Stories

Scammers follow the news about student loan forgiveness

<p>Hearing a lot about federal student loan forgiveness in the news? You’re not alone — scammers are, too. You might get a call from someone saying they’re affiliated with Federal Student Aid (FSA) or the Department of Education. (They’re not.) They’ll say they’re following up on your eligibility for a new loan forgiveness program, and might even know things about your loan, like the balance or your account number. They’ll try to rush you into acting by saying the program is available for a limited time. But this is all a scam. What else do you need to know to spot scams like this?</p><p>The only place to get help managing your federal student loans is&nbsp;<a href="https://studentaid.gov/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="background-color: transparent; color: rgb(0, 94, 162);">StudentAid.gov</a>. FSA (and your federal loan servicer) won’t ever pressure you to sign up for anything — but a scammer will.&nbsp;And sometimes, it’s easier to tell what’s real by learning to spot what’s not. To get you started:</p><ul><li><strong>Don’t rely on government seals or logos.&nbsp;</strong>Scammers use official-looking names, seals, and logos to make them seem more legit.</li><li><strong>Don’t buy promises of special access.</strong>&nbsp;There’s no special access to repayment plans or loan forgiveness programs. No one can get you into loan forgiveness programs you don’t qualify for or wipe out your loans. Use your FSA&nbsp;<a href="https://studentaid.gov/fsa-id/sign-in/landing" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="background-color: transparent; color: rgb(0, 94, 162);">account dashboard</a>&nbsp;to see which programs you might be eligible for.</li><li><strong>Never pay an upfront fee.</strong>&nbsp;It’s illegal for companies to charge you before they help you reduce or get rid of your student loan debt.<strong>&nbsp;</strong>And if you have to pay upfront, you might not get any help — or your money back. Get free help managing your federal loans at&nbsp;<a href="http://studentaid.gov/repay" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="background-color: transparent; color: rgb(0, 94, 162);">StudentAid.gov/repay</a>. If your loans are private, go straight to your loan servicer for help.</li><li><strong>Never share your FSA ID login information.</strong>&nbsp;Only scammers say they need it to help you. If a scammer gets your FSA ID, they could cut you off from your loan servicer — or even steal your identity.</li></ul><p><br></p><p>Check out FSA’s resources for&nbsp;<a href="https://studentaid.gov/resources/scams#beware-of-student-loan-debt-relief-companies" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="background-color: transparent; color: rgb(0, 94, 162);">avoiding student loan scams</a>. And if you spot a student loan scam, tell the FTC at:&nbsp;<a href="https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="background-color: transparent; color: rgb(0, 94, 162);">ReportFraud.ftc.gov</a>.</p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

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Westchester-Putnam Career Fair in Yorktown, May 1st.

<p><span style="color: rgb(102, 102, 102);">Mark your calendar! On May 1st, 2024, The&nbsp;</span><strong style="color: rgb(87, 124, 166);">Westchester-Putnam Career Center Network</strong><span style="color: rgb(102, 102, 102);">&nbsp;in collaboration with the&nbsp;</span><strong style="color: rgb(87, 124, 166);">Town of Yorktown,&nbsp;The&nbsp;Yorktown Chamber of Commerce,&nbsp;</strong><span style="color: rgb(92, 100, 107);">and&nbsp;</span><strong style="color: rgb(87, 124, 166);">The Catalyst Westchester County Economic Development,</strong><span style="color: rgb(102, 102, 102);">&nbsp;are hosting an on-site&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(92, 100, 107);">career fair at the&nbsp;</span><strong style="color: rgb(87, 124, 166);">Albert A. Capellini Community &amp; Cultural Center</strong><strong style="color: rgb(92, 100, 107);">&nbsp;</strong><span style="color: rgb(92, 100, 107);">featuring an array of employment opportunities in northern Westchester County. Dress professionally and be prepared to interview with hiring managers. Remember to bring multiple copies of your updated resume and to review the attending employers prior to the job fair in order to be fully prepared.</span><strong style="color: rgb(92, 100, 107);">&nbsp;</strong><a href="https://smex-ctp.trendmicro.com/wis/clicktime/v1/query?url=https%3a%2f%2fdocs.google.com%2fforms%2fd%2fe%2f1FAIpQLSe6%5fTNAj87preHrUyzjC0OeD1wmZ7GbOvGtGTess%2dR%2dnwIWlQ%2fviewform&amp;umid=434d0243-d48e-451f-95b6-cbc48e253aa7&amp;auth=3e9eac7f6d1e9ee4bcf25e1462df7eb615e0741e-697c6e7c6b652f37db2e9ca9c5f7913dd1851484" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(232, 125, 54);"><strong>Click here to register&nbsp;</strong></a></p><p><strong style="color: rgb(232, 125, 54);">For more information, contact Bob Fois at&nbsp;</strong><a href="mailto:WestchesterCCN@westchestercountyny.gov" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(232, 125, 16);"><strong>WestchesterCCN@</strong></a><a href="https://news.hamlethub.com/brewster-new-york/stories/westchestercountyny.gov" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(232, 125, 16);"><strong>westchestercountyny.gov</strong></a><strong style="color: rgb(232, 125, 16);">&nbsp;</strong><strong style="color: rgb(232, 125, 54);">or call (914) 955-4976</strong></p><p><span style="color: rgb(102, 102, 102);">&nbsp;</span></p>

