Beware holiday scams

Now that we are officially into the holiday season, consumers should watch out for certain seasonal scams that re-emerge each year. For example, do you like to give to charities? Unfortunately, the season of giving is a peak time for taking. Fraudsters contact unsuspecting potential donors using phony names and promising that every donation will help vulnerable groups such as firefighters, veterans children or abused animals. If you don’t recognize the charity, go to to verify the information.

A popular way to give holiday gifts is to give friends, family and co-workers money gift cards. Thieves copy the card codes and then, once the card is activated, they spend the money. By the time you give your friend or co-worker the card, the money is gone. The best way to avoid this is to purchase gift cards only from a store cashier, customer service counter or website, rather than from unattended display racks. Make sure the cashier scans and activates the card in your presence and that you get a receipt in case there’s a problem.

We can all be fraud fighters and avoid these and other scams. Scammers will stop at nothing to separate you from your hard-earned money, but if you are aware of the common scams, you can avoid being a victim. Go to for more information and to sign up for free fraud alerts. Let your local law enforcement know if you suspect foul play. Let’s work together to fight fraud in Maine.

Joe DeFilipp

AARP Maine Fraud Fighter


Roadside assistance

Road conditions on the late afternoon of Dec. 16 were very dark as I was driving from Bangor to my home in Corinth. The road was getting a little icy and there was poor visibility so I drove slowly. I was almost in Corinth and suddenly saw the lights of a State Police car in my mirror. He had been notified of a driver seeming to have a problem.

His name is Trooper Jarod Stedman. He was very nice and was concerned about my well being. He saw my headlights were dirty and took some snow and tried to clean them for me and then called some friends of mine to drive me home. This officer is a credit to the Maine State Police and I want to thank him.

Louisa F. Wadleigh-Pomeroy


Interrogation heroes

In a Dec. 18 letter, a reader resorted to name-calling (goofball) two Americans who hopefully history will record as heroes in service to this country. The reader was referring to the CIA administering enhanced interrogation. These people served, as surely as many member of our armed services, to protect this country in the terrible period following 9/11.

The unfortunate release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report by politically motivated progressives now endangers these people and their families.

I worked with fellow service members at the National Security Agency. Their training included being waterboarded. Many of John McCain’s fellow POW’s understand why these techniques were used.

Please don’t rely completely on the liberal media for information. Progressives are not dealing realistically with the threat of radical Islam. Stand for a moment, center right, and at least try to balance your view on this issue.

Thomas Copeland


Protect children

I’m relieved that a new bill has stopped the Riker’s Island practice of putting 16- and 17-year-old children in solitary confinement. I’m disappointed that the correctional officers union fought so hard against the bill.

Jim Alciere

East Machias