Bank warns area residents of scam

Ruse includes fake tax documents

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The United States Department of the Treasury has sent out a warning to all national banks regarding a scam involving fictitious IRS forms being sent in the mail in an effort to steal people's personal information.

"I think this is pretty serious," said Tonya Griffith, president of Community First Bank in Craig. "When I first saw a copy of it, I would have thought maybe I needed to fill it out."

The W-9095 form is titled "Application Form For Certificate Status/ Ownership For Withholding Tax."

Accompanying the form is a letter that begins:

"Dear Customer,

We are currently updating our resident, non-resident alien and citizens records. This is to enable us to detect persons exempted from the United States reporting and withholding tax on interest paid to you on your bank account and other financial dealings..."

The form asks a person to supply personal and bank information including:

Name of bank.

Account name and date it was opened.

Password code.

Pin number.

The information requested in the form would be enough for a perpetrator to contact a bank and appear to be a credible account holder.

Griffith said she has not received any complaints yet and is not sure if the scam has hit Colorado, but she said people should beware.

"If a person were to receive a document like that they should contact their financial institution and see if it's from their bank," she said. "Before you ever return personal information you should always verify if it came from that source."

Police Chief Walt Vanatta agreed that if people receive a form asking for personal financial information they should always call the agency that sent it and their bank.

"Call the office and ask if the form is real, but don't call the number listed on the form," he said.

Vanatta said it would be easy for those sending the letter to have someone waiting by a telephone to say the form is real.

Vanatta said the police department has not yet received any reports of the scam in the Craig area.

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