Blog   Tagged ‘information security’

7 Tips to Prevent Tax ID Fraud

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As the 2017 tax season gets underway, it’s a good idea to take extra precaution to prevent exposure to tax fraud. As we saw in 2016, criminals are using new and innovative methods to try to gain your trust or scare you into lowering your defenses and making a costly mistake. These tactics have continued‡ into 2017.

Tax identity fraud takes place when a criminal files a false tax return using a stolen Social Security number in order to fraudulently claim a refund. Identity thieves generally file false claims early in the year and victims are unaware until they file a return and learn one has already been filed in their name.

To help prevent tax ID fraud, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ‡ and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ‡ offer the following tips:

  • File early – File your tax return as soon as you have all of your documentation giving criminals less time to use your information to file a false return.
  • File on a protected Wi-Fi network – If you’re using an online service to file your return, be sure you’re connected to a password-protected personal network. Avoid using public networks like a Wi-Fi hotspot at a coffee shop.
  • Use a secure mailbox. If you’re filing by mail, mail your tax return at the post office or an official postal box instead of your mailbox at home. Some criminals look for completed tax return forms in home mailboxes during tax season.
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  • Find a tax preparer you trust. If you’re planning to hire someone to do your taxes‡, get recommendations and research a tax preparer thoroughly before handing over all of your financial information.
  • Shred what you don’t need. Once you’ve completed your tax return, shred the sensitive documents that you no longer need and safely file away the ones you do.
  • Beware of phishing scams by email, text or phone. Scammers may try to solicit sensitive information by impersonating the IRS‡. Know that the IRS will not contact you by email, text or social media. If the IRS needs information, they will contact you by mail first.
  • Keep an eye out for missing mail. Fraudsters look for W-2s, tax refunds or other mail containing your financial information. If you don’t receive your W-2s, and your employer indicates they’ve been mailed, or it looks like it has been previously opened upon delivery, contact the IRS immediately‡.

If you believe you’re a victim of tax identity theft or if the IRS denies your tax return because one has previously been filed under your name, you should:

  • Alert the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490
  • Respond immediately to any mailed IRS notice and complete IRS Form 14039‡, Identity Theft Affidavit
  • Contact your bank immediately, to determine if any accounts have been opened without your permission or if your current accounts have been tampered with
  • Contact the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit records:
  • Continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must do so by paper

More information about tax identity theft is available from the FTC at ftc.gov/taxidtheft‡ and the IRS at irs.gov/identitytheft‡. To learn more ways to keep yourself protected online, visit UMB’s Security & Privacy page.

Content adapted from the American Bankers Association (ABA).

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.


UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a diversified financial holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking services, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arizona and Texas, as well as two national specialty-lending businesses. Subsidiaries of the holding company include companies that offer services to mutual funds and alternative-investment entities and registered investment advisors that offer equity and fixed income strategies to institutions and individual investors.



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The Anatomy of a Romance Scam

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It’s important to be wary of scammers looking to use emotion to get you out of your comfort zone and convince you to reveal personal information. Unlike other scams that happen solely online, romance scammers have also been known to call their victims. These types of scams are also known as catfishing.

Romance scammers will go to great lengths to gain your interest and trust, showering you with compliments, sharing what appears to be details about their life and emphasizing what you have in common. This process may take months as the scammer goes to great lengths to make the target fall in love.

Warning signs:

  • Their profile on the dating website or Facebook page is not consistent with what they tell you. For example, the images they use don’t match how they describe themselves, or they say they are university educated but their English is poor.
  • After gaining your trust, they tell you an elaborate story and ask for money, gifts or your bank account/credit card details.
  • They don’t keep their promises and always have an excuse for why they can’t travel to meet you and why they always need more money.
  • If you don’t send money straight away, their messages and calls become more desperate, persistent or direct. If you do send money, they continue to ask you to send more.
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Protecting yourself:

  • When you meet someone online, always consider the possibility that s/he could be a scammer – particularly if any of the warning signs are present.
  • Perform a Google image search‡ of the individual who contacted you to see if the images consistently match to the name and aren’t featured on unusual websites.
  • If you agree to meet with an individual in person, always tell family and friends where you are going and how long you’re going to be away. Meeting in a public place is another way to protect yourself.
  • Be wary of money requests. Never send personal information that could be used to open up credit cards or accounts in your name, and carefully consider the possibility of a scam before you agree to give anyone money.

For more tips, visit StaySafeOnline.org‡, or visit UMB’s Security and Privacy page to help you stay current on security best practices.

romance scam infogrpahic

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 more than 15 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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