FBI Mobile Banking Alert
We are aware of the FBI Alert regarding mobile banking apps so we would like to inform our members of some best practices to try to avoid getting scammed:
- Use passcodes and screen lock timers to protect mobile devices
- Keep smart-phone software/firmware, system patches and upgrades up-to-date
- Avoid links or software downloads from unknown sources
- Install application/software/updates from legitimate app-stores only
- Read reviews about the application developers and publisher to determine app credibility
- Review and understand the permissions required when downloading/installing applications
- Install mobile malware protection software
- Avoid connecting to unknown wireless networks
- Turn off additional mobile features that are not being used
- Turn off or limit geolocation features for applications that do not require them
Phishing, Vishing, and Social Engineering attacks are used by bad actors as part of an elaborate scheme intended to trick victims into taking specific action to defraud them. These types of attacks can come through any communication channel including telephone/voice, SMS, Chat, Email, Postal Mail, Internet/Web/Social Media, and others. The following best practices can be implemented to mitigate against these methods.
- Do not respond to any unsolicited Multi-factor authentication (MFA) requests
- Do not divulge your credentials or MFA code to anyone
- If you suspect you've been part of a Phishing, Vishing, or Social engineering attack, notify your financial institution
- Change your username & password periodically and use strong passwords
- Use complex and unique passwords for all types of online accounts consisting of at least 12+ characters, including special characters and numbers
COVID - 19 Scam
Beware of scammers trying to get your personal information or your COVID-19 economic impact payment! The IRS will NOT ask you to verify your personal information or sign up for anything to get your money. You work hard for your money; scammers also work hard for your money. Don't fall victim to a COVID-19 scam. Money will arrive in a couple of weeks and no emails, phone calls or verification of your personal information is needed for you to receive your money. Key information can be found at www.IRS.gov/coronavirus and will be updated as new information becomes available. In case you didn't know, IRS has many Twitter accounts and the main one is @irsnews. The IRS also posts scam alerts via @irstaxsecurity.
There is a scam going around where someone will claim they are from "Microsoft" calling and convincing you that they owe you money. The person then gives "Microsoft" access to their computer through a website. From there the scammers log in to the person's online banking and transfers money from one share to another, making it appear as if "Microsoft" deposited money into the account. The scammers then claim that they overpaid our member and request that money be sent back to them in the form of Green Dot cards. If you feel like you may be part of this scam or any other scam please contact us.
We will NEVER call or text you asking for your debit card information as we already have that on file. Fraudsters will try to scare you by saying there is a suspect withdrawal or something along those lines. If you are not sure if the phone call is legitimate please hang up the phone and give us a call directly.
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Phone Scams Continue to be a Serious Threat, Remain on IRS "Dirty Dozen" List of Tax Scams for the 2016 Filing Season
IR-2016-14, Feb. 2, 2016
WASHINGTON — Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain a major threat to taxpayers, headlining the annual "Dirty Dozen" list of tax scams for the 2016 filing season, the Internal Revenue Service announced today.
The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams as scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things. The IRS reminds taxpayers to guard against all sorts of con games that arise during any filing season.
"Taxpayers across the nation face a deluge of these aggressive phone scams. Don't be fooled by callers pretending to be from the IRS in an attempt to steal your money," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "We continue to say if you are surprised to be hearing from us, then you're not hearing from us."
"There are many variations. The caller may threaten you with arrest or court action to trick you into making a payment," Koskinen added. "Some schemes may say you're entitled to a huge refund. These all add up to trouble. Some simple tips can help protect you."
The Dirty Dozen is compiled annually by the IRS and lists a variety of common scams taxpayers may encounter any time during the year. Many of these con games peak during filing season as people prepare their tax returns or hire someone to do so.
This January, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) announced they have received reports of roughly 896,000 contacts since October 2013 and have become aware of over 5,000 victims who have collectively paid over $26.5 million as a result of the scam.
"The IRS continues working to warn taxpayers about phone scams and other schemes," Koskinen said. "We especially want to thank the law-enforcement community, tax professionals, consumer advocates, the states, other government agencies and particularly the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration for helping us in this battle against these persistent phone scams."
Scammers make unsolicited calls claiming to be IRS officials. They demand that the victim pay a bogus tax bill. They con the victim into sending cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may also leave "urgent" callback requests through phone "robo-calls," or via aphishing email.
Many phone scams use threats to intimidate and bully a victim into paying. They may even threaten to arrest, deport or revoke the license of their victim if they don't get the money.
Scammers often alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. The callers use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They may use the victim's name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official.
Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do.
Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam.
The IRS will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
- Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here's what you should do:
If you don't owe taxes, or have no reason to think that you do:
- Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
- Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their "IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting" web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
- Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the "FTC Complaint Assistant" on FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.
If you know you owe, or think you may owe tax:
- Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you.
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.
Identity Fraud May Be Down but Your Guard Needs to Stay Up!