By: Michelle Donaghy, Pediatric Sleep Consultant – Certified Gentle Sleep Coach
Daylight savings time is upon us once again. Sunday March 10th at 2am our clocks with move forward 1 hour. I enjoy the extra daylight but as a parent it means I need to adjust my children’s sleep schedule.
To help your children adjust to the new schedule try these tips:
· Start (3-5 days) the before the time change - adjust their bedtime and naptime gradually by moving it UP 15 minutes every few days until the new time is reached.
· Adjust their nap times and wake times in synch with the earlier bedtime schedule you are following.
· Make sure they are well napped while you are adjusting to the time change.
· Have a relaxing bedtime routine with a specific set of steps to sign bedtime. It doesn’t have to be long, but it should be the same routine every night to sign sleep is coming.
· Make sure they are going into their bed/crib drowsy but awake (bedtime is the easiest time to fall asleep independently).
· Use lots of morning light to help reset their circadian rhythm or body clock.
It will likely take a week to adjust to the new time.
For kids that are having early rising problems this time change should actually help. Since we are moving time forward, that 5am riser will now be waking at 6am. But the trick is to not adjust their bedtime the full hour earlier, maybe only 1/2 hour - otherwise their lil bodies will likely move that wake up time toooo early again after a week or so. Again, make sure they are going to bed awake otherwise this problem will show itself in other ways.
If you find this article after the time change and don’t have time to plan you can still use these tips. Don’t put your child to bed the full hour earlier but gradually instead. For example if she usually goes down at 8:00pm, for example, have her in bed by 7:45 the first few nights and 7:30 the next few nights until the new time is
I hope these tips help you and your children adjust to the new time so you can enjoy the extra day light with lots of fun!
Look for my next blog post where we will talk more about Healthy Sleep Habits for your Children and I will answer more of your questions. If you have a question you would like me to answer please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll include it in a future blog.
By: Maurene Merritt RN
It is not what we are afraid in childbirth that can hurt us, because in all probability you will not experience it. To prove that to the part of yourself that needs to be convinced, try this 2 minute exercise. Make three columns and label the first column, Experiences that you were afraid of but did anyway, in the second column, identify what you were afraid of, and the third, what actually happened. Be specific. So for example, if you identify going to graduate school as something that you did and feared failure, ask yourself what is it about failure that you were afraid of? Or, in regard to childbirth, if you fear pain, what it is about pain that you are afraid of? The more specific you can be with exploring your fears, the less power they will have over you. When I taught this at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, MA for a small group of couples committed to natural childbirth, they were softened by their reflections, and felt more confident moving forward with their intentions. I hope you too will enjoy the same.
Although fear is mostly benign, what can reek havoc and dismantle our lives,leaving us stunned and in need of repair are those unexpected surprises. Unfortunately, there is little we can do about preventing them (although Karmic law says that the more enlightened we become, the greater power we have to draw near positive, uplifting experiences - for another blog!). What we can do though, if we are wise and brave is take up the work of putting ourselves back together again. Consider that when we do, the hard-wiring of our being in charge of gathering and making sense of our world gets rewired so that we become heavier in the parts of ourselves that needs to be and feel fully vested in survival, safety, unconsciously, confidently grounded, agile. Because our childbirth experiences are often full of unexpected surprises, processing the experience is a very powerful way to deeply ground yourself in the here and now. Then, we are freer to light on other parts of ourselves that relishes reflection, contemplation and enjoys the artistic expression of our journey through writing, painting, movement, and music.
Yoga is a practice that provides for the work of putting ourselves back together, and what is so splendidly beautiful to witness is that healing just happens, like the birth of another brilliant shining start in the black velvet sky, or the sound of another baby's first cry. It just happens, seamlessly, organically, miraculously.
I would love to hear your experiences from the above exercise. Please share below to further assimilate your experience and help others do the same.
Together, forever, in our hearts,
*reprinted with full permission from http://www.birthblessingsyoga.blogspot.com/
That’s me in Hamburg, searching for a new path!
