Blog   Tagged ‘identity protection’

Tis’ the Season for Tax Fraud

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IRS tax refund scam tips

It’s tax time. As you prepare your taxes or eagerly await any refunds, it’s also time to be aware of tax scams. These scams include phishing emails, texts or phone calls that may warn of a delay with your return, promise a bigger refund or offer you a “helpful downloadable document.” These scams are designed to steal your refund, bank account information or identity by compelling you to provide your private information to the scammer.

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The IRS estimates that it paid $5.2 billion in fraudulent refunds as a result of identity theft last year. This year, in light of recent data breaches, individuals are urged to be especially careful. New scams offer credit monitoring services due to a breach or claim to be from popular tax software providers. The IRS has provided a list of The Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2015 to help keep us up to date on the latest scams.

In addition, be particularly aware of common tax season phishing emails like these:

  • You’re owed a refund and need to forward your bank account information for the refund deposit. The IRS does not initiate taxpayer communications through email or social media to request personal or financial information. If you receive an unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS, send it to phishing@irs.gov.
  • Exciting offers or refunds for participating in an “IRS Survey.” This fake survey is actually used to acquire private and confidential information that is used to steal your identity.
  • Threats of fines or jail time for not making an immediate payment, or responding to the email. If you receive an intimidating email like this and even believe you might owe on taxes, contact your local IRS office and report the threatening email.
  • Documents or tools for tax preparation (e.g. “new changes in the tax law,” a tax calculator, etc.). Those “helpful” documents mentioned earlier may, in fact, be malicious files intended to infect your computer. Remember not all unsolicited email is legitimate. If you need current tax information, go to the IRS website or consult with a tax professional.

Scams don’t stop with phishing emails. Here are some helpful tips if you get calls or texts from someone pretending to be from the IRS:

  • If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at 800-829-1040.
  • If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1.800.366.4484 or at gov.
  • If phone scammers target you, also contact the Federal Trade Commission. Use their FTC Complaint Assistantto report the scam, and include “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint.

Remember, identity theft doesn’t stop at tax season so exercise your “spidey sense” with any email, unsolicited text or call asking for your personal information.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Ms. Flores serves as senior vice president and Chief Information Security Officer, providing oversight of UMB’s information security and privacy programs. She joined UMB in 2010 and has 16 years of experience in information technology and information security. She attended Kansas State University with a focus on management information systems and is a Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).



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Learn how to prevent identity theft on Data Privacy Day

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Data Privacy Day

A whopping 9 out of 10 adults feel they have lost control over how personal information is collected and used by companies.* With tools at your fingertips allowing you to instantly share and receive online, your private information flows through the internet often without you giving it a second thought. Instead of sending you off with no electronics to rough it in the mountains just so you can protect your privacy, these stats should inspire you to expand your identity theft know-how and step up your privacy game.

I’d like to invite you to join UMB in participating in Data Privacy Day 2015.  Be one of the 6 in 10 Americans who are ready to do more to protect their personal information online.* Here are a few ways you can reduce your digital footprint, protect your privacy and prevent identity theft:

  • Think before you give out your Social Security number, first pet or mother’s maiden name. Does the business or website really need it? Could you use another piece of information?
  • Read the Privacy Policy. You may be surprised where your favorite online retailer or social media site shares your information. Here is UMB’s Privacy Statement.
  • Know how to update your privacy settings. Use these simple instructions on how to update privacy settings on Facebook, Pandora, email, internet browsers, mobile devices and more.
  • Review your bank and credit card statements regularly for unauthorized transactions. Use custom mobile banking alerts to monitor your accounts.
  • Check your credit reports. Every 12 months, you can get a free copy of your three reports at AnnualCreditReport.com.
  • Share with care. Consider the future and not just the moment with anything you post or share online. Once the information is in cyberspace it could be seen, stolen and used.

