Letter to the Editor:
In the wake of the news that the credit-reporting firm Equifax had been hacked, many consumers across the country were left feeling vulnerable. However, no matter which entity is hacked, there are important steps each of us should take to keep our data safe.
Mainers of all ages should place a freeze on their credit report (sometimes known as a “credit file”). Because a security freeze safeguards a person’s credit report, it is one of the most effective ways to protect consumers from identity theft. Without access to the sensitive information housed in your credit report, an identity thief is unable to obtain credit in your name. In Maine, freezing and unfreezing your credit report is free.
You need to place the credit freeze with each of the three major credit bureaus: Experian, Transunion and Equifax online, by mail or by telephone. Each bureau will also provide you with a free copy of your credit report annually upon request.
Parents and grandparents should place a freeze on their children and grandchildren’s credit reports as well.
It is also recommended that you closely monitor your bank and credit card statements and report any unfamiliar charge, even if it is a small amount. Scammers will often charge a “test charge” on a stolen credit card to verify the number. This amount is usually just a few cents so many people don’t report it.
For more information visit www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork. During an era of unprecedented data breaches, placing a freeze on your credit report and closely monitoring your accounts has never been more important.
AARP Maine Fraud Watch Network Volunteer
When President Obama left office he asked us not to fight but to sit and discuss our differences.
I have tried to do that with friends who have a different point of view and the fact is we are so far apart on everything we believe in, that an intellectual debate to anyone’s satisfaction is futile.
For example, one side believes in global warming, the other doesn’t; one side wants a National Health Care Program, the other doesn’t. One side wants a fair livable minimum wage, the other doesn’t, one wants negotiation, sanctions or constraints to accomplish goals with foreign powers, the other prefers war. One side wants DACA kids to be granted a path to citizenship, the other side wants them thrown out; one side wants the protection of all social programs (Medicare, Medicaid, Welfare, the GI Bill, Affordable Health Care and Social Security), the other wants them privatized. One side wants intelligent gun legislation and the other side is fine with 30 thousand Americans killed by them every year. One side wants government regulation to protect us from corporate greed, the other wants to deregulate everything; one side addresses the needs of middle and lower income families, the other favors the ultra-rich.
There are so many other examples but you get the point.
We are a Nation divided and until we can sit down to fruitful, intelligent common ground, nothing will change.
We are supposed to be global leaders with the ability to negotiate and yet, we can’t even talk to each other.
That should trouble all of us.