Contrary to popular opinion, I did not start out with this much confidence at birth, far from it! In fact, I fought very hard to win my courage, confidence and charisma over the years.
Growing up, I was a shy, quiet, bookish kid, tall and smart with braces and all kinds of awkward. Plus, I was a major perfectionist. I know, right? It was kind of isolating! In high school and then in college, I purposefully pushed my boundaries and comfort zones – mainly with theater-related activities – to break out of my introverted shell. Things went fairly well, but I really didn’t have a plan or any kind of direction.
Truth is, I also had less than a stellar record in the romance department, repeatedly setting my Self up for failure with guys who either weren’t right for me or weren’t ready for me. So when I met a clean-cut, well-dressed, seemingly successful young European guy at a wedding and we connected immediately, I was thrilled at my turn of fortune. Half a year later, I moved to Germany to be closer to him, leaving family, friends and everything else I knew. At the time, I saw it as my chance to finally have that European adventure I’d been yearning for. But when I got there, it was not nearly as much fun as I’d expected.
Living in another country when you don’t speak the language is a real drag! During those first few years, my confidence underwent daily trauma. Every day, I felt less than adequate without the most basic language skills to find a bathroom, count money, or tell someone off when they took my parking space! More and more, while I toiled at learning the language I simply relied on my boyfriend to speak for me.
I married the boyfriend a few years later, fought hard to learn his language and eventually became fluent. Even so, after 15 years of regular practice, that abdication of my voice became the very thing that drove my confidence to an incredible low point and the very thing that allowed my (ex-) husband to control me, box me in and isolate me over time.
After my daughter was born, our relationship was so unbalanced that we rarely had a conversation without screaming at each other. It took me years to get up the courage to leave. I was alone in Germany with no plan, no job, no savings, no assets. One day, I had lunch with a friend and told her how he had shouted at me (again) because he found out I had told my friends that we rented our apartment instead of buying it. He claimed that that kind of “gossip” had caused him to lose a big business deal. I told my friend at lunch that I felt like I should be in a witness protection program.
That’s when the EXIT sign finally lit up in my head. Three months later, I got up the courage to tell him I didn’t love him anymore and couldn’t continue living with him.
In the end, it was clear that over the years, I had learned a lot and realized lots of positive things about my Self. I had made it through a very big storm and emerged to find… me! It was just a tiny glimmer of me, but it was a start. I had spent close to 20 years in a marriage that I allowed to stifle my true Self. Once I finally got up the courage to leave my life in Europe and return to my incredibly generous family on Cape Cod, I began an amazing healing process filled with tons of strength-building, confidence-inspiring experiences.
Once I gained a little distance, I saw that I had also allowed my relationship to stifle my power, authenticity, creativity and ultimately, my success in life. Slowly, I repaired my confidence and became my Self again, only better!
Soon I realized I had lots of experience and information to offer people going through the same kinds of situations. I also realized that the processes of gaining courage, building confidence and tapping into our innate charisma can be very challenging! The charisma piece can be especially daunting because we often shut down our sexuality in times of stress. Sometimes, we don’t even realize that we’ve shut out our girly girl until we are walking around with spiky short hair, what my daughter calls “man shoes” and a hard shell around our hearts that translates into a very tough attitude. My goal is to coax as many women as possible away from those “man shoes” and into a pair of flirty, sexy high heels and help them SIZZLE!
Throw the following into a blender and serve:
2 Tblsp Almond butter
1/3 c Almond Milk
2 scp Vanilla Icecream or yogurt
Feel free to add/sub etc and make iyour own! What's your favorite smoothie recipe?
Share it with other Cape Cod Moms and send a picture with the recipe, we'd love to feature it in our Smoothie Recipe Contest! Email all entries to email@example.com by 9pm on Monday 3/4/13 and then our readers will vote on their favorites! One lucky Reader will receive a gift certificate to the Common Ground Cafe in Hyannis which has some pretty amazing smoothies themselves!
Thank you to psychologist and author, John Rosemond for allowing me to share a section of his instruction on toilet training from his superb book, John Rosemond’s New Parent Power!, with all of you at Cape Cod Mommies!