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FREE RABIES VACCINES FOR WESTCHESTER PETS MAY 5

<p>Westchester County residents can bring their dogs, cats and ferrets in for free rabies vaccinations on&nbsp;<strong>Sunday, May 5</strong>&nbsp;<strong>from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Stamen Animal Hospital, 61 Quaker Ridge Road, New Rochelle.</strong>&nbsp;No appointments are needed, but residents are advised to bring proof of prior rabies vaccinations for their pets. Call 914-632-1269 for more information.</p><p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p><p>An adult must supervise all pets. Cats and ferrets must be in carriers and dogs must be on a leash. Aggressive dogs must be muzzled. No examinations will be given.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Westchester County Health Commissioner, Sherlita Amler, MD said: “Vaccinating your pet against rabies will protect your pet and your family in case your pet has had contact with a rabid or potentially rabid animal.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Additional free rabies clinics will be scheduled and announced in the coming months, in other parts of the County.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Under New York State law, dogs and cats must receive their first rabies vaccine no later than four months after birth. A second rabies shot must be given within one year of the first vaccine, with additional booster shots given every one or three years after that, depending on the vaccine used.&nbsp;Owners who fail to get their pets vaccinated and keep vaccinations up-to-date may be fined up to $2,000.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Rabies is a fatal disease that spreads through the bite or saliva of infected animals. Those animals most commonly infected are raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes.&nbsp;However, domestic animals such as cats and dogs are also at risk because they can easily contract rabies from wild or stray animals.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>A pet that is up-to-date with rabies vaccinations would only need a booster dose of vaccine within five days of the pet’s exposure to a known or suspect rabid animal.&nbsp;Animals not up-to-date with rabies vaccinations would be quarantined or euthanized following contact with a rabid or suspect-rabid animal.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>A change in an animal’s behavior is often the first sign of rabies.&nbsp;A rabid animal may become either abnormally aggressive or unusually tame. It may lose fear of people and become docile, or become excited and irritable. Infected animals sometimes stagger, spit and froth at the mouth.&nbsp;Children should be discouraged from touching unfamiliar animals, and tell an adult right away if they have been bitten or scratched by an animal.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>All animal bites or contacts with animals suspected of having rabies must be reported to the Westchester County Health Department at (914) 813-5000.&nbsp;After hours, callers should follow instructions in the recorded message for reporting public health emergencies, 24-hours a day.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>To learn more about rabies and its prevention, visit the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.westchestergov.com/health" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: windowtext;">Health Department’s website</a>.</p>

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Be ready for next year: IRS Tax Withholding Estimator

