Loudoun County news in brief

Friday, December 24, 2010; 12:24 AM

Volunteers sought for tax assistance

The Loudoun Department of Family Services and the Loudoun Area Agency on Aging are launching the county's annual volunteer income tax assistance program, known as the Northern Virginia CASH Campaign (Creating Assets, Savings and Hope).

Volunteers are needed to help working families and individuals who made less than $48,000 this year prepare their tax returns. Volunteers can also serve as greeters, screeners, site coordinators and interpreters. Free tax certification training is provided to volunteers by the IRS in January. Volunteers should be computer savvy, able to use a 10-key number pad and able to spend a minimum of 30 to 40 hours to prepare for the IRS examination.

To volunteer for opportunities evenings and Saturday mornings or for information about the CASH Campaign, contact Karen Velez at 703-771-5718 or karen.velez@loudoun.gov.

For weekday volunteer opportunities, contact Debra Bressler at 703-777-0505 or debra.bressler@loudoun.gov.

Information about the tax program is at www.nvacash.org.

Smoke detector program expanded

Loudoun County's Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management has expanded its "Get Alarmed Loudoun: Put A Finger On It" smoke detector campaign to Lovettsville, Lucketts and Philomont.

The campaign began in 2008 in Purcellville and was expanded to Hamilton and Round Hill shortly thereafter. Last year, more than 250 home visits were conducted in Purcellville and about 100 smoke alarms were installed. As a result of the program, two residential fires in Purcellville were detected early, and the occupants were able to safely exit the home, fire and rescue officials said in a statement.

The door-to-door program is intended to ensure that smoke alarms are on all the levels of a home and in all sleeping areas. Fire station personnel conduct smoke alarm inspections, replace batteries and, where needed, install new alarms at no cost to the resident, the Loudoun fire and rescue department said in a statement.

Loudoun residents may request the program by calling 703-737-8093 or going to www.loudoun.gov/smokealarms . For information, contact Joy Dotson, public education manager, at 703-771-5551 or joy.dotson@loudoun.gov.

Residents warned about jury duty scam

The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office and the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court are advising residents to watch out for a telephone-based jury duty scam.

Potential victims are called by someone who pretends to be a court worker and who says a warrant has been issued for the resident's arrest because of a failure to report for jury duty. The victim is asked for his or her birthdate and Social Security number so that the jury duty notice can be "verified." In some cases, the perpetrators ask for additional confidential information, such as credit card or bank account information.

Gary M. Clemens, Loudoun County circuit court clerk, said a court official would never ask for personal information such as a Social Security number over the telephone. Residents who are concerned about whether such a phone call is valid are advised to ask the caller for a phone number so that the person who was called can verify that the call is coming from a courthouse office.

- Compiled by Caitlin Gibson

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