By Tracy Lamperti,
Psychotherapist, Educator, Consultant
As a new mom 13 years ago, it wasn’t long before I was fully immersed in the questions of toilet training. My mother informed me that her children were fully trained around one year of age! Really Mom?? Hmmm. That just clearly wasn’t going to happen with my first child! But I also knew that my very bright two year old was capable of many things and somehow it just seemed a bit insulting to him to be changing his diaper at a certain point. The pull-ups seemed like such a good idea, but essentially ended up just being a different type of (less absorbent) diaper.
One day, we were well into the toilet training process and I knew my son was aware of his body, what it did, and what he was supposed to do. I watch as he made a choice to continue to play, in lieu of stopping to go to the potty. The result…he wet his pants. The result of wetting his pants, I punished him.
I relayed this story to the moms, (my new best friends in my “mommy and me” group), where we shared all of the business of our children. The response was a mixture of silence and outrage. “I would NEVER punish a two year old for wetting his pants!” I like and respect these moms very much, but we didn’t see eye to eye on
The punishment was the loss of a toy and there was no amount of shaming on my part. It was very simple.
“You knew that you had to go potty and you chose to keep playing instead. Next time, stop playing for the brief moment that it will take you to go potty and then get right back to playing.”
That’s all from me for now. I encourage your comments at the end of this blog post. Some of you will agree, some not.
Thank you again to John Rosemond for allowing me to share his work!
Please visit his Amazon page here.
Please visit his website here.
And his facebook pagehere.
Please see www.tracylamperti.com for more information about working with children and families.
If you would like 1:1 assistance, please contact Tracy Lamperti for a consultation.
Tracy Lamperti, LMHC, BCETS
Psychotherapist, Educator, Consultant
By: Meghan Kemp
Ten years ago, I moved to this little spit of land sticking out into the ocean. I fell in love with a Cape Codderand this became my home. The one problem – I had no friends! This can be an isolating place to live and I was certainly missing the comfort and support friendships can bring. I didn’t realize quite how hard it would be to make friends here! It’s a lot like dating, except you’re trying to pick up friends instead of a hot date.
I’d meet someone at work or elsewhere and try to build up a rapport. Nervously I would think, should I give her my number? Is that too forward? Am I moving too fast? I made a few friends this way, but I was still looking for those core, bosom friends (you Anne of Green Gables fans know what I’m talking about).
A few years went by and I had my first baby. And mamas, I have to tell you this, one of my first thoughts after finding out I was pregnant was that I was totally going to use that baby to gain entrée to new friendships
among Cape Cod mommies.
So I pop out this adorable baby and am ready to start making friends, but first I needed to get over my fear of leaving my house in the height of winter with a new baby. Dude, I was completely freaked out. Would I put her in the car seat right, would I slide off the road, what if a snowflake touched her precious baby skin?! Looking back it’s clear that there were some post-partum depression issues going on here, but I didn’t have any mama friends yet who would say gently but firmly, “Lady, you’ve got the crazies, time to deal with that.” When Fiona was four months old, all three of us came down with a horrible, disgusting stomach bug. I really needed a mama friend to help, even just to bring us some ginger ale. I felt very, very alone. And also very vomit-y.
At this point I decided come hell or high-water, I was going to make friends. I needed a support system and if it wasn’t going to magically show up on my doorstep, I was going to create it. I started attending every playgroup on the lower-Cape and through one of these I met my first bosom friends. And here’s the awesome part, they are the gift that keeps on giving. They have connected me to more friends, and they have connected me to even more. I love these ladies and together we comfort and support one another as we navigate parenting, jobs, relationships, and living on this crazy, awesome peninsula.
When I had my second child, one of these mamas said “Lady, you’ve got the crazies, time to deal with that.” And she and my other mamas helped me deal with post-partum depression, get the care I needed, and supported me as I got better and better (and sometimes worse).
