Protect Yourself from Cybercriminals
You should know that the coronavirus could accelerate activities of cyber criminals who target upon the public's concerns. How to stay protected:
- Be on the lookout for phishing emails that at first glance appear to come from a trusted source. Never click on unknown attachments, links or provide personal identifiable information via an unsecure website.
- Be cautious of emails and phone calls offering unexpected or unprompted information or in which the sender/caller requests your personal information.
- Not all advertisements are created equal. Social media companies, such as Facebook, are cracking down on ads spreading coronavirus rumors, however, some false ads may make it through their filters. It's best to find information on the disease from official sources like the U.S. Center for Disease Control or the World Health Organization.
Kemba Credit Union will under no circumstances contact you by phone, text or email asking you for personal, account or card information. Unless you have contacted us directly by phone or within online banking, do not give out any personal, account or card information.
If you suspect any fraudulent activity, please contact our Member Service Call Center at 513.762.5070 and report the activity to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as soon as possible.
Unemployment compensation is taxable
With millions of Americans now receiving taxable unemployment compensation, many of them for the first time, the Internal Revenue Service wants to remind people receiving unemployment compensation that they can have tax withheld from their benefits now to help avoid owing taxes on this income when they file their federal income tax return next year.
By law, unemployment compensation is taxable and must be reported on a 2020 federal income tax return. Taxable benefits include any of the special unemployment compensation authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted this spring.
Withholding is voluntary. Federal law allows any recipient to choose to have a flat 10% withheld from their benefits to cover part or all of their tax liability. To do that, fill out Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request (PDF), and give it to the agency paying the benefits. Don’t send it to the IRS. If the payor has its own withholding request form, use it instead.
If a recipient doesn’t choose withholding, or if withholding is not enough, they can make quarterly estimated tax payments instead. The payment for the first two quarters of 2020 was due on July 15. Third and fourth quarter payments are due on Sept. 15, 2020, and Jan. 15, 2021, respectively. For more information, including some helpful worksheets, see Form 1040-ES and Publication 505, available on IRS.gov.
Here are some types of payments taxpayers should check their withholding on:
- Unemployment compensation includes: Benefits paid by a state or the District of Columbia from the Federal Unemployment Trust Fund
- Railroad unemployment compensation benefits
- Disability benefits paid as a substitute for unemployment compensation
- Trade readjustment allowances under the Trade Act of 1974
- Unemployment assistance under the Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1974, and
- Unemployment assistance under the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 Program
Recipients who return to work before the end of the year can use the IRS Tax Withholding Estimator to make sure they are having enough tax taken out of their pay. Available only on IRS.gov, this online tool can help any worker or pension recipient avoid or lessen their year-end tax bill or estimate the refund they want.
In January 2021, unemployment benefit recipients should receive a Form 1099-G, Certain Government Payments (PDF) from the agency paying the benefits. The form will show the amount of unemployment compensation they received during 2020 in Box 1, and any federal income tax withheld in Box 4. Taxpayers report this information, along with their W-2 income, on their 2020 federal tax return. For more information on unemployment, see Unemployment Benefits in Publication 525.
Economic impact payments: What you need to know
Important: The government will not ask you to pay anything up front to get this money or ask for your social security number, bank account or credit card number. Be on the lookout for scammers that are asking for this information.
Check IRS.gov for the latest information: No action needed by most people at this time
The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today announced that distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. However, some seniors and others who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the stimulus payment.
Who is eligible for the economic impact payment?
Tax filers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment. For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds. Single filers with income exceeding $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers with no children are not eligible.
Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples. Parents also receive $500 for each qualifying child.
How will the IRS know where to send my payment?
The vast majority of people do not need to take any action. The IRS will calculate and automatically send the economic impact payment to those eligible.
For people who have already filed their 2019 tax returns, the IRS will use this information to calculate the payment amount. For those who have not yet filed their return for 2019, the IRS will use information from their 2018 tax filing to calculate the payment. The economic impact payment will be deposited directly into the same banking account reflected on the return filed.
The IRS does not have my direct deposit information. What can I do?
In the coming weeks, Treasury plans to develop a web-based portal for individuals to provide their banking information to the IRS online, so that individuals can receive payments immediately as opposed to checks in the mail.
I am not typically required to file a tax return. Can I still receive my payment?
Yes. People who typically do not file a tax return will need to file a simple tax return to receive an economic impact payment. Low-income taxpayers, senior citizens, Social Security recipients, some veterans and individuals with disabilities who are otherwise not required to file a tax return will not owe tax.
How can I file the tax return needed to receive my economic impact payment?
IRS.gov/coronavirus will soon provide information instructing people in these groups on how to file a 2019 tax return with simple, but necessary, information including their filing status, number of dependents and direct deposit bank account information.
I have not filed my tax return for 2018 or 2019. Can I still receive an economic impact payment?
