Watch Your Step
by Jim Breen
Tax season officially began last week, so it’s a good time to remind shareholders of the myriad of scams that go with it.
Here are some tips from the IRS:
• Be vigilant of any unexpected communication purportedly from the IRS at the start of tax season.
• Ignored phishing email scams that use the IRS as a lure. Scammers often pose as the IRS using a bogus refund scheme or warnings to pay past-due taxes.
• The IRS never contacts taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information It never requests PINs, passwords or similar information for credit card, bank or other accounts.
• Don’t open attachments in unexpected emails or click on any links, but forward it to email@example.com.
For more about how to report phishing scams visit the genuine IRS website, IRS.gov.
Here are tips to help protect against scams and identity theft:
• Don’t carry Social Security cards or documents bearing a SS number or individual taxpayer identification number.
• Secure personal information in your home.
• Never give personal information over the phone, by mail or on the Internet unless you have initiated the contact.
Thanks to Marion Miller of Mutual 5 for calling our attention to the “1’ button story in this column recently.
We understood that pushing that button will give the caller access to the phone number of the person called. That was the case several years ago, but no longer.
Pushing that button, does not give the caller such access, but it is, nonetheless, a scam.
According to one consumer report on complaintwire.org, pushing that button will lead the caller to a recorded messages that attempt to get people to submit credit card numbers.
Have you been the victim of a scam attempt? Send the details to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 431-6586, ext. 387, Wednesday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
American Legion Post 327 will sponsor a pancake breakfast Feb. 15, in Clubhouse 4. Pancakes, sausage, orange juice, coffee, butter and syrup will be served from 8-10 a.m.
Tickets are available for a $4 donation at the door or from any Post member.
Net proceeds will be used for veterans assistance programs. Everyone is invited.
The post is grateful for everyone’s support.
– Larry Norlander
GAF Tax Program
The Golden Age Foundation income tax program will begin Feb. 10 and continue until April 10.
Volunteers will be working Monday through Friday in the morning only.
Appointments are required. Residents should call 596-1987 and leave their names and telephone numbers on the GAF answering machine.
Volunteers will return the calls to schedule appointment. Shut-ins should also call this number.
Residents must bring both their social security card and Leisure World ID tor appointments.
To qualify for the program, you must be a Leisure World resident, have income under $75,000, file either as a single person or married, filing jointly, have no income from a business or partnership, and have six or less sales of stocks or bonds.
The following records should be brought to appointments:
• Copies of 2012 income tax returns
• All year-end income statements
• Year-end brokers’ statements
• Verification of the cost of any stocks or bonds sold by the shareholder or his/her broker
• Building contract for any 2013 installation of energy-efficient items
If residents plan to itemize deductions, they should prepare a list of all medical expenses, charitable contributions, taxes, interest, etc. Bring the list and accompanying receipts to their appointments.
More than $4,500 in such expenses are needed before residents can itemize.
To have refunds to be directly deposited, bring checkbooks.
Tax returns will be prepared upstairs in Clubhouse 6. Take the elevator or stairs to Room A, second floor, the tax preparation room.
For those with the necessary records, tax returns will be prepared while they wait. It will take about one hour for the review of records and preparation.
An alternate free tax preparation service is now being provided by AARP on Mondays through April 14 in the community room adjacent to Fire Station 48 at 3131 North Gate Rd.
Call 431-2527, ext. 1307, for an appointment.
The Leisure World Investment Forum will meet at 2 p.m., Feb. 11, in Clubhouse 3, Room 6. Larry T. Pino of LPL Financial Advisor will delve more deeply into the firm’s 2014 outlook. He will highlight the sectors, asset classes and strategies believed to be most rewarding to investors.
In addition, the bond markets will be discussed and why investors should maintain an allocation to this asset class despite last year’s dismal performance.
For more information, contact Mr. Pino at (949) 502-8525 or email@example.com
Senior Patriots for Peace
Residents are invited to sign up for Dr. Donald Schwartz’s four-week lecture series in April on “The History of U.S. Policy In The Middle East.”
The lecture series by by Dr. Schwartz, professor emeritus, California State University, Long Beach, the will trace American relations with countries in the Middle East from World War I to the present day.
A lecture will be presented each Monday in April from 10:30 a.m.-noon in Clubhouse 3, Room 1. The dates are April 7-14-21-28.
To reserve a seat, send a check for the $30 registration fee, payable to Dr. Don Schwartz, to Nancy Goldstein, 13391 Danbury Lane, No. 131-J, Seal Beach, CA 90740.
All residents and guests are invited to attend these events.
Senior Patriots for Peace is an organization dedicated to the promotion of peace at home and throughout the world. Its goal is the elimination of the threat of violence and war. To this end, the club focuses on issues of world peace, social justice and the environment to nurture a world where people can live healthy and peaceful lives for generations to come.
For further information on these events and the organization, call Nancy Goldstein at 896-8604 or Mary Larson, 296-8521.
Senior Patriots for Peace II
Senior Patriots for Peace will present “Gasland,” a 2010 documentary, at its next meeting, Feb. 14, at 1 p.m., in Clubhouse 4.
