Beware of Scams
In times of crisis, fraud and scams are on the rise. The federal government has plans to provide Americans with some financial help. That means there will be an increase in phishing. This is when scammers send emails or texts purporting to be from reputable sources in order to obtain personal information such as passwords and credit card numbers. These communications might say something along the lines of, “Click here to get your money now,” or “Get your money faster.” Do not fall for them.
Several federal agencies have released tips to help people avoid becoming a victim. Based on recommendations from the National Credit Union Administration, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (part of Homeland Security), we have put together a list of tips that can help protect you.
- Regardless of the type of email or text, always ask yourself if you have an account with the company or know the person contacting you.
- If the answer is, “No,” delete it and you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission at (ftc.gov/complaint).
- If the answer is, “Yes,” and you do have a relationship with the company that contacted you, contact them with a phone call or email that you know is real and ask them about it.
- If you receive a call from someone posing as a federal employee who asks you for private information in order to receive money of any kind, it’s a scam. The Federal Trade Commission recommends you hang up and report it on their website (ftc.gov/complaint).
- Never click on links or attachments from unsolicited or unfamiliar sources. Don’t assume an email is legitimate because it has the right corporate logo. Look at the sender’s email and domain; if those are not related to a company you know, they are fake. Report these to the FTC as well.
- Exercise caution with any email using a COVID-19 or related subject line.
- Be very wary of social media pleas, texts, or calls related to donations and charitable contributions, financial relief, airline refunds and fake vaccines and testing kits. The link below will take you to a Federal Trade Commission page that will be helpful regarding charities (https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0074-giving-charity).
- Only rely on legitimate, trusted news organizations and government websites for up-to-date, factual information about the virus and the response. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is an excellent source for this information (https://www.cdc.gov/).
- Look out for scams asking you to provide personal information in order to supposedly receive an economic stimulus check. Government agencies are not sending unsolicited emails seeking your private information in order to send you money.
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