Protecting your personal information and helping you stay safe from cyber fraud is an important part of what we do at First Foundation. We have a team of resources dedicated to keeping you protected and providing education, especially when scams are at their peak. While there is no “down season” for the fraudsters and scammers, the tax-filing season consistently ranks as one of the top times of the year for the bad guys to do their work.
The IRS has issued new warnings regarding W-2 and tax scams with the intent of filing fraudulent tax returns. And we wrote about it last year as well: Tips for This Tax Season – Cyber Security Edition
Preying on late, hurried, and/or careless filers, the scammers use very sophisticated methods to try to obtain your personal information. The scams involve sending you to fake websites, distributing malware (malicious software), or using social engineering – all in an effort to obtain your personal information.
The good news is that there are things you can do to minimize the threat. Below are a few tips to help you to be safe this tax season:
- Ensure your anti-virus software is current. Update the software and the anti-virus signatures regularly.
- Be aware of phishing emails or text messages. Do not click links or open attachments in a suspicious email or text message. Verify the message by calling the sender.
- Be aware of fake or threatening phone calls. Verify the caller is from where they claim to be calling from, such as the IRS (which does not call) or First Foundation Bank.
- If you are using online tax filing, create a strong password.
- Back up your computer.
- Treat your personal information like cash and other valuables, protect it. For computer files, encrypt your files that contain personal information.
First Foundation Bank may send emails and call you, and you should always feel free to verify the sender or caller as an employee of First Foundation Bank before disclosing any private information.
The IRS website, www.irs.gov, has articles about the scams, phishing emails, cyber safety, choosing a tax preparer, choosing tax software, and other valuable content.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions.
First Foundation Digital Banking and Cyber Security Teams
Toll Free: (888) 698-7442