DEAR SUN SPOTS: In the past month or so, I have gotten three phone calls from people who say they are from the U.S. Census Bureau. They ask questions about our vacation home. The first time I answered questions until they started to feel like invasive, “none-of-your-business” kinds of questions. The second time I hung up, and the third time I did not answer but the person left a message. My question is, is this a scam? I don’t want to get into trouble with the government, but I also don’t want to get scammed. What should I do? — No name, no town.

ANSWER: You are right to be cautious. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s website, if you suspect “phishing” or other scams, you should contact your state’s regional office for verification and further instructions. The regional office for the state of Maine is in New York. Their toll free number is 1-800-991-2520 and their email is [email protected] You can be certain that the Census Bureau will never ask for: your full Social Security number, money or donations, anything on behalf of a political party, your full bank or credit card account numbers or your mother’s maiden name. Again, if you have any suspicions, do not hesitate to call and verify that you have been speaking to a Census Bureau employee.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Boy Scout Troop 121 in Auburn will be having a yard sale and bottle drive on Saturday, September 24, 2016. The yard sale will take place at the United Methodist Church on Park Ave 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bottles can be dropped off at the church during the yard sale.

Troop 121 was created to help give youth with special physical, mental and emotional challenges the opportunity for success in a safe Scouting environment that builds character, encourages citizenship, teaches life skills and develops personal fitness.

If you have any items to donate or bottles to be picked up please call Don Malpass at (207) 783-0790. — Don Malpass, Auburn.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I am inquiring as to whether there will be another medicine disposal opportunity for local citizens; I believe last fall one was held at Farwell School in Lewiston. If not, would you know where medicines can be safely disposed of? — No Name, Lewiston.

ANSWER: Healthy Androscoggin’s medicine take-back day is Saturday, October 22, 2016 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Farwell Elementary School in Lewiston and at Bedard Pharmacy on Minot Ave. in Auburn.

If you have expired or unwanted medications, which includes: prescriptions, vitamins, veterinary medications, homeopathic treatments or over the counter medicines, you can bring them to either of these locations for safe disposal. They cannot accept: needles, syringes, electronic equipment, inhalers or anything containing mercury.

According to their website, Healthy Androscoggin has permanent medicine drop-off boxes for: Lisbon, Sabattus, Greene, Mechanic Falls, Auburn and Turner. They are administered by the police departments in the respective towns and are available all year long during the open business hours of the offices or departments in which they are located. Please contact your local police department or town office for more details on hours of availability.

Use the QR code to go to Sun Spots online for additional information and links. This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can be emailed to [email protected], tweeted @SJ_SunSpots or posted on the Sun Spots Facebook page at facebook.com/SunJournalSunSpots. This column can also be read online at sunjournal.com/sunspots. We’ve joined Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/sj_sunspots.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.