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Potential Fraud On The Rise – How To Protect Yourself

by: Anna Beam, Vice President | Associate Marketing Director

Feb 27th, 2018

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At Hillcrest Bank, we take the protection of your financial well-being very seriously and have experts diligently monitoring for fraud activity. Nobody is safe from potential fraud, which makes everyone a possible victim. The losses can be quick and large, but we make it a priority to safeguard your accounts and keep you updated so that any possible fraud can be detected, reported and solved.

With tax season approaching, a rise in a new potential scam involving fraudulent tax returns using the taxpayer’s actual bank account for a refund deposit has been reported in a warning to taxpayers by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS has informed taxpayers that this type of fraud is particularly unique since these thieves, “have a new twist on an old scam.” According to the IRS, “Once these criminals have stolen client data from tax professionals and filing fraudulent tax returns, these criminals use the taxpayers’ real bank accounts for the deposit. Thieves are then using various tactics to reclaim the refund from the taxpayers, and their versions of the scam may continue to evolve.”

To learn more about this quickly growing scam, you can visit the IRS at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/scam-alert-irs-urges-taxpayers-to-watch-out-for-erroneous-refunds-beware-of-fake-calls-to-return-money-to-a-collection-agency.

We enforce strong security procedures to cautiously and thoroughly protect your account(s) and personal information at all times but you can also actively protect yourself, as well. Here are some quick tips to help you protect yourself from potential fraud:

  • Beware of email (phishing), text (SMiShing) and phone (Vising) scams where criminals manipulate people into performing actions or divulging personally identifiable, confidential, and/or proprietary information such as passwords, bank information, and other personal data to commit fraud.
  • Don’t open an email attachment, even if it appears to be from a friend or co-worker, unless you’re expecting it or are absolutely sure you know what it contains.
  • Watch out for email subject lines or emails contacting only a generic message such as “check this out” or “thought you’d be interested in this.” Call your friends to make sure they sent the email before you open the attachment or click any links in the message.
  • Don’t reply to an email, phone call or text message that does these things:
    • Requires you to give your personal or account information either directly in the email or on a website the email sends you; some attacks, for example, use pop-up windows on web pages to ask for your confidential information
    • Threatens to close or suspend your account if you don’t take immediate action
    • Invites you to answer a survey that asks you to enter personal or account information
    • Tells you your account has been compromised, then asks you to give or confirms your personal or account information
    • Tells you there are unauthorized charges on your account, then asks you to give your personal or account information
    • Asks you to confirm, verify or update your account, credit card or billing information
  • Stay away from offers of money or prizes.
  • Consider using passphrases for your password. Make sure to use alphanumeric letters and symbols in your phrase for maximum security.

Check out our Security Center to learn more on how to protect yourself.

If you ever suspect fraud on your account or need assistance accessing cash or making a purchase, please contact your local banking center, or call our Client Services & Solutions team at 855.629.7618.

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