Internet and cell phone apps have added a whole new dimension of convenience to our lives. We can do our banking, pay bills or report claims right from our phones or laptops. But with this convenience has also come a deal of confusion created by private sites that "appear" to be genuine government sites and the goal of which is to make money from unsuspecting users.
It has been brought to our attention that there are now several sites "competing" with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) on Google. In the interest of helping our customers avoid confusion, let's take a look at these online services and what to look for in the legitimate site.
Where to Go
The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is a division of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MA DOT). In an effort to relieve long lines at Registry offices and provide more convenient service to Massachusetts citizens, the RMV has been offering some services online for over a decade. On a regular basis, they have been adding more online services. Today, the RMV is offering 30+ options online.
The most recent version of the RMV site is a secure portal entitled "MyRMV". (Link to MyRMV portal). It will bring you to this sign in screen (above) that will let you access your records to make changes, do renewals, apply for new registrations, pay fines and more.
If you have bookmarked the OLD site (www.massrmv.com), PLEASE remove it from your devices and replace it with the MyRMV site! The old one doesn't bring you anywhere anymore.
There is also another Massachusetts state government site(https://www.mass.gov/orgs/massachusetts-registry-of-motor-vehicles) that provides information on RMV services and the customer portal. However, it will transfer you to the portal once you choose the service you want.
The Private Sites
If your Google search brings you to one of these two sites (massachusetts.com or rmv.org) you have not reached the Massachusetts RMV. Their goal is to sell you something or collect a fee from you. You will note the disclaimer at the top of the page. They may look "official" but they are not.
Want an automated way to pay tolls?
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is the agency that offers the EZDriveMA all electronic tolling program. Most people have seen cars and trucks cruising through the toll booths on the MassPike or toll bridges and tunnels. Many people don't look into this program because they don't commute to work on these roads and don't think getting a transponder is worth their while.
However, most people don't know that the Mass DOT offers 4 options for automated toll paying.
- EZDrive MA- a transponder-based pre-paid account option that offers toll discounts for use.
- E-ZPass- A pre-paid transponder-based system issued by a toll agency from another state but still valid in Massachusetts.
- Pay-by-Plate MA Registered- A license plate-based pre-paid account option you can sign up for online.
- Pay-by-Plate MA Invoice is a license plate-based system that will bill you for use once you sign up online.
The Pay-by-Plate options eliminate the need for a transponder and are a good options for people who are not regular commuters on the state's toll roads or who do not do a lot of out-of-state toll road travel.
When it comes to insuring your family's home, vehicles, possessions and lifestyle, we take our responsibility to keep you properly protected very seriously. The trust you placed in us when you chose the Keefe Insurance Agency means you count on us to keep you informed of things you can do to avoid potential claims.
We are always available during business hours to answer your questions or address your concerns. Stop by or call us at 508-528-3310 or toll-free at 888-528-3310. There is also additional information available 24/7 on our web site for your convenience.
Bob Keras & Peter Brunelli
Keefe Insurance Agency
Bonus! Did You Know?
When is National Fire Prevention Week?
This year's program runs from Sunday October 7 to Saturday October 13th. This public educational program was begun by the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) in 1922. This year's theme is "Look. Listen Learn". If you have children at home, this is a great opportunity to go the nfpa website and go over important information and precautions that may save someone's life.
A REMINDER: You are urged by the nfpa to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors when you set your clocks back.
Is it too late to sign up for flood insurance?
If your concern is this hurricane season and the potential for another Florence, you need to be aware that there is a 60 day waiting period for the insurance to take effect. Hurricane season officially ends in November. However, it is never too early nor too late to inquire about flood insurance! Remember that springtime flooding is also a problem in our area. Who knows how much snow and ice will get dumped on New England this year. Call us for more information and a quote.
We have a two story house with the bedrooms upstairs. What can my family do to prepare to survive a fire?
It is very important to have a fire escape plan and to rehearse it, especially with your children. Make sure you have a meet-up spot so you can assure that everyone is out of the house. Purchase the window decals that tell firemen where children and pets sleeps. Install battery operated, motion sensor activated night lights in your stairwells. Home fire escape ladders are also available at your hardware store or online. Store them in the vicinity of escape designated windows. Show all family members where the ladders are and how to attach them to the window frame.
How often should I have my chimney cleaned? And do these chimney cleaning logs advertised work?
If you use a wood stove/fireplace or wood pellet stove it is a good idea to have your chimney cleaned professionally once a year to remove creosote build-up. The so-called "logs" are a supplement but not a substitute for professional cleaning. Contact our office for a referral to reliable chimney cleaning pros in our area. Also, burning seasoned wood as opposed to "green" wood also helps keep the creosote build-up down, which is a major cause of chimney fires. It is worth the extra cost to get the seasoned wood whenever possible.
Are using space heaters a safe option for supplemental heat?
Yes they can be with proper use and precautions. Space heaters require three feet of clear space all around them. Do not allow any flammable materials (paper, curtains, upholstered furniture, throw blankets, etc.) to be within the clear zone.
Also look for the seal of the Underwriter's Laboratory that shows the model has been tested and approved. Models that automatically turn off if they are tipped over are also preferable. And finally, don't leave the house or fall asleep leaving a space heater going. Too many accident can happen, especially if you have house pets that roam free in the house.
What is the best way to deal with a grease fire on the stove?
You want to smother the flames. If the fire is in a pan or pot, smother it by putting a right fitting lid on the pan to deprive the fire of oxygen. It is also always a good idea to have a portable fire extinguisher in close proximity to your stoves (cooking or wood). These inexpensive extinguishers are only good for so long. So check yours for an expiration date. Too many people panic and pour water on a grease fire, which only spreads the flames. OR try to beat it out with a dish towel. Both are bad ideas!
I'm concerned about a fire in my clothes dryer. What can I do to make it safer?
Most important is make sure your lint filter is cleaned with every use. And if there is a way to get the inside of the dryer and vacuum out any stray lint, you want to do that occasionally. Also, make sure that your outside vent is kept clear of snow and ice during the winter.
I'm concerned about my pets in the winter. What can I do to protect them?
Dogs and cats are both susceptible to hypothermia. But they still need to be exercised. However, don't leave them outside for an extended period of time without an adequate shelter to get out of the wind and off the snow covered ground. Ice melt chemicals can also burn dog and cat paws. And if the dog licks their paws, they'll also ingest the chemicals. Look for pet-safe ice melts at your hardware store. And rinse their paws when you return from walks. Also extra water and food can help your pets to keep their bodies warm when they do go outside.