Don’t Fall Victim To Internal Revenue Service Phone Call Scams or Phishing Emails
The Internal Revenue Service has placed a message out on their website reminding taxpayers to be careful with threatening phone scams or phishing emails as criminals pose as IRS agents in hopes of stealing money from you. During filing season, the IRS generally sees a surge in scam phone calls threatening such things as arrest, deportation and license revocation if the victim doesn’t pay a bogus tax bill.
The best thing to do is not to provide any of your personal or account information and contact the IRS directly. If you cannot locate their number call a family member to help you or your tax preparer.
To learn more about how this scam works and how to protect yourself click here.
What Should I Know About Mobile Security?
Like viruses and spyware that can infect your Personal Computer, there are a variety of security threats that can affect mobile devices. Mobile security, or mobile device management, is the protection of smartphones, tablets, laptops, smart watches and other portable computing devices, and the networks they connect to, from threats and vulnerabilities.
Key Mobile Device Security Concerns:
- Loss and theft
- Malware and viruses
- Unintentional data leakage. For example, sending sensitive personal information through email or stored on their mobile device.
- Public Wi-Fi hotspots
Protecting mobile devices is critical. The information below will provide you with basic management of mobile devices and things to consider before you download a new app.
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.