Ignore bogus COVID Vaccine Survey
March 24, 2021
by Colleen Tressler - Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC
Scammers are using a new trick to steal your money and personal information: a bogus COVID vaccine survey.
People across the country are reporting getting emails and texts out of the blue, asking them to complete a limited-time survey about the Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca vaccine. (And no doubt, there may be one for Johnson & Johnson, too.) In exchange, people are offered a free reward, but asked to pay shipping fees.
If you get an email or text like this, STOP. It’s a scam.
IRS Delays Tax Filing Deadline to May 17, 2021
March 17, 2021
WASHINGTON — The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced today that the federal income tax filing due date for individuals for the 2020 tax year will be automatically extended from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021. The IRS will be providing formal guidance in the coming days.
"This continues to be a tough time for many people, and the IRS wants to continue to do everything possible to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic, while also working on important tax administration responsibilities," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. "Even with the new deadline, we urge taxpayers to consider filing as soon as possible, especially those who are owed refunds. Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds, and it can help some taxpayers more quickly receive any remaining stimulus payments they may be entitled to."
Individual taxpayers can also postpone federal income tax payments for the 2020 tax year due on April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. This postponement applies to individual taxpayers, including individuals who pay self-employment tax. Penalties, interest and additions to tax will begin to accrue on any remaining unpaid balances as of May 17, 2021. Individual taxpayers will automatically avoid interest and penalties on the taxes paid by May 17.
Individual taxpayers do not need to file any forms or call the IRS to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment relief. Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the May 17 deadline can request a filing extension until Oct. 15 by filing Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Filing Form 4868 gives taxpayers until October 15 to file their 2020 tax return but does not grant an extension of time to pay taxes due. Taxpayers should pay their federal income tax due by May 17, 2021, to avoid interest and penalties.
The IRS urges taxpayers who are due a refund to file as soon as possible. Most tax refunds associated with e-filed returns are issued within 21 days.
This relief does not apply to estimated tax payments that are due on April 15, 2021. These payments are still due on April 15. Taxes must be paid as taxpayers earn or receive income during the year, either through withholding or estimated tax payments. In general, estimated tax payments are made quarterly to the IRS by people whose income isn't subject to income tax withholding, including self-employment income, interest, dividends, alimony or rental income. Most taxpayers automatically have their taxes withheld from their paychecks and submitted to the IRS by their employer.
State tax returns
The federal tax filing deadline postponement to May 17, 2021, only applies to individual federal income returns and tax (including tax on self-employment income) payments otherwise due April 15, 2021, not state tax payments or deposits or payments of any other type of federal tax. Taxpayers also will need to file income tax returns in 42 states plus the District of Columbia. State filing and payment deadlines vary and are not always the same as the federal filing deadline. The IRS urges taxpayers to check with their state tax agencies for those details
American Rescue Plan Act Stimulus Checks.
March 12, 2021
Erie FCU is prepared for the incoming Stimulus Checks from the American Rescue Plan Act. No additional action is required through Erie FCU to prepare your account. We do not have additional information on when these checks will be available as they are distributed by the Federal Government.
For more information, please refer to the www.irs.gov
IRS Announcement on 2nd Economic Check "Payment Statuses".
January 6, 2021
The IRS has announced that individuals who see the "Payment Status #2 - Not Available" error me IRS.GOV/EIP will not receive the second stimulus payment automatically. These Americans will unfortunately have to wait until they file their 2020 taxes to receive the payment, even if they successfully received the first stimulus via direct deposit, check, or debit card.
"If Get My Payment shows "Payment Status #2 – Not Available," then you will not receive a second Economic Impact Payment and instead you need to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 Tax Return."
Learn more: IRS Statement
Economic Impact Payments
Erie FCU members will begin receiving direct deposits from the IRS into their accounts starting January 4, 2021. There’s no action needed for most people, including members who receive Social Security payments.
Important: Answers to Frequently Asked Economic Impact Payment Questions
January 4, 2021
The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, which was signed into law on December 27, 2020, authorizes an additional round of Economic Impact Payments to eligible individuals. Because credit unions have likely started receiving the second round of economic impact payments, we felt it was important to share the most recent information that we have on these direct deposits and checks as quickly as possible. We had the opportunity to attend an “Ask the FED” webinar and they answered many of the questions that came up during the first round of economic impact payments in the Spring.
Can the credit union offset the economic impact payments (EIP) to pay a member’s delinquent debt?
We would not recommend this practice based on the answers on the webinar. Unlike with the CARES Act payments which were treated more like tax refunds, included in this legislation is specific language prohibiting offsets for any federal nontax and state debts. This Act also prohibits garnishment of the EIP. These additional prohibitions make these funds more protected and more like a federal benefit payment than the last round of payments.
What if a payment comes in for a deceased person?
Under this legislation, a person is eligible to receive an EIP if they were alive on January 1, 2020. Financial institutions are not required to investigate or inquire any further than the payment instructions. Financial institutions should post the payments as instructed.
What if a payment comes into a closed account?
Those payments should be returned as normal through the ACH system. If a member asks, it will take about 14 days for them to receive the payment by other means.
Are EIPs subject to reclamation?
No, there is no reclamation on the EIPs.