<p>The IRS encourages taxpayers to use the&nbsp;<a href="https://lnks.gd/l/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJidWxsZXRpbl9saW5rX2lkIjoxMjYsInVyaSI6ImJwMjpjbGljayIsInVybCI6Imh0dHBzOi8vd3d3Lmlycy5nb3YvaW5kaXZpZHVhbHMvdGF4LXdpdGhob2xkaW5nLWVzdGltYXRvciIsImJ1bGxldGluX2lkIjoiMjAyNDA0MTcuOTM0NzY5NjEifQ.8xDfpdpOt37B6M6q_LsEjIMWaPZXTKsRQ6uTy8wPir8/s/997713443/br/240886270670-l" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204);">IRS Tax Withholding Estimator</a>&nbsp;to ensure they’re withholding the correct amount of tax from their pay in 2024.&nbsp;</p><p>This&nbsp;<a href="https://lnks.gd/l/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJidWxsZXRpbl9saW5rX2lkIjoxMjcsInVyaSI6ImJwMjpjbGljayIsInVybCI6Imh0dHBzOi8vd3d3Lmlycy5nb3YvaGVscC90b29scyIsImJ1bGxldGluX2lkIjoiMjAyNDA0MTcuOTM0NzY5NjEifQ.KAHAQjuIjwjqgIZSU-uDhcblMZTj2brvLa6xoOVzHWE/s/997713443/br/240886270670-l" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204);">digital tool</a>&nbsp;provides workers, self-employed individuals and retirees with wage income a user-friendly resource to effectively adjust the amount of income tax withheld from their wages.&nbsp;</p><p>The Tax Withholding Estimator will help taxpayers avoid unwanted results in 2024 if the refund for their 2023 return was too large, too small or if they received a surprise tax amount due.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Benefits of using the Estimator</strong></p><p>For employed individuals, withholding refers to the federal income tax amount deducted from their paycheck. Taxpayers can use the Tax Withholding Estimator's findings to decide whether they should fill out a new Form W-4 and give it to their employer. This process can, for instance:&nbsp;</p><ul><li>Ensure the correct tax amount is withheld, preventing a surprise tax bill or penalty during tax season, and</li><li>Decide whether to reduce upfront tax withholding, increasing take-home pay and potentially reducing any tax refund at the end of the tax year.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></li></ul><p><strong>When should taxpayers use this tool?</strong></p><p>The IRS suggests taxpayers review their withholding at least once annually. For anyone who’s recently completed their 2023 return, now is an ideal time to do so. It's also wise to use this tool after significant life events like marriage, divorce, buying a home or having a child.&nbsp;</p><p>When using the withholding calculator taxpayers should consider all forms of income, including part-time work, side jobs or the sale of goods or services commonly reported on&nbsp;<a href="https://lnks.gd/l/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJidWxsZXRpbl9saW5rX2lkIjoxMjgsInVyaSI6ImJwMjpjbGljayIsInVybCI6Imh0dHBzOi8vd3d3Lmlycy5nb3YvbmV3c3Jvb20vZm9ybS0xMDk5LWstZmFxcy13aGF0LXRvLWRvLWlmLXlvdS1yZWNlaXZlLWEtZm9ybS0xMDk5LWsiLCJidWxsZXRpbl9pZCI6IjIwMjQwNDE3LjkzNDc2OTYxIn0.2BeZ_bjppnjarMOUohBbMIVUBCtU79SnCSuHfyrH2Us/s/997713443/br/240886270670-l" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204);">Form 1099-K</a>.</p><p><strong>What records are needed?</strong></p><p>The Tax Withholding Estimator’s results are only as accurate as the information entered. To help prepare, the IRS recommends taxpayers gather:&nbsp;</p><ul><li>Their most recent pay statements, and if married, for their spouse,</li><li>Information for other sources of income, and</li><li>Their most recent income tax return in 2023, if possible.&nbsp;</li></ul><p>While the Tax Withholding Estimator works for most taxpayers, people with more complex tax situations should instead use the instructions in&nbsp;<a href="https://lnks.gd/l/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJidWxsZXRpbl9saW5rX2lkIjoxMjksInVyaSI6ImJwMjpjbGljayIsInVybCI6Imh0dHBzOi8vd3d3Lmlycy5nb3YvZm9ybXMtcHVicy9hYm91dC1wdWJsaWNhdGlvbi01MDUiLCJidWxsZXRpbl9pZCI6IjIwMjQwNDE3LjkzNDc2OTYxIn0.5lnZUS7fL5UYzCIyLgcen1OKjBuRxAFmyemNQ13zjBc/s/997713443/br/240886270670-l" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204);">Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax</a>. This includes taxpayers who owe alternative minimum tax or certain other taxes, and people with long-term capital gains or qualified dividends.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Additional information</strong></p><p><a href="https://lnks.gd/l/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJidWxsZXRpbl9saW5rX2lkIjoxMzAsInVyaSI6ImJwMjpjbGljayIsInVybCI6Imh0dHBzOi8vd3d3Lmlycy5nb3YvaW5kaXZpZHVhbHMvdGF4LXdpdGhob2xkaW5nLWVzdGltYXRvci1mYXFzIiwiYnVsbGV0aW5faWQiOiIyMDI0MDQxNy45MzQ3Njk2MSJ9.ZmMEj5LkiUkbY0HbTTNIacOa6Zapqk-bJ-p7wN10ehM/s/997713443/br/240886270670-l" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204);">Tax Withholding Estimator FAQs</a></p><p><a href="https://lnks.gd/l/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJidWxsZXRpbl9saW5rX2lkIjoxMzEsInVyaSI6ImJwMjpjbGljayIsInVybCI6Imh0dHBzOi8vd3d3Lmlycy5nb3YvcGF5Y2hlY2stY2hlY2t1cCIsImJ1bGxldGluX2lkIjoiMjAyNDA0MTcuOTM0NzY5NjEifQ.Bx7HkA3PHjoMpMRDmUGq1Xoei6eNE0qE72-rjFTFXFo/s/997713443/br/240886270670-l" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204);">Paycheck Checkup</a></p>

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Slater: Paid Family Leave For Military Spouses Under Review By DOD

