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Protect Yourself from Fraud this Tax Season

posted on Monday, January 30, 2023 in Security & Fraud Information

Tax Fraud Tips

Tax season is stressful. As W-2s and tax returns containing consumers’ personal information circulate over the internet and through the mail, cybercriminals ramp up their efforts to commit fraud. Northwest Bank wants to make sure our community's consumers protect themselves from identity theft as they work to file their tax returns.

Identity thieves look for every opportunity to steal your information, especially during tax season. Consumers should be on high alert and take every step they can to protect their personal and financial information.

Utilize the tips below to help protect your personal and financial information:

  1. Keep your personal information private. Never provide your Social Security number or bank account information to anyone who contacts you online or over the phone.
    • Did you know...We offer our customers the ability to send a secure email to us. It is the best way to communicate with us and the only way to be sure your confidential information is delivered safely. Our easy-to-use email protection makes it seamless for you to receive, read and reply to all encrypted email communication we send you. Click here to get started and to create your account!
  2. Watch out for phishing emails. During tax season, fraudsters often pose as the IRS in phishing emails. Don’t be fooled. The IRS never contacts taxpayers via unsolicited email to request personal or financial data. If something seems suspicious, it probably is.
  3. Shred everything. When you’re done with your receipts, banks statements and unused credit card offers, make sure you shred them before throwing them away. For papers you must keep, like tax documents, keep them in a secure place.
  4. Report 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 important documents from your employer or bank, or they appear to have been previously opened, contact your credit card provider, bank and the IRS immediately.
  5. 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.
  6. Keep an eye on your accounts. Watch your financial accounts regularly for suspicious transactions. If you see activity you don’t recognize, contact your bank immediately.
    • Download our Mobile Banking App today to stay in touch with your finances.
    • Set-Up Account Alerts so that the moment a specified account event occurs, you can be notified by e-mail, text, push notification or an online message.

Incorporating the tips listed above can help ensure that your taxes are filed safely and prevent you from becoming a victim of identity theft. If the IRS does deny your tax return because one has previously been filed under your name, alert the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit immediately by calling 800-908-4490.

When it comes to loans, it’s best to trust your local bank. To learn more tips for spotting phishing scams, visit our Personal Security Center or contact a Northwest Bank Representative at 1-800-678-4105. Member FDIC.

These tips are provided by the Iowa Bankers Association.

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