Updated: June 7, 2018
Anderson Brothers Bank takes great pride in being safe and secure. On a routine basis, we conduct ongoing testing and verification of our critical systems to proactively identify and resolve security threats or vulnerabilities. In addition, we provide and require training for our employees on information security best practices, security policies and procedures. This page is for you, our customers, to learn ways to protect yourself and your accounts here at ABB and will be updated periodically with current security topics.
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What Taxpayers Should Know about Identity Theft and Taxes
When your personal information is lost or stolen, it can lead to identity theft. Identity thieves sometimes use your personal information to file a tax return to claim a tax refund. Then, when you file your own tax return, the IRS will not accept it and will notify you that a return was already filed using your name and social security number. Often, learning that your return was not accepted or receiving a contact from the IRS about a problem with your tax return is the first time you become aware that you're a victim of identity theft.
How to avoid becoming an identity theft victim.
- Guard your personal information. Identity thieves can get your personal information in many ways. This includes stealing your wallet or purse, posing as someone who needs information about you, looking through your trash, or stealing information you provide to an unsecured website or in an unencrypted email.
- Watch out for IRS impersonators. Be aware that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email or social media channels to request personal or financial information or notify people of an audit, refund or investigation. Scammers may also use phone calls, faxes, websites or even in-person contacts. If you’re suspicious that it’s not really the IRS contacting you, don’t respond.
- Protect information on your computer. While preparing your tax return, protect it with a strong password. Once you e-file the return, take it off your hard drive and store it on a CD or flash drive in a safe place, like a lock box or safe. If you use a tax preparer, ask how he or she will protect your information.
How to know if you are, or might be, a victim of identity theft.
Your identity may have been stolen if the IRS notifies you that:
- You filed more than one tax return or someone has already filed using your information;
- You owe taxes for a year when you were not legally required to file and did not file; or
- You were paid wages from an employer where you did not work.
If you think you may be at risk for identity theft due to a lost or stolen purse or wallet, questionable credit card activity, an unexpected bad credit report or any other way, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit toll-free at 800-908-4490. The IRS will then take steps to secure your tax account. The Federal Trade Commission also has helpful information about reporting identity theft.
If you have information about the identity thief who used or tried to use your information, file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
For more information – including how to report identity theft, phishing and related fraudulent activity – visit the Identity Protection home page on IRS.gov and click on the Identity Theft link at the bottom of the page.
Tips for Taxpayers:
What You Need to Know for Tax Season
It seems like every time we turn around; we hear of another data breach where confidential information has been stolen. Cybercriminals actively pursue organizations that store personally identifiable information (PII) in an effort to gain unauthorized access to it. They can either use the stolen PII for personal gain, such as filing a fraudulent income tax return under another person’s name, or they can sell it to another crook on the Dark Web.
This tax season, tax refund fraud is expected to soar again because it takes so little to file a false return – just your name, date of birth and Social Security number. An imaginative crook in possession of the three basic items of a person's identity could create fake W-2 information and submit it, and receive the refund money within 30 days—the amount of time the law says that the agency must refund tax filers.
To make matters worse, there is rarely any consequence for an unsuccessful attempt to commit tax refund fraud. A thief could essentially file a fake return, have it rejected, and not worry about the authorities coming after them.
To protect taxpayers who have been victimized by tax fraud in the past, the IRS has implemented an identity protection (IP) PIN number to use when filing electronically. The PIN is also available to taxpayers with suspicious activity on their accounts. The use of a PIN has not yet been rolled out for taxpayers who have not yet experienced tax refund fraud.
To protect yourself from becoming a victim of tax refund fraud, follow these instructions:
- Don’t carry your Social Security card or any documents with your SSN or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) on it.
- Don’t give a business your SSN or ITIN just because they ask. Provide it only when required.
- Protect your financial information.
- Check your credit report every 12 months.
- Store personal information in a secure place.
- Protect your personal computers by using firewalls, anti-spam/virus software, update security patches and use complex passwords for Internet accounts.
- Don’t give personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you have initiated the contact or you are sure you know who you are dealing with.
Ways to Protect Yourself from Malware
Malware is a vicious software intended to damage or destroy computers. Malware is used by hackers and other online criminals to conduct scams and obtain confidential information. Some criminals watch your every move to get into your bank account, while others are looking to hack into your computer and send out spam or illegal materials from it. Others still are hoping to imitate an anti-virus program and trick you into making a payment. Scary, right?
The good news is that there are some things you can do to protect yourself from becoming their next victim. Here are a few ways to protect yourself from malware.
