The IRS, the states and the tax industry are committed to protecting you from identity theft. Working together, they have made many changes to combat identity theft and are making progress. However, cybercriminals are constantly evolving. The IRS is working hand-in-hand with your state revenue officials, your tax software provider and your tax professional, but need your help. By taking a few simple steps to protect all of your digital devices, you can better protect your personal and financial data online and at home. Please consider these steps to protect yourself from identity thieves:
Keep Your Computer and Mobile Phone Secure
• Use security software and make sure it updates automatically; essential tools include, firewall, virus/malware protection and file encryption for sensitive data
• Treat your personal information like cash, don’t leave it lying around
• Use strong, unique passwords; consider a password manager
• Use 2-Factor Authentication
• Give personal information only over encrypted websites - look for “https” addresses
• Back up your files
Avoid Phishing Scams and Malware
Identity thieves use phishing emails to trick users into giving up passwords and other information. Don’t take the bait. Look for:
• Emails that pose as trusted source, i.e. bank, tax provider;
• Emails with an urgent message, i.e. update your account now!, with instructions to open a link or attachment
• Never download software or apps from pop-up advertising
• Talk to family about online security, both with computers and mobile devices
Protect Personal Information
• Don’t routinely carry your or any dependents’ Social Security card or documents with an SSN.
• Do not overshare personal information on social media. Information about past addresses, a new car, a new home and even your children help identity thieves pose as you.
• Keep old tax returns and tax records under lock and key or encrypted if electronic. Shred tax documents before trashing.
Avoid IRS Impersonators
• The IRS will not call you with threats of jail or lawsuits.
• The IRS will not send you an unsolicited email suggesting you have a refund or that you need to update your account.
• The IRS will not request any sensitive information online. These are all scams, and they are persistent. Don’t fall for them.
• Forward IRS-related scam emails to email@example.com
• Report IRS impersonation telephone calls at www.tigta.gov.
• Check your credit report annually; check your bank and credit card statements often.
• Review your Social Security Administration records annually: Sign up for My Social Security at www.ssa.gov.
• If you are an identity theft victim and your tax account is affected, review www.irs.gov/identitytheft for details.
Summer brings warm temperatures and the potential for severe weather. Residents are reminded to take the possibility of severe weather seriously and prepare ahead of time. Here are some tips for weathering any summer storm.
KNOW SEVERE WEATHER TERMINOLOGY
• Tornado or Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Conditions are right for a serious storm or tornado to develop. Watch for danger signs and be ready to seek shelter quickly. Stay tuned to the radio or TV for National Weather Service bulletins.
• Severe Thunderstorm Warning: Severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property to those in the storm’s path.
• Tornado Warning: A tornado has been sighted or indicated by radar. Warning sirens will be sounded and you should find shelter immediately.
Bartlett is equipped with several warning sirens to notify you of a weather emergency. Sirens are tested at 10 a.m. on the first Tuesday of each month. Other than testing, the signals are sounded only if a tornado warning is issued. If you hear the siren, take cover immediately; turn on a radio or TV for more information.
As a Storm Ready Community, Bartlett reminds you that the weather sirens will NEVER be used to signal that conditions are
safe. It is up to you to decide when it is safe to leave places of shelter.
|BEFORE A STORM
• Purchase a National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA) Weather Radio with a
battery backup and tone-alert
feature. It automatically alerts you
when a watch or warning is issued.
• The National Weather Service
uses county names in its advisories,
so know the county where you
live and work.
• Check the weather forecast before
going outdoors and postpone
plans if storms are imminent.
• Keep a list of emergency phone
numbers. Teach children how and
when to call 911.
• Choose a friend or relative who
lives out of the area that separated
family members can call to report
their whereabouts and condition.
• Keep important documents and
records in a safe deposit box or
other secure location.
• Maintain a disaster supply kit.
DURING A STORM
|AFTER A STORM
• Check for injured persons and
render first aid. CPR will revive
most lightning strike victims. Do
not move anyone who is severely
injured unless absolutely necessary.
