Tax Season and IRS Scams

March not only means that Tax Season has arrived, but unfortunately that IRS and other tax-related scams are in full swing. A new tax scam is now targeting taxpayer’s refunds by using information from tax preparer files.

Cautionary text about phishing scams
Photo credit: ivanpw via Foter.com / CC BY

What You Should Know
The IRS advised of a quickly growing scam where tax preparer’s computers are compromised and client information stolen. The client data is then used to file fraudulent tax returns and the tax refunds are deposited in to the taxpayer’s real bank account. Thieves are then claiming to be a collection agency and use various tactics to reclaim the refund from the taxpayers.

The IRS Scam is a type of Phishing scam. Typically in an IRS Scam, the intended victim receives a call from someone posing as an IRS employee; variations may utilize email or text messaging. Some fake IRS scammers can even disguise their caller IDs or email addresses to appear to be from the IRS. The scammers seek financial payment and/or financial or personal information from the target. In some cases, the callers may threaten you with court action to encourage payment or promise a large refund to gain your sensitive information, such as Social Security Number.

Visit the IRS’s Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts page to learn about other types of tax-related scams.

What You Should Do
If you receive a call from someone posing as an IRS employee, the IRS recommends you immediately hang up. It is important to remember that the IRS will never contact you by email, text message or phone.

If feel that you have been a victim of an IRS or other tax-related scam, consider the following steps:

  • Contact your financial institutions to protect your accounts. First Hawaiian Bank’s 24-hour Customer Service is available at 844-4444 (from Oahu) or toll free at (888) 844-4444.
  • Report identity theft or fraudulent activity to the Federal Trade Commission’s IdentityTheft.gov website or to their toll-free identity theft hotline at 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338).
  • Contact one of the major credit bureaus and request that a fraud alert be placed on your credit report.

For more information on tax-related identity theft, read the IRS’s Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft.

Prevention Tips
The following are some methods for IRS scam prevention

  • Do not give up personal information during the call. The IRS will never call and ask for your personal information over the phone or by text message or email. In most cases, the IRS will have you make an appointment to call them directly.
  • Do not send any money or payment information. The IRS will never demand payment by debit or credit card over the phone.
  • Protect your information. Shred financial statements before discarding, sign up for eStatements where applicable, and limit publicly available personal information posted to the internet and social media.

First Hawaiian Bank will do our best to notify you of potential threats. Like us on Facebook (facebook.com/FirstHawaiianBank) or follow us on Twitter (@FHBHawaii) to get our latest security alerts and bank updates. Review our FHB.com security content to learn more about protecting yourself from Identity Theft and Phishing.

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