Senior Monongalians has a Social Services Coordinator and
Important & Useful Links:
The open intake for LIEAP applications will begin on February 6, 2017 and will end on February 17, 2017. All applications must be received or post marked no later than February 17, 2017. Anything received later than this must be denied. This program will run until the funds have been exhausted. The application process does not require a face to face interview. For all applicants that have a PSC regulated utility for their main source of heat a utility bill is required. Applicants that heat with bulk fuels must provide verification of their bulk fuel supplier. Applicants may also apply online at www.wvinroads.org. We will send an announcement out once funds are exhausted and we decide to close the program.
Dangerous W-2 Phishing Scam Evolving; Targeting Schools, Restaurants, Hospitals, Tribal Groups and Others
WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry issued an urgent alert today to all employers that the Form W-2 email phishing scam has evolved beyond the corporate world and is spreading to other sectors, including school districts, tribal organizations and nonprofits.
In a related development, the W-2 scammers are coupling their efforts to steal employee W-2 information with an older scheme on wire transfers that is victimizing some organizations twice. “This is one of the most dangerous email phishing scams we’ve seen in a long time. It can result in the large-scale theft of sensitive data that criminals can use to commit various crimes, including filing fraudulent tax returns. We need everyone’s help to turn the tide against this scheme,’’ said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
When employers report W-2 thefts immediately to the IRS, the agency can take steps to help protect employees from tax-related identity theft. The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry, working together as the Security Summit, have enacted numerous safeguards in 2016 and 2017 to identify fraudulent returns filed through scams like this. As the Summit partners make progress, cybercriminals need more data to mimic real tax returns.
Here’s how the scam works: Cybercriminals use various spoofing techniques to disguise an email to make it appear as if it is from an organization executive. The email is sent to an employee in the payroll or human resources departments, requesting a list of all employees and their Forms W-2. This scam is sometimes referred to as business email compromise (BEC) or business email spoofing (BES).
The Security Summit partners urge all employers to be vigilant. The W-2 scam, which first appeared last year, is circulating earlier in the tax season and to a broader cross-section of organizations, including school districts, tribal casinos, chain restaurants, temporary staffing agencies, healthcare and shipping and freight. Those businesses that received the scam email last year also are reportedly receiving it again this year.
Security Summit partners warned of this scam’s reappearance last week but have seen an upswing in reports in recent days.
New Twist to W-2 Scam: Companies Also Being Asked to Wire Money
In the latest twist, the cybercriminal follows up with an “executive” email to the payroll or comptroller and asks that a wire transfer also be made to a certain account. Although not tax related, the wire transfer scam is being coupled with the W-2 scam email, and some companies have lost both employees’ W-2s and thousands of dollars due to wire transfers.
The IRS, states and tax industry urge all employers to share information with their payroll, finance and human resources employees about this W-2 and wire transfer scam. Employers should consider creating an internal policy, if one is lacking, on the distribution of employee W-2 information and conducting wire transfers.
Steps Employers Can Take If They See the W-2 Scam
Organizations receiving a W-2 scam email should forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org and place “W2 Scam” in the subject line. Organizations that receive the scams or fall victim to them should file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3,) operated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Employees whose Forms W-2 have been stolen should review the recommended actions by the Federal Trade Commission atwww.identitytheft.gov or the IRS at www.irs.gov/identitytheft. Employees should file a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, if the employee’s own tax return gets rejected because of a duplicate Social Security number or if instructed to do so by the IRS.
The W-2 scam is just one of several new variations that have appeared in the past year that focus on the large-scale thefts of sensitive tax information from tax preparers, businesses and payroll companies. Individual taxpayers also can be targets of phishing scams, but cybercriminals seem to have evolved their tactics to focus on mass data thefts.
Be Safe Online
In addition to avoiding email scams during the tax season, taxpayers and tax preparers should be leery of using search engines to find technical help with taxes or tax software. Selecting the wrong “tech support” link could lead to a loss of data or an infected computer. Also, software “tech support” will not call users randomly. This is a scam.
Taxpayers searching for a paid tax professional for tax help can use the IRSChoosing a Tax Professional lookup tool or if taxpayers need free help they can review the Free Tax Return Preparation Programs. Taxpayers searching for tax software can use Free File, which offers 12 brand-name products for free, atwww.irs.gov/freefile. Taxpayer or tax preparers looking for tech support for their software products should go directly to the provider’s web page.
Tax professionals also should beware of ongoing scams related to IRS e-Services. Thieves are trying to use IRS efforts to make e-Services more secure to send emails asking e-Services users to update their accounts. Their objective is to steal e-Services users’ credentials to access these important services.
The open enrollment period for Medicare Part D is currently ongoing. Senior Monongalians has
304-296-9812. This is a free service for older adults and their families.
SNAP basics and how to apply.
For people who get SNAP benefits, local farmer’s markets are a great place to get healthy foods and support the local economy. Plus, the market near you may even give you a little extra to spend. They are also a great place to meet new people.