Part mystery, part travelogue and part banjo showdown, “Gasland” documents writer/director Josh Fox’s cross-country odyssey to find out if the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is actually safe.
Traveling across 24 states to interview families, EPA whistleblowers, congressmen and scientists, Mr. Fox learns of things gone horribly wrong, from illness to hair loss to flammable water.
His inquiries lead him ever deeper into a web of secrets, lies, conspiracy and contamination.
The engrossing film will be followed by a discussion period.
– Nancy Goldstein
Disaster First Aid
by Madge Armstrong
The first Disaster First Aid class of the year will be held from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. March 24, in Clubhouse 3, Room 4.
Lunch or snacks and drinks can be taken to the class.
Residents can take only one of the three classes offered in 2014. The last remaining class after March 24 is May 17, in the same time frame.
Training is provided by the Organized Communities Volunteer Education Association (OVEVA), a local non-profit disaster training organization.
Shareholders have been told that everyone will be responsible for themselves.
Self-preparation is a must.
LWers should have emergency supplies on hand, especially water and keep emergency supplies up to date and available.
The class teaches people how to treat their immediate injuries before outside help arrives.
Outside help (Red Cross- military-etc) will not arrive with additional supplies and help for three to seven days, depending on the degree of the disaster.
Cost of the class is $22, payable at the beginning of the class. Checks or cash will be accepted. A manual is included with the fee.
Registration is required. Contact Geneva Potepan, LW first aid training coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or ( 951) 675-4271.
They can also be made by calling Madge Armstrong at 598-3087.
Safe Driver Program
The next AARP Safe Driver program will be held from 1-5 p.m., Feb. 17, in Clubhouse 3 Room 9.
To qualify for the four-hour classes, residents must have completed an eight-hour class within the past three years, and their insurance company must agree to their eligibility.
The fee is $15 for AARP members and $20 for non-members.
Members must provide their AARP membership cards when they pay the fee.
Residents who lost their AARP membership numbers can call 1-888-687-2277.
Other four-hour, single-day class dates are March 18, June 17, Sept. 16, and Oct. 20.
Fees must be paid by personal check or money order. Cash cannot be taken.
For reservations, call Betty Adams at 936-1333.
Leisure World Statistics for December 2013
The following is a partial list of the incident reports from December as provided by the LW Gates and Patrol Dept.
12-1 Mutual 1 10:40 a.m.
Gates and Patrol assisted a member who wanted her grandson and caregiver removed from the apartment. Police responded.
12-1 Mutual 7 12:22 p.m.
A member believed someone was following her and tried to break in at night. She reported missing money from her home. Police responded.
12-1 Mutual 7 2:26 p.m.
A member said a man broke into her unit, and glass was on the floor. The window was not broken. Police responded.
12-3 Mutual 7 6:20 a.m.
A Gates and Patrol officer, Seal Beach police and OC Adult Services went to an apartment to assess a member’s welfare.
12-4 Swimming Pool 3:26 p.m.
A caregiver was using the shower facilities at the pool. An officer asked him to leave, and told him not to use the facilities.
12-5 Mutual 8 9:49 p.m.
Police and an officer assisted with a domestic family dispute.
12-6 Mutual 7 1:15 p.m.
A member said another member screamed and swore at his mother and him. They have an ongoing issue regarding street parking.
12-6 Mutual 18 5:30 p.m.
An officer assisted at an apartment where there was a domestic family dispute the previous day.
12-8 Main Gate 12:31 a.m.
A visitor failed to stop for authorization. An officer located the vehicle and spoke to the visitor, a member’s son, regarding the rules of entry.
12-9 Mutual 14 6:10 p.m.
A caller from an outside vendor attempted to get information from a member, who thought it may be a sales scam.
12-11 Mutual 11 12:05 p.m.
A member’s son and caregiver had two vehicles filled with items parked in the mutual. Gates and Patrol advised him not to store vehicles in the mutual’s parking area.
12-11 Mutual 4 4:51 p.m.
A member reported a man followed her vehicle. When she stopped, he got out of his vehicle and shouted at her that she ran a stop sign.
12-12 Mutual 17 4:40 p.m.
A golf cart was parked in a carport space preventing a member from accessing his storage area.
12-12 Mutual 1 12:01 a.m.
A member’s son changed the oil and other fluids in his vehicle in the carport. An officer located the vehicle and issued a citation.
12-13 Credit Union 7:10 p.m.
A silent alarm went off in the Credit Union. An officer met police. The building was empty.
12-14 St. Andrews Gate 11:14 a.m.
A member reported a black truck nearly struck his vehicle as he was leaving the gate. The truck failed to stop at the stop sign outside the gate.
12-16 Mutual 5 11:28 a.m.
A member called another member a name, and threatened to cut her neck.
12-17 Mutual 9 2:40 p.m.
A man was approaching various Members representing himself as from Meals on Wheels. He attempted to enter their apartments. Security Chief Jaime Guerrero located the man going into an apartment. Police responded, and he was escorted from Leisure World.
12-20 Mutual 12 4 p.m.
A contractor’s truck was reported parked in a red zone yet again. At the request of the mutual president, they were told to leave LW. community.
12-20 Mutual 2 4:50 p.m.
An officer observed a young couple arguing over child custody. Police responded.