Sometimes, as mamas, we are tired. We have given of ourselves all day to so many others. Sometimes it is hard to find a little additional energy to put towards building and maintaining a friendship. But please, do it. Do it for yourself, because you deserve a friend. You deserve someone that will bring you ginger ale when everyone is puking in your house. Who will take the kids for a few hours so you can go have your pap smear in peace. And return the favor, because it feels good to help out these ladies that you love. And you know what, I feel like the luckiest lady in the world to have these smart, wonderful, challenging, brave mamas supporting me, pushing me, and loving me.
Do you have a mama support group? Tell me how you’ve met your best mama friends! Do you need help connecting with other mamas? Let me know and I’ll point you in the right direction. I can be a mama friend match-maker, woohoo!
By: Sarah Nitsch
When was the last time you had a meaningful conversation. It seems when I talk with my friends these days we jump from topic to topic, are interrupted by children, phone calls, texts, emails, you name it. The meaningful conversation has gone by the wayside. My son will stop his Father and I from talking saying exactly that“stop talking,” so we stop and explain that sometimes Mom’s and Dad’s need to talk about things and then when we he goes off to play, and we start to get back into it we realize we have no idea what we were talking about. Perhaps it’s the “Mom brain” the busyness of day-to-day life, the exhaustion, but my goal is to get back to a meaningful conversation with a beginning and end.
Not that I mind the sparse chit chat here and there, it’s actually is nice to trade a few words here and there and then run after your three-year-old. It keeps things light and each of us gets something out of it. A parenting tip, a recipe snippet, a joke, a cute story, and then we move on. Group party’s seem to be the toughest area for this, there is no way to really stop and have a full conversation if the kids are involved, and when the adults are in excess I seem to feel the need to check in with everyone before time gets away from me. Hmm, maybe it’s the people pleaser in me.
At night my 3-year-old son and I have pillow talk, after his bath and book he and I lie down on his pillows and chat about the day and what’s coming up the next day. Anything he wants to talk about, what behavior I want to bring up to him, listening is a big thing these days. He keeps saying“I’m gonna work on it.” I think once he’s asleep though it all seeps out of his mind. Lol. Then I remember he’s only three. After he does close his eyes and I’m downstairs emptying my DVR I do have some quality texts and facebook postings with my friends. So maybe the face to face conversation is getting away from me, but the meaningful texts that make me smile and laugh throughout the day are enough I think to check in and know we are all out there getting through it.
I know many people say we are becoming more out of touch due to all of our devices cell phones, iPads, laptops, but maybe they are bringing us even closer together since we all have so much going on. I do like to unplug when the kids are around and my focus becomes about the family. But I think when you have a lot of people you are close with and tend to hang out with, a short message on facebook or a quick text to check in is an easy way to let your friends know that you are here for them if only across town in the comfort of your own home. No matter how we do it, we will get back to our meaningful conversations, no matter how long or short they may be. By phone, text, FB message, email, as long as we stay connected in one form or another.
By Judy Langelier
Make sure you know what you are giving your child. As parents we try so hard to keep our children safe and healthy. We ask the advice of our elders and professionals, and hope we are doing the best we can. Then you find an article that says something you have been giving your child for months, maybe even years
could be harmful to them and could even do permanent damage.
This is what happened to a number of parents at our center with an article about MiraLAX. MiraLAX is a gentle laxative typically prescribed to adults for use up to a week. MiraLAX contains Polyethylene Glycol 3350, which works to replenish water in the digestive system to relieve constipation. But MiraLAX was never meant to be prescribed for children, and now has become a household staple for infant parents. So as parents, what do we do? Do we believe it? Do we stop giving it? What do you think?
Here are some more discussions on the use of MiraLAX for infants:
NY Times Article on MiraLAX May, 2012
TheBump.com community forum on MiraLAX
Judy Langelieris the Lead InfantTeacher at The Children’s Workshop in South Dennis, MA. A loving Mother and Grandmother, Judy has over 20 years of experience in the early education and child care industry. Judy has been with The Children’s Workshop since the South Dennis location opened in 2008. Every day she shares her knowledge, wisdom and nurturing experience with the teachers, students and families that frequent her center. For this reason, she was granted the 2012 Star Educator Award, which recognizes the top educator out of The Children’s Workshop’s 19 early learning centers.
