Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Franklin Newcomers and Friends Club: Brenda Reed - Nov 8

The Franklin Newcomers and Friends Club will meet on Wednesday, November 8. We are pleased to host as our speaker, Brenda Reed, currently the Director for Lifelong Community Learning in Franklin. Reed is a former chief executive for the New England Press Association, a former public servant – both elected and appointed – a former founder and co-owner of a successful weekly newspaper, and a former Attleboro mayor and School Committee member.

In those positions Reed has been at the intersection of public policy and business management. She understands the crucial importance of good organization, setting priorities, feasible strategies, attention to detail, the need to collaborate successfully with staff team members, volunteers, and the public.

She will be speaking about the Lifelong Community Learning programs and the opportunities for partnership. Lifelong Community Learning is a program of the Franklin Public Schools Lifelong Learning Institute and is dedicated to providing quality learning experiences for residents in the Town of Franklin and surrounding communities.

We invite any resident of Franklin, or a surrounding town that doesn't have a Newcomers Club, to join us at "3" Restaurant, 461 West Central Street, Franklin. Complimentary appetizers and beverages are provided and a cash bar is available. We meet upstairs at 7:30 PM on the 2nd Wednesday of the month. We run our meetings September through May. Additionally, we hold many fun and varied events to stay connected throughout the year.

For more information, please visit our website www.franklinnewcomers.com or our Facebook page, Franklin Newcomers and Friends Club.

Franklin Newcomers and Friends Club: Brenda Reed - Nov 8
Franklin Newcomers and Friends Club: Brenda Reed - Nov 8

FHS field hockey and volleyball post wins on Monday

From Hockomock Sports we share the results of the Franklin High School fall sports results on Monday, Oct 16.

Field Hockey = Oliver Ames, 0 @ Franklin, 2 – Final
– Franklin junior Anna Jardine had a strong game in net, making nine saves, including a gutsy slide tackle and a beautiful diving save – both in the second half – to help the Panthers preserve the win. Juniors Cassi Ronan and Regan Paterson each scored once in the first half for Franklin. FHS head coach Lisa Cropper said junior Annie Walsh played an outstanding game, creating numerous offensive chances and stopping OA from mounting an attack. Oliver Ames goalie Caitlin Grant made eight saves in net.

Volleyball = Franklin, 3 @ Taunton, 0 – Final
– Franklin mounted a late comeback in the second half to help sweep the Tigers on the road. Junior Lauren McGrath (four aces) put the Franklin offense in motion with 30 assists while Meaghan Maguire had 10 kills and two blocks and Lauren Lockhart chipped in with eight kills.

FHS Hailey Sanders ready for the ball vs. Taunton
FHS Hailey Sanders ready for the ball vs. Taunton (Hockomock Sports photo)

HockomockSports has a photo gallery from the volleyball game

For the other results around the Hockomock League

Absentee Ballots now available at the Town Clerks Office


TIME: 6:00a.m. – 8:00p.m.


LAST DAY TO REGISTER TO VOTE: Wednesday, October 18th at 8:00pm at the Town Clerk’s Office, First Floor, 355 East Central Street, Municipal Building.
Or, register online at (registertovotema.com).

Absentee Ballot Information: Absentee ballots are now available in the Town Clerk’s office. A registered voter who will be unable to vote at the polls on Election Day due to the following reasons may vote absentee in the Town Clerk’s Office up to 12:00 noon Monday, November 6, 2017
(1) absence from your city or town during normal polling hours; or
(2) physical disability preventing you from going to the polling place; or
(3) Religious belief.

To request an Absentee Ballot:
(1) Email: (tburr@franklinma.gov)
(2) Visit the Town Clerk’s website at (franklinma.gov) to print out an Absentee Ballot request form and either email or fax (508)520-4913.