<p><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34);"> </span><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent;">A proposal by Assemblyman Matt Slater (R,C-Yorktown) to expand paid family leave for military spouses is currently being reviewed and considered by the Department of Defense (DOD). Slater wrote to the DOD requesting the inclusion of his legislation&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">(A.6744)&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent;">in the 2026 Department of Defense State Policy Priorities Impacting Service Members and Their Families.</span></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34);"> </span><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">“Deployments and activation are not limited to missions overseas,” explained Slater. “This gap in the paid family leave laws put our military families in vulnerable positions by having to use vacation, sick and other allotted time to care for their families while their loved ones are answering our nation’s call. I am hopeful the Department of Defense will review this proposal with sincere consideration so that regardless of the location of their deployment, service members are no longer sacrificing time away from their families and deserve to have the security of paid family leave.”</span></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34);"> </span><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Under current law, New York state restricts paid family leave to service members deployed to foreign countries. A handful of residents of New York have been forced to use all their paid time off before qualifying for family leave. This has left service members and their families without essential financial support during critical times.</span></p><p><br></p><blockquote> <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;*Click&nbsp;</span><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1R6AYvSbOV0xj6uA2x07KVgEnJRXfdftH/view?usp=sharing" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204);">here</a><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">&nbsp;to view the letter*</span></blockquote><p><br></p><p> <em style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">&nbsp;&nbsp;</em></p><p><em style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Photo:Assemblyman Matt Slater (R,C-Yorktown) on the Assembly floor</em> . </p><p>Photo Credit : Office of Assemblyman Matt Slater</p>

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Anne Koplik Designs Jewelry Showroom Sale

<p><strong>ANNE KOPLIK DESIGNS JEWELRY will be holding their Showroom Sale this weekend and next at their location in Brewster NY.</strong></p><p><strong>Many one of kind designs will be discounted and their will be showroom specials (in limited quantities&nbsp;along with a free raffle)&nbsp;</strong></p><p><strong>Friday 4/12&nbsp;</strong></p><p><strong>Saturday 4/13&nbsp;</strong></p><p><br></p><p><strong>Sunday 4/14Friday 5/3&nbsp;</strong></p><p><strong>Saturday 5/4&nbsp;</strong></p><p><strong>Sunday 5/5&nbsp;</strong></p><p><strong>10AM-4PM All Days</strong></p><p>Visit Anne Koplik Designs Jewelry on the web for more info @&nbsp;<a href="https://annekoplik.com/shop" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(2, 177, 151);">https://annekoplik.com/shop/</a></p>

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Fighting back against harmful voice cloning

<p>If a call sounds like your boss (asking for bank account numbers) or your family member (begging for help in an emergency), you’re more likely to act. That’s why scammers use voice cloning to make their requests for money or information more believable. And the FTC is fighting back.</p><p>When the FTC announced its Voice Cloning Challenge last year, the main goal was to encourage innovative ways to help protect people from AI-enabled voice cloning harms. Today, we’re pleased to announce that that the FTC awarded four top prizes to the winning submissions that take a wide range of approaches to doing just that:</p><ul><li>a solution that would use algorithms to detect whether voice patterns are human or synthetic</li><li>a technology that would detect in real time voice cloning and deep fakes in incoming phone calls or digital audio in two-second chunks, assigning a “liveness score”</li><li>a proposal that would watermark audio with distortions that people would not be able to hear, but that could throw off AI voice cloners so that the audio could not be accurately cloned</li><li>a technology that would authenticate that a voice is human and embed the authentication as a type of watermark</li></ul><p>Learn more about the winning proposals on the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/contests/ftc-voice-cloning-challenge" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 94, 162); background-color: transparent;">Voice Cloning Challenge page</a>.</p><p>The Voice Cloning Challenge is a part of the FTC’s ongoing work to ensure voice cloning technology isn’t used by scammers to cause harm. That work includes prevention of harms where possible, a proposed comprehensive ban on impersonation fraud, and applying the Telemarketing Sales Rule to AI-enabled scam calls. It also includes warning consumers about the use of AI in scams — like when a scammer&nbsp;<a href="https://consumer.ftc.gov/consumer-alerts/2023/03/scammers-use-ai-enhance-their-family-emergency-schemes" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 94, 162); background-color: transparent;">clones a family member’s voice</a>, calls pretending to be in trouble, and then asks you to send money right away.</p><p>If you get a call like this, call the person who supposedly contacted you using a phone number you know is theirs, and verify the story. If you can’t reach your loved one, try to get in touch with them through another family member or their friends.</p><p>If you spot a scam, report it to the FTC at&nbsp;<a href="https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 94, 162); background-color: transparent;">ReportFraud.ftc.gov</a>.</p><p><br></p>

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