Coronavirus Scams On The Rise
We are all in this together! For the most part… Unfortunately, there are people looking to take advantage of the current pandemic and steal from the most vulnerable. We want to educate you on the current scams so you can protect you and your family.
With everyone staying at home, scammers have taken up some old-school tactics, including going door-to-door. If anyone comes to your door claiming to be a government employee, a representative of your local health care organization or other “official” or not, always ask for a valid ID badge. This advice extends beyond government employees to anyone showing up at your door asking for personal information or seeking cash donations. Check it out by looking up the publicly published phone number of the company or agency before you act.
Within days of the federal government announcing that they were developing a stimulus package for individuals and businesses, letters pretending to be “official communications” began showing up in mailboxes. Sadly, scammers began sending phony “checks” to convince consumers to open postal mail where there were promises of speeding money from the government or offers to buy other products. The FTC issued a warning about these scams within days of their arrival in mailboxes. Be mindful of the communications you receive in the mail, especially if it is asking you to give up personal information or take other steps. For most Americans stimulus checks will be direct-deposited to your account directly from the United States Treasury or a check will be mailed to you and you will not need an intermediary to help you access your funds.
Online & Email Scams
Every day, Google blocks more than 100 million COVID-related phishing emails, and that is just a fraction of the phishing emails that make it through, making your email inbox a target. Phishing is the practice of impersonating a trusted organization and sending out emails hoping someone will “take the bait” and open an attachment or respond with personal information. Facebook phishing is also on the rise as more people turn to Facebook and other social media platforms to keep in touch with friends and family. With all the activity related to COVID-19 and the Stimulus, people can be easily confused by official-looking communications. Never give away your personal information via e-mail or in social media. A legitimate organization will never ask you for this information through these channels.
Dialing for dollars is back in fashion. Scammers have started calling with phony information on how to get your stimulus money. As the IRS points out; the government will not call you with this type of request. While much of this information might be obvious to you, it’s important to follow up with members of your family who might not be as informed or capable.
Fake Charity Scams
With the major health event we are experiencing you might be looking for ways to help your community. Scammers use events like these to take advantage of your generosity. Some scammers use names that sound a lot like the names of real charities you are used to giving to. Use these organizations to help you research charities before giving. When you give, pay safely by credit card and never by gift card or wire transfer.
In a time of great uncertainty, we must remain vigilant in the face of ever-present threats of scammers. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. Take a moment to review your financial transactions and keep watch for scams that would compromise your identity. Credit Union of Georgia will never contact you via email, phone or text message requesting sensitive information. As always, if you suspect that your identity has been compromised, please contact us at 678-486-1111.