As always, scammers are out in full force, looking for ways to get their hands on some of your hard-earned cash. Before you trust someone with your tax information, stop and ask yourself whether or not it’s too good to be true.
Here are three tax scams to watch out for:
#1. Identity Thieves
Indiana consumers filing their taxes this year should take precautions to protect themselves from identity thieves who can steal their information and file a tax return in their name.
Last year, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office received nearly 70 complaints regarding tax-refund fraud. In most cases, thieves used a legitimate taxpayer’s personal information to file a tax return and the victim was unaware until they were notified by the IRS.
If you receive an unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS that contains a request for personal information, do not respond. Remember the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information.
#2. “Special” Grants and Credits
There are some scammers who insist that you can claim “special” grants, credits, or exceptions due to certain characteristics, such as race or religion and for a small fee can guide you through this process.
The folks that promote these schemes have been posting flyers and advertisements claiming that free money is available from the IRS.
No matter what anybody tells you, tax credits, refunds and rebates are based on a set of tax-related criteria. You don’t get “Extra Refunds” on your tax return for being cute or tall, or because you listen to country music!
Despite the fact that deep down we all know that you can’t get something for nothing.
#3. Shady Tax Preparers
Scammers pose as tax professionals, promising that they can help you claim these special tax privileges. In reality, after showing you how much you could get back, they ask for a fee, and then disappear — leaving you with a tax audit possibility.
There are no special tax treatments for race, ethnicity, religion, or other characteristics. Be wary of anyone who claims that you can get special tax grants or credits in this manner.
Trust your gut. If you don’t feel comfortable, walk away. A real tax professional won’t be insulted if you do – and a bogus one doesn’t deserve your business.
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Mark J. Becker, Chief of Police, today announced the following information:
The East Chicago Police Department is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the department’s “Citizen’s Academy’, which will be held on Thursday evenings from April 24 to May 29th. The evening sessions will run from 6:30pm – 8:30pm and will culminate with a graduation dinner on June 8th
The Citizen’s Academy is designed to provide citizens with an intimate look into the workings of the department and the law enforcement profession in general. The presentations will provide all with a better understanding as to the day to day operations of the department and the challenges it faces, all of which can be better addressed by partnering with the community
Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, live or work in East Chicago, be able to pass a limited background inquiry and have no felony convictions
The Academy will address many topics, to include –
- Police Administration
- Community Policing
- Detective Bureau Investigations
- Crime Scene Investigation
- “Ride Alongs”
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The left lane of westbound I-80/94 is closed near I-65 due to a crash. Expect delays as you travel westbound on I-80/94 near mile marker 11.2. The crash is backing up onto northbound I-65 traffic. A number of traffic tipsters are reporting that all northbound lanes of I-65 are backing up from before 61st Avenue all the way to the Borman.
Northbound I-65 backed up from 61st Avenue to I-80/94 due to a crash that has the left lane closed westbound Borman just west of I-65.
(photo from INDOT traffic cams)
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(Lt. Gov Ellspermann, Sentor Rogers, & Mayor Freeman-Wilson)
(Lt. Gov Ellspermann, Rep Smith, & Mayor Freeman-Wilson)
(Photos Courtesy of the City of Gary)
In Gary, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson gave Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann and Indiana Economic Development Corporation Chairman Eric Doden a tour of the city. Mayor Freeman-Wilson says, “Their presence here is further evidence of the new administration's willingness to work with us, and I am honored to have them visit our great city...we look forward to them returning to Northwest Indiana and assisting us with advancing our economic development projects.” Tour stops included the Gary Area Career Center, New Tech High School, University and Marquette Parks.
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"I strongly oppose any North Korean actions taken to disrupt peace on the Korean Peninsula. The North Korean government's escalating threats are deeply concerning, and as a member of the Armed Services Committee, I am following developments on the peninsula closely. The United States will take all action necessary to defend our own nation and our allies, including the Republic of Korea, in the case of attack and I support all measures to preserve peace on the peninsula."
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A 29 year old Gary man is dead after a fatal crash in Lake Station earlier this morning. Lake Station Police report it appears the Gary man's vehicle struck the rear of a flatbed truck, driven by a 56 year old Hobart man, that was stopped at a traffic light in the inner eastbound lane at the intersection of Central Avenue and Grand Boulevard, sometime around 2am. Police say the Gary man was transported to St. Mary Medical Center for treatment, and was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. An autopsy was scheduled for earlier today, and an investigation is ongoing pending the results of the toxicology report.
