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Tax Scams to Watch Out For

While tax scams are especially prevalent during tax season, they can take place any time during the year. As a result, it's in your best interest to always be vigilant so you don't end up becoming the victim of a fraudulent tax scheme. Here are some of the more common scams to watch out for.

Phishing

Phishing scams usually involve unsolicited emails or fake websites that pose as legitimate IRS sites to convince you to provide personal or financial information. Once scam artists obtain this information, they use it to commit identity or financial theft.

It is important to remember that the IRS will never initiate contact with you by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media. If you get an email claiming to be from the IRS, don't respond or click any of the links; instead forward it to phishing@irs.gov

Phone Scams

Beware of callers claiming that they're from the IRS. They may be scam artists trying to steal your money or identity. This type of scam typically involves a call from someone claiming you owe money to the IRS or that you're entitled to a large refund. The calls may also show up as coming from the IRS on your Caller ID, be accompanied by fake emails that appear to be from the IRS, or involve follow-up calls from individuals saying they are from law enforcement. Sometimes these callers may threaten you with arrest, license revocation, or even deportation.

If you think you might owe back taxes, contact the IRS for assistance at irs.gov. If you don't owe taxes and believe you have been the target of a phone scam, you should contact the Treasury Inspector General and the Federal Trade Commission to report the incident.

Tax Return Preparer Fraud

During tax season, some individuals and scam artists pose as legitimate tax preparers, often promising unreasonably large or inflated refunds. They try to take advantage of unsuspecting taxpayers by committing refund fraud or identity theft. It is important to choose a tax preparer carefully, since you are legally responsible for what's on your return, even if it's prepared by someone else.

A legitimate tax preparer will generally ask for proof of your income and eligibility for credits and deductions, sign the return as the preparer, enter the Preparer Tax Identification Number, and provide you with a copy of your return.

Fake Charities

Scam artists sometimes pose as a charitable organization in order to solicit donations from unsuspecting donors. Be wary of charities with names that are similar to more familiar or nationally known organizations, or that suddenly appear after a national disaster or tragedy. Before donating to a charity, make sure that it is legitimate. There are tools at www.irs.gov to assist you in checking out the status of a charitable organization, or you can visit charitynavigator.org to find more information about a charity.

Tax-related Identity Theft

Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your Social Security number to claim a fraudulent tax refund. You may not even realize you've been the victim of identity theft until you file your tax return and discover that a return has already been filed using your Social Security number. Or the IRS may send you a letter indicating it has identified a suspicious return using your Social Security number. If you believe you have been the victim of tax-related identity theft, you should contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490 as soon as possible.

Stay One Step Ahead

The best way to avoid becoming the victim of a tax scam is to stay one step ahead of the scam artists. Consider taking the following precautions to keep your personal and financial information private:

Finally, if you are ever unsure whether you are the victim of a scam, remember to trust your instincts. If something sounds questionable or too good to be true, it probably is.

At Community Powered, we’ll help you collect every possible deduction along the way. Contact Vincent J. Dotti, Financial Advisor, Royal Alliance Associates, Member FINRA/SIPC at (302) 392-2964.

Mobile Deposit Tips

We have received questions regarding how our Mobile Deposit program works. Here are a couple of helpful tips that should make Mobile Deposit easier to use.

To learn more about Mobile Deposit , or any of our other electronic banking products such as, Online Banking, Mobile Banking, Bill Pay, or eStatements, please visit our "Let's Get Digital" pages.

 

Stay Protected

Please make sure all of your contact information is up to date in our system. One of the ways we authenticate suspicious account activity is by phone number. Log into OnlineBanking, call (302) 368-2396, or stop by any of our branches to safeguard your accounts. Contact us before traveling, to ensure uninterrupted service.



Equifax Data Breach

Equifax Data BreachAs you may know, millions of Americans had their personal information exposed by the recent Equifax® data breach. Equifax states they found no evidence of unauthorized activity on its core consumer credit reporting database, other information was lost. According to Equifax, the breach lasted from mid-May through July. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver's license numbers. This is the sensitive information fraudsters need to commit identity theft.

Check with Equifax to find out if you've been impacted

Be assured that the Equifax breach does not affect Community Powered's security systems in any way, and that we continue to monitor member accounts 24/7.

Whether or not you were impacted, here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to actively protecting yourself in situations like this.

It's important to keep in mind that any information put at risk by the Equifax breach is separate from your data at Community Powered, but we want to help you protect both.

We remain ever-vigilant in securing your credit union data and you can help by actively monitoring the activity on your accounts. If you observe suspicious activity, report it to us immediately.

Visit Identitytheft.gov/databreach to learn more about protecting yourself after a data breach.

 

Free 3 Month Trial Subscription to Sirius XM

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