Weather Alert  

*TROPICAL STORM ISAIAS MOVING NORTHWARD ALONG THE EAST COAST* This product covers Southeast New York, Northeast New Jersey, and Southern Connecticut ***TROPICAL STORM ISAIAS MOVING NORTHWARD ALONG THE EAST COAST*** NEW INFORMATION --------------- * CHANGES TO WATCHES AND WARNINGS: - A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for Orange and Putnam - The Tropical Storm Watch has been upgraded to a Tropical Storm Warning for Bronx, Eastern Bergen, Eastern Essex, Eastern Passaic, Eastern Union, Hudson, Kings (Brooklyn), New York (Manhattan), Northeastern Suffolk, Northern Nassau, Northern Queens, Northwestern Suffolk, Richmond (Staten Island), Southeastern Suffolk, Southern Fairfield, Southern Middlesex, Southern Nassau, Southern New Haven, Southern New London, Southern Queens, Southern Westchester, Southwestern Suffolk, Western Bergen, Western Essex, and Western Union * CURRENT WATCHES AND WARNINGS: - A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Bronx, Eastern Bergen, Eastern Essex, Eastern Passaic, Eastern Union, Hudson, Kings (Brooklyn), New York (Manhattan), Northeastern Suffolk, Northern Nassau, Northern Queens, Northwestern Suffolk, Richmond (Staten Island), Southeastern Suffolk, Southern Fairfield, Southern Middlesex, Southern Nassau, Southern New Haven, Southern New London, Southern Queens, Southern Westchester, Southwestern Suffolk, Western Bergen, Western Essex, and Western Union - A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Northern Fairfield, Northern Middlesex, Northern New Haven, Northern New London, Northern Westchester, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, and Western Passaic * STORM INFORMATION: - About 830 miles south-southwest of New York City NY or about 900 miles south-southwest of Montauk Point NY - 29.7N 79.9W - Storm Intensity 70 mph - Movement North or 355 degrees at 9 mph SITUATION OVERVIEW ------------------ Tropical Storm Isaias, located off the north Florida coast, will continue to move to the north this morning, turning north-northeast this afternoon along the southeast coast. Isaias will continue moving northeast tonight over Eastern North Carolina. Isaias will slowly weaken as it accelerates northeast on Tuesday, likely moving over our area Tuesday afternoon and evening. There is still some timing and intensity uncertainty with this storm. However, confidence continues to increase with respect to the magnitude of local hazards and impacts. The main threats with this system involve heavy rainfall, strong winds, minor to moderate coastal flooding, along with high surf and dangerous rip currents. Locally heavy rain is expected with a widespread 2 to 4 inches, with localized amounts up to 6 inches possible. The heaviest rain is most likely to occur across New York City, Northeast New Jersey and the Lower Hudson Valley early Tuesday morning through Tuesday evening, and eastern sections Tuesday afternoon into Tuesday night. The strongest winds are likely to occur across Long Island, coastal Connecticut, and the New York City Metro. Dangerous marine conditions are likely across all of the coastal waters Tuesday and Tuesday night. High surf and dangerous rip currents are expected along the ocean beaches Monday through Wednesday. The effects from Tropical Storm Isaias are expected to diminish quickly from southwest to northeast across the area Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. POTENTIAL IMPACTS ----------------- * FLOODING RAIN: Protect against life-threatening rainfall flooding having possible extensive impacts across northeastern New Jersey, New York City, and the Lower Hudson Valley. Potential impacts include: - Major rainfall flooding may prompt many evacuations and rescues. - Rivers and streams may rapidly overflow their banks in multiple places. Small streams, creeks, canals, and ditches may become dangerous rivers. Flood control systems and barriers may become stressed. - In hilly terrain, destructive runoff may run quickly down valleys, and increase susceptibility to rockslides and mudslides. - Flood waters can enter many structures within multiple communities, some structures becoming uninhabitable or washed away. Many places where flood waters may cover escape routes. Streets and parking lots become rivers of moving water with underpasses submerged. Driving conditions become dangerous. Many road and bridge closures with some weakened or washed out. * WIND: Protect against dangerous wind having possible significant impacts across Southeast New York, Northeast New Jersey, and Southern Connecticut. Potential impacts include: - Some damage to roofing and siding materials, along with damage to porches, awnings, carports, and sheds. A few buildings experiencing window, door, and garage door failures. Mobile homes damaged, especially if unanchored. Unsecured lightweight objects become dangerous projectiles. - Several large trees snapped or uprooted, but with greater numbers in places where trees are shallow rooted. Several fences and roadway signs blown over. - Some roads impassable from large debris, and more within urban or heavily wooded places. A few bridges, causeways, and access routes impassable. - Scattered power and communications outages, but more prevalent in areas with above ground lines. * SURGE: Protect against locally hazardous surge having possible limited impacts across shoreline communities. Potential impacts in this area include: - There is potential for widespread minor to locally moderate coastal flooding across the Lower New York Harbor and South Shore Back Bays, with localized minor flooding impacts elsewhere. - Localized inundation with storm surge flooding mainly along immediate shorelines and in low lying spots. - Sections of near shore roads and parking lots become overspread with surge water. Driving conditions dangerous in places where surge water covers the road. - Moderate beach erosion. Heavy surf also breaching dunes, mainly in usually vulnerable locations. Strong and frequent rip currents. - Minor to locally moderate damage to marinas, docks, boardwalks, and piers. A few small craft broken away from moorings. * TORNADOES: Protect against a tornado event having possible limited impacts across Southeast New York, Northeast New Jersey, and Southern Connecticut. Potential impacts include: - The occurrence of isolated tornadoes can hinder the execution of emergency plans during tropical events. - A few places may experience tornado damage, along with power and communications disruptions. - Locations could realize roofs peeled off buildings, chimneys toppled, mobile homes pushed off foundations or overturned, large tree tops and branches snapped off, shallow rooted trees knocked over, moving vehicles blown off roads, and small boats pulled from moorings.