These are links to helpful resources regarding the payments:
- Treasury press release: https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm1224
- IRS press release: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/treasury-and-irs-begin-delivering-second-round-of-economic-impact-payments-to-millions-of-americans
- Fiscal Service Operational FAQs for Financial Institutions: www.fiscal.treasury.gov/news/useful-covid-19-links.html
- Treasury check security features: www.tcva.fiscal.treasury.gov or https://fiscal.treasury.gov/files/reference-guidance/gold-book/check-security-features.pdf
- For more information about TCVA and TCVS, please visit https://tcva.fiscal.treasury.gov or contact Fiscal Service at (855) 868-0151 option #1 or email@example.com
- Treasury Offset Program: www.fiscal.treasury.gov/top
- Garnishment information: www.fiscal.treasury.gov/eft/faq-garnishment.html
- IRS info: www.IRS.gov/coronavirus and www.IRS.gov/eip
This is the link to the recorded “Ask the FED” webinar: https://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/ListenPage?companyId=584&webcastId=39355
Watch Out for Coronavirus Vaccine-Related Fraud
January 4, 2021
Financial institutions are being warned to watch for fraud, ransomware attacks, and other criminal activity related to the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine.
The warning, from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), also provides specific instructions for filing suspicious activity reports (SARs).
In the notice, the agency cautioned coronavirus vaccine fraud may include “the sale of unapproved and illegally marketed vaccines, the sale of counterfeit versions of approved vaccines, and illegal diversion of legitimate vaccines,” highlighting that fraudsters have offered – for a fee – to provide potential victims with the vaccine sooner than outlined under the current vaccine distribution plan.
FinCEN has indicated it is aware of ransomware directly targeting vaccine research and has asked financial institutions to stay alert to ransomware targeting vaccine delivery operations and the supply chains required to manufacture the vaccines, as well as phishing schemes.
For additional information visit FinCEN’s website.
A Message from Erie Federal Credit Union’s CEO regarding COVID-19
Nov. 23, 2020
Erie FCU's CEO, Brian Waugaman
Moving Forward Together
With the changing climate and transition to winter months, there are concerns surrounding increased cases of COVID-19 both here in Erie and across the country. You should know that Erie Federal Credit Union has taken, and will continue to take, necessary and proactive actions to ensure the ongoing health and safety of our staff, members and the communities in which we serve. We are prepared to handle the challenges that may lie ahead and are working diligently to provide uninterrupted service to you. In addition to our up-to-date business continuity and recovery plans, we also have many online resources available to ensure that your banking experience is as convenient and as safe as possible.
From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Erie FCU quickly responded with increased informational communications to members to ensure you had the information you needed to keep you informed of this rapidly evolving situation, financial relief options, safe banking measures and subsequent operational changes that impacted service delivery channels.
As we enter the winter months, we are monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely and will be providing important updates accordingly via our website and social media outlets. Please remain informed and be sure to check back frequently.
In relation to branch operations, please know that we have taken every precaution necessary to comply with all local, state and federal health authority directives in order to offer the safest banking experience possible. Our staff are required to wear masks, practice social distancing and sanitize surfaces on a regular schedule. We will continue to follow these safety guidelines throughout the coming months and strongly encourage you to stay safe and do the same. In the event that a branch location is forced to close for any reason, we will be sure to communicate more details with you via our website and social media channels. We strongly urge you to consider utilizing our convenient remote service offerings during this time as an alternative solution:
- EZ Money Manager (EZMM) Online Banking
- EZ Money Manager Mobile Banking
- Remote Check Deposit (EZMM Mobile Banking Only)
- EZ Bill Pay (EZMM Online & Mobile Banking)
- EZ Phone Telephone Banking
- Branch Drive-Thru
- Debit Card
- Credit Card
- Samsung/Apple Pay for both Debit and Credit
- Support Center*
* Please note: Erie FCU’s Support Center is experiencing higher than normal call volumes and increased wait times are expected.
Throughout these unprecedented times, I am honored and proud of the accomplishments of the Erie FCU team and volunteers. We have made significant advancements over the past several months and we are excited for what is on the horizon. Now is a very exciting time to be a member of Erie FCU and we look forward to continuing our service to you and your family for many years to come.
The health and well-being of our employees, members and community is of paramount concern to Erie Federal Credit Union. We will do all we can to support our community’s mitigation efforts to contain the spread of this virus. Even if further limitations are necessary in the future, we will continue our mission to responsibly deliver financial solutions that meet the needs of our community and provide you the best banking experience possible.
We remain committed to keeping you informed. Please visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for ongoing updates.
Thank you for your continued patience and flexibility as we navigate these challenging times.
Brian J. Waugaman, CEO
Erie Federal Credit Union
Unemployment Fraud Alert
June 11, 2020
There is a nationwide scam targeting state unemployment systems. Please watch for this unemployment fraud:
The scam begins with receiving deposits for unemployment for different names with no connection to the account holder. The scammer asks you to withdraw cash or wire the funds to them. The situation varies, but the innocent person usually believes they are helping a friend or family member with COVID-19 hardships.
Make sure to review your transaction history for an out-of-state unemployment payment or an unexpected/suspicious electronic deposit into your account. If you do see this, contact your financial institution as soon as possible to verify. Also, be cautious with email, phone calls and letters. If you receive a call asking for personal / account information, do not provide the caller with the information. And, never share your data online with a web site that is not secure, or that you are not familiar with.
As always, we are here to help you. If you have any concerns or questions about your accounts, please give us a call at 814-825-2436.