By Tracy Lamperti,
Psychotherapist, Educator, Consultant
Whether your children are twins, 13 months apart or 5 years apart, they can be best friends into old age!
1. Define your intentions. – ex. My children will be kind to each other, look out for each other and have fun together.
2. Examine your beliefs and stereotypes and see how they are interfering with how you parent your children. – ex. Nobody’s children get along. Someday when they are older they will start getting along better.
3. Develop actions that match your intentions.
Key Actions that Help Facilitate Positive Sibling Relationships
#1 – Parents as Primary Role Models
1. Show your children by example with their other parent and other adults in their life that people treat people kindly. We don’t scream at each other, talk over each other, storm around or lose our temper as a general rule. On the occasion where you handle something poorly, demonstrate that when you love someone, you return to the battle ground and work it out calmly.
2. Show your children by example that you, as the parent, maintain a healthy temperament under stress. Most parents can give at least a few examples where they have handled a situation with their child the wrong way. That is understandable and expectable. Let those times be the exception. Get the support (or rest) that you need so that these are the exceptions. The primary reason for parents losing their cool with their child is that the parent doesn’t have enough strategies to deal with typical pesky child behavior. Parents tend to scream at and wack a child when they don’t have a good set of plans and resources up their sleeve.
#2 – Time and Value
I firmly believe that there is just no time for TV. Well, just a little bit of time. To have a felt sense of value in the family, children need your time. This does not mean scheduling your children for every possible activity and accompanying them. It means getting down on the floor and building something with them, or having them pound a piece of dough while you make dinner, or walking on the beach. Each child needs their own time and family time. They need to learn how to share and get along, and they need to know that their individual needs and desires are important to you as well.
#3 – Winning Teams Have Awesome Leaders
A family is like a team. The leader sets the tone. If the leader is stressed, an ineffective communicator, depressed or absent a majority of the time, the team won’t know what to do. Parents should work together, pay attention, adjust the atmosphere according to the family needs. Develop a list of the “10 Commandments of This Family” or maybe it is “3 Basic Rules that this Family Never Breaks.” Maybe it is a list of qualities of the family, like a “Family Crest.” If there is a rule, No TV During Dinner, then, no TV during dinner. Think carefully about the rules you set because they shouldn’t be broken by anyone, even you.
#4 – Working Together to Accomplish a Goal
Children who succeed are children who have a great support system. If 3 year old Julie is having trouble counting to 10, the whole family makes a commitment to help her achieve that goal. Mom helps her count out 10 carrot sticks, her 5 year old brother lines up matchbox cars for counting, Daddy comes home and has her count how many times Rover barks to say hello to Daddy.
#5 – Everyone Needs Down Time
Children, like adults, need their own space and their own things. There needs to be a balance between cheerfully giving your time when you would rather be alone, and, being alone. Older children need to be taught that they are of value to a younger child. They might want to shake that younger child off, but you can help them learn the rewards of giving their time and that this gift will come back to them in a closer relationship with their sibling. Assure them that it is not about you needing them to “babysit” and that you will shelter their time as well and make sure the younger sibling has other things to do.
#6 – Fairly Unfair
Children need to learn early on that they are not the center of the universe. Life is not always fair. Sometimes a sibling requires more attention. Sometimes two get punished when in fact one did start it. The
most important part is for parents to remember not to favor one child over the other and not to take sides. This serves to break down the healthy relationship with the parent AND the relationship between the siblings. Ensure children that you know that each of them have strengths and things they need to improve. In fact, one child might have a particularly challenging temperament. Encourage their sibling that if they learn to handle it properly, they will be gaining important skills for life.
#7 – Family Time
Have many family times that are sacred, or set apart from the ordinary. Whether it is a family vacation, dinner times, game night, etc., make it a time when arguing or fighting is not permitted. Remember, it is the parents that set the tone for the family.
Most people don’t like to admit it, but the natural tendency is NOT to get along, but to conflict. People, and
particularly children are self-centered. If you want your children to be best friends, you have to believe that they CAN be best friends and then make actions that will match your intentions.
