10 On Your Side

Tax Scam Alert

October 11th, 2011 at 3:01 pm by under 10 On Your Side, Scam Alert

We’re hearing of a tax scam in Suffolk where victims (mainly senior citizens) are being told that they are entitled to a rebate of up to $4000. The victim is told to get the last three year’s worth of 1099 statements from Social Security. Using the statements, the scam artist prepares three years worth of tax returns for a fee, reporting false information generating a bogus refund. We’ve been told the filing fee is around $25 per tax year. In many cases, the IRS will catch mistakes and not mail the bogus refund amount. If the bogus refund is mailed and the IRS discovers the discrepancies later, the taxpayer if forced to pay the money back…interest and penalties included.   

In the meantime, the scam artist has earned the filing fee(s) and can no longer be found.

The victim is not only out of the money they’ve spent on “filing fees”, but have also become candidates for identity theft.

 Please warn your loved ones about this scam. It is so easy to become enticed by this so called easy money.

Bathtubs, buckets and toilets- drowning hazards for young children

September 9th, 2011 at 3:30 pm by under 10 On Your Side, Uncategorized

Labor Day may have represented the end of pool season, however, the danger of drowning for young children is real all year long. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death among children ages 1 to 4. An April 2011 report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) indicates that from 2005-2009, there were about 660 submersion incidents involving children younger than five years old in non-pool and non-spa products.  Bathtubs, buckets, and toilets are just a few examples of places around the home where a young child can drown if not monitored properly. The CPSC offers the following drowning prevention tips:

  •  Never leave young children alone near any water or tub or basin with fluid. Young children can drown in even small amounts of water.
  • Always keep a young child within arm’s reach in a bathtub. If you must leave, take the child with you.
  • Don’t leave a baby or young child in a bathtub under the care of another young child.
  • Never leave a bucket containing even a small amount of liquid unattended. Toddlers are top heavy and they can fall headfirst into buckets and drown. After using a bucket, always empty and store it where young children cannot reach it. Don’t leave buckets outside where they can collect rainwater.
  • Consider placing locks on toilet seat covers in case a young child wanders into the bathroom.
  • Learn CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). It can be a lifesaver when seconds count.

Back to school!

September 6th, 2011 at 11:07 am by under 10 On Your Side, Personalities, Traffic

I hope your day started off smoothly. And I hope your kids made it safely, with no tears, to their respective classrooms. Summer vacation is officially over!

The morning commute, I know, was pretty hairy for a lot of people. How many days left until the next break? Just remember, this afternoon those buses will be out there once again to take the kids home.

Here’s what the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles had to say about the buses on the roadways:

Remember, when you see the flashing red lights and the stop bar, you must stop and allow children to get on or off the bus. Here are some other tips to remember:

* School buses are one of the safest vehicles on the road.
* Most school bus incidents happen off the bus, not on the bus.
* If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least five giant steps (10 feet) ahead of the bus before you cross. Be sure that the bus driver can see you, and you can see the bus driver.
* When the bus approaches, stand at least five giant steps (10 feet) away from the curb, and line up away from the street.
* School buses don’t have seat belts in them because they have a built-in occupant protection system known as “compartmentalization,” which is a system of seat height, seat length and padding, among other requirements. Compartmentalization is like an egg carton protecting a child.

We all need a refresher course on bus stop and bus safety. It has been a rather busy summer. Enjoy the start of the school year and have a safe one!

Evacuation Routes

August 26th, 2011 at 6:50 am by under 10 On Your Side, News, Personalities, Traffic, Weather

If you are thinking about leaving Hampton Roads, today is the day to do it. The earlier in the day, the better, too. Most people automatically think to take I-64 WB to Richmond, but there are half a dozen other ways you can take to make it out of the area. Take the roadway closest to where you are.

