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From The Mayor: Watch Out For Package & Data Theft and Scams This Time of Year PDF Print Email

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By Mary Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville

Dec. 11, 2019:  During this joyous time of the year, when our shopping goes into overdrive, sadly, we have to be mindful that there are thieves who will use our purchasing power as an opportunity to steal. Package thieves, in particular, are hard at work during the holiday season. The pickings are ripe when you can drive through a neighborhood and see packages sitting on front porches that won’t be touched for hours. To avoid this scenario, there are alternatives when gifts need to be shipped to you.

Package Delivery Safety

Perhaps send them to your office, though, due to the increased volume of packages, many businesses are no longer receptive to the idea of your personal purchases being delivered to your place of business. As a result, Amazon has over 100 “hub lockers” in Manhattan alone that are secure delivery sites.

Request re-route or re-delivery. You can request a package be held at the delivery facility or rerouted to another location or delivered on another day if you know your home will be unattended on the projected delivery date.

Call UPS or FedEx once you have a tracking number and have them hold the package at their facility for pick up later.

Ask a neighbor who may be at home more often than you are to receive your packages.

Purchase a new mailbox with secured access.

Doorbell video cameras have also proven to be a great deterrent. As a point of fact, 100,000 of these were sold nationwide in 2015 vs. 1.2 million sold so far this year.

In a recent article on the subject in the New York Times, it was noted that over 90,000 packages a day are stolen or disappear without explanation in New York City. This is an increase of approximately 20% just from four years ago, and the Times estimated that about 15% of all deliveries nationwide in urban areas fail to reach customers.

It is estimated that one in five citizens has had a package stolen, and the FBI estimates the number to be much higher as people often seek reimbursement from the online retailer or credit card company and never report to police departments.

Data Theft

According to the IRS, more than 90% of all data thefts begin with email phishing scams. The most common way to steal identities is simply by asking for them. The favorite tactic is a phishing email baiting users into opening them by posing as trusted companies such as a bank, a favorite retailer, or even a tax professional. They usually tell an urgent story such as there’s a problem with your account or your order, and then their message instructs you to open an embedded link or download an attachment.

Using strong passwords and keeping them secure are critical steps to preventing thieves from stealing identities, money, or even information to file a fraudulent tax return. In recent years, cyber security experts’ recommendation on what constitutes a strong password has changed. They now suggest people use phrases that are easy to remember, rather than random letters, characters, and numbers that cannot be readily recalled. For example, experts previously suggested PXro 30) as a strong password type sequence but now suggest longer phrases such as “something you can remember @30”. By using a memorable phrase, users don’t have to write down their password and expose it to additional risk. Also, people may be more willing to use stronger, longer passwords if it’s a phrase rather than random characters that are harder to remember. The experts recommend using a minimum of eight characters, but even longer is better and use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.

General Purchasing Scams

As a rule, do not pay for items or donate via a wire transfer, prepaid card, or even bank to bank account transfer.

The best chance of recovering stolen money is by using a credit card. Never click on a link from an email, instead use the web browser to go directly to the organization or retailers’ website. Be wary of anyone making demands by email or phone and requesting to be sent prepaid gift cards. Scammers may try to pose as your employer, friend, family member, or a local charity. This actually happened to me this week at Village Hall. Someone set up an email account with my name as the header since they didn’t know any of my personal information but just my name. Then they most likely visited the Village website and sent emails to Village employees telling them I needed them to purchase gift cards for me for holiday gifts to staff. There was no hacking. Nobody had my password. They simply chose to pose as me and took advantage of public emails on a government website. Our PD is currently trying to identify the IP address via a subpoena. We have since learned that this happened to several other municipalities in the same time frame. Step two was then asking the receiver of my request to send their personal phone number. It was only at this juncture when staffers realized it was a fraud as I have all of their numbers. The FBI estimates a collective loss of more than $184 million last year as a result of scams such as the one I described above.

Con Edison Scams

Especially at this time of potential power outages due to ice and snow and increased heating needs, scammers zero in on the power companies. If someone knocks on your door claiming to be from Con Edison, insist on seeing ID and then call 1-800-752-6633 for verification. Con Edison does not charge for smart meter installation. If you’re asked for a smart meter deposit, do not pay and call the above number. Con Edison does not demand or accept payments in gift cards or cryptocurrency. Con Edison payments can only be made through three websites, coned.comwebpayments.billmatrix.com/ConEdResidential and conEd.com/GuestPayment

Sadly, the name ConEd can even show up on your phone’s caller ID, even if a scam call.

