Beware of Tax Scams!
Produced by Jay Slagel, VP of Risk Management at Allied Solutions
Now that we are in the heart of tax season, “tax scams” are in full force! It is highly important that you educate yourself about the various ways scammers may attempt to steal your information and money. The more you know, the better you can spot red flags and avoid these tax scams.
You need to be extremely critical of ANY emails or phone calls from someone claiming to be an employee of the IRS or state tax authority, especially those that demand immediate payment. These governing bodies will NEVER:
- Initiate contact with you by phone, email, text, or through social media outlets to ask for your personal or financial information.
- Require that you pay your taxes with a certain payment type, such as a prepaid debit card.
- Call you and demand immediate payment. The IRS or State will not call about taxes you owe without first mailing you a bill.
What do tax scams typically look like?
- In these types of attacks, the scammer usually presents themselves as an employee of the IRS or State in a call/email to the targeted individual, falsely stating they want to “help” with tax filing.
- In more cases than not, this type of tax scam involves an unsolicited, bogus email regarding a tax refund or bill, or threatening an audit if the bill is not paid right away.
- Tax scam emails typically include the tax service’s name and official seal, and often link to a phony website – in order to appear to be more official.
How can you remain protected against tax scams?
1) If an email is received regarding federal or state tax returns/bills:
- Don’t reply to the message.
- Don’t give out personal or financial information.
- Forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org and then delete the email.
- Don’t open any attachments or click on any links, as they may contain a malicious code or virus that will infect your computer.
- For tax scams involving a state’s filing office, check the office’s website to see how they recommend reporting an attempted attack.
2) If a call is received regarding federal or state tax returns/bills:
- Ask for a contact number and an employee badge number and then call back to verify its legitimacy.
- Call the IRS or state tax authority to inquire further and verify the accuracy of the call.
- Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Use TIGTA’s IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page to report the incident.
- Report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission through the FTC Complaint Assistant on their website (add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments section).
For more in depth information on how to detect or report tax scams, visit https://www.irs.gov/uac/tax-scams-consumer-alerts.
Data Breaches: What You Need to Know
With so many merchant data breaches in the news, we want you to know that InFirst Federal Credit Union is ready to help if your personal or financial data is ever compromised.
Your credit union is subject to strong data security standards established by Congress and federal regulators. While data breaches can happen anywhere, we are ready with a plan designed to ensure the safety and confidentiality of your sensitive data.
Unfortunately, merchants and retailers aren’t subject to these federal requirements. Many of them follow their own data security standards, but the recent rash of data breaches shows that much more needs to be done. When it comes to protecting your personal information, every measure counts.
When your debit or credit card data is breached at a retailer, the cost of card replacement or account reimbursement is paid by your credit union and not by the merchant where the breach occurred.
Credit unions around the country are leading the effort to get Congress to pass legislation ensuring merchants and retailers meet a national standard for protecting any of your financial data they collect when you make a purchase. We hope you will support us in this effort.
While we can’t control what happens at merchants and retailers, we want you to know that InFirst Federal Credit Union will do everything we can to assist you and your family if a breach does occur when you use your debit or credit card. You can always feel free to reach our member service department at 800.328.1500.
Fraud Prevention Tips
We want to help protect you from fraud. Included below are several useful websites and information regarding recent phishing scams. If you receive an email, text message or phone call from someone claiming to be a financial representative who asks for your account number or social security information, DO NOT provide it. Instead contact your financial institution immediately and report the incident.
InFirst Federal Credit Union
- InFirst FCU will NEVER solicit personal or financial information.
- NEVER respond to requests for information (via e-mail, phone, text messaging or mail) unless you initiate the request.
Resources to help and prevent fraud
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Complaint Assistance
- Internet Crime Complaint Center
- Caller Complaints 800 Number Search
- For a more information regarding fraud alerts, visit NCUA
If you feel that you have received a fraudulent NCUA phishing e-mail, please forward the entire e-mail message to Phishing@ncua.gov.