News Briefs
November 15, 2019
link to facebook link to twitter
More Stories
Bank imposter scam Move over It’s the law Volunteer’s corner News Briefs News Briefs Deadline to file a claim is November 15, 2019 Friday drawings Discharged hazardous waste in K section Major League Baseball Players Alumni Assoc. for youth baseball clinic cancelled Fundraiser for Divine Nov. 4 Californians drink during lunch News Briefs Volunteers Public education on pedestrian traffic laws News Briefs Helicopters to patrol electric lines News Briefs Second closure of Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Free parking for retired, active military for Veterans Day weekend News Briefs August 10 6th St. Playhouse to audition dogs for Sandy in Annie A. G. Becerra protecting women’s access to birth control Bauman shares tips for allergies Work from home scams News Briefs August 3 News Briefs Oct. 5 Local news briefs Groundwater fee under consideration So. C. Sheriff’s office releases personnel records Estafas sobre trabajar desde casa News Briefs August 31 Santa Rosa man receives life sentence in RP burglary March is Try Transit Month Safe medicine disposal program Call on Newsom to help struggling homeowners Sutter breaks ground on expansion News Briefs Work from home scams Trying to steal truck News Briefs Lawsuit challenges California’s use of GPS tracking devices on hunting dogs News Briefs A transfer of firearms in California Arrests made at checkpoints RP Public Safety participates in “Operation Clear Track” News Briefs August 24 E. Jones best company Thompson urging to submit artwork Summer lunch is back for Sonoma County children Elliot speaks at hobby conference Volunteer's Corner Legislation helps people with disabilities move back home Train as a coach to help older adults prevent falls Californians traveling get fully vaccinated for measles Sonoma County Airport expands options with Uber access Night of darkness News Briefs September 7 On line dating scams Four grant programs open for applications News Briefs Fake check scams PG&E expanding weather station and high def camera network Slow down and celebrate responsibly Work at gift shop Law enforcement agencies to join SMART in promoting rail safety News Briefs, Volunteer's September 7 SweetPea needs volunteers Raley’s agrees to settlement Summit promotion Cotati spring curbside cleanup June is Elder Abuse Awareness month PG&E encourages customers to update their contact information Festival needs volunteers USCIS welcomes more than 34,300 new citizens 17 new laws took effect on Jan. 1 Winter weather, illness drastically impacting blood supply USCIS gives free training on how to apply for citizenship Recruiters needed Sobriety and driver’s license checkpoint Save the date for pancakes Marketing and outreach Lead lessons on nature Caltrans urges trucks to secure loads Governor Newsom commended on wildfire safety measures Rental assistance programs remain on track despite Government shutdown Sonoma State ranked as one of the best colleges for transfer students Kidnapping scam alert Help survivors Upcoming traffic alert Grant scams Become a volunteer for the Village Network Leadership opportunity County voter information in mail soon Homelessness is on the rise among the elderly Sonoma County Rental Assistance Programs continue Brush pile burning at Shiloh Ranch Regional Park Industrial work death in RP Sen. Dodd introduces wildfire vegetation management plan Wanted felon arrested Connect with new friends Volunteer with Verity! Small scale cyber attacks New 2019 firearms laws The fight moves to protect transgender serving in the military Caltrans offers safety tips for winter driving Laguna Wastewater Treatment Plant impacted by flooding CTE Foundation support workforce pipeline Sonoma County permit office relocates Advocate for foster children Free bookmobile out of commission Public safety power shutoff Are you prepared? Be alert and aware during Watch Out for Wildlife Week Reversal drugs to combat opioid crisis Wildlife Rescue relies on interns DA Ravitch issues notice: Looters and price gougers will be prosecuted Obesity in Sonoma County Aging concerns? Call (707) 565-INFO Become a CASA volunteer Isaacs-Bennett graduates from basic military training Back-to-school prevention education guide New backpacks, laptops and tablets “Score!” Benefit Bingo and Pasta Feed The first soccer world cup SMART recommended to receive for $12.6 million grant Wine Entrepreneurship Program now accepting applications Be aware of lewd conduct at Petaluma Shopping Center Dodd promotes free tax assistance Educate yourself on signs of abuse CPI hosts summer group Driver arrested for DUI after hitting parked car CDPH warns not to eat La Zagala Tamarin flavor candy Scammers claiming to be “Captain Darin Dougherty” from the sheriff’s office Share your thoughts Stone to retire Art show features local artists The inability of students to afford food Tech support refund scam Grieving for whales Children’s pasta dinner Social sustainability, wine tech and legal experts joins business faculty It is creek week Newsom signs “Smog Check for Trucks” legislation into law Gold Ridge will not be corp. yard $20,000 donated to wine industry at SSU Vehicle fire near Tech Middle School Model trains at Children’s Museum Lend a hand at annual festival Help people with dementia Meals on Wheels needs more drivers USCIS guidance on discretionary employment for parolees Former Walmart employee arrested for thefts from store Deputy arrests intoxicated RP driver on drugs, weapons charges SMART will add a late-night run Cleaner community spaces News Briefs Distribute leftover meals Help with fundraiser ride Those prohibited from possessing firearms So. Co. Economic Assistance to close in-person client services Summer Nature Journals California Proposition 63 Ammo background checks law A bilingual wish granter needed Tutor, mentor students Reporting requirements for new California residents Summer breakfast and lunch is served at the RP Club Want to be a board member? Free legal clinic open Medicare fraud 101 Contractor or handyman help Mother-son pimping and pandering duo sentenced June 30 deadline to take county older adult services survey Data entry assistants needed Mental health support available for all News briefs Free Medicare device scam Cal OES selects vendors to modernize state 9-1-1 system Family emergency scam Garden and front desk help NAMI sets dates for classes Several drug companies pay out $70 million to Ca. Do me a favor scam Cotati City Council votes to eliminate synthetic pesticides and herbicides Maintenance program improves water quality, provides flood protection So. Co. Housing Authority opens new housing choice voucher lottery wait list Sen. Dodd’s college student food insecurity bill signed by Gov. News briefs Help with chores Learn different trades and opportunities “Nail ‘em” app to report illegal fireworks Citizenship and assimilation grant opportunities Governor’s actions will save the lives of first responders Answer calls News Briefs DNA testing scams Youth homelessness increased Judgment barring citizenship question Volunteer to drive and save lives Funeral fraud Learn how to be a foster parent Are you looking for a way to give back? Check up on seniors 16-Bed Psychiatric Health Facility planned for Sonoma County Teach third graders how to read State parks looking for volunteers CDPH and CDFA encourages safe practices around animals Help needed at fundraiser Volunteer at hospital gift shop DNC to meet in San Francisco News briefs Pitch in at open house

