Child Identity Theft
Child identity theft happens when someone uses a minor child's
personal information to commit fraud. A thief may steal and
use a child's personal information to get a job, government
benefits, medical care, utilities, car loans or even a
mortgage. A thief who steals a child's information may use it
for many years before the crime is discovered. The victim may
only learn of the theft when applying for their own student loans
or credit. Avoiding, discovering and undoing the damage
resulting from the theft of a child's identity can be a
- Protecting and safeguarding your child's information
- Keep all information locked up
- Share your child's social security number with only trusted
- Ensure you have a secure connection, if sharing personal
information on the computer
- Use updated antivirus and firewall protection
- If using passwords to sign into a website, log out of the site
when you are done
- Safely dispose of personal information
- Shred letters, forms and other papers that include
- Delete electronic computer files that you no longer need and
empty out your online trash bin
- Delete any personal or financial information on a cell phone
before disposing it
- Share Safety Tips with your child
- Use strong passwords
- Keep passwords private
- Know the risk of sharing files through peer to peer
- Be alert to phishing scams
- Warning signs of Child identity theft
- Calls from Collection agencies
- Denied government benefits
- IRS or Social Security Administration notifies you that your
child social security number is being used by someone
- Your child receives notice from the IRS that their taxes have
not been paid
- Check your child's credit report
- The law requires Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion to
give you a free copy of your credit report each year - Visit http://www.annualcreditreport.com/ or call
1-877-322-8228 for your free copy
WHY DO CRIMINALS TARGET SENIORS?
Criminals target anyone with money and trust. Seniors
generally have more in savings, assets, and cash. Plus they
have good credit and own their own home. Recent estimates say
that 67% of seniors are targeted for scams every
Individuals who grew up in the 1930's, 1940's, and 1950's
were generally raised to be polite and trusting. Criminals
will exploit these traits knowing that it is difficult for some
individuals to say "no" or just hang up the phone.
Common scams against seniors include:
"Free Lunch" Seminar:
- The lunch seminars usually involve sales pitches promising
annual investment returns of 10% or more.
- Some claim that "you can retire early" with these investment
- The Securities Division advises seniors to be wary of any "free
lunch" seminars, especially those involving promises of high
interest rates and annuity investments. Many promoted
annuities have high penalties for early withdrawal of funds and
also pay large bonuses in the first year only.
- Seniors are frequent targets of Medicare schemes, especially by
medical equipment manufacturers who offer seniors free medical
products in exchange for their Medicare number.
- In the bank examiner scam, con artists pose as FBI agents, bank
examiners, police officers, detectives or bank
- These con artists contact you, pretending to need your help to
conduct an investigation.
- As a valued bank customer or upstanding citizen, you are asked
to withdraw money and hand it over. They promise to redeposit
it or return the money to you after they have completed their
investigation. Of course, you never see your money
Lottery and Sweepstakes:
- Criminals will send e-mails or letters, or even call you
claiming you've won something big. But there is a
catch. Before you can collect your winnings, you have to pay
- This is called an Advance Fee Fraud. Criminals will take
your money, but you will never get anything in return. No
real lottery or sweepstakes will ask for money up front.
- The National Crime Prevention Council says that fraudulent
telemarketers direct up to 80% of their calls to
- Sometimes criminals will claim to be a telemarketer and want
your account number.
- If a telemarketer contacts you and you do want to buy what they
are selling, ask them to send you the offer in the mail.
Foreign Business Offer:
- You receive an email or letter promising lots of money if you
will help them.
- An "official" wants you to take a check they send you, deposit
it, and then send the money out of the country. Usually the
victim gets to keep part of the check. The "official" will
keep sending more checks, asking you to cash them and send them the
money. It's a scam.
- The checks are fake, and you will owe this money to the bank
that cashes the checks.
How do you protect yourself?
- Trust your instincts! If it sounds too good to be true, it
probably is. Criminals use empty promises and scare tactics
to get you to give them money.
- Talk to someone! Talk with someone you trust, like your
attorney, financial advisor, or someone here at Citizens Security
Bank. They want to help protect you.
- Do not sign! Never sign blank checks and give them to
someone. Also, never sign documents you do not
understand. Consult your attorney if someone asks you to sign
- Do NOT give out account numbers! Criminals will claim to be
someone they are not and try to make you give them your credit card
or account number. Sometimes they pretend to be your financial
institution, or a telemarketer.
- Be aware! Sometimes the person trying to take advantage might
be a family member or friend. If someone you know is trying
to take over your accounts, get you to sign blank checks, or sign
documents you don't understand, call your attorney, your state's
Adult Protective Services, or your financial institution right
Who can help me?
