Weekly State News Update (Holiday Phishing Scams, Helping Neighbors in Need, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, Maine Christmas Trees, & More)
House Republican Office Weekly Update
Holiday Phishing Scams and Malware Campaigns
The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) recently issued a reminder for users to remain vigilant when browsing or shopping online this holiday season. Ecards from unknown senders may contain malicious links. Fake advertisements or shipping notifications may deliver infected attachments. Spoofed e-mail messages and fraudulent posts on social networking sites may request support for phony causes.
To avoid seasonal campaigns that could result in security breaches, identity theft, or financial loss, users are encouraged to take the following actions.
Avoid following unsolicited links or downloading attachments from unknown sources.
Report the attack to the police and file a report with the Federal Trade Commission.
Contact your financial institution immediately and close any accounts that may have been compromised. Watch for any unexplainable charges to your account.
Immediately change any passwords you might have revealed and do not use that password in the future. Avoid reusing passwords on multiple sites.
Helping Neighbors in Need
Mainers have a reputation for generosity and for always being willing to lend a hand. This is especially evident during the holiday season.
If you are looking for a way to get involved this year, either through volunteering or making a donation, there are many ways to do so. Listed below are a few options to explore, and local churches, along with town halls, may also be able to provide you with information on ways to help.
If you cannot afford your home energy bill, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) may be able to help you. LIHEAP provides financial assistance to help low-income homeowners and renters pay for heating costs, with the benefit in most cases going directly to the fuel dealer on the household’s behalf.
What benefits are available?
Emergency Fuel Delivery
Home Weatherization & Energy Related Repairs
Who’s eligible for heating assistance?
You may be eligible for assistance if your total household income falls within the income eligibility guidelines or 60% of the state area median income, whichever is less. Eligibility for households with incomes between 150% and 170% of the federal poverty guidelines is limited to those households with a member who is susceptible to hypothermia, such as elderly, a child two years of age or under, or with a doctor's diagnosis.
Also, you may be eligible if your household size, income, and energy costs meet federal eligibility guidelines AND one of the following apply:
you need assistance paying for fuel, OR
you receive residential electric service from an electric utility and you are not living in government subsidized housing, OR
your home is not as energy efficient as it could be, OR
your heating system is in need of repair or replacement.
How do I apply?
Please refer to the Community Action Agency (CAA) contact list to find your local CAA. Call and set up an appointment to apply, as well as to be considered automatically for the Low Income Assistance Plan (LIAP), weatherization, and Central Heating Improvement Program (CHIP). Application periods are:
LIHEAP: from mid-August through April 30 of each year; and
Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP), which is emergency fuel assistance: November through March 31 of each year.
Maine Christmas Trees for the Holidays!
During this holiday season, get out and support your local businesses by buying Maine Christmas trees. Christmas tree buying season is in full swing, and Maine Christmas tree growers are doing their part to support a national program to provide trees to armed forces members and their families as part of the national “Trees for Troops” effort.
Maine Christmas Tree Association:
The Maine Christmas Tree Association (MCTA) is a non-profit organization comprised of family farms that produce real Christmas trees and wreath products for retail, wholesale, mail order, or choose'n cut during the Christmas season. Producers may specialize or offer a combination of mail order, retail, choose'n cut, or wholesale production of tree and wreath products.
The purpose of MCTA, since it was incorporated in 1962, has been to promote real Christmas trees and share information about fresh Maine Christmas trees and wreath products with its members. This information includes the latest techniques in growing quality trees and wreath products to the care and recycling of Christmas trees.
Tree selection and care tips can be found online here, while associated buying resources can be found here.
House Republican Office Links
To connect with the House Republican Office on the Web, you can visit http://mehousegop.org/, find us on Facebook here, or follow us on Twitter: @MaineHouseGOP.
Unclaimed property consists of money and other personal assets that are considered lost or abandoned when an owner cannot be located after a specified period of time. It includes checking accounts, certificates of deposit, overpayments, gift certificates, paid-up life insurance policies, unpaid wages, commissions, uncashed checks, death benefits, dividends, insurance payments, money orders, refunds, savings accounts, stocks, and contents of safe deposit boxes. Unclaimed property does not include real estate, animals, or vehicles.
Millions of dollars are turned over annually to the State of Maine by entities who cannot locate the owners. There is no fee charged to process your property claim.
To search for unclaimed property, please visit Unclaimed Property Search and Claim. If you find your name on the list, you can make a claim by filing online or you may print a claim form and mail it to Office of the Maine State Treasurer, Attn: Unclaimed Property, 39 State House Station, Augusta ME 04333-0039. Some claims may take up to 90 days to process. Claims involving stocks or mutual funds may take considerably longer.
If you have any questions, please contact the Office of the Maine State Treasurer at (207) 624-7470 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.