Pop-Up windows are those annoying little advertisements that come onto your screen without your permission. In other words, you didn't click on anything to make them appear. Be extremely careful with these, particularly if they prompt you to download something. The window may lead you to believe your computer has been infected and that it carries anti-virus protection. This is not true. This pop-up window may very well carry a virus itself. It's a good idea not to click on it. Simply exit out immediately.
Watch for Suspicious Emails and Links
Same thing goes for emails and links. If you don't know the source of an email or you aren't sure where a link may send you, the best bet is to avoid it. Hackers often send out emails with links that are sure to send malware your way and hack into your important information. Better to delete the email than to suffer the consequences of opening it.
Make Sure Your Computer is Updated and Secure
Because computer protection software is imperfect, it's important for you to update it regularly. Companies who produce these protective programs are constantly working to make them more secure and safe for computer users. But they are not yet perfect. Therefore, it's wise to continually update your anti-virus protection. You should also always run Internet security checks.
Be Careful When It Comes to File-Sharing
It's very easy to share files and information with others online these days. Programs and websites are set up just for this purpose. But often, these sites are not protected like you may assume, and as a result, they leave you wide open for problems with online criminals. So if you choose to use sites like this, just be careful. Watch for potential advanced malware threats, which can disguise themselves as popular movies, albums, or programs. If something seems wrong to you, exit the site.
While you can't control every move of a hacker, you can definitely use these tips to protect yourself from merciless online crimes. They are simple ways to keep you, and your personal information, out of harm's way.
About the Author: Rick Delgado is a freelance writer who specializes in technology advancement and cyber protection. He enjoys keeping up with the latest gadgets helping people protect themselves from cyber threats.
10 Tips for Safe Online Shopping
Trust your instincts
If you don't feel comfortable purchasing or bidding on an item over the web, or if you feel pressured to place your order immediately, maybe you shouldn't.
Make sure the Internet connection is secure
Shop only from your home computer. Never shop at a terminal in an internet café or library. Before you give your payment information, check for indicators that security software is in place. Look for a green address bar with "https" in the URL. This indicates the website is secure for e-commerce transactions. It's a way to encrypt data sent and received over the Web so that monetary and other sensitive transactions are secure. Unfortunately, no indicator is foolproof; some fraudulent sites have forged security icons.
Know who you're dealing with and understand the terms of the deal
Confirm the online seller's physical address and phone number in case you have questions or problems. Also read their Return and Refund Policies, including shipping and handling charges. Read the fine print, not all online sellers allow items to be returned and, if they do, there is sometimes a restocking fee. If you can't find this information on their website, ask the seller through an email or telephone call. Finally, many sites offer tracking options, so you can see where your purchase is and know when it will arrive.
Know what you're buying
Closely read the seller's description of the product. Words like "refurbished," "vintage," or "close-out" may indicate that the product is in less-than-mint condition, while name-brand items with bargain basement prices could be illegal counterfeits. Always remember, if an offer sounds suspicious or too good to be true, it probably is.
Know what it will cost
Comparison shop before you buy, both online and offline. Visit websites that offer price comparisons and then compare "apples to apples."
Use the safest way to pay on the Internet
Always pay online with a credit card. This way your transaction will be protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act. Under this law, you can dispute charges under certain circumstances and temporarily withhold payment while the creditor investigates them. An alternative way to pay is by using a third party like PayPal TM which prevents sellers from seeing your sensitive financial details and ensures a smooth transaction. Never send cash or money transfers under any circumstances.
Keep Detailed Records
Print out and date a copy of your online transactions including the product description, online receipt, the terms and conditions, warranties, company information, even confirming emails, and save them with your records of your purchase. Read your credit card statements as you receive them; be on the lookout for charges that you don't recognize.
Protect Your Information
Never send financial information like your credit card, checking account or Social Security number by email. No one should ask for your personal information by email – not even your bank.
Inspect your purchase
Inspect your purchase carefully as soon as you receive it. If you discover a problem, contact the seller right away. Document in writing any problems you have, ask the seller for a repair or refund, and keep a copy of your correspondence.
Watch out for online shopping scams
While shopping online is convenient, it isn't always safe. Fraudsters are attracted to where money is, and money is definitely on the internet. While there are many genuine merchants, there is an ever increasing amount of fraudulent activity on the Internet. Deal with companies or individuals that you know by reputation or experience. If you are not familiar with the company,do some research.
How to Report Online Shopping Fraud
If you have problems during a transaction, try to work them out directly with the seller, buyer, or site operator. If that doesn't work, file a complaint with:
- The Federal Trade Commission
- Your state Attorney General
- Your county or state consumer protection agency . Look under "Where to File a Complaint."
- The Better Business Bureau
These helpful tips are provided by www.infosightinc.com , an information security consultancy working to help ensure the privacy and security of your corporate,personal and financial information.