News for Constituents

Stop Credit and Debit Card Skimmers

Four Pennsylvania agencies are working together to capture illegal credit and debit card skimmers at gas stations and ATMs and eliminate this type of high tech fraud, according to the Department of Banking and Securities, PA State Police, the PA Department of Agriculture, and the Office of Attorney General

These agencies suggest purchasers adopt six consumer protection tips against skimming: 

  • Use gas pumps closest to or within the cashier’s line of sight.
  • Select ATMs in well-lit, secure locations, and avoid stand-alone units in store corners or other out-of-the-way locations.
  • Examine the card reader and surrounding area for anything out of the ordinary, mismatched, or loose.
  • Ensure no one is watching you enter your PIN or filming you on a cell phone.
  • Use a credit instead of debit card to avoid exposing your PIN.
  • Review bank and credit card statements frequently to watch for fraudulent activity and report unfamiliar activity immediately.

Those victimized by card skimming will find the Scam Alert Card provides a list of resources and necessary contacts with phone numbers to report the crime to the appropriate authorities. 

Top Recommendations to Thwart Package Thieves

Early bird holiday shoppers and those who regularly receive home-delivered packages are being reminded to adopt recommendations decreasing the likelihood that “Grinches” will steal your packages, according to the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP).  The recommendations are especially important for individuals who plan to be away from home for a period of time.

Law enforcement and the insurance industry recommend thwarting package thefts by:

  • Installing cameras on the outside of your home.
  • Connecting inside lights and radios to timers.
  • Asking a neighbor to return any empty trash cans to a designated spot.
  • Requesting a specific drop-off time and date.
  • Signing up for delivery notifications.
  • Designating a neighbor to pick up and keep the package safe until you return.
  • Directing package delivery to a local UPS Store.
  • Calling 911 if you see something strange and report it to the authorities.

Nearly two-thirds of Pennsylvanians have valuables delivered to their homes and eight percent reported package theft in a 2015 insurance poll cited by the PSP.  Across the country, nearly 23 million Americans have had home-delivered packages stolen.  Consult your insurance agent about coverage, including current cash value, replacement cost coverage, personal property coverage, and a floater policy.

Ten Things You Should Know About the Deer Tick

What’s smaller than a freckle and thrives after first frost?  According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH), it is a deer tick and there are ten things you should know about its potential to make you sick or even change your life. 

Autumn hikers, leaf peepers, and hunters will need to remain vigilant for acquisition of a deer tick during their ventures, regardless of first frost and the freezing temperatures of winter.  Late fall, a January thaw, or an early spring day are no match for adult stage deer ticks. 

The DOH emphasizes, a deer tick should be removed within 24 hours.  An infection can be mild and last a few days; severe with symptoms lasting several weeks; cause permanent neurological effects; or be fatal. 

Autumn’s PA Preferred Arrival

As cooler temperatures begin to yield fields full of autumn crops, Pennsylvania’s Farmer’s Markets and Roadside Stands are overflowing with PA Preferred Produce, according to the PA Department of Agriculture.  

Check the Seasonal Calendar for peak freshness, whether it’s cabbage, carrots, and cauliflower or peaches, pears, and plums, or any of the other crops that contribute to the $6.1 billion in annual cash receipts from production agriculture, making it the leading economic driver in Pennsylvania. 

Consult the interactive locator map or the most recent printable hard copy of the Pennsylvania Farm Market Guide.  It is recommended you check the market’s website, where provided, or call ahead to confirm days and hours of operation and availability of specific products.  Be sure to look for the PA Preferred logo at your grocery store and restaurants, also.  Select from a number of recipes for a new twist on your favorite PA Preferred produce. 

It’s Leaf Peeping Planning Season 

Make plans now for your 2017 Leaf Peeping Adventures with tips and regional recommendations from VisitPA and a vast array of PA Road Trips

For an early adventure, visit the northernmost region, referred to as Zone 1.  Pine Creek Gorge and the Allegheny National Forest dominate this region where the colors reach peak in early October. 

Zone 2, or the Central Zone, is home to Big Pocono State Park, Oil Heritage Region, Presque Isle State Park, Great Allegheny Passage, Three Rivers Heritage Trail, and Rothrock State Forest and will see peak color in mid-October. 

Late October brings the burst of color across the Southern Zone, or Zone 3 that includes the Gettysburg National Military Park and Washington Crossing Historic Park

Horse and Buggy Driver’s Manual Important for All Drivers

Whether leaf peeping on backroads or commuting to work, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is reminding motorists they may encounter a horse and buggy. 

Do you understand the basic rules of safety for such an encounter?  Courtesy, conduct, signage, harnesses, lighting, pedestrians, bicycles, and much more bear legal consideration when meeting a horse and buggy along the way. 

The Horse and Buggy Driver’s Manual can help you understand and anticipate the horse and buggy operator’s intentions.