It was brought to our attention that some members and non-members received fraudulent SMS notifications or “Smishing” texts on their mobile phones. Smishing, combines the words “SMS” and “phishing”, refers to the illegal practice of sending text messages to trick a victim to reveal confidential information.
Mobile users received what looks like a notification of suspicious activity coming from firstname.lastname@example.org. A link to restore the restricted account is provided.
What to do if you receive a fraudulent SMS
- If you do not recognize the sender, DO NOT open. NEVER click on links from an unknown sender. Clicking may infect your mobile device with malware that could copy all your stored personal information.
- If you do recognize the sender, call the sender, and ask if they meant to send an SMS (text message).
- Block the number, this will slow down scammers.
If you are unsure of the sender even though it says, Hawaii FCU, please call us at 808-847-1371 or 800-433-8698. Please always exercise caution.
Tax season has drawn to a close and we hope you were able to file your income tax return at the lowest possible cost to you. Did you know that Hawaii Federal Credit Union is an IRS participating Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site providing free tax preparation services to the community? If you were not able to take advantage of this service for tax year 2021, you might want to check back with the credit union in filing your income tax for year 2022.
Every day is a new day and a new opportunity to straighten out your finances or your financial situation. Did you know that it is never too late to start a savings account, nor it is too late to learn to control your expenses? Hawaii Federal Credit Union can help you. We have Certified Financial Counselors on staff that can work with you in improving your financial wellbeing. Call us today for your appointment to talk with one of our Certified Financial Counselors at (808) 847-1371. We are here for you!
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!
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 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 (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.