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IRS Warns of Tax Return Scam

Posted in Fraud Alerts on 2.22.18

The IRS has issued a tax fraud alert to warn consumers about a new tax return scam. Fraudsters are filing tax returns using victims’ information. The victims receive the erroneous refund (before filing their actual taxes) either by check or direct deposit. The scammer poses as an IRS agent or a debt collector and contacts the victims claiming they received a fake refund and they must send the funds back to the “IRS”. In some versions of the scam, the taxpayers who receive the erroneous refund get an automated call with a recorded voice saying he is from the IRS and threatens the victims with criminal fraud charges, an arrest warrant and a “blacklisting” of their Social Security Number. The recorded voice gives the victims a case number and a telephone number to call to return the refund. When the victims send the funds back, they don’t send them back to the IRS, but to the scammer.

This scam has already impacted tens of thousands of people, and can have a devastating impact on victims, including identity theft, financial loss and a sense of violation. It’s extremely important to stay vigilant against these scams, and be extra careful in keeping your personal information safe and secure.

If you receive a suspicious direct deposit, you can protect yourself by doing the following:

  • Contact Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union at 978-452-5001 or visit a branch immediately. We will send the funds back to the IRS.
  • Call the IRS toll-free at 800-829-1040 (individual) or 800-829-4933 (business) to explain why the direct deposit is being returned.
  • Discuss the issue with your tax preparer.
  • Refer to the website Identity Theft for guidance on identity theft.

If you get a mailed check and haven’t cashed it, follow these steps:

  • Write “Void” in the endorsement section on the back of the check.
  • Submit the check immediately to the appropriate IRS location listed below.* The location is based on the city (possibly abbreviated) on the bottom text line in front of the words TAX REFUND on your refund check.
  • Don’t staple, bend or paper clip the check.
  • Include a note stating, “Return of erroneous refund check because (and give a brief explanation of the reason for returning the refund check).”
  • Discuss the issue with your tax preparer.
  • Refer to the website Identity Theft for guidance on identity theft.

If you’ve cashed a false check, follow these instructions:

  • Submit a personal check, money order, etc., immediately to the appropriate IRS location listed below.
  • If you no longer have access to a copy of the check, call the IRS toll-free at 800-829-1040 (individual) or 800-829-4933 (business) and explain to the IRS assistor that you need information to repay a cashed refund check.
  • Write on the check/money order: Payment of Erroneous Refund, the tax period for which the refund was issued, and your taxpayer identification number (social security number, employer identification number, or individual taxpayer identification number).
  • Include a brief explanation of the reason for returning the refund.
  • Repaying an erroneous refund in this manner may result in interest due the IRS.
  • Discuss the issue with your tax preparer.
  • Refer to the website Identity Theft for guidance on identity theft.

* For your fake paper refund check, here are the IRS mailing addresses to use based on the city (possibly abbreviated). These cities are located on the check’s bottom text line in front of the words TAX REFUND:

  • ANDOVER – Internal Revenue Service, 310 Lowell Street, Andover MA 01810
  • ATLANTA – Internal Revenue Service, 4800 Buford Highway, Chamblee GA 30341
  • AUSTIN – Internal Revenue Service, 3651 South Interregional Highway 35, Austin TX 78741
  • BRKHAVN – Internal Revenue Service, 5000 Corporate Ct., Holtsville NY 11742
  • CNCNATI – Internal Revenue Service, 201 West Rivercenter Blvd., Covington KY 41011
  • FRESNO – Internal Revenue Service, 5045 East Butler Avenue, Fresno CA 93727
  • KANS CY – Internal Revenue Service, 333 W. Pershing Road, Kansas City MO 64108-4302
  • MEMPHIS – Internal Revenue Service, 5333 Getwell Road, Memphis TN 38118
  • OGDEN – Internal Revenue Service, 1973 Rulon White Blvd., Ogden UT 84201
  • PHILA – Internal Revenue Service, 2970 Market St., Philadelphia PA 19104

Robo-Call VISA® Debit Card Scam

Posted in Fraud Alerts on 11.17.17

We have been made aware of a robo-call circulating in the area that informs call recipients that their VISA® debit card has been blocked and that they should enter their card number to have it unblocked. The recorded message does not give any indication that they are calling on behalf of Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union or another financial institution, and the Caller ID shows the number as blocked or as “private”.

