Tax Season Tips
As we are all getting ready for tax season here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Filing your taxes early could make for a much more smoother process. The sooner you start working on your taxes, the sooner you’ll realize whether you’re missing key documents you will need to request in order to be able to submit accurate tax returns.
- If you are requesting an electronic refund or payment made to the IRS double check that you have entered your correct routing and account number to avoid a delay in your payment.
- When mailing your paper tax returns please do not place in your mailbox. To protect your identity from being stolen be sure to take your tax return to the Post Office or place it in a U.S Postal mailbox.
- Tax refund checks cannot be deposited through Lake Elmo Bank’s Mobile Deposit.
- Remember the IRS will not call or email you. A letter will first be mailed by the IRS if they need to contact you. Click here for the current tax-refund related scams that are being report to the IRS.
Where’s My Refund?
Lake Elmo Bank will post your IRS payments when they are received. The best way to check on your refund:
- Visit www.irs.gov 24 hours after you e-file or approximately four weeks after a paper return has been filed.
- Download the IRS2GO mobile app
- Contact the IRS at 1-800-829-4477. They ask that you wait at least four weeks from filing your tax return before calling.
- Use Lake Elmo Banks online or mobile banking to review your transactions history.
For more information on the latest scams and how to protect yourself from identity theft, click on any of the following links:
What You Can Do if You Fall Victim
Identity theft has developed into one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. It happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission. If you suspect that someone has stolen your identity, acting quickly is the best way to limit the damage.
Here is what you should do:
- Contact your financial institution immediately and alert them to the situation. Lake Elmo Bank has an ID Theft packet available to help you walk through steps to take.
- File a police report immediately with your local agency.
- Notify the Social Security Administration if this information has been compromised. The Social Security Fraud hotline number is 1.800.269.0271
- File a compliant with the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft division:
- Contact one of the three major credit bureaus and discuss whether you need to place a fraud alert and/or a credit freeze on your file, which will help prevent thieves from opening a new account in your name.
P.O. Box 740250
Atlanta, GA 30374
P.O. Box 1017
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92634
- Order your free credit reports. A regular review of your credit file may detect unauthorized accounts or other fraudulent activity. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com to order one free report per year from Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.
Click here for a website that will provide you with some additional information.
Protect Yourself with a Few Simple Steps
- Don’t give out financial information. If you receive a call or email from someone you do not know asking for personal information, like your account number or online banking credentials, do not give out any information. Lake Elmo Bank does not contact their customers via telephone, email or text messaging asking for financial information. The only time we may ask you personal information is if you contact us directly.
- Go digital. By paying bills online, you reduce the risk that checks and statements containing personal information may be stolen by identity thieves. You should also have your paycheck deposited electronically into your account.
- Monitor accounts online and frequently. Use Lake Elmo Bank’s and other financial institutions’ websites to check for signs of fraud, and report suspicious or unauthorized activity immediately. Consumers with 24/7 access to account activity are most likely to uncover fraud the fastest.
- Sign up for e-statements. Reduce your risk of identity theft and mail fraud by receiving your monthly bank statements through your online banking.
- Install and update security software. Make sure you have a firewall, antispyware, antivirus software, and browser security software on your home computer.
- Never give personal information to callers. Don’t respond to phone messages that prompt you to call another telephone number about your account. Similarly, don’t send account information via e-mail messages–they’re not secure. Don’t respond to unsolicited or strange emails. Use contact information you already have for the financial institutions with which you do business.
- Shred it. Get rid of sensitive papers and statements you no longer need that contain personal information.
- When online don’t click on any links. Avoid clicking on links within a pop-up as they can load a virus onto your computer or mobile device. Don’t shop on unknown sites. Research the online merchant first to see if there are any complaints against them.
- Hang up! It’s shrewd, not rude to hang up on a suspicious telemarketer.
- Don’t feel pressured and get into a verbal agreement or sign a contract. Take the time to research a company and review any agreements.
- Be skeptical of online charitable solicitations and other online offers. If interested, ask to receive the information in the mail and check to be sure the company is legitimate.
- Never agree to pay for products or services in advance.
- Change a few daily habits. Mail bills from a locked mailbox; secure sensitive mobile data stored on a laptop, PDA (personal data assistant) or phone; and don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet unless you need it for a specific purpose on that given day. A stolen wallet that contains a Social Security card–as well as your address and other forms of identification–is like handing over your identity to a thief.