Fighting Back Against Scams
2/2/2018
Updating the 85th District
The latest news from the State Capitol
         
Who’s That Calling You?

To help consumers fight back against fraud, the House is working on legislation that would increase penalties for those found guilty of caller identification spoofing.

Spoofing occurs when individuals use technology to make it appear that a call is coming from a number or business other than that of the actual caller. Spoofing can be used to defraud, harass or induce call recipients into divulging sensitive or confidential information, especially senior citizens.

House Bill 979, which was recently passed out of the House Judiciary Committee, would make it a misdemeanor for any person to cause false caller identification information to be displayed on a recipient’s telephone, with the intent to harass or defraud the call recipient.
                  
         
Protecting Your Personal Information from Tax Identity Thieves

According to the Federal Trade Commission, tax refund fraud is the largest and fastest-growing identity theft category. Tax identity theft occurs when someone steals a person’s personal information, often obtained through old tax returns, and uses it to file current fraudulent tax returns in someone else’s name to receive a tax refund.

Taxpayers in their 20s are at the highest risk for tax identity theft victimization; however, anyone at any age can be targeted. The best way to safeguard a person’s identity is to properly dispose of any documents that contain personal and identifying information by shredding bank and credit card statements, as well as old tax returns. In addition, individuals should use firewall and anti-virus software on devices, create strong passwords on websites, and refrain from opening emails from unknown senders.

In addition to using stolen information to get a tax refund, thieves may also use stolen Social Security numbers to get a job. If you receive a letter from the IRS saying more than one tax return was filed in your name, or IRS records show you have wages from an employer you don’t know, then you may be the victim of tax identity theft. Also, if you suspect a letter, email or telephone call about your tax records is a scam, call the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue at 717-787-8201 or the IRS at 800-829-1040.
                  
         
Fire, Ambulance Grants Boost Public Safety

Area fire companies and ambulance services were recently awarded nearly $200,000 in state grants from the Pennsylvania Office of Fire Commissioner. These grants, funded through state gaming proceeds, help first responder organizations to better afford training, equipment, facility improvements and other needs in their mission to protect public safety. The grants were awarded as follows.

In Snyder County: Bannerville Volunteer Fire Company – $11,727.52; Beaver Springs Volunteer Fire Company – $12,464.70; Beavertown Rescue Hose Company – $11,543.23 for fire operations and $7,037.40 for EMS operations; Dauntless Hook and Ladder Company – $13,017.59; Fremont Fire Department – $12,833.30; Kratzerville Volunteer Fire Company – $12,096.11; Kreamer Volunteer Fire Company – $12,649 for fire operations and $7,037.40 for EMS operations; and McClure Volunteer Fire Company – $11,727.52.

In Union County: Mifflinburg Hose Company No. 1 – $14,491.96; New Berlin Fire Company No. 1 – $12,833.30 for fire operations and $5,136.60 for EMS operations; Union County West End Ambulance and Rescue Association – $7,037.40; Union County West End Fire Company – $13,570.48; Union Township Fire Company – $13,570.48; and William Cameron Engine Company – $13,386.18 for fire operations and $7,037.40 for EMS operations.
                  
         
Report Those Pesky Potholes

PennDOT is reminding motorists they can report potholes and other roadway concerns on state roads by calling 1-800-FIX-ROAD or visiting www.penndot.gov and clicking on “Submit Roadway Feedback.”

When reporting a pothole, be as specific as possible as to pothole locations or other maintenance concerns such as deer removal or signing issues. For state routes, report the county, municipality, street name and route number, or the state route (SR) number that can be found on small black and white signs posted along state roadways. Also provide a description of any familiar landmarks that will help PennDOT locate the problem area.
                  
         
Getting Medical Test Results Faster

Patients who have medical imaging tests done would get their results faster, especially if follow-up care is needed, under legislation which passed the House recently.

House Bill 1884 would require that results which are provided to a health care practitioner after certain diagnostic imaging services are performed on a patient be sent directly to the patient or designee within 20 days if the results include a significant abnormality. The clock starts when the results are sent to the patient’s ordering physician.

The test results may be sent electronically by email or fax or added to the patient’s electronic medical record. Test results belong to the patient, and by law, are provided upon request. Providing patients with the summary of test results when an abnormality presents will enable patients to be proactive in their health care, and provide a safety net in the event of communication breakdown.

The bill now moves to the state Senate for approval.
                  
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