Archive for the ‘Press Releases’ Category

Double Insight Recalls Multicookers Due to Fire Hazard; Sold Exclusively at Walmart

CPSC Recall

Gem 65 8-in-1 Multicooker sold at Walmart from August 2017 through January 2018 for about $80.


Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled multicookers, unplug the unit and return it to Walmart to receive a free replacement.

Click image for more information


Double Insight has received 107 reports of overheating, five resulting in minor property damage. No injuries have been reported.

Sold Exclusively At:

Walmart stores nationwide and online at from August 2017 through January 2018 for about $80.

Manufacturer(s): Foshan Linshine Technology Co., Guangdong, China
Importer(s): Double Insight Inc., of Canada

Scam Alert: IRS Urges Taxpayers to Watch Out for Erroneous Refunds

Beware of Fake Calls to Return Money to a Collection Agency

News Release
IR-2018-27, Feb. 13, 2018

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers of a quickly growing scam involving erroneous tax refunds being deposited into their bank accounts. The IRS also offered a step-by-step explanation for how to return the funds and avoid being scammed.

Following up on a Security Summit alert issued Feb. 2, the IRS issued this additional warning about the new scheme after discovering more tax practitioners’ computer files have been breached. In addition, the number of potential taxpayer victims jumped from a few hundred to several thousand in just days. The IRS Criminal Investigation division continues its investigation into the scope and breadth of this scheme.

These criminals have a new twist on an old scam. After stealing client data from tax professionals and filing fraudulent tax returns, these criminals use the taxpayers’ real bank accounts for the deposit.

Thieves are then using various tactics to reclaim the refund from the taxpayers, and their versions of the scam may continue to evolve.

Different Versions of the Scam

In one version of the scam, criminals posing as debt collection agency officials acting on behalf of the IRS contacted the taxpayers to say a refund was deposited in error, and they asked the taxpayers to forward the money to their collection agency.

In another version, the taxpayer who received the erroneous refund gets an automated call with a recorded voice saying he is from the IRS and threatens the taxpayer with criminal fraud charges, an arrest warrant and a “blacklisting” of their Social Security Number. The recorded voice gives the taxpayer a case number and a telephone number to call to return the refund.

As it did last week, the IRS repeated its call for tax professionals to step up security of sensitive client tax and financial files.

The IRS urged taxpayers to follow established procedures for returning an erroneous refund to the agency. The IRS also encouraged taxpayers to discuss the issue with their financial institutions because there may be a need to close bank accounts. Taxpayers receiving erroneous refunds also should contact their tax preparers immediately.

Because this is a peak season for filing tax returns, taxpayers who file electronically may find that their tax return will reject because a return bearing their Social Security number is already on file. If that’s the case, taxpayers should follow the steps outlined in the Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft. Taxpayers unable to file electronically should mail a paper tax return along with Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, stating they were victims of a tax preparer data breach.

Here are the official ways to return an erroneous refund to the IRS.

Taxpayers who receive the refunds should follow the steps outlined by Tax Topic Number 161 – Returning an Erroneous Refund. The tax topic contains full details, including mailing addresses should there be a need to return paper checks. By law, interest may accrue on erroneous refunds.

If the erroneous refund was a direct deposit:

  1. Contact the Automated Clearing House (ACH) department of the bank/financial institution where the direct deposit was received and have them return the refund to the IRS.
  2. Call the IRS toll-free at 800-829-1040 (individual) or 800-829-4933 (business) to explain why the direct deposit is being returned.

If the erroneous refund was a paper check and hasn’t been cashed:

  1. Write “Void” in the endorsement section on the back of the check.
  2. Submit the check immediately to the appropriate IRS location listed below. The location is based on the city (possibly abbreviated) on the bottom text line in front of the words TAX REFUND on your refund check.
  3. Don’t staple, bend, or paper clip the check.
  4. Include a note stating, “Return of erroneous refund check because (and give a brief explanation of the reason for returning the refund check).”

The erroneous refund was a paper check and you have cashed it:

  • Submit a personal check, money order, etc., immediately to the appropriate IRS location listed below.

  • If you no longer have access to a copy of the check, call the IRS toll-free at 800-829-1040 (individual) or 800-829-4933 (business) (see telephone and local assistance for hours of operation) and explain to the IRS assistor that you need information to repay a cashed refund check.

  • Write on the check/money order: Payment of Erroneous Refund, the tax period for which the refund was issued, and your taxpayer identification number (social security number, employer identification number, or individual taxpayer identification number).

  • Include a brief explanation of the reason for returning the refund.

  • Repaying an erroneous refund in this manner may result in interest due the IRS.

FYI: Do Not Call Registry Data Book 2017: Maine

Click map for data

Contains new information on robocall complaints and a state-by-state complaint analysis

The Federal Trade Commission today issued the National Do Not Call Registry Data Book for Fiscal Year 2017. The FTC’s National Do Not Call Registry lets consumers choose not to receive most telemarketing calls.