If you have any questions, please contact Teresa M. Burr, Town Clerk at (508)520-4900 or
Email (tburr@franklinma.gov)

Franklin Election Collection - 2017
Franklin Election Collection - 2017

Help fill the St. Vincent de Paul Thanksgiving food baskets

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

Each year, the St. Vincent de Paul headquarters in Stoughton offers the Franklin St. Mary’s St. Vincent de Paul Thanksgiving food baskets ($10 each) for distribution throughout the community. Those in need of assistance can call the St. Vincent de Paul office at 508-918-2291. 
The St. Mary’s St. Vincent de Paul Society will be conducting its 9th annual Thanksgiving Food Drive on the weekend of Nov. 18-19, to enhance the baskets from HQ and to restock food pantry shelves. Suggested items to donate include applesauce, cranberry juice, popcorn, peanut butter, jelly, jams, cookies, crackers, bread mix, pudding, candy corn, cranberry sauce, stuffing, cereal, fruit cocktail, coffee/tea/cocoa, boxes of chocolate, canned yams and vegetables, rice, chowder and a Thanksgiving tablecloth or decoration.

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Help fill the St. Vincent de Paul Thanksgiving food baskets
Help fill the St. Vincent de Paul Thanksgiving food baskets

Monday, October 16, 2017

Franklin Candidate for Town Council - Eamon McCarthy Earls

Eamon McCarthy Earls (EME) and I (FM) sat down at Panera Bread to talk about his candidacy for the Franklin (MA) Town Council in the election scheduled for Nov 7, 2017.

FM - Tell me a bit about yourself, your family, and your life here in Franklin? What is your Franklin story?

EMEI grew up in Franklin, attended public schools here and graduated from Franklin High School. My family lives in Franklin and I have many friends throughout the town. Growing up here, I became interested in our community's history from talking with lifelong residents such as Stella Jeon, or Howard and Sandy Crawford. I was inspired by their stories to research and write a history of the town from colonial times to the present day that I published in 2012.  Today, I'm also a homeowner in Franklin, invested in our town's future and committed to seeing this community thrive.

FM - What experience or background will help you to serve in this role? What do you bring to the table that helps to set you apart from the others?

EME - I am well prepared for our complex financial and environmental challenges with an MBA and a bachelors degree in geology from UMASS-Amherst. Town Council is a new way to serve my town, building on the work that I did as an Associate member of the Franklin Historical Commission, helping to set up the Town Museum in 2010, that now anchors our Cultural District. In addition, I've had other longstanding involvements in town whether collecting used bicycles or supporting the Charles River meadowlands initiative.

FM - What do you see as your role's biggest challenge and do you have any suggestions on how we can resolve it?

EME - Engaging the public is one of the biggest challenges, which requires active outreach on the part of the Council. Councilors complain that nobody cares so they just do what they want. I want to encourage a more active citizenry and more people getting involved in our community.

More transparency is needed so that citizens can find the services they need, express their concerns and participate. Some of this can be accomplished through new technology, even potentially apps. But above all, councilors need to be out talking to citizens and not just a select few.

FM - As you know, Franklin has applied to the state for an official Cultural District designation in town. What do you feel is the role of arts and culture in Franklin, and what is your plan to advance that agenda?

EME - It's a great opportunity to invigorate the downtown as a destination for residents and for visitors from out of town. The exact shape of it will evolve overtime, but between the town museum, our historic library and the resources of Dean College as well the Franklin Art Association we have a great foundation.

It's both an economic development opportunity and a chance to increase the quality of life for residents through new opportunities for visual arts, performing arts. Our existing town codes could be seen as blocking the creation of certain art galleries and antiques businesses that might otherwise be a great element in a cultural district.

FM - Would you like to add a closing statement?

EME - All of the people on the council boast about the same things, bringing in business, reducing taxes, almost the same line the entire time. With the 250th anniversary of the town coming up, it's time to take stock and see if we have the right mix of business and how it may evolve over coming years with the changing demographics of the town. Will the town grow in a way that matches its schools and infrastructure? What are we doing to understand and manage that for the long term. Some of the approaches have tended to be tactical, bringing in specific employers or dealing with the problems of a single property. Active town council that shapes the long term agenda. It's not clear exactly how long it will take to clean up our Superfund site and finally get some closure on our polluted Grove St. brownfields.

Clearly there are public health challenges too, the continued challenges of opiods and the growing threat from new tick-borne illnesses. We should be making sure that our local public health infrastructure and schools are equipped to deal with these things.

As a town councilor, I will rise to meet these challenges and work to make the Council a transparent, responsive and engaged group that talks to citizens and works closely with other parts of town government such as the School Committee.

Eamon's email address is eamon4newftc@gmail.com and his campaign Facebook page is @eamon4newftc.

