THE MALDEN ADVOCATE–Friday, June 10, 2022 Page 19 Will Hurricane Season Be Starting Earlier? While NWS considers moving the Atlantic storm season up 2 weeks, BoatUS has the goods on how to prepare your boat now S PRINGFIELD, Va., May 16, 2022 – No, you’re not going crazy. The current six-month Atlantic Hurricane Season, set in 1965, begins June 1 and runs through November 30. But if you have a recreational boat on the Eastern Seaboard or Gulf, you’ve likely noticed that the last seven annual hurricane seasons have experienced some type of tropical storm system in May – or earlier. Those early forming storms are now leading the National Weather Service to consider officially moving the hurricane season up two weeks to May 15. What’s a boater to do? “You can’t change hurricane season, but you can set up a customized hurricane plan for your boat now,” says Scott Croft, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) vice president, Public Affairs. Researchers from Colorado State University are predicting another active Atlantic hurricane season for 2022 with 19 named storms and nine expected to reach hurricane strength (winds of 74 mph or greater). BoatUS notes it is the wind-driven storm surge of water that causes the most damage to recreational vessels as docks and infrastructure are torn apart and lowland boat storage areas flood. BoatUS, the national advocacy, services and safety group for boat owners with more than 800,000 members, has free recreational boat-, yacht club-, and marina-preparation information at BoatUS.com/Hurricanes. Also offered is an extensive library of hurricane-preparation videos and BoatUS Magazine articles containing proven tips and techniques amassed from the nearly four decades of poststorm recreational vessel recovery, salvage, and wreck removal experience. “How to Find and Fix Potential Breaking Points on Your Boat” and “How Not to Read a Hurricane Map” are just a couple of the helpful short reads available. More extensive downloadable guides include “BoatUS Magazine Hurricane Preparations” and “Preparing Boats and Marinas for Hurricanes” and an easy-to-download “BoatUS Hurricane Preparation WorkAG’s Office issues warning about scams targeting friends and family of incarcerated people A ttorney General Maura Healey is partnering with the Massachusetts Department of Correction (DOC), Prisoners’ Legal Services (PLS) and the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association (MSA) to advise residents with incarcerated loved ones to be wary of scams that offer to make or improve connections between those in correctional facilities and their friends and families for a fee. These scams target the families and friends of people who are currently incarcerated, offering deceptive or fake services that are often advertised online, over social media and in print media. In some cases, scammers purportedly offer supplemental calling plans, including false promises of “unlimited minutes,” to connect with incarcerated people. However, Massachusetts does not currently offer unlimited calling plans in any jail, House of Correction or prison. Ultimately, these scams fail to provide promised services, even after taking hundreds of dollars from consumers. “Scammers will use any opportunity to seek financial gain, including taking advantage of family and friends looking to connect with their incarcerated loved ones,” said Healey. “We are working with community advocates and our partners in law enforcement to ensure our residents know how to protect themselves from fraud and deceptive services and that they can report any instances of these scams to my office. It is important that incarcerated individuals are able to connect with the people closest to them without their loved ones becoming victims of fraud.” “The Sheriffs stand united that one of our highest priorities is keeping incarcerated individuals connected to family members, friends and outside support systems,” said Suffolk County Sheriff/MSA President Steven Tompkins. “We want to warn citizens that these are most definitely scams and urge them to take the proper precautions. Taking advantage of people who are already dealing with the stress and emotional toll of having a loved one who is incarcerated is especially repugnant. Protecting our incarcerated individuals and their families from those who would prey on them must remain a top priority.” “The Department of Correction recognizes the importance of connected relationships of family and friends with their loved ones in our custody,” said the Department of Corrections’ Commissioner Carol Mici. “This collaboration with the Attorney General’s office will help to ensure this connection continues while thwarting opportunities for fraud.” “It is too often the case that families who are already financially burdened and disproportionately people of color are also preyed upon by people seeking to take advantage of the painful experience of being separated from a loved one who is incarcerated,” said Prisoners’ Legal Services Executive Director Elizabeth Matos. “We appreciate the Attorney General’s efforts to ensure that families and communities are not being scammed in this way.” The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, DOC, PLS and MSA are encouraging residents to take the following steps to protect themselves from fraud and targeted scams: • Be cautious before posting about incarcerated loved ones on social media, as scammers looking for targets might try scanning social media activity. • Before signing up for a service, check the business’s website to make sure they offer reputable and legitimate services and to see if they have negative reviews. • Confirm that you can contact the business/organization via phone, email, live chat or through their website. • Look out for all fees that will apply and check the business’s refund policy. • Avoid offers that come from social media and, in particular, from questionable businesses or organizations that operate solely on Facebook or other social media websites. • Avoid unsolicited offers from sources you don’t trust or know, including texts and phone calls, unless you can confirm that the product or service is legitimate. SCAMS | SEE PAGE 22 S hortages in the supply of baby formula are leading new moms to find other ways of finding the much-needed item - and risking themselves to potential online scams. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it is taking proactive measures to increase supply to help ease the shortage. According to the 2021 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report, online shopping scams are the riskiest. With the current supply issues on many items, including formula, scammers are watching. How it works An ad, post, or social media group posts they have baby formula available. The buyer contacts the seller via chat or direct message, showing photos of the cans available. The buyer makes a payment through a peer-to-peer platform such as PayPal (a BBB Accredited Business) or Venmo (a BBB Accredited Business), but the formula never arrives. Signs of a potential online purchase scam include: • Positive reviews on the website that have been copied from honest sites or created by scammers. Be aware, some review websites claim to be independent but are funded by scammers. Check BBB.org. • No indication of a brick-andmortar address or the address shows on a Google map as a parking lot, residence, or unrelated business than what is listed on the website. • Misspellings, grammatical errors, or other descriptive language that is inconsistent with the product. • The seller advertises on a social media site and is communicative until the payment is made. Once the payment clears, they are unreachable. Check out the website before making a purchase: • Visit BBB.org to check a business’s rating and BBB accreditation status. Impostors have been known to copy the BBB seal. If it is real, clicking on the seal will lead to the company’s BBB profile on BBB.org - check the domain of the URL. BABY FORMULA | SEE PAGE 26 Putting together a hurricane plan today will make preparations easier when a storm approaches – and you will already have everything you need. (Credit: Stacey Nedrow-Wigmore/BoatUS) sheet” to take with you to the boat. To help know when to prepare, an Active Storm Tracker helps keep boaters up to date on the direction and intensity of incoming storms, and the BoatUS App offers text alerts. BBB Warning: Baby formula shortage leads to potential scams

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