Now in its ninth year of publication, the Data Book has been redesigned and contains a wealth of information about the Registry for FY 2017 (from October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017). The Data Book now provides more information on robocall complaints, new information about the types of calls consumers reported to the FTC, and includes a complete state-by-state analysis.

Complaints: 29,495 (#23 nationally, per 100K population)
Active Registrations: 1,092,143 (#4 nationally, per 100K population)

State Consumer Agency Urges Responsible Use of “Plastic” During Holiday Gift-Giving Season


35 SHS, Augusta, Maine 04333
November 20, 2017

Maine’s Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection is offering a free, updated consumer protection publication, The Downeaster Common Sense Guide: Credit Cards, Paper or Plastic in advance of the 2017 holiday shopping season. The booklet is available without charge to Maine residents by calling 1-800-332-8529.

“The Black Friday and winter 2017 holiday shopping season is nearly upon us, and Mainers, like others across the United States, are faced with many buying decisions in a relatively short five-week gift-buying period,” said Dave Leach, who handles outreach and education for the state agency and who co-authored the booklet. “This ‘Common Sense Guide to Credit Cards’ reminds consumers that while they should certainly participate in the holiday traditions of gift-giving, they should also try to avoid overspending with their credit cards, which can result in overwhelming debt in their January card statements.”

“The holiday shopping season is an exciting time for consumers and retailers,” continued Leach, “with many Maine businesses making a large percentage of their annual sales during that important shopping period between the Friday after Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Good personal economic choices made by consumers utilizing credit cards will allow those consumers to begin 2018 on a positive economic note.”

Leach explained that this Downeaster guide provides the following helpful advice on consumer shopping topics including:

· Recognizing when it makes more sense to use cash, a debit card, or even a charge card – the latter of which requires payment in full each month – rather than a credit card during the holiday season;

· How purchasing a percentage of holiday gifts with cash, checks or a debit card helps avoid high January 2018 credit card bills or low checking and savings account balances.

· How to comparison-shop for a credit card, find one with the lowest Annual Percentage Rate (APR), and switch to that lower APR card, saving interest;

· Understanding the importance of striving to pay your credit card balance off in full each month, or at least paying more than the minimum monthly payment, and resolving to retire all card balances within a several-month period;

· Understanding the consumer legal protections associated with credit card, charge card and debit card purchases, and how to deal with billing errors and theft or loss of cards;

· Helpful tips for safe on-line shopping with credit cards, and the value of using a credit card, with its inherent consumer protections, for on-line gift purchases; and

· The importance of checking credit card, charge card and bank account statements for illegal/unauthorized charges, considering the recent high profile data breaches which have occurred in the past few years.

“This publication features a balanced approach to the use credit cards, debit cards and charge cards,” Leach said. “Plastic, when used wisely, can be a useful financial tool for many people, but they can also cause serious problems for individual and families if not used responsibly. This guide can assist consumers to make careful use of bank and credit union credit, debit and charge cards.”

Online versions of the Downeaster Credit Card Guide, and all other Downeaster Common Sense financial literacy publications on topics such as Student Loans, Mortgage Loans, Auto Buying and Financing, and Elder Financial Protection, can be found at by clicking “Publications.” Copies can also be ordered by calling the Bureau at 1-800-332-8529 (toll-free in Maine) or (207) 624-8527.


The Maine Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection was established in 1975 to enforce a variety of credit-related consumer laws. The bureau licenses lenders, creditors and collectors; conducts periodic examinations of creditors to determine compliance with state laws; and responds to consumer complaints and inquiries. The Office also conducts educational seminars and provides speakers to advise consumers and creditors of their legal rights and responsibilities.

Consumers impacted by scams utilizing Western Union may now seek compensation from $586M fund

Attorney General Mills encourages fraud victims to file claims


November 13, 2017
CONTACT: Andrew Roth-Wells Telephone: (207) 626-8887

AUGUSTA – Mainers who were deceived into sending payments to scammers using Western Union’s wire transfer service between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017 may now apply for compensation from a $586 million fund administered by the Department of Justice’s Victim Asset Recovery Program. This fund is related to a multi-state settlement with Maine Attorney General Janet Mills and 49 other states, the District of Columbia, and Western Union that was first announced in January.

Mainers who reported to the Maine Office of the Attorney General that they had been the victim of a scam using Western Union will receive a claim form in the mail in the coming weeks, which will contain instructions explaining how to file a claim for compensation. If you do not receive a claim form in the mail but believe you may have an eligible claim, visit or call 1-844-319-2124.