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More info from Congressman Visclosky's office: Merrillville, IN – Congressman Visclosky announced that a full slate of Northwest Indiana employers would attend his Jobs and Opportunity Fair to be held on Saturday, March 9, 2013 in the Indiana Hall of the Genesis Center in Gary from 1 PM to 4 PM.
The Valparaiso-based Center of Workforce Innovations will attend the event and host a booth to help Northwest Indiana job seekers fine-tune their resumes. The Center announced that it would also host a table with resources for small businesses.
In addition to businesses from across Northwest Indiana, the Visclosky Jobs and Opportunity Fair will host various apprenticeship programs in the trades that will help local residents build lasting careers. “Apprenticeship programs give workers the skills they need to have a career earning a livable wage,” Northwest Indiana Building and Construction Trades Business Manager Randy Palmateer said.
Mary Lynn Gargas-South, Director of Human Resources for ArcelorMittal USA, explained that the fair would be useful for employers and job applicants alike: “We are pleased to be part of Congressman Visclosky’s Jobs and Opportunity Fair,” Gargas-South said. “We look forward to meeting individuals that are interested in our hourly craft and operations positions as well as salaried supervisors, providing excellent wages, benefits, and career opportunities. Our ideal candidates should not only have the skills required to qualify, but also possess a strong work ethic and important skills including teamwork, independent thinking, problem solving, and the desire to succeed.”
“The Jobs and Opportunity Fair will give Northwest Indiana residents the opportunity to connect with a variety of employers throughout the region, as well as polish their job-seeking skills. I encourage all Northwest Indiana residents seeking job opportunities or stronger job-searching skills to attend,” Congressman Visclosky said.
Employers Attending the Visclosky Jobs and Opportunity Fair
Lake County Electrical Training Center
DeVry University and Keller Graduate School of Management
Operating Engineers Local 150 Apprenticeship
Korellis Roofing, Inc.
Indiana Beverage, Inc.
Porter-Starke Services, Inc.
Heat and Frost Insulators Local 17 J.A.T.C.
Horseshoe Casino Hammond
IU Health – La Porte Hospital
Edgewater Systems for Balanced Living
Purdue University North Central
Calumet College of St. Joseph
Valparaiso University Graduate School
Iron Workers Local 395 J.A.T.C.
Gary/Chicago International Airport
Indiana Wesleyan University
Finishing Trades Institute of District Council 91/IUPAT
BP Whiting Refinery
Great Lakes Electrical Maintenance, Inc.
Pipefitters Local 597 Apprenticeship
Roofers Local 26 J.A.T.C.
B.A.C. Local 4 IN/KY Apprenticeship
Canadian National Railroad
Primerica Financial Services
Canadian National Railway Company
Center of Workforce Innovations (Small Business and Resume Resources)
The Art Institutes of Illinois
Groundbreaking ceremonies were held last February 2012 at Methodist Hospitals Southlake Campus for the new eight-million dollar emergency department. Hospital officials say the number of rooms have nearly doubled, from twelve rooms in the ER department to 23.
Starting tonight you can expect to encounter sobriety checkpoints during the late evening hours around the Region as part of a safety blitz that covers St. Patrick's Day. In Lake County:, Hammond and Merrillville Police, along with the Lake County Traffic Safety Partnership, will focus on aggressive and impaired drivers using roving patrols, and will be conducting sobriety checkpoints, as part of “Operation Pull-Over Blitz” that begins today [March 8th ] and runs through March 24th. Indiana State Police Lowell Post, in conjunction with the Northern Porter County Traffic Safety Partnership, and Portage Police, will be conduct checkpoints in Porter County. The LaPorte County DUI Task Force has announced a sobriety checkpoint this Saturday night.
The Lake County Traffic Safety Partnership includes Cedar Lake PD, Crown Point PD, Dyer PD, East Chicago PD, Griffith PD, Highland PD, Hobart PD, Lowell PD, Munster PD, New Chicago PD, Schererville PD, and St. John PD.
More from the Indiana Attorney General's office: With school safety under a spotlight nationwide since the Newtown, Connecticut, tragedy, the first session of Thursday'’s Criminal and Civil Justice Summit focused on school resource officer (SRO) programs where specially trained law enforcement officers are stationed at schools to protect students and teachers. One of this morning’s speakers was Mo Canady, executive director of the National School Resource Officer Association (NASRO), who addressed the role of police in school safety policies. The approaches taken in Indiana schools were discussed by Carmel police officer D.J. Schoeff who is SRO for Carmel Middle School, and Fort Wayne police officer Chris Crapser who is SRO in the Fort Wayne Community Schools.