That means:

*If you live in Virginia Beach, consider Routes 460 or 58. Route 460 will take you toward Suffolk, where it turns into Pruden Blvd. That will take you to Petersburg. You will see the first sign posted for Route 58 on Laskin Road in Virginia Beach. That will take you toward Raleigh.
*Route 10 West is a good one for some folks in Portsmouth. It will take you out past Smithfield toward Surry.
*If you live in Poquoson, or the Churchland area of Portsmouth, 17 North, toward Fredericksburg, is your best bet.
*If you’re in Hampton, take Route 60, which is Warwick Blvd., to Richmond.
*If you live on the Eastern Shore, take Route 13 North toward Salisbury, MD.
*If you’re in Norfolk, take I-64 WB to Richmond.

In the case of a mandatory evacuation, the Governor, and only the Governor, can order a lane reversal on I-64. That means all traffic from Norfolk to Richmond will travel west. That will start on the Norfolk side of the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel at Exit 273, which is 4th View Street. During a lane reversal, the Northbound lanes of the Monitor Merrimac will close at Exit 8. That’s College Drive.

Today, we have also heard the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry will be shutting down operations and moving boats to Richmond ahead of Irene. Service will be suspended at 10 a.m.

And, keep in mind as you make travel plans, we are saying leaving earlier is better because the winds will affect the tunnels and how long they will be allowed to stay open. VDOT will close bridges and tunnels when they’re unsafe due to debris or wind. Generally speaking, the Midtown Tunnel will close when winds reach 39 miles an hour sustained. The Monitor Merrimac Bridge Tunnel, James River Bridge, Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel and the Coleman Bridge close when winds reach 45 miles an hour sustained.

There are plenty of places at wavy.com where you can get information to plan your trip. Right there on the homepage, you can find all of our extensive Hurricane Irene coverage. Be safe!!

Cheryl Tan

On the horizon…

August 1st, 2011 at 7:15 am by under 10 On Your Side, Personalities

When you look at the horizon, it seems far away, and when it comes to “the end of the earth” you can never reach it! Unfortunately, sometimes that is the way some  school children look at their future! I was proud to lend a hand to the “Horizons” program for youth at recent career fair. Norfolk Collegiate School opened its doors Friday July 29th to students from around the area, and many professionals from the community gave their time to encourage, inform and inspire.

The actual horizon may be an illusion, but “Horizons” is letting kids know that adulthood is not far away, and their goals are not out of reach. Thanks for including WAVY TV and FOX 43!

Protecting your car from the heat!

July 22nd, 2011 at 1:18 pm by under 10 On Your Side

The heat wave is officially here. You’ve heard our weather team’s warnings and you’ve heard our reporters tell you how to care for yourself, your neighbors and your pets, but do you know how to take care of your car during these extreme conditions. AAA wants to make sure your vehicle is as safe as it can possibly be and suggests five ways you can protect your car during these dog days of summer.

1. The heat can wreak havoc on your battery. To make sure your battery lasts thru the summer.

* ensure your battery is securely mounted in place to minimize vibration

* clean any corrosive build up from the battery terminals and cable clamps

* make sure the clamps are tight enough that they will not move.

* have your car’s battery tested by a trained technician

2. Maintain your engine and keep it cool:

 * add additives to the coolant to protect the radiator and internal engine components

* flush the sytem and have the coolant replaced periodically

* inspect hoses and belts for cracking

 3. Tire maintenance:

* maintain standard inflatin on tires

* inspect tire treads for signs of uneven wear

* make sure there is adequate depth between treads

4. Just like people, cars need fluids too. Fluids help lubricate and cool the engine.

 * measure all fluids to make sure they are filled to the maximum levels

 **Source: AAA of Tidewater Virginia

You’ve got (e-mail) spam!

July 19th, 2011 at 12:50 pm by under 10 On Your Side, Scam Alert

This morning a viewer sent us a copy of an e-mail they received in reference to their Cox account being disabled. The e-mail went a little something like this:

Mon 7/18/2011

4:06 PM

We are deleting all unused COX.NET email accounts to create more

space for new accounts for this year.

To prevent your account from being closed, you will have to update it

below so that we will know that it’s a present used account.


 Email Username:………. …..

EMAIL Password:…………….

Date of Birth:……………..

Country or Territory:……….

