Earlier this week, I found out that my email had been hacked. I was locked out of my email and unable to access my list of contacts. It was frustrating and it was scary.
Luckily, on April 20 I had attended an AARP Maine event, with fraud expert Frank Abagnale, so I knew what to do. The first thing I did was call my local police. They came to my house and suggested the next steps. We also filed an official police report. I also contacted all three major credit bureaus - Experian, Equifax and Transunion and placed a freeze on my credit report. Mr. Abagnale mentioned during his talk, that doing this is the best way to protect oneself from identity theft. Not knowing exactly what the hackers may have stolen from me, I was eager to put this in place right away. Mr. Abagnale also mentioned that Maine is one of only three states where placing a freeze on your credit report is free. It was easy to do, it didn’t cost me a dime, and now I have more piece of mind.
I also joined the AARP Fraud Watch Network because they will send me free scam alerts so I can learn about the latest scams and keep an eye out. I am really grateful that I was able to attend this event. I learned a lot from Mr. Abagnale and I also learned that law enforcement and our state agencies are working really hard to help us stay safe from scams and fraud. I’m excited to learn more and get involved.
Scammers ruin people’s lives. It’s up to each of us to stay vigilant.
The Way Life Should Be
I’ve been a resident of Maine for over 40 years and maybe it takes someone from “away” to point out that the beauty and the pristine vistas are what lure so many visitors to our state every year. We have coastal towns and villages that epitomize the New England landscapes. We have a coast that if extended in a straight line would extend approximately 3,000 miles and over 5,000 islands that dot the Atlantic Ocean.
Recently while driving down country roads, I was shocked to see so much debris in the form of bottles, cans, plastic, paper cups, and refuse scattered on the sides of the road. I was totally taken aback by the volume of litter accumulating on both sides of the roads throughout our state. I have even seen a T.V., tires and a laundry basket in deep gullies alongside the roads.
This is not a pretty sight nor is it the Maine I’ve come to know and love. Are we becoming complacent residents who have forgotten that we are the keepers of our state? Are we discarding cans and bottles because we don’t want to bother redeeming them for a nickel each; or are we throwing away trash because some of our towns charge to bring refuse to their dump?
If we care about our economy through tourism, maybe we need to campaign for “cleaning up our environment.” More importantly, our pride in the overall appearance of Maine takes precedence over any financial concerns. Perhaps the state government should have an incentive program in each county to create an interest for “cleaning up” our roads and drainage ditches. This would raise awareness for the need to take a long, hard look at the growing problem of littering along our highways, roads and city streets.
Residents live here all year long. We need to take pride in the countryside and towns that we live in. Those that come from “away” visit our state to utilize the lakes, oceans, and the views that have become Maine’s allure. They too, need to know that we care enough about our appearance to exhibit the same respect we expect from tourists.
I know why I moved here so many years ago. The rural atmosphere, mountains, pine trees, streams and forests are only some of the reasons. I raised my children in Maine because I wanted them to experience clean living and a healthy atmosphere. Now my children have their own children.
Impressing upon children at an early age that we need to keep our environment clean, including the insides of our vehicles, can only help to instill the understanding that it is unacceptable to discard whatever we want to get rid of just by throwing it out the car window.
It is a disposable world that we live in. We throw out so many things every day from waste in the kitchen, to boxes that come to us from Amazon, to bottles and cans we use in our daily lives. Please realize how much we can spoil in our world by not caring how we rid ourselves of things we don’t want or need.
I love Maine. I hope Maine residents and tourists alike change their way of thinking and recognize we need to educate our children and perhaps re-educate ourselves on how important this planet is to us. Let’s start with our own towns, counties and state, to reverse what is already what I consider the beginning of indifference. Let’s keep our beautiful State of Maine as pure and unspoiled as we possibly can.
Donna M. Costanza
Raymond, Maine Resident