Last fall, prior to the Newtown tragedy, the Attorney General’s Office conducted a needs assessment study where Indiana educators and law enforcement indicated they would like to make more school resource officers available in their schools but funding is an obstacle.Zoeller reiterated his support for a bill now moving through the Legislature, Senate Bill 1, that would define school resource officers in law and provide state matching grants to help schools create or expand SRO positions through local control and decision-making. He invited the three SRO experts to speak at today’s summit, whose theme was “Keeping Hoosier Children From Harm.”
“The increase in the dangers that are present to our children require the State of Indiana to do more to meet our obligations to the most vulnerable in our society. This justice summit brings together the three branches of state government, local school administrators, members of law enforcement and others who serve and protect the children of our state to find ways to work together collaboratively in a common effort,” Zoeller said.
As the lawyer for state government, Zoeller has organized two previous Criminal and Civil Justice Summits, or free legal seminars, to facilitate discussion among attorneys, judges, prosecutors, legislators, policymakers and the public on subjects facing the judicial system. Past summit topics included the impact of the mortgage foreclosure crisis on homeowners, and disparities between counties in seeking the death penalty due to costs that resulted in fairness concerns.
Other session topics and speakers in Thursday'’s Criminal and Civil Justice Summit include:
Juvenile Detention Reform. Under the leadership of Judge Marilyn Moores of Marion Superior Court Juvenile Division, Marion County became a site for the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Judge Moores led efforts to enact system-wide reforms to reduce the number of juvenile detainees while maintaining public safety. Judge Moores today led a panel discussion on approaches to juvenile detention reform.
Child Victims of Human Trafficking. Indiana’s anti-human-trafficking task force, IPATH, and the Attorney General’s Office have worked to raise awareness about children becoming victims of human trafficking and prostitution due to criminals who support the commercial sex industry. Because of concerns about human trafficking associated with large sporting events, Indiana in 2012 passed a new trafficking law prior to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis. At today’s summit, attendees heard from Deputy Attorney General Abigail Kuzma, chief counsel of the Consumer Protection Division, and Marion County Deputy Prosecutor Mary Hutchison, who handles human trafficking investigations and prosecutions.
Investigating and Prosecuting Internet Sex Offenders. Law enforcement has found that sex offenders who prey upon children typically use the Internet to lure their victims. The Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, or ICAC, is a local, state and federal partnership that works to combat online predators. Steven DeBrota, Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, discussed his work prosecuting such cases.
Thursday’s four summit topics were among the list of priorities Attorney General Zoeller announced in 2012 as part of his second-term agenda.
The school resource officer legislation, Senate Bill 1, recommended by the Attorney General and authored by State Senator Pete Miller, R-Avon, passed 43-7 in the full Indiana Senate on Feb. 25 and has advanced to the Indiana House. If passed into law, SB 1 would do the following:
· Update the statute to legally define school resource officers as being law enforcement officers who have at least 40 additional hours of certified SRO training. Such officers could be employed directly by schools or work for law enforcement agencies and be assigned to schools under an agreement.
· Create a Secured School Fund from which schools could apply for two-year matching grants of up to $50,000 each, to use to 1) employ a school resource officer, 2) conduct a threat assessment of school buildings, or 3) purchase equipment and technology to restrict access to school property or expedite notification of first responders.
· Set up a five-member board that includes the Attorney General that would review grant applications and award funding to qualifying proposals.
The Indiana General Assembly is considering Senate Bill 1 even as the White House recently announced a proposal for a $150 million federal grant program to fund 1,000 resource officers and school counselors nationwide in the aftermath of the Newtown tragedy. Zoeller said the Attorney General’s Office will closely monitor whatever federal grant program might emerge, and he will work closely with the Department of Education, the Legislature and other state agencies to make schools aware of any federal funding opportunities that could complement state grants.
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- Hounds About Town Fundraiser for Porter Co Animal Shelter
- Lawsuit Accuses Indiana BMV of Overcharging Residents
- Bulletproof Vest Pgm Reauthorization Introduced
- Additional Bank Robbery Charges Filed
- Update: Burned Business Finds Bride in Alaska
- Another Step for Schererville's Shops on Main
- New Gambling Plan Proposed
- Gary Legislative Phone Updates Continue
- Gary Man Accused of Buying Child for Porn
- Lake Coroner Thanks Public for Help
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