BRONXVILLE, N.Y. -- Bronxville Mayor Mary Marvin writes a column that is re-published by the Daily Voice.
This week's column touches on topics that are disparate by nature but share a commonality of timeliness.
Just in this past week, approximately 25 residents have called or visited our police department reporting very official-sounding calls they received from the "IRS."
An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers has been making the rounds throughout the country with callers claiming to be IRS agents. They use fake names and bogus IRS badge numbers.
They know a lot about their targets, often using one's name, address, and other personal information to make the call sound official. They even know how to manipulate the caller ID system so "IRS" can appear on your phone.
Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and must pay promptly through a preloaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to agree to the demand, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation, or suspension of a business or driver's license.
Victims may also be told they have a refund due in order to trick them into sharing private information that will be used to defraud at a later date. If the phone isn't answered, the scammers often leave an "urgent" callback request.
The IRS will never Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill. They will never demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe or require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
The IRS will also never threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for nonpayment.
If you know you don't owe any taxes or have no reason to think that you do, give out no information and hang up immediately. Then, reach out to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) to report the call, use its "IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting" web page or call 800-366-4484.
The IRS has received reports of 736,000 scam contacts and approximately 4,550 victims have collectively paid over $23 million to scammers. Local scammers have imitated the IRS scheme and are currently calling merchants and residents impersonating Con Edison and United Water staffers and demanding immediate payment with threat of a service cut-off. Hang up at once.
Changing gears, this summer saw many trees die in our business district, resulting in unattractive stumps and unsightly tree pits. Professional arborists told us they were probably the wrong "street tree" when planted, as the root systems most likely died due to space constraint.
We sought professional advice and in recent days have planted swamp white oaks and European hornbeam trees, which are much more conducive to longevity in a well-traveled business district. We surrounded the trees with "Flexi-Pave Tree Surround," a relatively new product just installed in the Georgetown shopping district and the trails of Yellowstone National Park.
Flexi-Pave is made with recycled rubber mixed with gravel and then combined with a binding agent. No particulate matter, debris, or fumes are ever released. It is LEED certified and environmentally sound, and it qualifies for energy credits.
Lastly, our public works staff has reported that this is the worst year they can remember for leaves being deposited on the roads and rights-of-way and near sewer grates. This is particularly distressing, as we spent thousands of taxpayer dollars cleaning our sewer systems only to now have leaves clog the system after every rain event. The slippery leaves are also contributing to car accidents and pedestrian slip-and-falls. We ask that you or your landscaper move the leaves back on your property and instruct any helpers about the proper disposal of leaves going forward.
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