Celebrated on January 28, Data Privacy Day is an international effort centered on bringing attention to the importance of privacy, safeguarding data and enabling trust. Find out more about Data Privacy Day from the National Cyber Security Alliance.

 

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*Source: http://staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/resources/privacy-tips-for-2015-infographic

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Ms. Flores serves as senior vice president and Chief Information Security Officer, providing oversight of UMB’s information security and privacy programs. She joined UMB in 2010 and has 16 years of experience in information technology and information security. She attended Kansas State University with a focus on management information systems and is a Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).



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How to get your identity stolen

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You’ve read hundreds of articles about how to avoid identity theft, but if you actually want to lose your identity then just follow these ten simple steps:

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  1. Use your pets or child’s name as your email password
    Fluffy1234. Who would ever think of that? Identity thieves are using sophisticated technology to crack your passwords and steal your information. Using your dog’s name and a common number sequence will make it so easy that these identity thieves won’t even need a computer to figure it out.
  2. Over-share with your neighbor or a friendly stranger
    Always use the same personal identification number (PIN) or code for all your accounts, credit and debit cards. Remember when you had your neighbors watch your house and you gave them your garage code? Well now they also have your PIN for all your accounts. And what about that friendly stranger who offers to sell you a tropical vacation for pennies on the dollar? Once you give them your name, address and payment information, your identity could be as good as gone!
  3. Throw away personal documents without shredding
    Throw away receipts, old bill statements and credit card applications without shredding them. A more low-tech identity thief will just dig through your dumpster and use the information in receipts and bills to access your personal information. Then he will sign up for a credit card in your name with the application you threw away the other day. He’ll be sitting on a beach sipping a frozen drink after he spent all your money on that tropical vacation we mentioned while you spend months recovering your lost finances and clearing up your credit report.
  4. Make yourself an easy target for pickpockets
    Don’t pay attention to your surroundings in a crowd. Leave your fanny pack unzipped so anyone can reach right in and grab your wallet. This saves an identity thief from the trouble of looking for your information. He can just use your ID and credit or debit cards.
  5. Don’t password protect any personal devices
    Don’t password protect any of your personal devices (laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.) and leave them out where anyone can access them. Why waste the time pushing buttons to unlock your smart phone when you could be taking a picture of your dinner!
  6. Respond to suspicious emails
    Even if it seems suspicious, respond to all emails asking for your personal information. Click on suspicious links too! This will route you to a website or file download that will make it really easy for you to share all of your online activity with the identity thief – user names, passwords, card numbers, you name it!
  7. Respond to suspicious requests on social media
    Easily hacked passwords on your social media sites allow identity thieves to pose as you and try to con your friends out of their personal information and even their money. Oh, and your ex really is stuck in London without a passport or money! Wire that $5,000 right away!
  8. Transfer money on an unsecure website or via email
    Speaking of sending money, be sure you give out your bank account info via email because it’s definitely a safe way to shop online. Throw in your Social Security number and your mother’s maiden name while you’re at it.
  9. Be careless with logins and personal information in public
    Openly log in to your personal accounts while you’re on a laptop or phone in a public setting. Balance your checkbook in a coffee shop and be sure you move out of the way so the identity thief can clearly read your account number.
  10. Never review your bank account statements
    They say ignorance is bliss. It’s true. If you never look at your account statements, you’ll never know if someone has your account information and is spending all your money. You’ll also never know when your spouse dropped a couple hundred dollars on a shopping spree!

Of course, we are joking and having a little fun with this post. At UMB we take privacy and security very seriously, especially when it comes to our customers. You might think identity theft can’t happen to you, but it is still very common and a few simple things can keep you protected. Just do the exact opposite of everything on this list. Or, take a look at our website to learn more tips and tricks to protect your information and your identity.

 

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Ms. Flores serves as senior vice president and Chief Information Security Officer, providing oversight of UMB’s information security and privacy programs. She joined UMB in 2010 and has 16 years of experience in information technology and information security. She attended Kansas State University with a focus on management information systems and is a Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).



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