Scams related to the Coronavirus are growing. Remember to be checking what you are responding to. With many working from home and so much going on in society it is good practice to be extra cautious. Below are examples of scams that we are seeing more of:
- Grandparent Scams – In grandparent scams, scammers pose as panicked grandchildren in trouble, calling or sending messages urging you to wire money immediately. They’ll say they need cash to help with an emergency – like paying a hospital bill or needing to leave a foreign country. They pull at your heartstrings so they can trick you into sending money before you realize it’s a scam.
- Relief Check Scams – The government is sending out relief checks as part of the federal response to the Coronavirus. Scammers heard the same thing, and they’re hoping to cash in on yours. Be very vigilant in who you are responding to.
- Church/Community Programs – Fraudsters that are claiming to be from a local church or community reach-out program (among others) and are requesting donations to help people who are struggling. They are requesting that you purchase a gift card and give them the card information to help others.
- You might also spot phishing scams, where scammers try to get your Social Security number (SSN) or financial info – maybe to guarantee you access to a COVID-19 vaccine.
- Scammers are still running some of their go-to favorites such as tech support, utilities, or lower-your-interest-rate. They are also promising that you can refinance your mortgage or get student loan debt forgiveness – for a fee, of course.
Be cautious of all phone calls and texts. Unfortunately, many of these requests are people taking advantage of the current health crisis. Be vigilant in protecting yourself and your finances.
Tips on what to look out for.
As you practice social distancing and limit your time out and about, don’t forget that you need to protect yourself from scammers and fraudsters as well!
Fraudsters are using their knowledge about the virus by launching Coronavirus-themed attacks to gain your personal information. Here are some of the scams we’re seeing, and tips you can take to protect yourself, your personal information, and your wallet.
Shopping Online: Know who you’re buying from. Check out the sites that you are visiting and make sure they are real. If it is a site that is new or you have never heard of, skip over it and go with something you are used to. Double check your website addresses line – make sure that they are spelled correctly and taking you to a secure site.
Fake charities: Fact-check your information. Scammers, and sometimes well-meaning people, share information that hasn’t been verified. Before you donate contact trusted sources and make sure your donation is going to an actual charity. Choose to support your local charities and make arrangements to donate locally.
Fake emails, texts and phishing: Scammers use fake emails or texts to get you to share valuable personal information — like account numbers, Social Security numbers, or your login IDs and passwords. We will never ask you to disclose your personal information through a text or email. Please don’t respond to texts and emails about your checks or tax return from the government. Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know. They could download viruses onto your computer or device. When in doubt – just throw it out!
Robocalls: Scammers are also using illegal robocalls to make up everything from scam about Coronavirus treatments to work-at-home schemes. Hang up on robocalls. Don’t press any numbers. If the call takes you to an individual do not give out any personal information, tell them you are not interested and hang up.
Misinformation and rumors: Once again – fact check. Scammers want to share information that is not true to scare and rush you into a decision that will allow them to gain access to your most important information. Please make sure if you are needing more information and wanting to know if something is real you are reaching out or visiting credible sites that can get you those answers.
Some sites to visit for information would be:
- Federal Trade Commission – Consumer Information https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/
- Coronavirus Scams: What the FTC is Doing at ftc.gov/coronavirus
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
We encourage you to reach out to us if you have questions or concerns. We’re here for you and ready to help you in this time of hardship.