- Your attorney, financial advisor, or financial
- Your local police department or sheriff's office
- The Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General's
- AARP: 1-800-424-3410
- The National Crime Prevention Council: www.ncpc.org
IRS LISTS "DIRTY DOZEN" TAX SCAMS
The Internal Revenue Service issued its annual "Dirty
Dozen" ranking of tax scams, reminding taxpayers to use caution
during tax season to protect themselves against a wide range of
schemes, ranging from identity theft to return preparer fraud.
- An IRS notice informing a taxpayer that more than one return
was filed in the taxpayer's name or that the taxpayer received
wages from an unknown employer, may be the first tip off the
individual receives that he or she has been victimized.
- Anyone who believes his or her personal information has been
stolen and used for tax purposes should immediately contact the IRS
Identity Protection Specialized Unit. For more information,
visit the special identity theft page at http://www.IRS.gov/identitytheft
- If you receive an unsolicited email that appears to be from
either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such
as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), report it by
sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to
request personal or financial information. This includes any
type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social
Return Preparer Fraud
Most return preparers provide honest service to their clients.
But as in any other business, there are also some who prey on
Signals to watch for when you are dealing with an
unscrupulous return preparer would include that they:
- Do not sign the return or place a Preparer Tax identification
Number on it.
- Do not give you a copy of your tax return.
- Promise larger than normal tax refunds.
- Charge a percentage of the refund amount as preparation
- Require you to split the refund to pay the preparation
- Add forms to the return you have never filed before.
- Encourage you to place false information on your return, such
as false income, expenses and/or credits.
Hiding Income Offshore
- While there are legitimate reasons for maintaining financial
accounts abroad, there are reporting requirements that need to be
- U.S. taxpayers who maintain such accounts and who do not comply
with reporting and disclosure requirements are breaking the
"Free Money" From the IRS & Tax Scams
Involving Social Security
- Flyers and advertisements for free money from the IRS,
suggesting that the taxpayer can file a tax return with little or
no documentation, have been circulating.
- Scammers prey on low income individuals and the elderly. They
build false hopes and charge people good money for bad advice. In
the end, the victims discover their claims are rejected.
- There are a number of tax scams involving Social Security.
Scammers promise non-existent Social Security refunds or rebates.
Or, a taxpayer may really be due a credit or refund but uses
inflated information to complete the return.
False/Inflated Income and Expenses
- Including income that was never earned, either as wages or as
self-employment income in order to maximize refundable credits, is
another popular scam.
- Additionally, some taxpayers are filing excessive claims for
the fuel tax credit. Farmers and other taxpayers who use fuel for
off-highway business purposes may be eligible for the fuel tax
credit. But other individuals have claimed the tax credit when
their occupations or income levels make the claims
False Form 1099 Refund Claims
- In this scam, the perpetrator files a fake information return,
such as a Form 1099 Original Issue Discount (OID), to justify a
false refund claim on a corresponding tax return. In some cases,
individuals have made refund claims based on the bogus theory that
the federal government maintains secret accounts for U.S. citizens
and that taxpayers can gain access to the accounts by issuing
1099-OID forms to the IRS.
- Don't fall prey to people who encourage you to claim deductions
or credits to which you are not entitled or willingly allow others
to use your information to file false returns.
- Promoters of frivolous schemes encourage taxpayers to make
unreasonable and outlandish claims to avoid paying the taxes they
Falsely Claiming Zero Wages
- Filing a phony information return is an illegal way to lower
the amount of taxes an individual owes. Typically, a Form 4852
(Substitute Form W-2) or a "corrected" Form 1099 is used as a way
to improperly reduce taxable income to zero.
- Taxpayers should resist any temptation to participate in any
variations of this scheme.
Abuse of Charitable Organizations and
- IRS examiners continue to uncover the intentional abuse of
501(c)(3) organizations, including arrangements that improperly
shield income or assets from taxation and attempts by donors to
maintain control over donated assets or the income from donated
Disguised Corporate Ownership
- Third parties are improperly used to request employer
identification numbers and form corporations that obscure the true
ownership of the business.
- These entities can be used to underreport income, claim
fictitious deductions, avoid filing tax returns, participate in
listed transactions and facilitate money laundering, and financial
Misuse of Trusts
- Highly questionable transactions which promise reduction of
income subject to tax, deductions for personal expenses and reduced
estate or gift taxes, rarely deliver the tax benefits promised and
often are used as a means of avoiding income tax liability and
hiding assets from creditors, including the IRS.
- IRS personnel have seen an increase in the improper use of
private annuity trusts and foreign trusts to shift income and
deduct personal expenses.
DO YOU KNOW YOUR REPAIRMAN?
If you incur storm damage to your property during one of
Oklahoma's violent weather outbreaks, be cautious of people
offering to repair your damage. Fraudsters use the plight of
others to take advantage of honest and unsuspecting people. A
repairman appearing door to door is your first indicator that
something may be amiss. In many instances, fraudulent
repairmen will ask for an up front fee before work is to begin,
then schedule the work at a later time - but never
Before hiring contractors to perform any service, including home
improvements, we recommend the following:
- In the event of storm damage, ALWAYS speak to your insurance
agent first. In addition, for roof repairs, never let anyone
on your roof prior to speaking to your agent. Oklahoma helps
protect homeowners through a roofer registration law that requires
legitimate roofing contractors to have certain safeguards in place
and register with the Oklahoma Construction Industries Board.
Check the Board's website to find out if your roofer is registered.
- Don't feel rushed to take advantage of the "good deal" being
offered. If the repairman seems too eager to offer their
services, be cautious.
- Contact your local Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB
keeps up to date on scams in your local area and will be able to
vouch for a legitimate repairman or warn of an illegitimate
- If you feel anything is suspicious, call your local law
enforcement. Local law enforcement keep apprised of bands of
predatory contractors moving through your local area and are
willing to assist their communities.
- Never provide an up front fee. Often fraudsters can
convince an unsuspecting victim to pay a down payment on "services
to be rendered." Once this money goes out the door with a
fraudulent repairman, you never see them or your pre-paid fee
- Get more than one estimate. Unnecessary repairs are
sometimes used to increase the cost of your repair.
- If the offer seems too good to be true - it probably is.
Underbidding the actual repair job can give an unsuspecting victim
the false sense that they can trust the repairman because they are
receiving a good deal in a sometimes unfortunate time.
In January 2012, Tulsa Police arrested two men for defrauding a
79 year old homeowner of $27,000 between January 2010 and December
2011. The homeowner indicated that he was "confused as to
what or even if repairs had to be done."
Unfortunately, these instances are not rare, and inherently,
people generally try to see the best in others. Protect
yourself from being victimized; use the resources and tools
available to make an informed decision. Taking the time to
educate yourself will leave you feeling confident in your selection
MORTGAGE MODIFACTION SCAMS
Homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments should be
aware of con artists and scams that promise to save their homes and
lower their mortgage debt or payments. If you are struggling
to pay your mortgage and are seeking a mortgage modification, keep
the following tips in mind:
- You can apply to the federal Home Affordable Modification
Program (HAMP) on your own or with free help from a housing
counselor approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development (HUD). Applying to the program is always FREE.
For more information on how to apply, call the Homeowner's
HOPE Hotline at 1-888-995-HOPE (1-888-995-4673) or visit http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/.
- Only your mortgage service provider has discretion to
grant a loan modification. Therefore, no third party can
guarantee or pre-approve your HAMP mortgage modification
- Beware of anyone seeking to charge you in advance for mortgage
modification services - in most cases, charging fees in advance for
a mortgage modification is illegal.
- Paying a third party to assist with your HAMP application does
not improve your likelihood of receiving a mortgage modification.
Accordingly, beware of individuals or companies that ask you
for payment and tout success rates or claim to be "experts" in
- If an individual or company claims to be affiliated with HAMP
or displays a seal or logo representing the U.S. government in
correspondence or on the web, you should check the connection by
calling the Homeowner's HOPE Hotline.
- Beware of individuals or companies that offer money-back
- Beware of individuals or companies that advise you as a
homeowner to stop making your mortgage payments or to not contact
your mortgage service provider.
Financially troubled homeowners can avoid scams by working
with a HUD-approved housing counselor to understand their options
and to apply for assistance. These counselors are free and
you can find them at the phone number or website above.
If you play a foreign lottery - on the phone or through the mail
- you are violating federal law. If you respond to one
lottery or "investment opportunity", you can expect your name to be
placed on a "sucker list". There is no legitimate reason why
anyone would give you a check or money order and ask you to send
money anywhere in return. If that is the deal, it is a scam.
Remember to be suspicious if you receive your " big prize"
notification through the mail and it was mailed bulk rate or if you
received a prize for a contest you can't remember entering.
Things to remember about these
- Don't pay to collect your sweepstakes winnings.
- Look-alikes are not the real thing.
- Phone numbers can deceive.
- Do NOT deposit checks you did not expect to receive.
- Requests for payment to claim prizes are illegal. Real
winners pay taxes directly to the government.
- Government agencies and foundations do not hand out "free"
money. They usually provide grants for specific projects
based on extensive applications.
- Unexpected offers to make money in a foreign business deal are
Actions you can take:
- Register your phone number on the "Do Not Call Registry" online
at www.donotcall.gov or call
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission online at www.ftc.gov or call
- File a complaint with the United States Post Office by
contacting your local post office or you may call the U.S. Postal
Inspection Service at 1-888-877-7644.