Wait for emergency assistance
• Photograph or videotape damage
• Do not make unnecessary telephone
• If driving, be alert for hazards on
• Check on neighbors or relatives
who may need special assistance.
Like domestic dogs, coyotes test their limits around humans and learn something from each exchange. Unless they associate people with negative experiences, such as loud noises, they can become comfortable walking down streets or sidewalks or near schools, basking in yards or parks, and shortening the distance between themselves and humans.
If You Encounter a Coyote
A bold coyote does not necessarily mean an aggressive coyote, but a coyote that maintains its fear of humans will be less likely to cause problems.
•If you’re on a trail that coyotes often use, carry an air horn, whistle, walking stick, cane or other deterrent.
•If you’re followed by a coyote, don’t panic. It’s likely escorting or “shadowing” you through its territory, keeping a calm eye on you to ensure you don’t bother its den.
•If a coyote approaches you, be big, loud and bold. Wave your hands above your head, or hold your jacket wide open. Shout or use a whistle or horn. Don’t turn your back or run; calmly walk away facing the coyote.
•Keep yourself between coyotes and children.
•If a coyote becomes aggressive — snaps, growls or snarls — throw sticks or clumps of dirt at the ground by its feet. Aim for its body if necessary but never its head.
How to Make Your Yard Less Attractive
Coyotes avoid people when they can, but loss of habitat makes it difficult. You can prevent problems in your yard, though, by removing two main attractants: food and shelter.
•Never feed coyotes.
•Keep pet food and water dishes inside.
•Keep grills and barbecues clean.
•If possible, keep garbage cans inside.
•Use sealed compost bins, and never add pet waste, meat, milk or eggs.
•Keep the ground below bird feeders and fruit trees clean.
•Protect vegetables with heavy-duty fences.
•Use welded wire to block access to areas under decks, sheds, patios and porches.
•Clear overgrown bushes and dense weeds.
•Use deterrents such as sirens or motion-activated lights or sprinklers.
•Install a 6-foot chain-link fence, and bury an extra 6 inches underground. Install rollers at the top so coyotes can’t pull themselves over.
•Encourage neighbors to follow these steps.
Coyotes & Pets
Survival for coyotes is difficult, and some may instinctively see domestic dogs — their close canine cousins — as competitors or threats. This can be especially true if a dog is small (smaller dogs tend to be more aggressive toward larger canines) or if a dog’s yard falls within a coyote’s territory. In some cases, a coyote may try to eliminate a perceived threat or take a smaller dog as prey.
There have been reports of coyotes chasing or attacking dogs during the day, even dogs on leashes, but these confrontations are uncommon and are often initiated by the dog and not the coyote. Still, it’s wise to take a few precautions.
•Always supervise your dog and keep it on a leash — even in a fenced backyard.
•Always keep cats indoors.
•Coyotes can be creatures of habit, so if you see one at the same time and place while walking your pet, change your route or timing.
•If you have a small dog and encounter a coyote, pick up your pet.
What You Should Never Do
•Trapping and removing an animal is not always the solution to the problem. Removing the animal is illegal without the proper permits and only creates an open space for another animal to inhabit. A trapped adult may also leave young behind to die of starvation. Focus on removing the attraction, not the animal.
•Never move young from a den.
•Never use poisons. They’re inhumane and may be illegal. They can also result in secondary poisoning of other wild animals or pets.
•It’s illegal to keep wild animals, even for a short time. They have special nutritional, housing and handling needs, and inexperienced individuals who try to raise or treat them inevitably produce unhealthy, tame animals that can’t survive in the wild.
Public Health Concerns
Coyotes are not a public health concern. "Domestic dogs bite nearly 900 people in DuPage County each year, but the county does not have one documented case of a coyote biting a human." In other parts of the country, most cases occurred after people were feeding the animals.
Coyotes may carry rabies, but there have not been any recent reports in DuPage County. Although transmissions are uncommon, they may also carry distemper, sarcoptic mange, heartworm and other canine diseases, so always keep pets’ vaccinations current.
Report aggressive behavior to IDNR, 847-608-3100. For more information visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife Resources or call Willowbrook Wildlife Center, 630-942-6200.
