The Equifax Data Breach: What to Do

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September 8, 2017 | by Seena Gressin Published by the Federal Trade Commission  Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance that you’re one of the 143 million American consumers whose sensitive personal information was exposed in a data breach at Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies. Here are the facts, according to Equifax. The breach lasted from mid-May through July. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people. And they grabbed personal information of people in the UK and Canada too.   There are steps to take to help protect your information from being misused Visit Equifax’s website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. (This link takes you away from our site. Equifaxsecurity2017.com is not controlled by the FTC.) Find out if your information was exposed. Click on the “Potential Impact” tab and enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. Your Social Security number is sensitive information, so make sure you’re on a secure computer and an encrypted network connection anytime you enter it. The site will tell you if you’ve been affected by this breach. Whether or not your information was exposed, U.S. consumers can get a year of free credit monitoring and other services. The site will give you a date when you can come back to enroll. Write down the date and come back to the site and click “Enroll” on that date. You have until January 31, 2018 to enroll. You also can access frequently asked questions at the site.   Here are some other steps to take to help protect yourself after a data breach: Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — for free — by visiting annualcreditreport.com. Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft. Visit IdentityTheft.gov to find out what to do. Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts. Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize. If you decide against a credit freeze, consider placing a fraud alert on your files. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name really is you. File your taxes early — as soon...

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Attorney General Janet Mills and Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap offer resources on damaged vehicles

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09/20/2017 02:37 PM EDT Mills and Dunlap inform consumers how to check vehicle history to avoid flood damage AUGUSTA – In light of the anticipated high volume of flood-damaged automobiles in the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Maine Attorney General Janet Mills and Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap recommend that consumers inform themselves about their rights before purchasing a used vehicle. After past hurricane events, authorities reported truckloads of flooded vehicles being taken out of the impact zone where they were dried out, cleaned and readied for sale to unsuspecting consumers in states that do not brand flood vehicles. It is estimated that due to Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, as many as 1 million flood-damaged automobiles could be passed on to unsuspecting buyers in the coming weeks and months. “We encourage prospective purchasers to be aware of their rights and the resources available to them from Maine and the federal government,” said Attorney General Mills. “The Office of the Attorney General and the Secretary of State’s Office both fight to protect consumers from unscrupulous business practices and offer resources for consumers to access before buying a vehicle.” The Maine Office of the Attorney General has consumer information available at http://www.maine.gov/ag/consumer/motor_vehicles/index.shtml specific to purchasing new and used vehicles in Maine. Consumers can also call the Attorney General’s Lemon Law Arbitration Program at 626-8848, or utilize the Attorney General’s Consumer Mediation Service by calling 1-800-436-2131 or...

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Drone Use – Maine Bureau of Insurance Alert

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Did you get a drone this past holiday season? Federal regulators now require recreational drone operators to register their aircraft for a small fee (visit https://registermyuas.faa.gov/ for more information). This allows authorities to trace a drone back to an owner, which means it’s vital to be in compliance with laws and regulations and have the appropriate insurance coverage.   Insurance for Private Use Insuring your drone isn’t difficult. Using a drone as a hobby is generally covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy (subject to a deductible), which typically covers radio-controlled model aircraft. This also applies to a renter’s insurance policy. Confirm whether your homeowner’s or renter’s policy will cover your drone if it is lost, stolen or damaged, by reviewing the content section of your policy or by speaking to your agent. If you have an auto policy with comprehensive coverage, it may cover damage to your car if your drone collides with it. A larger concern is the liability for an accident caused by your drone. If your drone crashes into someone else’s vehicle or a person, the accident is your responsibility. If you have a homeowners or renter’s policy, generally the policy will cover liability for an accident caused by your drone. Check with your agent or insurer to verify your policy contains this important coverage. Privacy is a concern when it comes to drone use. Drones are often equipped with onboard cameras and other data-collection capabilities. Drone owners will want to remain mindful of privacy concerns. Insurers are developing policies to cover these liability exposures, so keep in touch with your insurer to make sure your use remains covered. Drone Safety Hobbyists have been flying model aircraft for decades. However, advances in technology allow drones to hover quietly and fly far from their pilot. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, by 2020 there will be 30,000 small unmanned drones used for business purposes. This does not include ones used by hobbyists. With some drones weighing up to 55 pounds, a fall from the sky can cause significant damage to property or bystanders. The FAA has issued these guidelines for drone hobbyists: – Don’t fly higher than 400 feet and stay clear of surrounding obstacles. – Keep the aircraft in sight at all times. – Stay away from manned aircraft operations. – Don’t fly within five miles of an airport unless you contact the airport and control tower before flying. – Avoid flying near people or stadiums. – Don’t fly an aircraft that weighs more than 55 pounds. – Use caution when flying your unmanned aircraft. For questions about homeowners’, renters’ or other property and liability insurance, call the Maine Bureau of Insurance Property and Casualty division at...

