IRS Warns Taxpayers of New E-mail Scams:

Be sure to see the official warning at the IRS website: http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=170894,00.html

“Updated Sept. 19, 2007 – Another recent e-mail scam tells taxpayers that the IRS has calculated their “fiscal activity” and that they are eligible to receive a tax refund of a certain amount. Taxpayers receive a page of, or are sent to, a Web site (titled “Get Your Tax Refund!”) that copies the appearance of the genuine “Where’s My Refund?” interactive page on the genuine IRS Web site. Like the real “Where’s My Refund?” page, taxpayers are asked to enter their SSNs and filing status. However, the phony Web page asks taxpayers to enter their credit card account numbers instead of the exact amount of refund as shown on their tax return, as the real “Where’s My Refund?” page does. Moreover, the IRS does not send e-mails to taxpayers to advise  them of refunds or to request financial information.”

Fraudulent E-Mails Claim To Be From ViewPoint Bank Financial Solutions In Association With The FDIC.

The FDIC has become aware of e-mails that appear to be sent from ViewPoint Bank Financial Solutions and the FDIC. The e-mail requests the recipient to register for a “SON – Secure Online Network” code to protect against credit card fraud. The e-mail instructs the recipient to click on a hyperlink to initiate “SON” registration in an attempt to acquire the recipient’s personal financial information. These e-mails are fraudulent and were not sent by either ViewPoint Bank or the FDIC. Financial institutions and consumers should NOT access the link provided within the body of these e-mails and should NOT, under any circumstances, provide any personal financial information through this media. The FDIC does not directly contact consumers, nor does the FDIC request personal financial information from consumers.

The fraudulent e-mails describe fictitious relationships between the FDIC and VISA, MasterCard, Yahoo, eBay, Amazon.com, and Half.com. The e-mails claim that consumers will receive a 15 percent discount at various Web sites upon completion of the form. These fraudulent e-mails may be modified over time, reflecting different financial institution names or business relationships.

The FDIC is attempting to identify the source of the fraudulent e-mails, and disrupt the transmission. Until this is achieved, consumers and financial institutions should notify the FDIC at alert@fdic.gov of any similar attempts to obtain personal financial information.

Information about counterfeit items, cyber-fraud incidents and other fraudulent activity may be forwarded to the FDIC’s Cyber-Fraud and Financial Crimes Section, 550 17th Street, N.W., Room F-4004, Washington, D.C. 20429, or transmitted electronically to alert@fdic.gov. Information related to federal deposit insurance or consumer issues should be submitted to the FDIC using an online form that can be accessed at http://www2.fdic.gov/starsmail/index.asp.

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An Article From the Oklahoma Banker Direct

A publication of the Oklahoma Bankers Association
March 22, 2006
P.O. Box 18246, Oklahoma City, OK 73154-0246 · (405) 424-5252 · www.oba.com

Watch for these new scams!

Here’s something that came to our attention today, from two different sources. It’s an article by Andrea Coombes, and it’s taken from today’s edition of Market Watch. It warns against the latest fraud scam involving the Internal Revenue Service.

On the e-mail the victim receives, the IRS logo looks real and the message appears to have been sent from the right place. There’s also a “copyright 2006 IRS” tag at the end of the message which adds to the appearance of authenticity.

But it’s a scam.

Ms. Coombes’ article notes that “scammers . . . are swamping consumers’ e-mail inboxes with messages notifying them of an audit or  offering access to a refund. The fraudsters’ aim is to collect your Social Security number, credit card account number, and bank information.”

According to the article, consumer complaints about the e-mail scams are pouring in at the rate of about 100 a day on average, according to Bonnie Heald, a spokeswoman at the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, or TIGTA, which oversees IRS-related fraud, waste and abuse. So far, TIGTA has found 12 Web sites operated in 18 countries perpetrating this or similar types of IRS-related fraud.

According to Ms. Coombes’ article, when you click on the link posted in the e-mail, the resulting location looks eerily similar to the official IRS.gov Web page. Scammers copied the official IRS logo, and even the type font matches the IRS site.

And, if you click on the “Home” button, it takes you to the official IRS site, at www.IRS.gov.

IRS won’t e-mail you

Ms. Coombs’ excellent article notes that the IRS generally does not send e-mail messages to taxpayers.

“We do not communicate with taxpayers via e-mail. We may send you a letter, we may call you, but we do not send out e-mail,” an IRS spokesperson was quoted as saying. She also said the bulk of the scams have been through e-mail, though sometimes fraudsters will mail a regular letter, or even call taxpayers.

“If taxpayers get any communication that purports to be from the IRS and if they’re not sure that it’s a legitimate correspondence and it’s asking for financial information, they need to call us and check it out. Mathis said. “Some of these e-mail scams that I saw, they would not only ask for your bank account number, they would ask for your password to your bank account – something we would never ask for.” She noted, however, that “we do communicate with taxpayers probably more frequently than people think. It’s not just through audits.”

To find out whether a communication you received from the IRS is legitimate, call the IRS at 800-829-1040. Ask them to confirm that the IRS is trying to contact you.

The other scam that’s going around involves a caller who says the victim didn’t show up for jury duty and there’s going to be the devil to pay. The request is for the usual information, and – again – it’s just a scam.

Let your customers know about these fraudsters and how they’re hitting your customer base across Oklahoma. You’ll be a real hero to your customers if you simply make them aware of these crooks.

If for some reason you haven’t yet had Elaine Dodd come to your bank and talk to your employees and put on a program for your customers, call us at the OBA so we can get one scheduled. So far there’s no charge for this great service, and we’ve encouraged bankers of all sizes all across the state to take advantage of this tremendous membership benefit.

For questions, call Roger Beverage at the OBA – (405) 424-5252.