In reference to all the above scams, if it just doesn’t feel right, call our Police Desk as they are often well aware of the scams in the area and can assist you in taking action.



Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.




 
Americans Throw Out 25% More During the Holidays. You Don’t Have To PDF Print Email

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By Ellen Edwards, Chair of the Bronxville Green Committee

Dec. 11, 2019:  According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Americans generate 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day than during any other time of the year. Here are some ways you can throw away less.

First, give experiences rather than objects as gifts: People love to receive gifts of weekend getaways, fun classes (the Bronxville Adult School and the New York Botanical Garden offer terrific classes), visits to friends and family, an afternoon at a museum, or an evening at the theater. In Bronxville and the surrounding metro area, the possibilities are practically endless. 

Second, give a gift that lasts a long time, and allows you to avoid single-use plastic. These might include a reusable mug or water bottle, a reusable “to go” container for eating out (preferably in glass or stainless steel), cloth bags for produce in the grocery store, and shopping bags, which will come in handy once the state-wide single-use plastic bag ban goes into effect on March 1st.

Third, consider focusing this holiday on giving back to the community by donating your time or funds to a local non-profit. By contributing to a Mount Vernon or Yonkers soup kitchen, for example, you’ll help to ensure that your neighbors get a warm meal and place to sit during these dark, cold days. Bronxville residents tend to be a very generous group. The challenge for you might lie in giving fewer objects as gifts and replacing them with donations. If you’re able to push past the initial resistance, might this be a step toward endowing the season with special meaning for your family, and making it even more memorable?

Fourth, encourage your family to get outdoors and enjoy nature by purchasing a 2020 Empire Pass. For $80, you receive a wallet-size pass that gives your entire family access to and parking in our great New York state’s vast network of parks for a full year. For details, click here.  Or consider an America the Beautiful Pass, which gives you access to over 2,000 federal recreation sites, including national parks and national wildlife refuges. For details, click here.

Fifth, save the paper and the ribbon: If tearing off the gift wrap is half the fun for you, by all means, indulge. But for those who like to draw out the suspense, why not carefully save the paper for another gift? And the ribbon can often be rolled up and saved. Despite what you may read on some websites, according to Melissa Rotini, a director with the county’s Department of Environmental Facilities, neither ribbon nor wrapping paper can be recycled. Some alternatives: reusable gift bags, plain brown paper, which is recyclable, or even place gifts in reusable canvas bags. You can also purchase wrapping paper made from recycled paper, which has less environmental impact. By being mindful of what you throw away, and making a few new choices, you can help keep your trash to a minimum during the holidays.

 

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.


 

 

 

 
SpringHill Suites, Tuckahoe’s Long Anticipated Hotel, Expected to Open this Month PDF Print Email

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By Katharine Outcalt

Dec. 4, 2019:  The much-anticipated hotel at 109 Marbledale Rd. in Tuckahoe is nearing completion. SpringHill Suites Tuckahoe, which is owned and operated by Marriott, will open its doors on December 19.

Located on the site of the historic Tuckahoe Marble quarry, this newly built hotel is taking a modern twist on accommodating the short or long term stay for business and leisure travelers. For those that like to maintain their routine while away from home, this hotel may be for you.

The five story hotel will offer 153 over-sized suites, each outfitted with separate ergonomic work spaces and the conveniences of coffee makers, mini-refrigerators and microwaves. The interiors are inspired by West Elm Design® with clean lines and soothing colors. Flat panel T.Vs hang in every room ready for your Hulu, Netflix, or streaming accounts.

Paul Mitchel environmentally safe products can be found in the bathrooms, and complimentary Wi-Fi is provided throughout the hotel. There is no restaurant in the hotel, but there is a full-service bar in the lobby that will feature “light evening fare.”

Complimentary breakfast is provided every morning, and guests have access to an onsite 24-hr market for grab-and-go items.

Perhaps most enticing to the weary traveler will be the hotel’s fitness center, lap pool, and self serve laundry. If that’s not their style, they can help themselves to the complimentary coffee bar, which is offered all day long.