Yes. The IRS urges anyone with a tax filing obligation who has not yet filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019 to file as soon as they can to receive an economic impact payment. Taxpayers should include direct deposit banking information on the return.
I need to file a tax return. How long are the economic impact payments available?
For those concerned about visiting a tax professional or local community organization in person to get help with a tax return, these economic impact payments will be available throughout the rest of 2020.
Where can I get more information?
The IRS will post all key information on IRS.gov/coronavirus as soon as it becomes available.
The IRS has a reduced staff in many of its offices but remains committed to helping eligible individuals receive their payments expeditiously. Check for updated information on IRS.gov/coronavirus rather than calling IRS assistors who are helping process 2019 returns.
Phishing attacks use email or malicious websites (clicking on a link) to collect personal and financial information or infect your machine with malware and viruses.
Protect Yourself with these STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Tips:
- When in doubt, throw it out: Links in email, tweets, posts and online advertising are often how cybercriminals try to compromise your information. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete or, if appropriate, mark it as junk.
- Think before you act: Be wary of communications that implores you to act immediately, offers something that sounds too good to be true or asks for personal information.
- Make your password a sentence: A strong password is a sentence that is at least 12 characters long. Focus on positive sentences or phrases that you like to think about and are easy to remember (for example, “I love country music.”). On many sites, you can even use spaces!
- Unique account, unique password: Having separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals. At a minimum, separate your work and personal accounts and make sure that your critical accounts have the strongest passwords.
- Lock down your login: Fortify your online accounts by enabling the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device. Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media.
How Do You Avoid Being a Victim?
- Don’t reveal personal or financial information in an email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information. This includes following links sent in email.
- Before sending sensitive information over the Internet, check the security of the website.
- Pay attention to the website's URL. Malicious websites may look identical to a legitimate site, but the URL may use a variation in spelling or a different domain (e.g., .com versus .net).
- If you are unsure whether an email request is legitimate, try to verify it by contacting the company directly. Contact the company using information provided on an account statement, not information provided in an email.
- Keep a clean machine. Having the latest operating system, software, web browsers, anti-virus protection and apps are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
SCAMS AND FINANCIAL FRAUD
Every year, thousands of people lose their money and personal information to telephone scams. Typically, phone scammers will try to sell you something you hadn't planned to buy and will pressure you to give up personal information, like your credit card details or Social Security number.
Common Phone Scams
In telemarketing fraud, phone scammers will often use exaggerated—or even fake—prizes, products, and services as bait. Some may call you, but others will use mail, text, or ads to get you to call them for more details. Types of phone scams include:
- Travel packages - "Free" or "low-cost" vacations can end up costing a fortune in hidden costs.
- Credit and loans - Popular schemes include advance fee loans, payday loans, and credit card loss protection.
- Fake business and investment opportunities - As business and investing can be complicated, scammers take advantage of people not researching the investment.
- Charitable causes - Many phone scams involve urgent requests for recent disaster relief efforts.
National Do Not Call List
Avoid phone scams by registering your home and cell phone numbers with the National Do Not Call Registry or by calling 1-888-382-1222. This national registry was created to offer consumers a choice regarding telemarketing calls. Most legitimate companies don't call if your number is on the registry. If a company is ignoring the registry, there’s a good chance that it’s a scam. If you get these calls, hang up.
Report Telephone Fraud
If you believe you have been a victim of a telephone scam or telemarketing fraud, you can file an online complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), or by phone at 1-877-382-4357.
Scam artists use different types of fraud to try to trick people out of their money. Two common types of fraud are banking scams and investment scams.
Popular banking scams include:
- Fake check scams, where a scam artist creates counterfeit checks that look legitimate, with watermarks, routing numbers, and the names of real financial institutions. They then try to deposit them in banks, use them as part of other frauds against consumers, or use them to pay companies for products or services.
- Unsolicited check fraud, where a scammer may send you a check that you didn't have a legitimate reason to receive. Unfortunately, if you cash it, you may be authorizing the purchase of items you didn't ask for, signing up for a loan, or something else you didn't ask for. The Federal Trade Commission offers tips to help you avoid being a victim of these scams, and recommends what to do if you have been a victim.
- Automatic withdrawals. A company sets up automatic withdrawals from your account that you didn’t approve.
- Phishing. Email messages that ask you to verify your bank account number or debit card PIN. By clicking on the link or replying to the email with your account number, you are giving a scammer access to your financial accounts.
Investment scams prey on your hope to earn interest or a return on investment on the amount of money that you invest. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) offers overviews of many common investment frauds, and tips to avoid being a victim.
For more information and how to report Scams and Financial Fraud you can visit usa.gov.
Family and Friend Imposter Scams
Older consumers who report losing money to fraud are reporting a disturbing trend: Scammers claiming to be a loved one in trouble are getting people 70 and over to send thousands of dollars in cash.
