State tax return submissions were temporarily halted by Turbo Tax last month due to a startling influx of fraudulent state return filings (federal returns weren’t impacted). Did a Turbo Tax data breach allow scam artists to obtain users’ personal information to file fraudulent state tax returns in as many as 19 states?
After a thorough investigation, Turbo Tax parent company Intuit believes they were not the source of the breach but in the wake of the investigation, the company has implemented targeted security measures designed to combat the type of fraudulent activity it was seeing. Additionally, Turbo Tax has implemented a help line for customers who believe that they’ve been the victim of tax fraud (800-944-8596).
With increased incidences of fraud, tax season is an important time to make sure that you are maintaining proper security measures to prevent identity theft. In addition to the standard recommended measures (see below), it’s important to note that neither the IRS nor Envision Bank will ever contact you to request your social security number, your bank account number or other personally identifying information. Should you receive a call, email, or text from a source claiming to be the IRS or Envision Bank, hang up the phone or delete the email or text.
If you have any questions or have noticed unusual activity on your account, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 877-963-2100.
Identity theft is when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission. The wrongfully obtained information is usually used in deceptive or fraudulent ways, and often it’s used for the thief’s financial gain.
Identity theft is a crime that can seriously damage your finances, your credit history and your reputation – and resolving identity theft can take a lot of time and money.
Shoulder Surfing – When someone is watching you from nearby as you enter credit card payment information or calling card information, or by eavesdropping on a conversation during which you’re providing credit card information.
Dumpster Diving – A thief who is attempting to gain personal information about someone roots through their trash to obtain copies of checks, credit card or bank statements, or other records with identifying information.
Internet – Increasingly, identity theft is being committed via the internet, most often by phishing (pronounced “fishing”) or email scams. Phishing occurs when you receive an email that appears to come from a reputable company that you recognize and do business with, such as your bank. Often, the email will warn you of a problem requiring your immediate attention – and encourage you to click a link to go to a website. The phony website will look like the real thing – and in some cases might be – but you’ll then be asked to enter personal information, such as your password, Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, account information, seemingly for legitimate purposes. If you provide that requested information, you may find yourself the victim of identity theft.
Skimming – Skimming takes place when a special storage device steals your credit/debit number when you are using an ATM or making a transaction purchase. The information is skimmed from the magnetic strip on your credit or debit card.
- Never provide your personal information, including your Social Security number, account numbers, or passwords, in response to an unsolicited request, whether it is over the phone or over the Internet. E-mails and Internet pages created by phishers may look exactly like the real thing. They may even have a fake padlock icon that ordinarily is used to denote a secure site. A financial institution would never ask you to verify your account information online. Thieves armed with this information and your account number can help themselves to your savings. If you did not initiate the communication, you should not provide any information. IMPORTANT: Envision Bank will never call you and ask for your account number, username, password or PIN.
- If you believe the contact may be legitimate, contact the financial institution yourself. You can find phone numbers and Web sites on the monthly statements you, or you can look the company up in a phone book or on the Internet. The key is that you should be the one to initiate the contact, using contact information that you have verified yourself.
- Review account statements regularly to ensure all charges are correct. If your account statement is late in arriving, call to find out why. If you use Envision Bank online banking, it’s easy to periodically review account activity to catch suspicious activity.
- Never click on the link provided in an e-mail you believe is fraudulent. It may contain a virus that can contaminate your computer.
- Do not be intimidated by an e-mail or caller who suggests dire consequences if you do not immediately provide or verify financial information.
- Do not throw bank statements, credit card bills or other sensitive documents in the trash. Shred any documents containing personal identifying information prior to disposing of them.
- When you travel, have your mail held at your local post office.
- Don’t use public areas to conduct phone conversations where you’ll be giving out personal information.
- Maintain careful records of your accounts and keep your account information in a locked location.
- If your debit or credit card has been lost or stolen, contact us immediately at 877-963-2100.
A growing percentage of cases of identity theft are committed via the internet, so at Envision Bank, we encourage you to be cautious in your online activity. We assure you that your privacy is of the utmost importance to us.
- Avoid making purchases on public computers. Personal information often remains on a computer’s hard drive long after the transaction is complete and viruses or spyware can be used to steal your information directly from the computer.
- Keep your computer up-to-date. Ensure that you’ve installed antivirus, firewall software or hardware, and anti-spyware software – and keep them current. In addition, make sure the internet browser you use is up-to-date.
- Be cautious when opening attachments or downloading files from email.
- Do not disclose credit card or financial account numbers on a web site that doesn’t offer secure transactions. How will you know if a site is secure? Look for a padlock icon at the bottom of your browser window, and that in the address window, the URL will begin with “https.”
- Do not reply to email messages or pop-up windows requesting personal information. IMPORTANT: Envision Bank will never send an email requesting that you verify account information or your PIN online, and we do not utilize pop-up windows.
- Always verify that you have typed the correct web address before conducting any financial transactions. As hackers often utilize URLs that are similar to the real thing, it’s best to be sure you’re on the right website.
- Check your account statements and transactions regularly to keep an eye out for suspicious activity.
- Use strong passwords on all critical online applications
If you have any questions about Envision Bank online and mobile banking, contact us at 877-963-2100.
It’s not just consumers who are at risk of identity theft. Hackers are targeting small- to medium-sized businesses to gain access to their financials and online banking credentials. As a business owner, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of fraudulent and harmful damage to your commercial accounts.