Offer to Candidates 2017

From the FM archives: 

Eamon's presentation at the Historical Museum on his book  http://www.franklinmatters.org/2013/01/talking-about-edge-city.html

and info on his book Franklin: From Puritan Precinct to 21st Century ‘Edge City’


Noteworthy: This information is intended to help the Franklin voters when we all head to the ballot box on November 7. The interview candidates have had an opportunity to review the text before publishing to ensure the accuracy of our discussion. 

Franklin Election Collection - 2017
Franklin Election Collection - 2017

Christine Lavin and Don White Live at the Circle of Friends Coffeehouse - Oct 28

Christine Lavin and Don White 
"On the Funny Side"
at the Circle of Friends Coffeehouse
Music and laughter on October 28

Seeing Christine Lavin or Don White is a treat. Seeing Christine Lavin and Don White is an experience. Between the two of them, they more than 40 years of combined experience making music and laughter. Don't miss them at the Circle of Friends Coffeehouse on October 28 at 8PM.

The Lavin/White co-bills have packed audiences in wherever they've played, from the Regent Theatre in Boston to The Ark in Ann Arbor Michigan. Audiences get a one-hour shot of each performer during their solo sets, and then a free-for-all when White and Lavin take the stage together and display the kind of chemistry you get from old friends and seasoned performers. You'll never see the same show twice.

"Our show doesn't sound like a folk concert, it sounds like a comedy concert, there's 400 people screaming with laughter for the whole two hours," says White.

"It's hard to describe what it is that Don does onstage, because there simply isn't anyone out there like him," says Lavin. "I'm a brave performer to share the bill with someone who knocks audiences out the way he does."

Christine Lavin is a multi-award winning singer-songwriter, author, and knitter. She released her memoir, Cold Pizza for Breakfast: A Mem-wha??, in 2010. She is also a founding member of the popular folk collective, The Four Bitchin' Babes. 

White is a celebrated singer/songwriter/storyteller who has released eight albums and three DVDs. His new CD, More Alive, is available now. His book, Memoirs Of A C Student, is available in print and for the Kindle and Nook. Lavin and White have also released a digital only live album, Live At the Ark: The Father's Day Concert, available on CDFreedom.com.

October 28, 8 PM
The Circle of Friends Coffeehouse
At the First Universalist Society Meetinghouse, 262 Chestnut St, Franklin, Ma
Tickets: $25

Christine Lavin and Don White Live at the Circle of Friends Coffeehouse - Oct 28
Christine Lavin and Don White Live at the Circle of Friends Coffeehouse - Oct 28

Christine Lavin Resources:

Don White Resources:

Milford Daily News: School Committee candidate profiles

The eight School Committee candidate profiles have been posted by Milford Daily News. You can read them here:

The Franklin Matters' candidate interviews are in process and will be posted as they become available. You can find all the election related posts in one place

The Candidate Night is scheduled for Tuesday evening (Oct 17) in the Council Chambers at 7:00 PM. It will be broadcast by Franklin TV and made available for replay on demand. It will also be broadcast on Verizon Channel 29 and Comcast Channel 11. You can find the on demand or live broadcast on the Town of Franklin webpage here

Note the candidate night is focused on the contested races for Town Council and School Committee. Accommodations are reported to be made for the Board of Health candidates where the incumbent (who can't appear) may have a statement read and the challenger (who can appear) will make a statement.

Franklin Election Collection - 2017
Franklin Election Collection - 2017

Register O'Donnell Reports Slowdown for 3rd Quarter 2017 Real Estate Activity

Norfolk County Registry of Deeds

Register O'Donnell Reports Slowdown for 3rd Quarter 2017 Real Estate Activity

Register of Deeds William P. O'Donnell reported Norfolk County real estate activity continued to experience a slowdown during the 3rd quarter 2017, (July-Sept). The one bright note among the sobering statistics was the continued reduction in foreclosure activity.

Register O'Donnell noted, "There is no question real estate activity numbers were disappointing for the 3rd quarter. The total number of real estate sales in Norfolk County, both residential and commercial, was 5,085, a 4% reduction from the previous year. In addition, the total dollar sales volume, for both the residential and commercial sectors, decreased by 23% to $2.2 billion. Lastly, the average real estate sales price, for combined residential and commercial stock was $653,539."

