Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic
I will be hosting my annual Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic this Thursday from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. in Quinn Hall at the Church of the Resurrection in Brookline. American HealthCare Group will be providing free vaccinations to any senior with the Medicare Part B health insurance card. Make sure to bring your card with you. Light refreshments will be served.
Attendees can visit with Duquesne University’s Mylan School of Pharmacy at their “Ask the Pharmacist” table and have questions answered on medications and receive blood pressure screenings. Representatives from PA APPRISE will also be on hand to counsel visitors about Medicare options.
The following organizations will also be present to provide seniors with important information on available resources, services and much more: ACCESS; Allegheny County Department of Human Services, Area Agency on Aging; Allegheny County Bar Association; Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office; Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh; OASIS; the Office of the Consumer Advocate; PA Attorney General’s Office; and the PA Public Utility Commission.
College Students Beware of Scams
As the Vice Chair of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), I want to urge college students to be wary of student aid scams that could cost them money, while exposing them to identity theft. With many students feeling overwhelmed as they adjust to college life, it is no wonder that criminals try to take advantage of them with costly scams and worthless services. Thankfully, help is available – students just need to take the time to become more knowledgeable, which is the first step toward protecting themselves from becoming a victim.
The most effective way to avoid scams is to be vigilant when engaging in financial transactions or when asked to provide personal information. Common scams include:
- Tuition Scams – These involve someone claiming to work with your school’s administrative office. They call to warn that your tuition is late and you risk being dropped from class unless you pay immediately. If you are contacted about anything involving money, end the call immediately and contact the office that was mentioned to you in order to check the status of whatever problem was alleged.
- Online Book Deals – Scammers know that textbooks are a significant expense for college students. To take advantage of this, they set up a fake website that offers great deals on books that will never be delivered. Never purchase anything online without first reviewing merchant reviews and validating the site’s legitimacy. This can be done by checking with the Better Business Bureau and looking to see if they have a physical address and phone number.
- Credit Cards – While not necessarily a scam, aggressively-solicited credit cards tend to be loaded with bad terms, expensive fees and high interest rates. Some of these solicitations could even be nothing more than cleverly-disguised identity theft. If you must have a credit card, don’t respond to the ones that solicit you most aggressively. Instead, search for the best offering with the best terms, with the most borrower protections.
- Affordable Student Apartments – In this scam, someone offers an incredible apartment at a great price that they don’t actually own. They will then collect the rent and/or security deposit before disappearing. Never agree to rent an apartment without first seeing it in person, both inside and out, and meeting with the landlord. Additionally, don’t pay until you are able to stand in your new apartment with the key in your hand.
- Unnecessary Fees – Beware of anyone charging a fee in exchange for completing a FAFSA, a scholarship, debt counseling, or almost anything else. In most cases, it is either a scam or you are being charged for something that you can do for free. Whatever the situation, the higher the fee, the more suspicious you should be. When it comes to financial aid scams, the Federal Trade Commission offers these red flags to watch for:
- “The scholarship is guaranteed or your money back.”
- “You can’t get this information anywhere else.”
- “I just need your credit card or bank account number to hold this scholarship.”
- “We’ll do all the work. You just pay the processing fee.”
- “The scholarship will cost some money.”
- “You’ve been selected” by a “national foundation” to receive a scholarship – or “you’re a finalist” in a contest you never entered.
While scams have become increasingly sophisticated, most can be avoided by remembering three simple rules:
- If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Don’t part with personal information unless you’re sure where it’s going.
- The more someone needs money upfront, the more likely you are about to be scammed.
PHEAA also offers YouCanDealWithIt.com, a free online resource that helps students better manage life in college and after graduation, with helpful tips on avoiding scams, managing a budget, and repaying students loans.
If you think you have been targeted or victimized by a scam, please contact the PA Department of Banking and Securities, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or the Federal Trade Commission.
Pathways to Pardons
Next Wednesday, Oct. 4 from 6 – 8 p.m., along with Lt. Governor Mike Stack, I will be hosting a Pathways to Pardons town hall event at the Teamsters Temple Local 249, located at 4701 Butler Street in Lawrenceville.
This event is geared towards individuals who want to learn in more detail about our commonwealth’s pardoning process. Many individuals have made bad decisions in the past and have a misdemeanor or felony conviction on their record but have served their punishments, rehabilitated themselves, and as contributing members to their communities and society, are seeking a pardon. The Pathways to Pardons event will allow these individuals wishing to learn about pardons to engage with experts in attendance on the pardon process and what to expect as they seek a pardon.
In the meantime, if you are interested in the process, please click here to watch a short video that briefly explains the Pennsylvania Pardoning Process. I hope to see you next Wednesday.
The Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania is hosting a webinar to help organizations and individuals interested in applying for Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement (PHARE) funding, administered by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA).
PHARE funds have been used to leverage an additional $470 million investment in housing in Pennsylvania since 2012.
The webinar, scheduled for this Thursday, Sept. 28 at noon, will be an opportunity to hear about the details of the program as well as ask questions related to components of the RRP and application process. Online registration is available by clicking here or visiting https://housingalliancepa.org/. Bryce Maretzki, the PHFA’s Director of Strategic Planning and Policy will be the presenter.
Voter Registration Deadline is October 10
The deadline to be registered to vote in the Nov. 7 General Election is Tuesday, October 10. Anyone not registered can do so online at www.votespa.com. In addition to registering to vote, users can utilize the site to confirm registration status, update your registration, locate your polling place, or request an absentee ballot. You may also pick up paper applications in my district offices or download a paper application at www.votespa.com.
Casino Revenue Increases in August
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board announced last week that revenue from table games play in Pennsylvania increased nearly 11 percent in August compared with August 2016. Table games revenue in August totaled more than $74.2 million, an increase of 10.92 percent over last August’s table games revenue of nearly $67 million. Total tax revenue from table games play in August was nearly $12 million.
Combined with August’s slot machine revenue, total gaming revenue for the month was up by more than 2.5 percent compared with last August.
The state’s gaming industry employs over 17,000 people and generates approximately $1.4 billion annually in tax revenue from both slot machines and table games. For more information on gaming in Pennsylvania and to read reports from the Gaming Control Board, please visit them online at www.gamingcontrolboard.pa.gov.
RADical Days, the annual event sponsored by the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD), began last Friday and runs through October 15. In its 16th year, RADical Days is an initiative of RAD and its funded assets that thanks the public for the sales tax funds that support our region’s parks, libraries, sports and civic facilities, and arts and culture organizations.
Assets are not offering free admission every day. You may visit the RADical Days page
at www.radworkshere.org to view a full schedule and listing of participating venues. You may also sign up on the site to receive RADical Days text alerts. Admissions are first-come, first-served and don’t offer rain checks.
Did You Know…
Did you know that since 1994, RAD has provided nearly $1.8 billion in grants to Allegheny County's regional parks, libraries, sports and civic facilities, and arts and culture organizations?
This past Friday marked the first day of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. Astronomers base the date of the seasons upon celestial events, in autumn's case the autumnal equinox, when night and day are roughly equal length. The equinox happens when the equator passes the center of the sun. This is when the north and south poles of the Earth are not tilted towards or away from the sun, as at other times, but are aligned so as to give, theoretically, the same amount of daylight in both of the Earth's hemispheres.
Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana
| Brookline District
932 Brookline Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
Weekdays – 9 am – 5 pm
543 Main Capitol |
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Weekdays – 8:30 am – 5 pm
524 Pine Hollow Road
Weekdays – 10 am – 4 pm
| Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
|Northside (Mobile Office)
Carnegie Library |
1230 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212