Tony Dobrowolski | Out of The Pages: Keep current and watch your back


PITTSFIELD >> Notes from in and around the Berkshires while waiting for the warm spring weather to return.

If I were an employer, I'd attend 1Berkshire's "Our Next B.I.G Idea" seminar on Wednesday at the Colonial Theatre where ideas on understanding the future of work and how to attract and retain millenials will be discussed.

I would argue that keeping and bringing millenials to the Berkshires is one of the more pressing workforce development issues when you consider our relatively stagnant local economy and rapidly aging population.

1Berkshire through its Berkshire Initiative for Growth, has partnered on the event with Live in the Grey, a New York City-based firm that provides expertise on workplace cultures,

Live in the Grey is a movement that helps companies and individuals thrive by living more authentically in the workplace. They do this by delivering workplace experiences and events that transform company culture by "increasing connection, fulfilment and impact."

What does all of this mean, and what does it have to do with the workplace? I couldn't tell you. But from conversations I've had with people who understand the millenial generation, and my experiences working with colleagues who belong to it, I suspect this philosophy means a lot.

It's important for those of us who grew up in the Baby Boom Generation to at least understand what's important to the generation of our offspring because the future is going to be here a lot quicker than we know it. And, things change a lot faster now, too.

If you ignore or trivialize milennials workplace challenges you do so at your own peril, especially if you're looking to grow your company in a 21st century economy. Ignorance, unawareness? They don't cut it anymore, and are getting harder to fake. Technology changes so rapidly now that it's going to become easier and easier to be left behind.

1Berkshire also deserves credit for bringing innovative seminars such as this one to our area. On its website, 1Berkshire describes itself as taking "an innovative approach to economic development." I would say this seminar fits within those guidelines.

Here's another reason to attend. It never hurts to learn more about a subject that you don't know a lot about.

For more information on Wednesday's event, go to

It's scam time again

It's income tax time again, which means it's also scam time. State Attorney General Maura Healey says, "tax scams are no laughing matter."

Given people's behavior nowadays, and the number of identity theft issues involved with the Internet, it's hard not to agree with her.

Every year, around this time, the AG's office sends out an advisory warning state residents about various tax scams. We've mentioned these issues in this space before, but it never hurts to repeat them.

Here are a couple of scams to be aware of this year:

The IRS impersonation scam. It's typically perpetrated over the phone by individuals posing as Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees.

Using high pressure tactics, a caller informs the intended victim that they will be arrested, or a tax lien will be placed on their home because they did not pay or did not correctly file state or federal income taxes. Victims are told they must settle the debt over the phone by providing their debit or credit card numbers or immediately wiring funds to avoid being arrested.

If the victim refuses to cooperate, the caller often becomes hostile and will threaten the victim. Callers have also used personally identifying information about the victim to take the scam sound authentic.

Consumers who have received this phone call are encouraged to report it directly to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.

The AG's Office has also received multiple reports this year of tax-related identity theft which occurs when someone files a fake tax return using your personal information to get a tax refund from the IRS. Tax-related identity theft has been the most common form of identify theft reported to the Federal Trade Commission during the last five years.

Consumers who believe their identity has been compromised are encouraged to either file a police report, and contact the credit agencies ahead of time to place a fraud alert or security freeze on your credit file. Consumers can also file a complaint with the FTC.

Taxpayers should know that the IRS or the Department of Revenue generally contacts consumers by mail, not by phone. Also, they will never ask for credit card numbers over the phone or request a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer.

Consumer information specific to telephone scams is available at Consumers can also call the Attorney General's consumer hotline at 617-727-840 or visit the AG's website.

If you believe your Social Security Number has been compromised, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800 908-4490.

One last tip: If you plan on filing electronically, make sure you use a secure Internet connection. Avoid the use of public computers wherever possible.

Be vigilant, and stay safe.

Tony Dobrowolski is the business editor of The Berkshire Eagle. He can be reached at


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