The following is a message I recently received via EM. It is good information for everyone to consider.
TCCU July 2004 Newsletter
. Treasury, IRS Warn of Phishing Scam
The U.S. Department of Treasury and the Internal
Revenue Service is warning taxpayers of a phishing scheme that attempts to
trick taxpayers into revealing personal information such as Social Security
numbers, driver's license information and bank, credit union and credit card
numbers. Consumers receive an e-mail claiming they are under investigation
for tax fraud and are subject to prosecution. The e-mail informs recipients
they can "help" the investigation by providing "real" information and
directs them to an official-looking Web site, deptreas.org...
, where detailed personal information must be provided to dispute the
charge. This phishing scam is an attempt to steal the individuals identity
and use personal data to take over their financial accounts, run up charges
on their credit cards, apply for loans, credit cards or other services in
the victim's name and file fraudulent tax returns.
At the request of the IRS and the Treasury Inspector
General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the Internet service provider that
was hosting the Web site has shut the site down. The bogus IRS web page and
the e-mail in this instance contained several grammatical errors, rendering
them as suspicious. However, new versions of the scam could surface at any
time, with proper grammar and spelling and a different destination Web site.
Taxpayers who believe they have received a suspect
communication are encouraged to call TIGTA's toll-free fraud referral
hotline at 1-800-366-4484. Taxpayers can also contact the IRS at
. Protect Your Financial ID
It only takes a few seconds to become a victim of
financial fraud. But it often takes months to recover.
Armed with discarded credit card receipts, checks,
or deposit slips, today's crooks are making unauthorized transactions from
victims' accounts, and even opening new- fraudulent-credit card and checking
accounts. There are steps you can take to prevent your identity from theft.
. Examine all your financial statements. Promptly
reconcile your monthly share draft account statement. Save check stubs and
credit, debit, and ATM (automated teller machine) receipts. Report
discrepancies between your records and monthly statements to the appropriate
company. Check credit bureau reports at least once a year.
. Limit the paper trail. Store receipts and share
draft carbons in a safe place. Or rip them up, especially areas where
accounts numbers are visible. Destroy blank checks from closed-out accounts
and expired or unused credit cards. And tear up any credit card receipt
. Guard your purse or wallet. Thieves often target
unoccupied vehicles, unlocked office drawers, and health club locker rooms.
. Protect your personal identification number (PIN).
Never keep your ATM PIN in the same place as your card.
. Beware of phone scams. Never give your PIN or any
other personal financial information to an unknown caller.
. Check your mail. If you haven't received mail for
a few days, you may be the victim of mail diversion fraud. This scam
involves a crook forging an individual's signature on a change-of-address
form to divert your mail and obtain financial information. If you suspect
your address has been changed Upcoming without your permission, contact the
. Track financial statements. Find out when
financial statements and plastic cards are due to arrive. If they're late,
contact your credit union or appropriate issuer.
. Protect yourself online. New technology allows
online vendors to assure customers reasonable security from online theft. If
you doubt the security of the vendor, order the items over the telephone..
Visit the Federal Trade Commission identity theft Web site
(www.consumer.gov/idtheft/) to view a copy of its publication, "ID Theft:
When Bad Things Happen To Your Good Name."