Archive for Learning Center

Beware of IRS Scams!

The IRS and Social Security Administration warn that they do not initiate random contact by phone, text or email. All legitimate communication is typically done by U.S. mail. The IRS has reported the following fraudulent activities:

  • Someone posing as an IRS agent over the phone demanding payment by prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer.
  • Calls about a tax refund being recalculated that requires filling out a form.
  • Pre-recorded, urgent or threatening phone messages claiming an arrest warrant will be issued unless a return call is received.
  • Fake caller ID numbers that say they are coming from the IRS, law enforcement or government offices.
  • Emails with links that say you can view the details of your tax refund or tax transcript.
  • Bogus text messages regarding a tax bill or refund.
  • Unsolicited email appearing to be from the IRS or an IRS-related program seeking personal or financial information, or leading to a bogus website.

Hang up! Don’t click on links or respond! Keep yourself and your personal information safe!

VITA Program Provides Free Tax Help

Complex tax laws and complicated forms present a challenge for many people each year when income tax filings are due. The Internal Revenue Service understands that some people may not be able to pay a tax preparer, especially in these challenging times. That’s where the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program can help. Established more than 50 years ago, the program offers free basic tax preparation help to:

  • People who generally make $57,000 or less;
  • Persons with disabilities; and
  • Limited English-speaking taxpayers.

All VITA volunteers who prepare returns are trained in tax laws, privacy, and confidentiality. They must also meet or exceed IRS standards to be certified in tax preparation. In addition, the IRS requires that every return prepared by a VITA volunteer undergo a quality review check prior to filing.

Hawaii FCU will continue to offer the services of its VITA volunteers to those in the community who qualify, even as the IRS reports that many VITA sites will be closed or not operating at full capacity this year.

“We have always been committed to serving our community,” said Steve Goo, Hawaii FCU President and CEO. “As we do our part to rebuild the state’s economy, we must also ensure assistance is provided to those in our community who are often overlooked and underserved.”

Appointments are being scheduled for February 01, 2022, through April 08, 2022. To schedule an appointment and obtain a list of documents to bring with you, please call Hawaii FCU at (808) 441-4285.

Fraudsters are smart. Be smarter!

Fraudsters are growing more sophisticated and perfecting their skills with each passing day. And now that shopping, dining out and travel are dramatically rising, they’re also ramping up their game. Anyone can become a victim. However, if you just practice a few basic “smart habits,” you can protect yourself, reduce your potential for fraud losses and keep fraudsters away.

Charity and Travel Scams

  • If someone is pressuring you into making a donation “now” – don’t do it! It’s a fraudster. Never send donations in the form of gift cards or wire transfers.
  • Beware of travel deals that are too good to be true. Be sure it’s a legitimate travel business.

Two-Factor Authentication Scams

  • Never reveal these codes to someone over the phone. Fraudsters use automated phone calls to steal authentication codes, then hack into your banking, merchant, and third-party payment accounts.
  • These scams can be damaging if a fraudster already has several details about you collected from breaches and hacks or given out by cardholders themselves.

Phishing/Smishing Attacks

Phishing (scams by email) and smishing (phishing by SMS texts) are attempts to trick you into providing sensitive confidential information in order to perpetrate fraud.

  • Avoid clicking on links in random emails and instant messages. Go directly to the source rather than clicking on a potentially dangerous link.

Who To Contact

  • If you receive a suspicious phone call, email or SMS text message seeking personal or account information, you should immediately notify your financial institution.
  • If you note fraudulent activity using your personal or account information, immediately notify the appropriate financial institution and one of the three credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion or Equifax. A temporary freeze can be placed on any account openings.

Beware – Fraudulent Text Messages

It was brought to our attention that members of Hawaii FCU as well as non-members received fraudulent notifications on their mobile phones. The message states that their online banking account was locked and has to be reactivated. In order to do so, a bogus link was also provided.

If you receive a phishing text message, what should you do?

  • DO NOT respond. If you suspect a text is from a scammer, DO NOT reply. Replying will confirm your number is active.
  • DO NOT click links in a message. Clicking may infect your mobile device with malware that could copy your stored personal information or financial information.
  • DO block the number. Scammers will send messages using different names and numbers, but blocking will slow them down.
  • DO install spam blocking apps that prevent text frauds.

If you are not sure of the sender even though it says Hawaii FCU, please take time to call us at 808-847-1371 or 808-433-8698. Use your best judgment and always exercise caution.

Get Your Free Credit Report

With identity theft all too common today, it’s a good idea to be more proactive to protect your personal information. Reviewing your credit report at least annually is a good idea – and it’s free!

Federal law requires each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax – to provide you with a free credit report every 12 months. All you have to do is ask.

How to request your free report

You may request your free credit report from all three companies at one time or stagger your requests by contacting each company at different times throughout a 12-month period.

What’s in a credit report?

  • A list of businesses that extended you credit or loans;
  • Loan amounts and credit limits;
  • On-time payments and the amount paid;
  • Missed or late payments;
  • Bad debts;
  • Businesses that obtained your credit report; and
  • Personal information, including current and former names, addresses and employers, and bankruptcies.

What to do about errors?

If you find any discrepancies on your credit report, you should contact the credit reporting company immediately.

Be aware that the only legitimate website for obtaining your free annual credit report is https://www.annualcreditreport.com. Take a few minutes to fight fraud, protect your identity and your good name.