Protect Yourself from Tax Fraud
With tax season in full swing, consumers must remain on high alert when it comes to tax preparation. Here are a few tips and resources to keep in mind as you prepare to file.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The IRS warns to stay away from get-rich-quick schemes or offer exemption from your obligation as a United States citizen to file tax returns and/or pay taxes. Don’t fall for these types of scheme. You could lose all your life savings or even face jail time!
Tax Return Preparer Fraud. When hiring a tax return preparer or firm, be sure to choose carefully and do your research.
Where’s my refund?
A report shows scammers are impersonating legitimate tax prep websites. Read More
Crooks pretending to be from Medicare are trying to steal personal data Read More
Scammers are now using the Hurricane Harvey disaster to trick people in clicking on links, both on Facebook, Twitter and phishing emails trying to solicit charitable giving for the flood victims. Read More
[ALERT] The bad guys are starting their tax scams early this season! They are now combining two scams-in-one. First, they ask you to send them the W-2 forms of all employees, with the email looking like it comes from the CEO or a C-level executive. Next, they follow up with an urgent request to transfer a large sum of money to a bank account controlled by these cyber criminals.
Remember that when you receive sudden requests like this, they may be spoofed emails and that you should double check by picking up the phone and verify that this is a legit request coming from that executive. In these cases, it's "OK to say NO to the CEO".
This tax season, stay alert for scams like this, and Think Before You Click!
With more than 35 million people expected to hit the roads this weekend across the US, the upcoming Labor Day holiday is unfortunately also prime time for card scammers. During times of increased travel, a popular method is often at gas station pumps where many members will be using their credit or debit cards. Firstmark would like to encourage all members to be diligent about checking their account activity and recognizing signs of potential fraud.
In recent years, fraud has been popular among gas pumps given that many have universal key locks, which makes them vulnerable to tampering, and a lack of compliance regulations. All it takes is a skimming device, which the fraudsters install, and then all user data is captured for fraudsters to start manufacturing counterfeit activity.
So, how can you avoid being scammed? Always trust your instincts. If a gas pump appears to be altered or damaged, move to another pump. Other tips for spotting a potential risk include:
Members have received several calls that state that Firstmark Credit Union will reduce the interest rate on their credit card. Firstmark is not making these calls that are coming from (601) 909-9052. This is called phishing — or “vishing” — callers impersonate legitimate companies to steal money and personal and financial information. And These scams are on the rise. Firstmark Credit Union values your identity and as such we will NEVER ask you via phone or e-mail for your account number or password. If you ever receive a call where this information is requested, do not provide or surrender account information.
The IRS will not:
If you don’t owe taxes, or have no reason to think that you do:
If you know you owe, or think you may owe tax:
Phone scams first tried to sting older people, new immigrants to the U.S. and those who speak English as a second language. Now the crooks try to swindle just about anyone. And they’ve ripped-off people in every state in the nation.
Stay alert to scams that use the IRS as a lure. Tax scams can happen any time of year, not just at tax time. For more, visit “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” on IRS.gov.
Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.
After reviewing complaints submitted by consumers, we have discovered a financial scam targeting older consumers who had previously been victims of fraudulent money-making schemes, such as bogus timeshare investments and in-home business opportunities. So-called asset recovery companies are contacting these past victims, promising to get refunds for a substantial fee, failing to deliver promised services, and leaving consumers financially worse off than before. Learn More
We have learned that some members may be receiving calls concerning their credit cards. Firstmark Credit Union values your identity and as such will NEVER ask you via phone or e-mail for your account number, share account number or password. If you ever receive a call where this information is requested, do not give this information out. If you feel that your account has been compromised, please contact us at (210) 442-0100.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (March 17, 2015) – The National Credit Union Administration has received reports of an online phishing scam that uses a website with a logo and a design similar to the agency’s own site in an attempt to convince unwary customers to provide information or send money.
Consumers have received emails from the National Credit Union website, which apparently originates in Australia and claims to offer services in the United States, Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States. This website is not affiliated in any way with the National Credit Union Administration, a federal agency, and the emails are not from NCUA.
Consumers receiving such emails should call NCUA’s Fraud Hotline toll-free at 800-827-9650 or 703-518-6550 in the Washington, D.C., area. Consumers should also contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. NCUA also offers information about avoiding frauds and scams on its MyCreditUnion.gov website.
Consumers who suspect they may have become victims of identity theft should immediately contact their financial institutions and, if necessary, close existing accounts and open new ones. NCUA urges consumers also contact the three major credit bureaus—Equifax (800-525-6285), Experian (888-397-3742) and TransUnion (800-680-7289)—to request a fraud alert be placed on their credit reports.
Voice phishing is the criminal practice of using social engineering over the telephone system to gain access to private personal and financial information from the public for the purpose of financial reward. Sometimes referred to as 'vishing' the word is a combination of "voice" and phishing. Voice phishing exploits the public's trust in landline telephone services, which have traditionally terminated in physical locations known to the telephone company, and associated with a bill-payer. Voice phishing is typically used to steal credit card numbers or other information used in identity theft schemes from individuals.
Some fraudsters use features facilitated by Voice over IP (VoIP). Features such as caller ID spoofing (to display a number of their choosing on the recipients phone line), and automated systems (IVR).
Voice phishing is difficult for legal authorities to monitor or trace. To protect themselves, consumers are advised to be highly suspicious when receiving messages directing them to call and provide credit card or bank numbers — vishers can in some circumstances intercept calls that consumers make when trying to confirm such messages.
Although the use of automated responders and war dialers is preferred by the vishers, there have been reported cases where human operators play an active role in these scams, in an attempt to persuade their victims.
Another simple trick used by the fraudsters is to ask the called party to hang up and dial their bank - when the caller hangs up, the fraudster does not, keeping the line open and remaining connected when the victim picks up the phone to dial. When in doubt, calling a company's telephone number listed on billing statements or other official sources is recommended as opposed to calling numbers received from messages or callers of dubious authenticity. However, sometimes hanging up and redialing is insufficient: if the caller has not hung up, the victim might still be connected and the fraudster spoofs a dial tone down the phone line when the victim dials and a fraudster's accomplice answers and impersonates whoever the victim is trying to call. Hence consumers are advised to use a different phone when dialing a company's number to confirm.
You have probably heard of the Heartbleed bug sweeping the internet. Firstmark Credit Union is OK and has been in contact with 3rd party vendors who provide support to Firstmark Credit Union to verify that they have also taken the appropriate actions to ensure that their networks are secure. To ensure that your computer and other internet service providers are safe, it is always a good suggestion to change your password on a regular basis, for example every three to six months, especially on social media and market-place websites.