National Consumer Protection Week is March 5-11, 2023

The digital world is here to stay. Although automation through technology makes managing money more convenient, it also exposes your personal savings and other information to risks. Cybersecurity is essential for protecting you against unauthorized disclosure, theft, or other privacy threats.

During National Consumer Protection Week, we’re discussing ways to avoid frauds and scams online to protect your personal information and personal savings. Learn about common types of online security thefts and tips you can implement to prevent them from happening to you:

Phishing is a cybercrime in which a hacker poses as a reputable organization to trick you into sharing sensitive personal information such as bank logins, credit card numbers, and passwords. Hackers may contact you via phone, text, or email and could pose as your employer or other people you know. They will often use fear, the power of authority, or rely on human kindness to coerce you into sharing your personal information.

Tips to protect against phishing:

  • Recognize who is contacting you: Are you receiving messages from someone you communicate with regularly? If not, find a way to verify their phone number or email from an outside source.
  • Notice what they’re asking: Is this something they would typically come to you for? If it feels out of the blue, take your time to think about whether this may be real or not. Also, beware of hackers requesting you to send money through Zelle® and other services. You should only transfer money to those you know and trust.
  • Be cautious about email attachments: Steer clear of suspicious messages containing attachments or hyperlinks. Check for spelling errors and hover your mouse over the link to reveal its destination before clicking.


Tax Scams

With tax season underway, criminals may look for ways to access your personal information to rob you of your refund, personal savings, or even your identity. People may contact you pretending to be from the IRS claiming that you owe taxes or “requesting verification.” These are called IRS imposter scams and are just one of many tax crimes.

Spot tax scams fast with these tips:

  • Beware of calls from the IRS: The official IRS will always contact you by mail before calling about unpaid taxes. First, ask the caller to verify their name, badge number, and call back number. Then, call TIGTA at 1-800-366-4484 to confirm their reason for contacting you.
  • Don’t give in to demands to pay immediately: The IRS does not demand immediate payments, especially through prepaid debit cards, credit cards, gift cards, or wire transfers.
  • Don’t give in to law enforcement threats: Scammers may threaten to immediately bring in local police and have you arrested for not paying taxes. The IRS or its authorized private collection agencies will never do this.


Stay up to date on tax-related thefts by reviewing the IRS Dirty Dozen list. Every year, the IRS publishes this list of common tax scams and tax evasion schemes to raise awareness among tax filers and professionals.

If you’re looking to get your taxes done, check out our partner Ariva: they offer free tax preparation with IRS-certified professionals and free financial education from expert counselors. Plus, they’re located right upstairs from our Bronx branch.

Identity Theft

Getting your identity stolen can happen to anyone, even the wary. Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal or financial information without permission. Thieves may use it to spend or steal your money, open credit card accounts, apply for personal loans, or use your health insurance.

Monitor your banking and credit card activity to look for signs that your identity may have been stolen:

  • Not receiving billing statements or other mail
  • Receiving reports for credit cards you didn’t apply for
  • Seeing unknown transactions in your personal checking account
  • Getting notified by the IRS that more than one tax return has been filed in your name
  • Being informed about a data breach regarding your personal information where you have an account


Identity theft can be a scary and frustrating experience, but there are steps you can take to protect your personal information:

  • Secure personal documents: Keep your personal, medical, and financial records safe. Put them somewhere only you and those you trust can access them securely. Shred your documents before disposal.
  • Update your mobile and online security: Create a strong password, and don’t use the same one for everything. When available, use two-factor authentication for extra protection. It’s always a best practice to regularly update your software for the latest security installments.
  • Protect your card information: Memorize your PIN and don’t share it with anyone. Only use your card to make purchases on websites you trust. If you save your card information on your phone or laptop, secure your device with a password.


Using technology to manage your finances is a great way to stay on top of bills, track your expenses, transfer money, and so much more. Don’t let the dark side of the web scare you from leveraging such convenience. Protect yourself and your money with these helpful tips.

Check out more tips for smart money management: