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Consumer Resources

Social Security Fraud

Social Security funds are a favorite target of scam artists. Here's a scam that is especially tempting… so don't fall for it!

"We'll help you get a Social Security Tax Refund." Yeah, Right…

Have you received an offer to help you get a tax refund from the Social Security Administration? Don't fall for it… the law doesn't allow a refund for Social Security taxes previously paid!

The tax refund scam typically promises to get you a refund on a portion of your total lifetime Social Security taxes paid. However: "It will cost up to $100 to process the paperwork," and "You'll owe a percentage of the refund back to the company." The scam artist takes your $100 up-front fee and disappears. The percentage of the refund owed back to the company is just another lie… created by the scam artists to make the offer seem legitimate.

The IRS has blocked about 1,100 false claims totaling $95 million. If you know of any company that currently offers this service, or have been the victim of such a scam, call the IRS fraud hotline toll free at (800) 829-0433.

Credit Card Fraud

Credit Card Fraud Costs Millions…. Don't Be a Victim!  Credit card fraud costs consumers hundreds of millions of dollars each year. It may not always be possible to prevent credit card fraud, but there ARE steps you can take to protect yourself:

  • Sign your new cards as soon as they arrive and destroy any old cards.
  • Make sure you cut old cards into tiny pieces so no one can read the account number and expiration date.
  • If you are expecting a new card in the mail (either because your current card is expiring or you've signed up for a new card) and haven't received it, contact MCCU immediately. The card might have been stolen from your mailbox.
  • Keep a record of your account numbers, expiration dates, and the phone number and address of each company in a safe place. Make sure no one has access to these records. This is especially true if you have people who come into your home on a regular basis - such as a house cleaner or baby sitter.
  • Always keep an eye on your card during the transaction and get it back immediately. Make sure you always get a copy of the receipt.
  • Destroy all carbons by tearing them into very small pieces or shredding them. Otherwise, thieves may still be able to identify your information and make fraudulent charges.

One of the most common types of fraud is billing your account for small amounts that you may not notice. For example, you may see a one-time charge for $29.95. If you don't recognize the company, you may be paying a bill you don't owe. Con artists know many people don't check their monthly charges carefully and simply pay the due amount. If you pay the bill without checking, the con artist gets your money and you won't even realize it! To prevent this, be sure to save your receipts and compare them to your billing statements. Check every charge carefully and be sure to reconcile your credit card accounts every month.

Report any questionable charges promptly in writing to the card issuer.

If you have a change in address, always notify MCCU and the credit card company in advance. This will prevent your credit card statements and re-issued cards going to your old address, limiting your exposure to possible mail theft.

Never leave receipts lying around. Someone could take the information off the receipt and use it to make fraudulent charges.

Never sign a blank receipt. Draw a line through any blank spaces above the total.

Void incorrect receipts.

Never give out your credit card number over the phone, UNLESS:
1. You have initiated the call.
2. You know the company you're dealing with is reputable.

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