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Maine CDC Offers Tips To Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning This Winter

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With winter fast approaching, health officials of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention are urging Mainers to take steps to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. “More carbon monoxide poisonings happen in the winter than any other time in Maine, but we can all protect ourselves and our families by having our heating systems serviced each year, and making sure we have working carbon monoxide detectors in our homes,” said Maine Department of Health and Human Services State Health Officer Dr. Christopher Pezzullo. In Maine, about 75 percent of all reported cases of carbon monoxide poisoning occur between November and March. Most of these poisonings are caused by home heating appliances that are not working properly or that have blocked vents. Anything that burns fuel, such as an oil or propane boiler or wood stove, produces carbon monoxide. When these appliances are not properly maintained or vented, carbon monoxide can quickly build up inside a home without anyone noticing. Carbon monoxide cannot be seen, smelled or tasted, and can be deadly. As of 2013, more than half (65%) of Maine homes had a carbon monoxide detector, indicating that many residents have already taken action to protect their families from carbon monoxide poisoning. Portable, gas-powered generators that many Maine residents use when the power goes out can also cause severe carbon monoxide poisonings and deaths when used improperly. One portable generator can produce as much carbon monoxide gas as 100 idling cars, and can increase the chance of getting carbon monoxide poisoning by 20 to 300-fold when run in a basement or garage. “Now is a great time to make a plan for using your generator so that you are prepared to use it safely during a storm,” said Dr. Pezzullo. Anyone with a portable generator should have an extension cord long enough to make sure the generator can be run outside, at least 15 feet from windows or doors, and a plan for keeping the generator protected from rain, ice, and snow. Making a plan now can help residents avoid the temptation to run a generator inside a basement, garage or cellar bulkhead during a storm. “We are also highly concerned about people who leave motors running while they work on them in garages or in buildings. This is extremely dangerous, even if windows or doors are open,” said Dr. Pezzullo. About one in eight carbon monoxide poisonings each year occur in garages, sheds or barns while people conduct engine repair or maintenance. While the best prevention is to keep carbon monoxide from ever building up in your home or other enclosed spaces, having an electric carbon monoxide detector with a battery backup near where people sleep can save...

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Sabattus Regional CU Bike Ride & BBQ for Ending Hunger

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Equinox is proud to support Sabattus Regional Credit Union’s 2nd Annual Bike Ride & BBQ for Ending Hunger happening Sunday, August 28, 2016. All money raised will be distributed to Hunger Organizations and Food Pantries throughout Maine!  The event will begin at 11:00 am at Sabattus Regional Credit Union on Middle Road in Sabattus, ME and end at the Sabattus American Legion on 40 Island Road. VIEW RIDE MAP Registration begins at 10 AM and kickstands up at 11 AM. The ride will be followed by a BBQ at the Sabattus American Legion where there will be games, music, food and more until 2pm.   Registration Information: The first 50 registrants get a free t-shirt! The cost includes ride, meal and an afternoon of music, games and more! $20.00 – Single Rider $30.00 – Double Rider Register for the Bike Ride & BBQ...

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Third Annual Cruisin’ For A Cure Car Show

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Do you love classic cars? Then you will not want to miss the Third Annual New Dimensions FCU Cruisin’ For A Cure Car Show to be held on Saturday, June 4, 2016 at the Faith Evangelical Free Church Parking Lot at 250 Kennedy Memorial Drive, Waterville to benefit the Maine Childrens Cancer Program.  The show will run from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Visit Facebook Page  There is no admission charge to spectators and they will have the chance to vote for their favorite car. While checking out the amazing rides, food and refreshments will be available on-site with all proceeds donated to the Maine Children’s Cancer Program (MCCP) on behalf of local fundraising legend Mr. Sylvio Normandeau. Since the mid 1990’s, Normandeau has been inspiring others with this dedication to raise awareness and funds for MCCP all because he made a promise to his late wife that he was going to help the kids in Maine with cancer.   Do you have a classic car you love to show off? New Dimensions FCU would love to have your car featured in the show!  The entry classes are:  Antiques (1949 or older) | 1950’s | 1960’s | 1970’s | 1980’s |Modern’s (1990’s and newer) | Tuners | Street Rods | Trucks | Customs | Muscle Class | Restoration in progress People’s Choice and Best of Show will be awarded The Best of Show Winner will receive a feature article in the 2016 Cruise Maine Magazine!  Visit the New Dimensions webiste HERE to register your car today! Subscribe to our blog If you would like to receive informative articles about saving money, staying safe and protecting your life & loved ones...subscribe to our blog today! Name* First Last...

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