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Do not give callers any of your bank account info


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POSTED: Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Question: Someone called my 84-year-old mom, asking for her bank account information so he could approve a direct deposit for a “;tax refund of $3,579.”; She didn't know her account numbers so called me. I told her we don't give this kind of information over the phone and if the man called back to tell him to call me. Later that day I got a conference call from “;Mr. Mike Rogers”; and mom. He knew she had a bank account at American Savings. He said to look at her checks and confirm the routing number he had, then asked me for her account number. I told him again that we do not give out this information. He got upset, saying, “;Listen to me, do you want this money or not?”; I told him, “;No, thanks,”; and we hung up. Can you warn your readers about this possible scam?

Answer: Never give personal or financial information over the phone to someone you don't know.

We called the 800 number and got a recording for a grass seeding company.

First off, filing a tax return is the only way to apply for a tax refund, said Judy Monahan, spokeswoman for the Internal Revenue Service.

“;The IRS has no business need to know, and does not ask for, bank account or similar information, except when taxpayers indicate on their tax return that they are opting for the direct electronic deposit of their refund,”; she said.

In that case it is up to the individual to provide the IRS with the correct bank routing and account numbers on the tax return; the IRS does not contact taxpayers to verify the information.

The state Department of Taxation operates similarly to the IRS, said Deputy Director Sandra Yahiro.

She pointed to a recent press release warning taxpayers about a telephone scam in which a recorded message is sent, telling people they are eligible for a lifetime tax refund.

The department does not make automated calls, nor does it have a lifetime tax refund program, Yahiro said.

Taxpayers can find out the status of their last federal tax return filing by going to the Web site http://www.irs.gov.

Taxpayers can check the status of their state refunds by going to tax.ehawaii.gov/hoihoi/refund.html;jsessionid=CBEF2221540417A9FC94EEC9A42B0C1A.www01 or by calling 587-4242 or (800) 222-3229.

Sylvester Foundation

The Sylvester Foundation has closed, following the death of its founder, Candy Lake.

A reader had asked if the animal sanctuary was still operating (”;Kokua Line,”; May 22). Another reader suggested we call Rita Frank, a volunteer and good friend of Lake's.

Frank told us the approximate 50 cats and 10 dogs left “;all went to other no-kill shelters.”; The foundation “;did a lot of good,”; and “;it is sad,”; Frank said of the closing.

Mahalo

To the good-hearted person who dropped off my husband's keys at Roy's Kalihi Automotive Center. I know you went out of your way, because my husband dropped his large set of keys somewhere in Makiki and Roy's is on Hau Street in Kalihi. Fortunately, one of the many items on the large key ring was a key fob from Roy's. I don't have the name of the good Samaritan, but want to express our gratitude and appreciation for his thoughtfulness and kindness. May he be blessed with rainbows and happiness forever.—D & J


Write to “;Kokua Line”; at Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).