"The Norfolk County real estate market," noted O'Donnell, "is being impacted by the same sluggish headwinds affecting real estate sales throughout Massachusetts and nationwide: low inventory levels. It is especially the case with starter homes, as potential new homeowners attempt to crack the market. This is good news for sellers, but frustrating and disappointing news for first-time buyers."

Another sobering indicator was a 14% reduction in the total number of land documents recorded at the Registry during the 3rd quarter. "In addition to the reduced number of real estate sales, the overall decline in the number of land documents recorded can be directly attributed to a reduced number of mortgage recordings," noted O'Donnell.

Regarding mortgage activity, 7,300 mortgages were recorded during the quarter compared to 9,717 during the same time period in 2016. An anomaly was seen with total mortgage borrowing increasing by 69% during the quarter to $7.8 billion. This number was skewed by a $1.6 billion mortgage against a commercial property in Weymouth. The Register stated, "There is no question the lending market is being negatively driven by the reduced amount of real estate sales as well as the creeping rise in interest rates."

Another slowdown in consumer activity was seen in the lowering number of Norfolk County homeowners availing themselves of the Homestead Act. A total of 3,543 Homesteads were recorded during the 3rd quarter, a 5% decrease year over year. "The Homestead law provides limited protection against the forced sale of an individual's primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000. I urge Norfolk County residents to consider this consumer protection tool," noted O'Donnell.

As previously stated, foreclosure activity was one of the few bright spots experienced during the quarter. The total number of foreclosure deeds recorded was 61, a 27% decrease year over year. More significantly, the number of Notice to Foreclose Mortgage recordings, the first step in the foreclosure process, fell 49% from the 3rd quarter of 2016.

O'Donnell stated, "While the decrease in foreclosure recordings was certainly good news, I realize this is little consolation to those facing the threat of foreclosure. The Registry continues to work with Quincy Community Action Programs, 617-479-8181 x376, and NeighborWorks Southern Mass, 508-587-0950 to help homeowners who received a Notice to Foreclose Mortgage. A third option is to contact the Massachusetts Attorney General's Consumer Advocacy and Response Division (CARD) at 617-727-8400.

Register O'Donnell concluded, "It is not surprising that we saw disappointing real estate activity numbers, especially when you consider the low level of housing inventory. These numbers especially impact first-time homebuyers who are trying to buy property at an affordable price. Furthermore, we are also seeing the effect is has on the lending market. While the eastern Massachusetts economy generally remains on solid footing, any increases in interest rates will only make the recovery a more challenging one for real estates sales and financing."

To learn more about these and other Registry of Deeds events and initiatives, like us at facebook.com/NorfolkDeeds or follow us on twitter.com/NorfolkDeeds and instagram.com/NorfolkDeeds.

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is located at 649 High Street, Dedham. The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information. All land record research information can be found on the Registry's website at www.norfolkdeeds.org. Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center at (781) 461-6101, or email us at registerodonnell@norfolkdeeds.org.

Register William P. O'Donnell
Norfolk County Registry of Deeds

email: registerodonnell@norfolkdeeds.org
phone: 781-234-3336
Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, 649 High Street, Dedham,, MA 02026-1831

Sent by registerodonnell@norfolkdeeds.org in collaboration with
Constant Contact

Register O'Donnell Highlights Registry Customer Service Center
Register O'Donnell Highlights Registry
Customer Service Center

“Families these days want families activities"

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

"Mendon Scoutmaster Alan Koufos has heard from girls over the years who have wanted to join the ranks of Boy Scout Troop 44. 
In fact, two of their mothers were the ones who broke the news to him this week that the Boy Scouts of America will soon allow girls into its programs. 
“I remember both of their daughters saying, ’Boy I wish I could be with my brothers,” Koufos recalled Friday. 
Now with that opportunity on the horizon, local scout leaders have mixed views on whether the change was necessary."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)


ICYMI - 60 Minutes episode on opioid crisis

In case you missed it (ICYMI), the link to the CBS 60 Minutes episode on the opioid crisis can be found here  Ex-DEA agent: Opioid crisis fueled by drug industry and Congress 85 BILL WHITAKER CBS NEWS


Twitter image for CBS
Twitter image for CBS

Sunday, October 15, 2017

FM #133 - School Committee Budgeting Workshop - Oct 10

FM #133

This internet radio show or podcast is number 133 in the series for Franklin Matters. This captures and shares the audio recording of the Franklin (MA) School Committee Budgeting Workshop held October 10, 2017.

Chairman Kevin O’Malley opens the meeting with an overview of the meeting format on budgeting for the next fiscal year. There are no numbers to review, time would be spent on developing goals for what should be prioritized, etc.

There is reference along the way to some documents which were part of the package for the Committee. Some of the documents were also shown on the overhead projector. The documents released are contained in the PDF file associated with this post.

Much discussion was around how to communicate this information to tell the story of Franklin School Budget. What it has lost, what it needs, what can be done to prepare our students for their future.

The meeting recording runs about and hour and 20 minutes. Without further ado, here is the recording


This brings the recording of the School Committee Budgeting Workshop to a close..

This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but I can't do it alone. I can use your help.

How can you help?

If you like this, please tell your friends and neighbors.
If you don't like this, please let me know.

Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements.
Thank you for listening.

For additional information, please visit Franklinmatters.org/
If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana" c. Michael Clark and Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission

I hope you enjoy!


The documents for the meeting can be found here

My notes for the meeting were also published here


You can also subscribe and listen to the audio on iTunes = search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"

subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters on iTunes
subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters on iTunes

Town Council Recap - October 11, 2017

All the Town Councilors were present for their regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, October 11. The meeting covered a bunch of topics and was conducted in about 50 minutes.

The change in manage for Shaw's was approved. Interesting side note, he had grown up in Milford and worked in Franklin one summer for Peter Brunelli at the Carvel Ice Cream place that used to be in the Shaw's Plaza.

The Council accepted two resolutions acknowledging donations from DCU for the Fire and Police Depts. Councilors commented that it is good to see these donations from companies operating in Franklin.

The longest discussion of the meeting was around a traffic study being formally requested of Norfolk. There is a large development in planning stages for the former Buckley and Mann location just over the line in Norfolk. It is anticipated that the truck traffic to remove materials from the site as part of the development would travel on Mill St. Mill St is a narrow and hilly road which would be come more dangerous with the reported amount of truck traffic. The trucks wold also be carry the material which would likely be contaminated. 

The request to ask for a traffic study was approved. The intent is to try and get a designated truck route for the truck traffic during at least during the construction period. 

The bylaw amendment to resolve some conflicts for setbacks required for accessory buildings received final approval.

The bylaw amendment to complete the requirements for the 'green community' application received final approval. The cost for new construction may increase but the long term benefits of the energy efficiency being built in will pay off.  

The PDF file with the "Actions Taken" from this meeting as published by the Town can be found here

My notes are reported live during the meeting can be found here

one of the scenes early Friday morning (Oct 13) at DelCarte
one of the scenes early Friday morning (Oct 13) at DelCarte

Harvest Festival - 2017 - photo essay

I combined my walk with the Franklin Downtown Partnership's Harvest Festival on Saturday. The rain did hold off for this event, only sprinkles here and there. I stopped here and there along the way, multiple conversations with folks I know and met quite a few new ones too.

there is only one Jamie Barrett and Jane did have two locations for Jane's Frames
there is only one Jamie Barrett and Jane did have two locations for Jane's Frames

part of the Main St crowd at about 1:00 PM Saturday
part of the Main St crowd at about 1:00 PM Saturday

did you get your free book from the Friends of the Franklin Library?
did you get your free book from the Friends of the Franklin Library?
BTW - bricks are still for sale. That would make a nice holiday gift for someone!

Jesse Liam band rocked it on the crosswalk attracting dancers and sing along
Jesse Liam band rocked it on the crosswalk attracting dancers and sing along

not everything was on Main St, the Fire Station had an open house
not everything was on Main St, the Fire Station had an open house

he Historical Museum refurbished one of their old displays to showcase these vintage postcards
the Historical Museum refurbished one of their old displays to showcase these
vintage postcards. Stop by to visit to get a better view

Jord Albert took over from Jamie Barrett outside Jane's
Jord Albert took over from Jamie Barrett outside Jane's

NARCAN and NARCAN training - Oct 18

"Free Narcan and Narcan training will be available to the public this coming Wednesday, October 18 from 6-8 PM at the Franklin Fire Dept, 40 W Central St Franklin. 

Narcan will be available on a first come first served basis. Hands on CPR training will also be available."

You can register for the CPR training here https://signup.com/mobileweb/2.0/vspot.html?activitykey=4169816426641080114#choose_jobs_page

SAFE Coalition
SAFE Coalition

IRS Issues Reminder to Taxpayers as Scams Continue Across the Nation

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today warned taxpayers to remain vigilant to scams as they continue to be reported around the country. Phishing, phone scams and identity theft top the list of items normally reported. However, following hurricanes and other disasters, the IRS urged taxpayers to be on the lookout for schemes stemming from these recent events.

“These scams evolve over time and adjust to reflect events in the news, but they all typically are variations on a familiar theme,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Recognizing these schemes and taking some simple steps can protect taxpayers against these con artists.”

While individuals and businesses deal with the devastation of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and wildland fires in the West, criminals may take advantage of this situation by creating fake charities to get money or personal information from sympathetic taxpayers. They may also attempt to con victims by impersonating a relief agency or charity that will provide relief. Such fraudulent scams and solicitations for donations may involve contact by telephone, social media, e-mail or in person.

Below are some of the more typical scams the IRS has seen:

Email Phishing Scams

The IRS has recently seen email schemes that target tax professionals, payroll professionals and human resources personnel in addition to individual taxpayers.

In email phishing attempts, criminals pose as a person or organization that taxpayers trust and recognize. They may hack an email account and send mass emails under another person’s name. They may pose as a bank, credit card company, tax software provider or government agency. If a person clicks on the link in these emails, it takes them to fake websites created by fraudsters to appear legitimate but contain phony login pages. These criminals hope victims will take the bait and provide money, passwords, Social Security numbers and other information that can lead to identity theft.

Scam emails and websites also can infect computers with malware without the user knowing it. The malware can give the criminal access to the device, enabling them to access sensitive files or track keyboard strokes, exposing logins and other sensitive information.

If a taxpayer receives an unsolicited email that appears to be from either the IRS or a program closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), report it by sending it to phishing@irs.gov. Learn more by going to the Report Phishing and Online Scams page.

The IRS generally does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. The IRS has information online that can help protect taxpayers from email scams.

Phone Scams

The IRS does not call and leave prerecorded, urgent messages asking for a call back. In this tactic, the victim is told if they do not call back, a warrant will be issued for their arrest.

The IRS recently began sending letters to taxpayers whose overdue federal tax accounts are being assigned to one of four private-sector collection agencies. Because of this, taxpayers should be on the lookout for scammers posing as private collection firms. The IRS-authorized firms will only be calling about a tax debt the person has had – and has been aware of – for years. Taxpayers also would have been previously contacted by the IRS about their tax debt.

How to Know It’s Really the IRS Calling or Knocking on Your Door

The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.

However, there are special circumstances in which the IRS will call or come to a home or business, such as when a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill, to secure a delinquent tax return or delinquent employment tax payment, or to tour a business as part of an audit or during criminal investigations.

Even then, taxpayers will usually first receive several letters (called “notices”) from the IRS in the mail. For more information, visit “How to know it’s really the IRS calling or knocking on your door” on IRS.gov.

Tax Refund Fraud -- Identity Theft

Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses a stolen Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund.

In 2015, the IRS joined forces with representatives of the software industry, tax preparation firms, payroll and tax financial product processors and state tax administrators to combat identity-theft refund fraud and protect the nation's taxpayers. This group -- the Security Summit -- has held a series of public awareness campaigns directed at taxpayers called "Taxes.Security.Together." For tax professionals, the “Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself” and “Don’t Take the Bait” campaigns encourage the tax community to take steps to protect themselves from identity thieves and cybercriminals.

Security Reminders for Taxpayers

The IRS and its Summit partners remind taxpayers they can do their part to help in this effort. Taxpayers and tax professionals should:

  • Always use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections. Make sure the security software is always turned on and can automatically update. Encrypt sensitive files such as tax records stored on computers and devices. Use strong passwords.
  • Learn to recognize phishing emails, threatening phone calls and texts from thieves posing as legitimate organizations, such as a bank, credit card company and government agencies. Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious emails.
  • Protect personal data. Don’t routinely carry Social Security cards, and make sure tax records are secure. Treat personal information like cash; don’t leave it lying around.

IRS Issues Reminder to Taxpayers as Scams Continue Across the Nation
IRS Issues Reminder to Taxpayers as Scams Continue Across the Nation

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