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Phishing Alert – Be Smart. Be Suspicious.

In unrelated phishing scams, the IRS and Target are asking the general public to be vigilant in protecting their private information.  Read more to learn more about how you can protect your identify and your accounts.

IRS WARNS OF NATIONWIDE PHONE SCAM
The IRS today warned consumers about a sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers throughout the country. Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and that it must be paid promptly through a wire transfer or a pre-loaded debit card. The Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number. Telephone caller ID will appear that it is the IRS calling.  The IRS does not telephone taxpayers to request private information and will never ask for PINs, passwords or confidential access to credit cards, bank or other accounts. If you’ve been targeted by this scam, you should report the incident to the Treasurey Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800.366.4484. You should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their FTC Complaint Assistance at FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint.

TARGET DATA BREACH AND YOUR VULNERABILITY
Victims of the Target data breach are vulnerable to phishing attacks now. Remember: 

1. Banks do not ask for account numbers and other sensitive personal information by email.  If you have responded to a suspicious email, contact your bank immediately so it can help protect your account and your identity.

2. Never give our your personal or financial information in response to an unsolicited phone call, fax or email, no matter how official it may seem. Do not respond to emails that request such information or that threaten you.

3. Check your credit card and bank accounts statements regularly and look for unauthorized transactions, even small ones.  Report discrepancies immediately.

4. Report suspicious activity to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center.

Other good practices to minimize the risk of becoming a victim:

-Keep a clean computer by having the latest security software, web browser and operating system.
-Make passwords long and strong.
-Connect with care. If an email or attachment looks suspicious, delete it. Be savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots and limit the type of businss you conduct.
-Think before you act.  If it sounds too good to be true, be wary of its legitimacy. It could be, and probably is, an attempt to scam you.