In the second Consumer Protection Data Spotlight, the Federal Trade Commission examined complaints about family and friend imposter scams. These scammers often call seniors claiming to be a grandchild. The FTC is seeing an increase in the number of people ages 70 and over who say they sent cash in response to this particular scam – one in four said they mailed cash in 2018, compared to one in fourteen the prior year. In about half of these types of complaints, the scammer said they were in jail or some other legal trouble and in need of money to get out of trouble.
All age groups reported losing more money over the last 12 months to family and friend imposter scams – a total of $41 million, compared to $26 million the previous year. The most striking concern is individual losses by older Americans. The median loss for this scam was $2,000, but when seniors ages 70 and over said they put cash in the mail, their median loss was $9,000.
The FTC urges those who might get such a call to not act right away. Instead, the FTC recommends calling the family member or friend using a known number, or checking out the request with someone else in their family or a mutual friend.
For more information and how to file a complaint please visit ftc.gov or call the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357.
TAX RELATED IDENTITY THEFT AND REMOTE TAKOVERS
Protect Yourself from Tax Related Identity Theft
1. Taxes. Security. Together. The IRS, the states and the tax industry need everyone’s help. The IRS launched The Taxes. Security. Together. awareness campaign in 2015 to inform people about ways to protect their personal, tax and financial data. Learn more at www.IRS.gov/TaxesSecurityTogether.
2. Protect Personal and Financial Records. Taxpayers should not carry their Social Security card in their wallet or purse. They should only provide their Social Security number if it’s necessary. Protect personal information at home and protect personal computers with anti-spam and anti-virus software. Routinely change passwords for online accounts.
3. Don’t Fall for Scams. Criminals often try to impersonate banks, credit card companies and even the IRS hoping to steal personal data. Learn to recognize and avoid those fake communications. Also, the IRS will not call a taxpayer threatening a lawsuit, arrest or to demand immediate payment. Beware of threatening phone calls from someone claiming to be from the IRS.
4. Report Tax-Related ID Theft. Here’s what taxpayers should do if they cannot e-file their return because someone already filed using their SSN:
- File a tax return by paper and pay any taxes owed.
File an IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. Print the form and mail or fax it according to the instructions. Include it with the paper tax return and/or attach a police report describing the theft if available.
File a report with the Federal Trade Commission using the FTC Complaint Assistant.
Contact Social Security Administration at www.ssa.gov and type in “identity theft” in the search box.
Contact financial institutions to report the alleged identity theft.
Contact one of the three credit bureaus so they can place a fraud alert or credit freeze on the affected account.
Check with the applicable state tax agency to see if there are additional steps to take at the state level.
5. IRS Letters. If the IRS identifies a suspicious tax return with a taxpayer’s stolen SSN, that taxpayer may receive a letter asking them verify their identity by calling a special number or visiting an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center.
6. IP PIN. If a taxpayer is a confirmed ID theft victim, the IRS may issue them an IP PIN. The IP PIN is a unique six-digit number that the taxpayer uses to e-file their tax return. Each year, they will receive an IRS letter with a new IP PIN.
7. Report Suspicious Activity. If taxpayers suspect or know of an individual or business that is committing tax fraud, they can visit IRS.gov and follow the chart on How to Report Suspected Tax Fraud Activity.
8. Service Options. Information about tax-related identity theft is available online. The IRS has a special sectionO on IRS.gov devoted to identity theft and information for victims to obtain assistance.
For more information on how to protect yourself from tax related identity theft you can visit irs.gov.
How to Prevent Remote Access Takeover Attacks
The IRS urges tax professionals to take the following steps to help protect themselves from remote takeovers:
- Educate staff members about the dangers of phishing scams, which can be in the form of emails, texts and calls, as well as the threat posed by remote access attacks;
- Use strong security software, set it to update automatically and run a periodic security “deep scan” to search for viruses and malware;
- Identify and assess wireless devices connected to the network, including mobile phones, computers, printers, fax machines, routers, modems and televisions. Replace factory password settings with strong passwords.
- Strengthen passwords for devices and for software access. Make sure passwords are a minimum of eight digits (more is better) with a mix of numbers, letters and special characters;
- Be alert for phishing scams: do not click on links or open attachments from unknown, unsolicited or suspicious senders;
- Review any software that employees use to remotely access the network as well as those used by IT support vendors to remotely troubleshoot technical problems. Remote access software is a potential target for bad actors to gain entry and take control of a machine. Disable remote access software until it is needed.
For more information you can visit irs.gov.
FINANCIAL LITERACY RESOURCES
To educate yourself as well as others about financial literacy, you can click here to visit NCUA’s Financial Literacy Resources pageto visit NCUA’s Financial Literacy Resources page. The website includes educational resources for children and adults, explaining how to save and budget as well as articles and games that will explain how to make financially responsible decisions.
To learn how to manage and grow your money, visit mymoney.gov. Here you will learn about the five My Money principles that will help you with your everyday financial decisions.