A resident recently emailed and suggested that since the number of bicyclists in the Village seems to be increasing, it might be a good time for a refresher on sharing the roadways. Here are some cyclist and pedestrian safety tips for drivers from www.cyberdriveillinois.com
• Drivers must yield the right-of-way to a bicyclist just as they would to another vehicle.
• Bicyclists should travel just to the right of faster moving traffic. However, drivers need to be aware that certain hazards such as rough surfaces, debris, drainage grates or a narrow traffic lane may require bike riders to move toward the center of the lane.
• Motorists must pass a cyclist slowly and leave at least three feet of passing space.
• Crowding or threatening a bicyclist is prohibited.
• A motorist should not park or drive in marked bicycle lanes.
• When following bicyclists, give them plenty of room and be prepared to stop quickly. Use extra caution during rainy and icy weather. At night do not use high beams when you see an oncoming biker.
• After parking and before opening vehicle doors, a motorist should first check for bicyclists.
• When a motorist is turning left and there is a bicyclist entering the intersection from the opposite direction, the driver should wait for the bicyclist to pass before making the turn. Also, if a motorist is sharing the left turn lane with a bicyclist, stay behind them until they have safely completed their turn.
• If a motorist is turning right and a bicyclist is approaching on the right, let the bicyclist go through the intersection first before making a right turn. Remember to always signal when turning.
A driver must come to a complete stop (and yield):
• When a pedestrian is in a marked crosswalk.
• On school days, when children are in close proximity to a school zone crosswalk.
A driver must yield to a pedestrian
• When a pedestrian is in an unmarked crosswalk on the driver's side of the roadway and there are no traffic control signals.
• When making a turn at any intersection.
• When making a lawful turn on a red light after coming to a complete stop.
• After coming to a complete stop at a stop sign or flashing red signal at an intersection.
• When a pedestrian enters a crosswalk before the traffic light changed.
• When a pedestrian is walking with a green light, to a walking person symbol or a walk signal.
• When a pedestrian is leaving or entering a street or highway from an alley, building, private road or driveway.
• When a pedestrian is entering an intersection with a flashing yellow arrow.
Drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians are all responsible for following traffic rules and for safely sharing the Village roadways.
Whether dealing with extreme weather events or other types of disaster, preparedness should be a year-round activity. Yet, in 2012, nearly 70 percent of Americans had not participated in a disaster preparedness drill or exercise at home, school, or work during the past year, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The agency’s Ready Campaign established four universal building blocks of emergency preparedness: Be informed, Make a Plan, Build a Kit, and Get Involved.
One important way to prepare is to have some basic supplies on hand in order to survive for at least three days if an emergency occurs.
Following is a list of items that every emergency supply kit should include:
~ Water - one gallon per person, per day for a three day supply
~ Food - non-perishable, easy to prepare items for a three day supply
~ Working flashlight and extra batteries
~ Battery powered or hand crank radio and/or a NOAA Weather Radio receiver with tone alert
~ Basic first aid kit
~ Whistle to signal for help
~ Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
~ Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
~ Multi-purpose tool, wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
~ Can opener for food
~ Local maps
Additional items to consider adding to an emergency supply kit:
~ Prescription medications and eyeglasses
~ Infant formula and diapers
~ Pet food and extra water for your pet
~ Important family documents, such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
~ Extra cash or traveler’s checks and change
~ Emergency reference material, such as a first aid book
~ Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
~ Complete change of clothing, including a long sleeved shirt, long pants, sturdy shoes and work gloves.
~ Rain gear and towels
~ Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper. When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
~ Fire extinguisher
~ Matches in a waterproof container
~ Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
~ Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
~ Cell phone with chargers
~ Family and emergency contact information
~ Extra set of car and house keys
~ Paper and pencil
~ Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
It is important that you review this list and consider where you live and the unique requirements of your family in order to create an emergency kit that will meet your specific needs. You might also consider having at least two emergency supply kits, one full kit at home and smaller portable kits for your workplace, vehicle or other places you spend a significant amount of time.
Visit www.ready.gov/ for additional information.