 Warning!!! Account owner that refuses to update his or her account within seven days of receiving this warning will lose his or her account permanently.

Thank you for using COX.NET

According to Cox Communications website, “any email you receive that requests personal user information via email is likely to be some form of fraudulent email. Customers should never provide username and password information via email to anyone. Cox will never ask a user to verify account information via email.”

Also, the fine folks at Cox suggest a list of things to look out for and a handy lists of dos and don’ts:

Be on the look out for:

  • Email that requires you to act quickly in order to avoid some negative consequences, such as account termination.
  • Embedded links in email that take you to a site that may appear to be your service provider or bank. Examine the logo and other trademarks to ensure they are legitimate.
  • Forms on these web sites that ask for personal information
  • Spelling errors; these are typical of fake sites and are used to avoid being detected by spam filtering devices.

Dos and Don’ts:

  • Do not click on links in unsolicited emails.
  • Delete suspected fake email promptly
  • Protect your personal information at all times
  • Change your passwords frequently.

As always, don’t forget to enable your spam filters and double check your junk e-mail settings.

*Information obtained from Cox Communications corporate website.

It’s your lucky day!

July 18th, 2011 at 11:20 am by under 10 On Your Side, Scam Alert

You’ve all seen unwanted e-mails arrive in your inbox promising thousands of dollars you weren’t expecting, a trust fund from the family member you didn’t know you had and the job opportunity you didn’t know you were looking for. This morning a co-worker received a spam e-mail unlike any I’ve ever seen before, so I thought I would share it with the blogosphere in hopes no one will fall for a scam like this one. In the e-mail below the woman claims to be dying from cancer and wants to give YOU a $9.8M charity donation. WOW! It must be your lucky day… ummm, I don’t think so!

Hi Dear,

My name is Mrs. Maria Pierre. I am 63 years old. I am a dying woman who has decided to donate what I have to you for charity/ motherless babies/less privileged in the world. I was diagnosed for cancer for about 2 years ago. I have been touched by God to donate from what I have inherited from my late husband to you for good work of God. I have asked God to forgive me and believe he has because he is a merciful God. I will be going in for an operation next week.

I got your contact from a business directory and picked you randomly for this project. I decided to donate the sum of US$9.8 Million dollars to you for the good work of God. I know this may come as a surprise to you as you do not know me at all but I have prayed over this and out of all the contacts I was able to get from the internet, the holy spirit has directed me to donate these funds to you. I do not want to take credit for any of these as life is vanity. We came to this world empty and will surely return back to the lord empty. I have lived my life in sin and have prayed to God to forgive my sins. At the moment I cannot take any telephone calls right now due to the fact that my relatives (That have squandered the funds I gave them for this purpose before) are around me and my health status also.

If you will accept this offer, I will be very grateful. My family lawyer will make take care of the legal procedure to complete the transfer of the funds to you. I want you to reply me with your full name, address and telephone number so that I can give it to my lawyer. Once I receive your response, I will also give you my lawyers contact details for you to open communication with him. All I ask of you is to make sure that you use this money for the work of God and service to humanity. I know I don’t know you but I have been directed to do this by God. I wish you all the best and may the good God bless you abundantly as you work toward this humanitarian mission.

Lastly, I want you to pray for me regarding my health, because I have come to find out that wealth acquisition without God in one’s life is vanity upon vanity. If you have to die, says the Lord: keep fit and I will give you the crown of life. I believe we serve the same God and that we are all going back to him when we die. May the Grace of our Lord, the love of God, and the sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you now and forever more, Amen.  You can reply directly to my email  maria.pierre@thesecuremailer.com

Your sister in the lord

Mrs. Maria Pierre

While I hate to think that my co-worker is passing up an easy $9.8M, I truly believe this is a scam waiting to happen. So make sure you turn on your spam filters and tweak your junk e-mail settings, so e-mails like this one won’t make their way to your inbox.

Searching for a job online?

