MSUFCU provides tips to identify and prevent tax fraud
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
MSUFCU experts discuss how to protect your privacy and your tax refund
It’s officially tax refund season, and with the large refunds many people receive there is the potential risk of fraud. Financial experts from MSU Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU) provide advice on protecting your privacy and your refund.
According to the IRS, phishing and malware incidents have increased by 400 percent since the start of 2016. Phishing commonly occurs through unsolicited emails or fraudulent websites that pose as a trusted business. Its goal is to lure unsuspecting victims into providing personal information that could be harmful in the wrong hands. MSUFCU provides information on common scams and offers helpful tips on what to do if they happen to you.
- Emails claiming to be from the IRS asking for personal information: It’s important to note that the IRS does not request information over email — they will first do so by standard mail. If you happen to receive an email that claims to be from the IRS, do not open any attachments, as they may contain malicious code that could infect your computer and other devices. If you think you have received a fraudulent email, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and delete it from your inbox.
- Phone calls from someone claiming to be an IRS agent: If you think the person contacting you might not be from the IRS, ask for a badge number, a callback number and name. You can call the IRS hotline at 800-829-1040 afterward to determine if the call was legitimate.
- Requests for personal information to complete an inheritance or lottery collection: You may be asked to provide personal information including bank account details or copies of identification documents. You may also be asked to pay a series of fees, charges or taxes to help transfer money out of the country through your financial institution. If you receive these types of requests, report them to the IRS via email and delete any messages you received.
- Letters that do not match those on the IRS home page: After receiving a letter from the IRS, visit irs.gov and search for a copy of the letter. If the letter is legitimate, you can find instructions about how to respond to it. If you do not find information about the letter, call the IRS hotline to determine its legitimacy.
During tax season, don’t lose your refund or your identity to phishing and other fraudulent scams. The best way to protect your refund is to be aware and ask questions. The IRS offers several outlets to report suspicious activity — by email, the IRS hotline, or through their website. Take advantage of these resources to keep you and your refund safe.
MSU Federal Credit Union, the world’s largest university-based credit union, offers a full range of personal — and business-related — financial services to Michigan State University and Oakland University faculty, staff, students, alumni and their families worldwide, in addition to a variety of select employee groups. Founded in 1937 by MSU professors, MSUFCU has 17 branches, over 232,000 members, more than $3.48 billion in assets and over 730 employees. In 2016, MSUFCU was recognized as the #1 Top Workplace in the large employer category by the Detroit Free Press, as well as one of Fortune’s 50 Best Workplaces for New College Grads. Also in 2016, MSUFCU was selected as one of West Michigan’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For, receiving the Michigan Business Professional Association’s top honor of Elite Overall – Best of the Best award. MSUFCU has a national reputation for excellence, and was recognized in 2016 as fifth in the nation for its financial education program by the National Youth Involvement Board. In 2017, the Credit Union was named as Outstanding Credit Union of the Year by the Michigan Credit Union League. For more information, visit msufcu.org.