Fraudsters will no doubt take advantage of the holiday shopping season to send out emails, test messages and phone calls to scare consumers into thinking their debit or credit card has been blocked or compromised. No one wants to have their cards unavailable for use, and some folks may react before they realize it’s a scam. That’s exactly what these criminal want.

Please be especially cautious of emails, text messages and phone calls this holiday season. If someone reaches out to you and asks you to provide personal or financial information, it’s in all likelihood a scam. If you are unsure if the call is legitimate, reach out to your financial institution directly to inquire about the status of your account. Do not respond or reply to the email, text message or phone call received.

Please share this scam alert and these preventative measures with your friends and family to raise awareness and to avoid becoming a scam victim.

Phone “Spoofing” Scam

Posted in Fraud Alerts on 10.30.17

Fraudsters are now “spoofing” phone numbers from financial institutions with the hope that call recipients will divulge their personal and financial information, especially credit card data. The caller will identify themselves as being from the credit union or bank and inform the recipient that they are eligible for a lower credit card rate as a result of credit information supplied by Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion (all consumer credit bureaus). Unsuspecting call recipients may be tricked into sharing their card data which can then be used by the fraudster to run up unauthorized charges.

We’ve learned that the Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union name is now being used in these scams.
Caller ID may show as JDCU and the caller may identify themselves as “Harry Williams” (or any other name the fraudster chooses to use).

Please be very cautious when responding to phone calls, emails and text messages regarding Equifax or any other credit bureau. Never share your personal or financial information with unsolicited callers. If you are asked to provide your credit card data or account number information, simply hang up. It’s best to not engage these fraudsters in any conversation. If you are unsure if the call is legitimate, please reach out to your financial institution directly.

The “Bad Rabbit” ransomware

Posted in Fraud Alerts on 10.25.17

Please be advised that a new cyberattack has been launched that involves a virulent strain of ransomware known as “Bad Rabbit”. This attack has swept through Europe and security experts indicate that the United States is starting to see related activity.

This attack starts with social engineering. You receive an email or visit an infected website where a pop-up message to install an Adobe update appears. If you click on either the “Remind me Later” or “Install” button, the malware is unleashed and your computer files are encrypted until you pay the ransom (0.05 bitcoin, which is about $275). You are given only 40 hours to pay the ransom.

Please do all you can to avoid becoming victimized by this nasty ransomware. Never click on any email links or website pop-ups asking you to install software upgrades or patches without verifying their legitimacy.

The FBI has also cautioned victims against paying any ransom, as most often you’ll never get the decryption keys from the hacker. Visit the FBI’s Internet Crime website to file a complaint.

Remember, always think before you click!

Equifax Breach

Posted in Fraud Alerts on 9.12.17

Cyber criminals have stolen 143 million credit records in the recent hacking scandal at the credit bureau, Equifax, and at this point you have to assume that the bad guys already have the highly personal information that they can use to trick you. You need to watch out for the following things:

  • Phishing emails that claim to be from Equifax where you can check if your data was compromised
  • Phishing emails that claim there is a problem with a credit card, your credit record, or other personal financial information
  • Calls from scammers that claim they are from your bank or credit union
  • Fraudulent charges on a credit card because your identity was stolen

Best advice? Don’t click on any links or open up any attachments in unsolicited emails, and hang up on phone scammers! If you need information about the status of your bank or credit card account, contact your financial institution directly.

Here are 5 things you can do to prevent identity theft:

  • First, sign up for credit monitoring. There are many companies providing this service including Equifax, but you need to know that if you do sign up for Equifax’s free 1-year monitoring service, you will be unable to join any forthcoming lawsuits against the company. Also note that most if not all monitoring services charge a fee, so do your homework before signing up.
  • Next freeze your credit files at the three major credit bureaus Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You will have to visit each credit bureau’s website and follow their credit freeze instructions. Again, fees may apply, so do your homework.
  • Check your credit reports via the free You are entitled to 1 free report per year from EACH of the 3 credit bureaus. Best advice? Rotate your requests to download a report every 4 months. Sounds like a lot of work, but your credit history and your identity will thank you for it!
  • Check your bank and credit card statements for any unauthorized activity and report it immediately
  • If you believe you may have been the victim of identity theft, visit or for more information or to file a complaint.