July 14th, 2011 at 12:09 pm by under 10 On Your Side, Scam Alert

As the unemployment rate climbs, job seekers are cautioned as scammers have taken to posting bogus employment opportunities on line. “The goal of most employment scams is to get the victim to give away personal information making themselves vulnerable to identity theft or to pay upfront fees. While it can be exciting to be contacted for a job interview, job seekers should take a step back and look closely at all the details before responding”, said David Polino, Better Business Bureau President.

There is a case in New York where scammers actually posted a job on Craigslist for employment at The Better Business Bureau (BBB)!  A local job seeker received an email from the bogus BBB telling her that she was selected for a job interview. The email went on to say that “employees are paid via direct deposit” and directed her to click a link to sign up for their preferred banking institution – at no additional cost. Luckily, she didn’t fall for it.

The BBB offers the following tips when finding a job through online searches:

  • Exercise Caution. When using social networking sites like Facebook and online employment sites such as Craigslist, be sure to check the actual Web site of the company posting the position to verify it actually exists. If you don’t see it on their site, chances are it’s a scam.
  • Guard Your Resume. Some job seekers have uploaded their resume online but remember to make sure you only upload it for a legitimate purpose and company. Resumes often contain personal information, ripe for identity theft thieves.
  • Start with Trust. Many scams use names that are similar to reputable companies to trick job seekers. BBB recommends that job seekers check out the company first at bbb.org and to apply through the actual company site whenever possible.
  • Never Pay Upfront Fees. No legitimate job offer will require out of pocket expenses from a potential employee for background checks, credit reports or administrative fees before an interview.
  • Protect Personal Information. Job seekers should never provide their social security number or birth date until they have verified the position is legitimate. Additionally, job seekers should never provide bank account information for direct deposit setup until they have officially been hired.
  • Be Careful of the “Perfect Offer.” Job seekers should be cautious of any posting advertising extremely high pay for short hours or minimal required experience. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Avoid Work-at-Home Offers. Most jobs that imply you can work from home or rake in cash are a ploy to trap you into giving away your credit card information, cashing fake checks, or paying for training that should be free. Job seekers should understand employees working from home generally go through the traditional in-person interviews and hiring process and often have prior experience in what they are doing, work for a salary, or have spent time and money developing the market for their work.
  • Report Fraud. If you find a job scam or internet fraud, including Craigslist scams, report it to the BBB or file a complaint with them here. You can also contact the Internet Fraud Complaint Center at 800.251.3221 or go to www.ic3.gov.
  • For more information on finding a job and to check the reliability of any company, visit bbb.org.

Share this secret shopping scam

July 12th, 2011 at 10:37 am by under 10 On Your Side, Scam Alert

 Being a secret shopper sounds like a quick and fun way to earn a little extra money on the side. However, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that some marketer’s promises are not all they’re cracked up to be. There are some secret shopper scams out there that if you’re not careful, instead of making money, you’ll be paying money. Here are just two common secret shopper scams I’ve heard about-

  •  You receive a check via FedEx made payable to you. It’s from a company who supposedly wants you to “hire” you as a secret shopper. You’ll think the check is up-front shopping money because, according to the instructions, you are to deposit the check and use the exact amount of funds to shop. You’ll find out later that the check was fraudulent and you will be responsible for paying the bank back.
  •  You’re “hired” to evaluate a money transfer service. You’ll receive a check that you are to deposit and then wire a specified amount of money via Western Union or MoneyGram to a third party. Again, you’ll find out later that the check was fraudulent and you will be responsible for paying the bank back.

 Calling the bank to verify the check is a good idea, but don’t count solely on that being the determining factor of you depositing the check. The issuer of the check could have a valid account, but no money to back the funds. Even if they do, the funds may not be there by the time YOUR check is deposited. 

As you can see, the checks look real. They are for large sums of money. They can be very tempting.

There was one lady who was sent “shopping money” because she’d inquired online how to become a secret shopper. She’d asked that more information on how to become a great secret shopper be mailed to her house. Instead, she started to receive checks made payable to her….. 

Bottom line here….NEVER deposit a check from someone you don’t know! 

For more information on secret shopper scams, check out the FTC’s website by clicking here. For more information on how to become a legitimate secret shopper, click here.