Tips on Identity Theft Protection
Consumer Alert: IRS Impersonation and Email Scam
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has warned Texans that fraudulent emails are being sent from people impersonating the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and targeting users with fake tax documents. The emails often use subject lines in an attempt to bait people into opening the links and documents which contain destructive Malware specifically designed to steal sensitive financial data. Do not fall prey to this attack. The IRS will never contact you via email or phone call, but through the US Postal System.
To learn more follow this link: https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/consumer-protection
Texas First takes your privacy and protection seriously. We want to provide you with procedures designed to prevent, detect and respond to identity theft.
We take every safeguard in preserving your identity and privacy, we encourage you to take a look at the following links:
Additionally, we encourage the following:
- Don't share your secrets.
Don't provide your Social Security number or account information to anyone who contacts you online or over the phone. Protect your PINs and passwords and do not share them with anyone. Use a combination of letters and numbers for your passwords and change them periodically. Don't use obvious passwords like your birth date, mother's maiden name, etc. Do not reveal sensitive or personal information on social networking sites. Keep personal information in a secure place.
- Shred sensitive documents.
Shred receipts, bank statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.
- Keep an eye out for missing mail.
Fraudsters look for monthly bank or credit card statements or other mail containing your financial information. Consider enrolling in online banking to reduce the likelihood of paper statements being stolen. Also, don't mail bills or tax returns from your own mailbox with the flag up. Take them to the nearest post office or USPS collection box.
- Use online banking to protect yourself.
Monitor your financial accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions by logging in to online banking. Use account notifications and alerts to help you know if there is unusual activity.
- Monitor your credit report and financial statements for any suspicious activity.
Order a free copy of your credit report every four months from one of the three credit reporting agencies at annualcreditreport.com.
- Protect your computer.
Make sure the virus protection software on your computer is active and up to date. When conducting business online, make sure your browser's padlock or key icon is active. Also look for an “s” after the “http” to be sure the website is secure. Bookmark financial websites and use these bookmarks every time you visit the website.
- Protect your mobile device.
Use the passcode lock or enable your thumbprint recognition on your smartphone and other devices. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen. If you want to donate, sell or trade your mobile device, before you do, wipe it using specialized software or using the manufacturer's recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen. Use caution when downloading apps, as they may contain malware and avoid opening links and attachments – especially for senders you don't know.
- Report any suspicious activity immediately.
Be alert to the following:
- Bills that do not arrive as expected
- Unexpected credit cards or account statements
- Denials of credit for no apparent reason
- Calls or letters about purchases you did not make
You and Your Financial Education
Texas First wants you to have the tools you need to be financially knowledgeable. “Money Smart” is an FDIC program that can guide you in areas that can benefit you with your financial goals. The following link directs you in those areas. Remember that Texas First and its associates are here to help you with your financial questions and needs.
FDIC - Consumer Financial Education