The Maine Credit Union League continued its strong media outreach by facilitating a TV segment that aired on WVII ABC 7 and FOX 22 in Bangor last week. Kyle Casburn, President/CEO of Seaboard FCU and League Director for the Bangor Chapter, represented Maine's credit unions in the segment that highlighted ways in which consumers can protect themselves from being victims of an IRS fraud scam.
After seeing that the IRS issued an alert regarding a fraud scam targeting consumers nationwide, and costing victims of this scam collectively millions of dollars, the League worked with WVII and FOX Bangor to make consumers aware of this scam.
In the interview, which aired live and was used for a follow-up story in other newscasts, Casburn explained, "Telephone scammers are pretending to be IRS Agents or someone from the US Treasury Department calling about a problem with tax returns. The scammer may state that the consumer did not pay enough or the money was not received. They may threaten that if money is not received immediately, the consumer could be arrested, have their utilities shut off, driver’s licenses revoked, homes foreclosed etc. These calls have become more aggressive, hostile and threatening in an attempt to scare potential victims into complying with their demands."
Casburn offered tips to consumers on how to avoid falling prey to the scam:
- The IRS will never ask for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone
- The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information
- The IRS does not ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential access information for financial accounts
- If you receive a suspicious email claiming to be from the IRS, do not open any attachments or click on any links. Instead forward the email to the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Never provide your personal information on an call you did not initiate
"It's a great opportunity to reinforce that the focus of credit unions is on helping consumers. We heard a lot of positive feedback about credit unions' working hard to alert consumers," said Casburn.