Travelers can sip their cocktail by the hotel’s fire pit with a clear conscience knowing that the property’s water is heated by 190 solar panels, and all of its bulbs are energy-efficient LED’s.

The hotel’s “green roof,” which is covered in vegetation to encourage local ecology, also includes a rainwater collection system for use in irrigating the property. Additionally, there are two electric car charging stations in the parking lot and the hotel participates in a soap recycling program with the Clean the World Foundation.

The hotel’s General Manager is Gary Byrne. Gary grew up in a hotel in Ireland as the son of hotel owners. He has spent the majority of his career in hotel management and hospitality, most of it with Marriott Corporation. He is looking forward to becoming a part of the Tuckahoe, Eastchester and Bronxville community and has already forged friendships with several of his Marbledale Rd. neighbors.

The hotel is expected to open this month and an official Grand Opening is planned for February 2020.

 

Photo by N. Bower

 
From The Mayor: Bronxville School Second Graders Concerned About Litter, Recycling, Safety, Kindness, and More PDF Print Email

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By Mary Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville

Dec. 4, 2019: At this time of year, when thankfulness and gratitude take their rightful place in the forefront of our minds, I had the distinct pleasure of having all of our second graders from the Bronxville School visit the police department and me to talk about their community.

Their remarkable knowledge and concern about their environment filled me with thanks and gratitude that they are the next generation of Villagers to be stewards of our beautiful home. They are smart, kind, inquisitive, and thankfully and refreshingly open, free of our adult filters. (One young lady told me my skin was looking good, so whatever cream I was using, “I should keep it up.” In the middle of discussing the length of political terms, a young man just needed to know right then and there if I had any pets.

Their teachers decided to concentrate on the words of a very famous Villager, President John F. Kennedy, and the famous line in his inaugural address, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Without a moment of prompting, the students came up with so many things that they could do for the Village to make it an even better place to live.

Chief among them was the amount of litter they see both in town and near the Bronx River. They want us all to start looking down and cleaning up. They also deeply care about the environment and want us all to remember to recycle and recycle properly and believe me, they know how — from sorting to plastic caps to washing out all the containers.

Very much on their mind was the pollution caused by cars as well as the congestion in the business district. They believe every one of us should be walking more because we live so close to things and they would really like having all the stores they need - for shoes, clothing, and sports gear - right in the Village, so they are not getting in the car with their moms or dads to go to malls.

One young man even asked about the electric car chargers that we are installing in our parking lots. They are very concerned about the water quality in the Bronx River and the lack of healthy fish that can live in it. They want it cleaned up and now. Despite the sometimes dreamy look on their faces, they really don’t miss a trick and are so aware of their environment and frankly how we treat it. They want to plant trees, trees, and more trees as they understand the shade and cooling component, the beauty, and even the anti-pollution effect of the carbon dioxide.

To my surprise and delight, they also talked about making a better community by being kinder to each other, be it to their classmates or just a smile to someone walking on Pondfield Road. They all want to help a senior citizen like me to cross the street safely. Safety in general is very much on their minds. They all knew how to call 911, and they all knew their address should they need help. The students were very comforted by how fast Bronxville Police can get to them if they need help, and they knew a great deal about unlocked car thefts and house burglaries.

The police officers who toured the children through their department shared their insights as well. As predictable, they were fascinated by the cells, the police cars, and the sirens, but the officers were surprised how much they were aware of the Village cameras and the feeling of safety they got from them.

Needless to say, they were very tech-savvy. They were fascinated by the 911 system and were comforted by the fact that every police officer is a trained professional in CPR, oxygen therapy, and AED. As one young man put it succinctly, “Wow, you can shock people!” An added comfort was learning that even if they dialed 911, then hung up and said nothing, the police would still come to their door.

Upon leaving, I was asked and stumped by the meaning of the Latin Bronxville motto. Being clued in by a friend, I know it now means, “Yield not to misfortunes but advance more boldly against them.” (Taken from the Aeneid)

Believe me, if their visit to Village Hall was any indication, our young citizens have already taken these words to heart.

 

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.




 
Happy Thanksgiving From MyhometownBronxville PDF Print Email

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Nov. 27, 2019: The staff of MyhometownBronxville.com wishes you and your loved ones a very Happy Thanksgiving!  Enjoy!  

 

Photo by N. Bower

 
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