

Vaccination is your entry! Just by getting your vaccine, you are automatically entered into the lottery. If you’ve only gotten your first dose, you are still eligible.

Still need a vaccine?

There’s still time! Vaccines are free to everyone and beginning May 27, the first two million Californians to start and complete their vaccination will receive a $50 gift card!

For more information and full terms and conditions, visit the Vax for the Win website.