Farmers markets, like FRESHFARM Markets in Arlington, VA, feature tons of vendors selling everything from meats, poultry, fruits, and vegetables to bread, handmade pasta, cheese, and more. Nearly everything at farmers markets is available for purchase with your SNAP dollars, except a few things, like fresh flowers or soap. For a complete list of what you can and cannot buy with your EBT card, check out this list of eligible SNAP items. All in all, farmers markets are a great grocery store substitute for SNAP recipients because they offer nothing but fresh, local foods and are a one-stop shop for everything you could need to fill your fridge.
When you arrive at your local farmers market, look for a market information table, and tell the person at the table that you would like to use your SNAP dollars to purchase food. The person will need to swipe your EBT card—so make sure you have it handy—and then they will give you tokens to use—one token for every SNAP dollar you want to spend. The tokens never expire—so don’t worry if you end up taking out too many—but they cannot be exchanged.
Some farmers markets, like FRESHFARM Markets, even have what’s called a Match Incentive Program, which means the farmers market will match every dollar you spend, up to a maximum amount of $10. For example, you could potentially take home $20 worth of food, but only spend $10 of your own SNAP dollars. Not every farmers market participates in the matching program, so contact a farmers market near you first to see if they offer the program. For a complete list of farmers markets, visit the National Farmers Market Directory.
One way to make the most of your grocery budget is to plan your meals before you shop. Start by making a list of everything you need. That will make sure you don’t forget to buy something and will help you get more for your SNAP dollars. You have quite a bit of freedom on how to spend your SNAP benefits at the farmer’s market and at the grocery store. Bread, cereal, fruits, veggies, meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products all can be purchased with SNAP. You can’t use SNAP for things like hot meals or alcoholic beverages, but food items like ice cream can be purchased with SNAP.
For more information and to watch a video, visit click here
On July 30, 2016, Social Security began requiring new and current my Social Security account holders to sign into their account using a one-time code sent via text message.
This second layer of security that requires more than a username and a password is known as “multifactor authentication.” Although we have always provided the “extra security” option to account holders, we implemented this new process to comply with the President’s Executive Order on Improving the Security of Consumer Financial Transactions.
We have a fundamental responsibility to protect the public’s personal information. However, multifactor authentication inconvenienced or restricted access to some of our account holders. We’re listening to the public’s concerns and are responding by temporarily rolling back this mandate.
We strive to balance security and customer service options, and we want to ensure that our online services are both easy to use and secure.
We regret any inconvenience my Social Security account holders may have experienced. We appreciate everything you do to keep the public informed about our programs and services.
Our my Social Security customers now have an extra layer of security. my Social Securityaccount holders must now use their cell phone — in addition to their username and password — as another authentication factor during online registration and every sign in. When our customers register or sign in, we send them a security code that they must enter to finish the process.
We have always offered this extra security feature, but until now it has been an optional step. This new requirement is the result of an executive order for federal agencies to provide more secure authentication for their online services. Any agency that provides online access to a customer’s personal information must use multifactor authentication. We take the security of the public’s information very seriously, and we are committed to employing the best technologies and standards available.
Our research shows that an overwhelming majority of American adults have cell phones and use them for texting. Because of technical and resource constraints, we are not currently able to offer alternative methods of satisfying this security requirement. However, we may consider adding more options in the future. We appreciate your patience as we work continuously to secure your online information.
For more information about the use of a cell phone with my Social Security, visit our Frequently Asked Questions web page.
Please help us spread the word about this important change. Social Security is securing today andwith critical benefits and technology to protect your personal information. We appreciate everything you do to keep the public informed about our programs and services.
Public Affairs Specialist
Today marks the 60th anniversary of the Social Security disability program. For 60 years, Social Security has protected workers and their families in the event of a severe disability.
Here are a few facts you may not have known about this critical social insurance program:
Visit our Faces and Facts of Disability page to learn more. Here you can also watch engaging videos and read personal stories from people who rely on this earned benefit.
To commemorate this milestone, we will be hosting a series of articles about the Social Security disability program on our blog in the coming months. We’ll hear from beneficiaries, historians, stakeholders, and disability experts as they reflect on the program’s history and importance. Social Security’s Acting Commissioner, Carolyn W. Colvin, has written the first article in the series. You can read it here.
Whether in old age, upon the death of a loved one, or in case of disability, Social Security is with you through life’s journey.
Help secure your today and . Open a my Social Security account today atwww.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
March 17, 2016
Senior Attorney, Bureau of Consumer Protection, FTC
Picture this: It’s dinner time. The kids are screaming. Then the phone rings just as you sit down. It could be important, so you run through the toys to the phone. You answer, but all you hear is silence. After a few seconds, a recorded message reminds you that it may be time to have your carpets cleaned and they offer a great deal this month. Or you’ve won a trip. Or you can lower your credit card interest rate.
Does this sound familiar? Well, you’re not alone. We hear from many people about these robocalls. If the call is a message from someone selling something, and you haven’t given your written permission to get calls from that company, the call is illegal.
In fact, the FTC has stopped many companies from engaging in this illegal conduct. For instance, we just settled a case with USA Vacation Station because it made millions of illegal robocalls to sell vacation packages. Under the settlement, the company and its owner are banned from robocalling anyone ever again.
Do robocalls bug you, too? If so, watch this video to learn more about them, and the steps you can take to help slow them down.
For more information, click here