A.G. Schneiderman Issues Consumer Alert Warning New Yorkers Of Tax-Season Scams

LongIsland.com

Scammers Prey On Seniors Or College Students By Impersonating Tax Authorities To Obtain Personal Information.

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New York, NY - March 26th, 2014 - With this year’s tax deadline less than one month away, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today offered New Yorkers tips to avoid falling victim to tax-prep scams. The Internal Revenue Service has already received thousands of reports this year of various scams. The Attorney General also asked taxpayers to notify his office of any suspected fraudulent schemes designed to steal personal and financial information from consumers.

Tax season is stressful enough. New Yorkers trying to file their taxes on time should not also have to worry about being ripped off by tax scammers,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Taking advantage of vulnerable people in this tough economy is shameful. That’s why my office is helping to provide New Yorkers with the information they need to make sure they don’t get ripped off by scam artists.” 

The Attorney General’s Office has recently become aware of a specific scam targeting first generation New Yorkers. In one instance, the scammer said he was from the IRS and claimed that the victim owed thousands of dollars in fines for failing to pay taxes on money sent to his wife overseas – something that was not required. The phony caller also demanded the victim’s Social Security number and threatened him with deportation if he failed to pay the fines. Consumers should be wary of any requests for personal information over the phone. Legitimate government agencies will not threaten deportation.

Each year, the Office of the Attorney General receives complaints from consumers about tax preparation schemes. Some scammers prey on seniors or college students by impersonating tax authorities in an attempt to obtain personal information used to steal people’s identities. Others have even gone to the extreme of using “spoofing technology” to make their caller ID numbers come up to look like they are from the IRS.

In an effort to help New Yorkers avoid tax-themed scams, the Attorney General’s Office offered the following tips:

  • The IRS and legitimate government agencies never demand payment by phone;
  • If you owe money, you will receive a legitimate notice in writing that identifies the agency and the reason you owe money;
  • Do not give out personal information, including your Social Security number or bank account information, to telephone callers;
  • Legitimate government organizations will never threaten arrest or deportation for failure to pay a debt.

The following suggestions will help consumers file their tax returns safely:

  • If you use a tax-preparation service, use only established and recognizable companies; 
  • Check the tax preparer's qualifications and history through the Better Business Bureau
  • Ask for a written estimate of all fees; avoid those who base their fees on a percentage of your refund; 
  • Make sure the tax preparer is accessible, even after the April due date; 
  • Never sign a blank return; 
  • Review entire return before signing; 
  • Make sure the preparer signs the tax form and includes a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN); 
  • Consult New York's “Consumer Bill of Rights Regarding Tax Preparers.” 

Consumers should also beware of refund anticipation loans (RALs) and refund anticipation checks (RACs). RALs are often marketed as "instant" or "24-hour" refunds but are actually high-cost loans that come with fees and interest that reduce the amount of any refund. New York State’s General Business Law section 372 (known as the Consumer Bill of Rights regarding Tax Preparers), requires RALs to be marketed as loans – not refunds. RACs are temporary bank accounts established on behalf of a taxpayer into which a direct-deposit refund can be received –but these also come with fees that will reduce the consumer’s refund. The tax preparer must give the consumer a written disclosure that explains:

  • That consumers are not required to take out a refund anticipation loan or refund anticipation check in order to receive your tax refund.
  • The amount of fees and interest consumers will have to pay for a refund anticipation loan or refund anticipation check.
  • The amount consumers will receive after the fees and interest are deducted. 
  • The annual percentage rate of interest that consumers will be charged. 
  • The amount the refund will be without a refund anticipation loan 

Consumers can avoid the costs of refund anticipation loans and checks by filing their return electronically and having refunds mailed or directly deposited into their own bank accounts.

The Attorney General also reminds New Yorkers that there are Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites where consumers can get their tax returns prepared free of charge. For more information about how to qualify and identify VITA location sites, go to www.irs.gov.

Consumers whose income is $57,000 or less may qualify for FreeFile and can use free tax preparation and e-filing software. Information on free e-filing is available at: www.tax.ny.gov.

Some additional websites with helpful information include:

Internal Revenue Service

NYS Consumer Bill of Rights Regarding Tax Preparers

NYC Department of Consumer Affairs

Attorney General Schneiderman is urging New Yorkers to be vigilant consumers and to report instances of fraud to his Office. Consumers who feel they've been victims of any tax preparation scams are urged to file complaints by visiting the Office’s website or calling 1-800-771-7755.