“I ask all Mainers who have been scammed out of money and were asked to use Western Union to make these fraud-induced payments to file for reimbursement from this fund,” said Attorney General Mills. “I realize some may be embarrassed that they fell for a scam. You are not alone. Do not be embarrassed, please take this opportunity to get some of your money back. If you ever wire money, keep in mind that it’s illegal for a telemarketer to ask you to pay with a money transfer. Scammers love using money transfer services because once you send the money, it’s gone forever. So, if a telemarketer asks you to wire money, already you know they’re a crook.”

In order to receive restitution under the settlement claims forms must be mailed back to the settlement administrator by February 12, 2018. Attorney General Mills encourages consumers to reach out to the Consumer Protection Division if they have questions or concerns at , (207) 626-8849 or 1-800-436-2131.


Original story

SCAM ALERT: Senate Aging Committee Warns to Beware of Scams Targeting Veterans

Need Help? Call the Senate Aging Committee’s Toll Free Fraud Hotline:  1-855-303-9470

Washington, D.C.—Veterans Day is a day set aside to honor the sacrifices made by our nation’s veterans and their families. Yet, there are scam artists who target these men and women as potential victims and who try to capitalize on patriotism to rob all Americans of their hard-earned money.

As Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Aging Committee, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bob Casey (D-PA), have made fighting fraud against older Americans a top priority.

This Veterans Day, they are warning the public of various scams that specifically target veterans.  Some of these schemes include benefit scams, imposter scams, or charity scams that use the word “veteran” to try and trick unsuspecting donors into giving money to fraudsters.

“Veterans Day is a day to honor and thank those who served in our nation’s armed forces” said Senator Collins. “Despite our deep gratitude for their service and sacrifice, the unfortunate reality is there are criminals and scammers who will always exploit others to make a quick buck. We must keep working to ensure the public is aware of these scams, which can either target our nation’s heroes or prey on those who want to support them.”

“On Veterans Day, and every day, it is important that we honor the extraordinary sacrifice of those who put their life on the line to serve, defend and protect our country and fellow citizens,” Senator Casey said. “It is our duty to ensure that our veterans, their families and caregivers do not become victims to scam artists who seek to defraud them of their hard-earned benefits. I will continue working to stop unscrupulous people who try to profit in the name of patriotism.”

Charity scams that target people’s sense of giving and patriotism are particularly prevalent around Veterans Day.  Criminals posing as charitable organizations and claiming to benefit veterans and their families will often use the word “veteran” to try and trick unsuspecting Americans.

Donors who want to give money to a legitimate veteran’s organization this Veterans Day should make sure to look into the charity and make a direct payment rather than making a payment through a wire transfer or gift cards.

Benefit scams, or pension advances, will try to charge veterans who are seeking to claim benefits they rightfully earned through the Veterans Administration (VA).  Advisers, who are approved by the VA to help veterans file a pension or other claims, are never allowed to charge for their services.  In addition, imposter scams involve someone claiming to be from the VA seeking personal information.  If you are contacted by someone, either by phone or email, claiming to represent the VA and requesting payment for services or wanting to confirm your personal information, disregard the solicitation and contact the VA directly for assistance.

Other scams can involve phony sales or rentals on the Internet offering veterans or military discounts.  Always be suspicious of anyone requesting upfront payments via wire transfer or gift cards.

Americans who suspect fraud can contact experienced investigators at the Senate Aging Committee’s toll-free Fraud Hotline.

If you have questions or believe you are the victim of a scam, call 1-855-303-9470.


Mainers Encouraged to Document and Report Wind Storm 2017 Damage


November 3, 2017
Maine Emergency Management Agency


AUGUSTA, MAINE — As the state-wide response and recovery effort continues in Maine following a devastating wind storm that caused power outages to nearly a half million electricity customers as well as tree damage, flooding and property damage, many are asking how to report those damages.


  • Report damages to 2-1-1 Maine. This information will be used to assess damages and will be provided to the individual’s town to enable them to learn who has storm-related damages. Callers will be asked a series of questions. By reporting this damage, callers are not applying for assistance, and should continue to pursue the steps and resources below.
  • Callers should keep their documentation of the damage and cost of items damaged or spoiled as well as receipts for any repairs in a safe place (receipts, photos and other documents).
  • File a claim with homeowner’s or auto insurance.
  • Those who cannot afford to fix damage from the storm should contact their municipal General Assistance Officer for assistance that may be available under 22 M.R.S.A. � 430.
  • Check with local food pantries if you lost food.
  • Community Action Programs may be able to provide some assistance to those who meet certain income guidelines.
  • Current SNAP benefit recipients may be able to obtain a voucher to replace lost food. Contact the Office of Family Independence at 855-797-4357.
  • Individuals can also contact 2-1-1 Maine for referrals for assistance.


  • Farmers who experience losses and need assistance should contact USDA Farm Service Agency at 207-990-9140.


  • Businesses should report losses to their local Economic Development Corporation.

For additional preparedness, shelter, resource and safety information, please visit, or visit MEMA on Facebook or Twitter.

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