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Protect Your Identity This Tax Season

Tax season is here and we would like to share some information with you to help keep your identity safe this year.

Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your social security number and files a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. Below are some tips the IRS recommends to keep your identity safe.

Emails
Many scammers will send e-mails or reach out to you on social media claiming to be with the IRS. The IRS does not reach out to taxpayers via email or on social media.

Phone Calls
You may also receive a call from a scammer claiming that you will be punished if you do not immediately pay, do not fall for these calls. Another phone call may be from someone pretending to be with the IRS asking for financial information to send you your refund, be sure to report these calls to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Websites
Websites that do not begin with “www.irs.gov” but claim to be associated with the IRS are not real.

Protect Your Social Security Number
Any document that has your social security number on it needs to be kept in a secure, safe spot. You should always avoid carrying your social security number with you unless necessary.

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If you would like to read what else the IRS recommends in order to protect your identity, click here.

For your insurance needs, personal and business, be sure to contact Johl & Company in Westwood, NJ.

Space Heater Safety

Did you know that 25,000 house fires are caused by space heaters each year? Space heaters are a great way to keep warm, but you need to make sure they are being used properly. For everyone who uses space heaters, be sure to follow these safety tips to keep you and your home safe.

Placement
You want to keep your space heater on a hard, level surface. It should not be placed on or next to flammable objects. Keep it clear of things such as curtains, bed sheets, and your furniture. Space heaters should also be kept out of children’s room. Even if it is located in the proper spot, kids may accidentally touch it and burn themselves. You should also keep this in mind if you have pets.

Usage and Other Tips
You should only use a space heater when you are in the same room and be sure that you turn it off before you go to bed, even if it is in your room. It is a good idea to check your smoke detectors in your home as well. In the event something does happen you want to be alerted and get to safety.

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For those unexpected setbacks in life, having the right insurance can help make those situations a little easier to deal with. If you are in the market for personal insurance, such as home or auto, or a business owner looking to protect your company, be sure to contact Johl & Company and speak with an agent.

How to Properly Remove Ice from Your Car

The last thing anyone wants to do before leaving their house is spend time cleaning their car of snow and ice.

Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence for many of us living in New Jersey. The next time you have to start scraping off the ice, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Clear off the snow from the vehicle using a brush, using things like a snow shovel can scrape the paint.
  • Before you start scraping off the ice, start your car and turn on the defroster. Just make sure your car is out of the garage and in an open area. If the exhaust pipe and radiator grill are not clear, do not start the car.
  • It may seem like a quick way to melt the ice, but do not pour hot water on any of the windows. The hot water can cause the windows to crack.
  • Make sure that your windshield wipers are free of any ice. If you turn on the wipers and they are frozen to the windshield it may damage the engine or the windshield wipers.

We hope these tips can help you protect your car and also get the ice off your car a little quicker!

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If you are in need of personal or business insurance, be sure to speak with an agent from Johl & Company in Westwood, NJ.

How to Stay Safe While Shoveling Snow

Nobody enjoys shoveling their driveway after a heavy snowfall, however, many of us do not think much about taking precautions before we begin shoveling.

Below are some safety tips that you should know the next time you grab your shovel to clean up the driveway.

  1. You should have a shovel that is specifically designed for shoveling snow. This will decrease the amount of bending you need to do.
  2. Try not to lift, rather, you should push the snow. Lifting can increase the strain on your back and may cause injury.
  3. Try to shovel once the snow has stopped. If the snow sits, it can become wetter and heavier as time goes on.
  4. Even though it may be cold out, make sure you have water with you. You can build up a sweat and it is important to stay hydrated.

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For more information on shoveling safety as well as snow blower safety, visit the National Safety Council’s website.

Are you in the market for personal or business insurance? Contact Johl & Company today to speak with an agent.

Carbon Monoxide Safety

Do you know how to keep your home safe from carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuel does not burn properly. Things such as wood, gasoline, coal, natural gas, oil, methane, and propane can all be potential sources of carbon monoxide. It is important to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home, but there are also some other safety tips that you should be aware of.

  1. Make sure carbon monoxide detectors are installed around your home, especially outside of sleeping areas and on each level of the home.
  2. Know the number to call if the detector sounds. Your local fire department will be able to inform you of the correct number.
  3. Be sure to test your alarms at least once per month.
  4. If the alarm goes off, get everyone outside, keep the windows/doors open and call for help.
  5. Never let a vehicle or generator run in your garage, even if the garage door is open.

For more safety tips on carbon monoxide, view the National Fire Protection Agency’s website.

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Are you in the market for personal or business insurance? Contact Johl & Company today to speak with an agent.