Please see www.tracylamperti.com for more information about working with children and families.
If you would like 1:1 assistance, please contact Tracy Lamperti for a consultation.
Tracy Lamperti, LMHC, BCETS
By: Gary M. DellaPosta, CPA
Consumers should protect themselves against online identity theft and other scams that increase during--and after--the filing season. Such scams may appropriate the name, logo, or other appurtenances of the IRS or U.S. Department of the Treasury to mislead taxpayers into believing the communication is legitimate.
The Internal Revenue Service receives thousands of reports each year from taxpayers who receive suspicious emails, phone calls, faxes or notices claiming to be from the IRS. Many of these scams fraudulently use the IRS name or logo as a lure to make the communication appear more authentic and enticing. The goal of these scams, referred to as phishing, is to trick you into revealing your personal and financial information. The scammers can then use your information -- like your Social Security number, bank account or credit card numbers -- to commit identity theft or steal your money.
Scams involving the impersonation of the IRS usually take the form of e-mails, tweets, or other online messages to consumers. Scammers may also use phones and faxes to reach intended victims. Some scammers set up phony Web sites.
The IRS and E-mail
Generally, the IRS does not send unsolicited e-mails to taxpayers. Further, the IRS does not discuss tax account information with taxpayers via e-mail or use e-mail to solicit sensitive financial and personal information from taxpayers. The IRS does not request financial account security information, such as passwords and PIN numbers, from taxpayers.
Most Scams Impersonating the IRS are Identity Theft Schemes In this type of scam, the scammer poses as a legitimate institution to trick consumers into revealing personal and financial information - such as passwords and Social Security, PIN, bank account and credit card numbers - that can be used to gain access to their bank, credit card, or other financial accounts.
Attempted identity theft scams that take place via e-mail are known as phishing. Other scams may try to persuade a victim to advance sums of money in the hope of realizing a larger gain. These are known as advance fee scams.
How an Identity Theft Scam Works
Typically, a consumer will receive an e-mail that claims to come from the IRS or Treasury Department. The message will contain an enticing or intimidating subject line, such as "Tax Refund," "Inherited Funds," or "IRS Notice." Usually, the message will state that the recipient needs to provide the IRS with information to obtain the refund or avoid some penalty. The message will instruct the consumer to open an attachment or click on a link in the e-mail. This may lead to an official-looking IRS Web site. The look-alike site will then contain a phony but genuine-looking online form or interactive application that requires personal and financiaL information, which the scammer then uses to commit identity theft.
Alternatively, the clicked link may secretly download malware to theconsumer's computer. Malware is malicious code that can take over the computer's hard drive, giving the scammer remote access to the computer, or it could look for passwords and other information and send them to the scammer.
Phony Web or Commercial Sites
In many IRS-impersonation scams, the scammer sends the consumer to a phony Web site that mimics the appearance of the genuine IRS Web site, IRS.gov. This allows the scammer to steer victims to phony interactive forms or applications that appear genuine but require the targeted victim to enter personal and
financial information that will be used to commit identity theft.
The official Web site for the Internal Revenue Service is IRS.gov, and all IRS.gov Web page addresses begin with http://www.irs.gov/.
In addition to Web sites established by scammers, there are commercial Internet sites that often resemble the authentic IRS site or contain some form of the IRS name in the address but end with a .com, .net, .org, or other designation instead of .gov. These sites have no connection to the IRS. Consumers may unknowingly visit these sites when searching the Internet to retrieve tax forms, publications, and other information from the IRS.
Frequent or Recent Scams
There are a number of scams that impersonate the IRS. Some of them appear with great frequency, particularly during and right after filing season, and recur annually. Others are new.