- Use a dedicated computer for your financial transactional activity. Do not use the same computer for banking that you use for email and web activity.
- Maintain your computer and keep it up-to-date: apply operating system and application patches regularly, make sure you have antivirus and anti-spyware software installed and update them as needed. Utilize a host-based firewall and ensure you’re using the latest version of your internet browser.
- Turn off your computer when it’s not in use.
- Don’t batch approve transactions – review each transaction to ensure that it’s authorized activity
- Review your banking transactions and credit reports regularly
- Work with your business’s IT department to determine the best way to safeguard your computers
If you believe your account has been compromised, contact Envision Bank immediately by calling 877-963-2100.
As a Envision Bank customer, you can be assured that protecting your customer and account information is vital to us. With recent high profile security breaches among major retailers, it’s increasingly more important to keep safety and security in mind when using your credit or debit card.
If you believe that an electronic transaction (EFT – Electronic Fund transfer) has been made on your account without your permission, we advise that you call us immediately at 877-963-2100. EFTs include, but are not limited to: Point-of-sale transfers, ATM transfers, direct deposit or withdrawal of funds, transfers initiated by phone, transfers resulting from debit card transactions, transfers initiated through internet banking/bill pay.
To protect your card and your identity, here are a few steps you can take:
- Unless it’s absolutely required for a legitimate business purpose, avoid giving out your:
Address and ZIP code
Card or account number
Card expiration date
Date of birth
Your PIN (Never share you PIN with anyone)
Social Security number
- Check your account frequently.
- In addition to being able to review your account statements monthly, Envision Bank offers several ways for you to check your account activity and balances on the go. Using our online banking, mobile banking, text or telephone banking systems, you can easily and quickly spot any suspicious activity in your accounts.
- If you bank on your mobile phone, be sure to log out of the app after each use, and set a passcode on your phone to keep your data secure.
- In the event your phone is lost or stolen, a passcode lock will reduce the threat of unauthorized persons being able to access your sensitive financial and personal data.
- Sign up for transaction alerts
- Are you an online banking customer? If so, you can easily set up text and email alerts to monitor your transactions, balances and more. To set up alerts, [insert instructions here]
- Opt for “credit” instead of “debit”
- When you use your debit card as credit, your transaction amount is deducted directly from your account in the same way, however, because your transaction will be processed through a credit card network, you have an added layer of account protection in the event of fraud. In addition, by choosing credit you eliminate the need to enter your PIN which means thieves utilizing skimmers on a point-of-sale device won’t have access to your valuable PIN – or your bank account!
- Check your credit report.
- Monitor your credit report regularly to verify the information is accurate and watch for fraudulent activity. You can get one free copy of your credit report each year by calling 877-322-8228 or visiting annualcreditreport.com online.
- Always cover your card and PIN
- When in stores, be mindful of cellphone cameras, mirrors or other tools used to view cards and PINs, as well as people watching your transactions.
- Report lost or stolen cards immediately.
- If your credit or debit card has been lost or stolen, promptly contact customer service at 877-963-2100.
- Limit the number of credit and/or debit cards you carry
With your Envision Bank deposit accounts, you have access to thousands of ATMs via our partner, SUM Network. Protect yourself and your account at the ATM by following these safety tips:
- If you feel uncomfortable, use a different ATM or come back a different time.
- If you see anything or anyone suspicious as you approach the ATM, opt to use another ATM or come back a different time. If you notice suspicious activity in the midst of your transaction, cancel your transaction and leave immediately.
- Shield the keypad when entering your PIN
- When your transaction is complete, immediately take your money, your card and your receipt and move away from the ATM.
- Retain your receipt for your records – do not leave it in the machine or throw it away.
- If your card is lost or stolen, or if you believe an unauthorized person has accessed your account, please call us at 877-963-2100.
Your Envision Bank debit card is being monitored for fraudulent activity:
The security of your accounts is very important to us, and so all debit card activity is monitored. If your account appears to be experiencing suspicious activity, you will be notified immediately.
It’s helpful to contact the Bank if you know you’ll be using your card more frequently than usual, or if you’ll be traveling outside of the country so the bank is aware and such activity isn’t seen as suspicious or fraudulent.
If your identity has been stolen, act immediately to protect yourself.
- Call us immediately at 877-963-2100 to alert us to the situation.
- Contact one of the three major credit bureaus and ask to place a fraud alert on your file which will help prevent thieves from opening new accounts in your name:
Equifax 800-525-6285 P.O. Box 740250 Atlanta, GA 30374
Experian 888-397-3742 P.O. Box 1017 Allen, TX 75013
TransUnion 800-680-7289 P.O. Box 6790 Fullerton, CA 92634
- Request a copy of your credit report to review for unauthorized activity.
- Report the crime to your local police department
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) through the Internet at www.idtheft.gov, or by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT.
- Notify any financial institutions, credit card companies, utility companies, etc., to notify them of your situation. Promptly follow up with a letter. Close any compromised accounts and request new account numbers, ATM cards, and PINs. If checks were stolen, stop payment on any outstanding checks and be sure to notify merchants who issued credits or took bad checks in your name.
Sample Letter to Credit Bureau
Sample Letter to Creditor
Identity Theft Victim Worksheet
- Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles to alert them to the theft.
- Notify the IRS of your situation to prevent unauthorized persons from filing a tax return (and collecting a refund) on your behalf by contacting irs.gov/uac/Identity-Protection or 800-908-4490