Bank of New Hampshire Offers 7 Tips to Frustrate a Fraudster During Tax Season
Laconia, New Hampshire – March 11, 2015 – The weeks leading up to the April 15th tax deadline are often vulnerable ones for consumers as W-2s and tax returns containing their personal information circulate over the internet and through the mail.
According to a Javelin Strategy and Research study, 12.7 million Americans were victims of identity fraud in 2014. Though down from 2013, it remains the Federal Trade Commission’s number-one consumer complaint.
“Identity thieves look for every opportunity to steal your information, especially during tax season,” said Vickie Routhier, SVP – Chief Retail Banking & Marketing Officer for Bank of New Hampshire. “Consumers should be on high alert and take every step to protect their personal and financial information.”
To help consumers, Bank of New Hampshire offers the following tips:
- Don’t share your secrets. Don’t provide your Social Security number or bank account information with anyone who contacts you online or over the phone. Neither your bank nor the IRS will contact you requesting this information.
- Beware of phishing emails. Phishing attacks occur when criminals use ‘spoofed’ emails and fake websites of trusted organizations to coerce consumers into sharing personal information. During tax season, fraudsters often pose as the IRS. Don’t be fooled. The IRS will never initiate taxpayer contact via unsolicited email to request personal or financial data.
- Shred sensitive papers. Shred receipts, banks statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away. For papers you must keep, like tax documents, keep them in a secure place. Bank of New Hampshire is offering several free mobile shredding days at select locations during April; visit www.banknh.com/shred to learn how you can shred old and confidential documents safely.
- Keep an eye out for missing mail. Fraudsters look for monthly credit card statements, 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.
- Protect your computer. Make sure the virus protection software on your computer is active and up-to-date, particularly if you plan to file your taxes online. When conducting business online, make sure your browser’s padlock or key icon is active. Also look for an “s” after the “http” to be sure the website is secure (https).
- Use online banking to protect yourself. Monitor your financial accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions. Sign up for text or email alerts from your bank for certain types of transactions, such as online purchases or transactions of more than $300.
- Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately. Additionally, if the IRS denies your tax return because one has previously been filed under your name, alert the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490.
Bank of New Hampshire, founded in 1831, provides deposit, lending and wealth management products and services to families and businesses throughout New Hampshire. With 21 banking offices throughout New Hampshire and assets exceeding $1 billion, Bank of New Hampshire is the oldest and largest independent bank in the state. Bank of New Hampshire is a mutual organization, focused on the success of the bank’s customers, communities and employees, rather than stockholders. For more information, call 1-800-832-0912 or visit www.BankNH.com.
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1-800-832-0912 · www.BankNH.com
Tiffany BaertPublic Relations Officer