Refund Scam: This is the most frequent IRS-impersonation scam seen by the IRS. In this phishing scam, a bogus e-mail claiming to come from the IRS tells the consumer that he or she is eligible to receive a tax refund for a specified amount. It may use the phrase "last annual calculations of your fiscal activity." To claim the tax refund, the consumer must open an attachment or click on a link contained in the e-mail to access and complete a claim form. The form requires the entry of personal and financial information. Several
variations on the refund scam have claimed to come from the Exempt Organizations area of the IRS or the name and signature of a genuine or made-up IRS executive. In reality, taxpayers do not need to complete a special form to obtain their federal tax refund. Refunds are triggered by the tax return they submitted to
Lottery winnings or cash consignment: These advance fee scam e-mails claim to come from the Treasury Department to notify recipients that they'll receive millions of dollars in recovered funds, lottery winnings, or
cash consignment if they provide certain personal information, including phone numbers, via return e-mail. The e-mail may be just the first step in a multi-step scheme in which the victim is later contacted by telephone or further e-mail and instructed to deposit taxes on the funds or winnings before they can receive any of it. Alternatively, they may be sent a phony check of the funds or winnings and told to deposit it but pay 10 percent in taxes or fees. Thinking that the check must have cleared the bank and is genuine, some people comply. However, the scammers, not the Treasury Department, will get the taxes or fees. In reality, the Treasury Department does not become involved in notification of inheritances or lottery or other winnings.
Beneficial Owner Form: This fax-based phishing scam, which generally targets foreign nationals, recurs periodically. It's based on a genuine IRS form, the W-8BEN, Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner
for United States Tax Withholding. The scammer, though, invents his or her own number and name for the form. The scammer modifies the form to request passport numbers, information that is often used for account security purposes (such as mother's maiden name), and similar detailed personal and financial information,
and states that the recipient may have to pay additional tax if he or she fails to immediately fax back the completed form. In reality, the real W-8BEN is completed by banks, not individuals.
Other Known Scams
The contents of other IRS-impersonation scams vary but may claim that the recipient will be paid for participating in an online survey or is under investigation or audit. Some scam e-mails have referenced Recovery-related tax provisions, such as Making Work Pay, or solicited for charitable donations to victims of natural disasters. Taxpayers should beware an e-mail scam that references underreported income and the recipient's "tax statement," since clicking on a link or opening an attachment is known to download malware onto the recipient's computer.
How to Spot a Scam
Many e-mail scams are fairly sophisticated and hard to detect. However, there are signs to watch for, such as an e-mail that:
~ Requests detailed or an unusual amount of personal and/or financial information, such as name, SSN, bank or credit card account numbers, or security-related information, such as mother's maiden name, either in the e-mail itself or on another site to which a link in the e-mail sends the recipient;
~ dangles bait to get the recipient to respond to the e-mail, such as mentioning a tax refund or offering to pay the recipient to participate in an IRS survey;
~ threatens a consequence for not responding to the e-mail, such as additional taxes or blocking access to the recipient's funds;
~ gets the Internal Revenue Service or other federal agency names wrong;
~ uses incorrect grammar or odd phrasing (many of the e-mail scams originate overseas and are written by non-native English speakers);
~ uses a really long address in any link contained in the e-mail message or one that does not start with the actual IRS Web site address (http://www.irs.gov). The actual link's address, or url, is revealed by moving the mouse over the link included in the text of the e-mail.
What to Do
Taxpayers who receive a suspicious e-mail claiming to come from the IRS should take the following steps:
~ Do not open any attachments to the e-mail, in case they contain malicious code that will infect your computer.
~ Do not click on any links, for the same reason. Alternatively, the links may connect to a phony IRS Web site that appears authentic and then prompts for personal identifiers, bank or credit card account numbers, or PINs.
~ Do not respond to the email. Instead, visit the IRS website to use the "Where's My Refund?" interactive tool to determine if you are really getting a refund.
~ Forward the suspicious e-mail or url address to the IRS mailbox firstname.lastname@example.org, and then delete the e-mail from your inbox. Alternatively, you can visit the IRS website and click on "Report Phishing" at the bottom of the home page.
~ Consumers who believe they are or may be victims of identity theft or other scams may visit the U.S. Federal Trade Commission website for guidance on what to do. The IRS is one of the sponsors of this site.
If you've received an email claiming to be from the IRS, call us to talk it over before taking any action. We don't want you to fall victim to a scam.
Cape Cod Moms