Tax tips for consumers

April 5, 2019

Ahead of the April 15 deadline to file income tax returns, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced tips to encourage safe tax filing and preparation, and prevent tax-related identity theft. Each year, millions of California taxpayers file their taxes and many look forward to receiving tax refunds. Unfortunately, tax season also draws scam artists who prey on individuals who may need help with filing their taxes. This alert explains some of the most common tax season scams and provides Californians with resources to find reputable tax help.

“During tax season, hardworking Californians are more vulnerable to identity theft and other scams,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Our website offers consumers a wealth of information to help make filing taxes a little easier and safer. I encourage consumers to take the time to review these and other tips and the resources available on our site at www.oag.ca.gov.”

Tax fraud scams

Tax-related scams take on various forms and show up every year, especially around tax season. The most common tax-related scams include:

Fake IRS phone calls demanding money — Scammers call consumers claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) and demand the consumer pay them money. The scammers will often use harassment and high-pressure tactics, threatening the consumer with arrest, deportation, or the loss of the consumer’s driver license if they do not receive payment, often by money wire or prepaid debit cards. The scammer may even know information such as the consumer’s social security number or fake the caller ID to make it appear as though the call is coming from the IRS, FTB, police, or the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Fake IRS Emails — Scammers send out “phishing” emails that look like they are from the IRS or FTB and claim that consumers either owe money or are due a refund. They will include links to official-looking web sites and ask for money or personal information that will allow the scammers to steal the taxpayers’ identities. 

Stolen Refunds — Identity thieves use stolen personal information to file false tax returns under someone else’s name to steal refunds. Scammers usually file early in the tax season and consumers may not learn about the theft until they try to file their taxes.

 How to Protect Yourself from Tax Fraud Scams

Attorney General Becerra offers many tips for consumers to protect themselves from tax fraud scams including:

Hang up the phone! — While in some cases the IRS or FTB may call a person who owes taxes, they only do so after they have tried to contact the consumer by mail. They do not threaten jail time or seek payment over the phone or through a wire transfer. Consumers should not make any payments, and contact the agency directly by looking up their information online.  Calls impersonating the IRS should be reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). Those impersonating the FTB should be reported here.

Do NOT open the email — Never open an email or text message that says it is from the IRS or the FTB. The IRS and FTB will not use email, text message, or social media as the first way of getting in touch to request personal or financial information or to send notice regarding audits or refunds. Replying to the email, opening attachments, or clicking on links may enable scammers to collect personal information or infect a computer with viruses or another malware. Phishing emails should be reported to phishing@irs.gov.

Use a strong password — When preparing a tax return for electronic filing, consumers should use a unique strong password for each online filing account. A strong password is eight or more characters, including letters, numbers, and symbols. 

Think beyond the password — For greater security, consumers can request an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) for e-filing with the IRS. A new PIN is provided each year by the IRS. 

Use two-step authentication — Consumers should check on the availability of two-step authentication to protect tax filing accounts (and other online accounts containing sensitive information, such as your email and social media accounts). Two-step authentication offers stronger protection than just a password and username. The process (also called login approval or multi-factor authentication) adds a second factor, such as a one-time use code that is sent to the consumer by email, phone, or text to access the account. 

Report Scams — Both the IRS and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration  maintain informative websites with detailed information on the latest scams. Consumers can also report suspected tax scams to the Office of the Attorney General.  To submit a complaint, visit www.oag.ca.gov/complaint or call 800-852-5225.

 Tax Preparation

Many consumers use services to prepare tax returns. Attorney General Becerra urges consumers to find out whether they qualify for free tax help, and use resources to check that their tax preparer is reputable and qualified to provide the service.

VITA —The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provides free tax help to people who make $54,000 or less annually, persons with disabilities, and people who do not understand English well. The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those over 60, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues. More information can be found on the IRS website.

Find a reputable tax preparer — In California, anyone who prepares tax returns for a fee must be either an attorney, a certified public accountant (CPA), an IRS-enrolled agent, or register with the state as a tax preparer. To confirm whether a tax preparer is registered with the IRS, check here.

Complaints against tax preparers — Complaints may be filed with the IRS here.