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Top Corona Virus Scams To Avoid

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Top Corona Virus Scams to Avoid

By now, we’re all clued into the pandemic that is COVID-19, or more commonly referred to as Coronavirus. Fraudsters and phishers will take any chance possible to prey on the fear and panic of the nation right now – so we want to help you recognize potential scams so you’ll be equipped and ready if you come across them.

We’ve compiled a list of the most common Coronavirus financial scams, and included tips on how to spot them, how to avoid them, and where to look for accurate information.

 

GOVERNMENT CHECKS

If you’re in the income bracket to receive a $1,200 government relief check, you will in the next few weeks. This is the perfect time for scammers to jump in and try to take this money from you by posing as government workers. The IRS and the Treasury Department have informed us that these funds will be automatically distributed, and there will be no action required with most people. Fraudsters may call, text, or send emails pretending to be government workers and asking for your bank/credit union account information, Social Security numbers, or other financial information. This is a scam!

We will never call, email, or text you asking you to provide us with sensitive information. Avoid clicking on any links in emails or texts that seem phishy. If you have concerns about information you’ve received, please give us a call at 770.448.8200.

 

FAKE WEBSITES

With all the hype surrounding Coronavirus and the nation’s thirst for new information regarding this pandemic, it’s the perfect time for fraudsters to set up websites that provide fake information. They might make the promise of a vaccine or medication to help combat the virus, or perhaps offer a great deal on toilet paper or face masks. These sites could have you enter your credit card information and address and in return send you nothing – or even worse, send you faulty products.

During this uncertain time, it’s best to go directly to the source for information. Sites such as World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are going to be kept up to date with trustworthy and accurate information, resources, and data.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA CHARITY SCAMS

Many people have taken to social media to see how their friends, family, and neighbors are being affected by and holding up during this time of public social distancing. While connecting with people and practicing kindness during this time is a great idea, scammers will once again use this opportunity to take advantage of a vulnerable situation. Avoid participating in any “get rich quick” options you see on social media, or donating to charities that people have messaged you about, unless you can verify their validity. Once again, it’s best to go directly to the source when in doubt. Places like the Norcross Cooperative Ministry or Golden Harvest Food Bank can be donated to as trustworthy charities, and of course you can always donate directly to the ACU Foundation. You can rest assured that the charities we donate funds to are all legitimate and have been properly vetted.

 

PHISHING EMAILS

You’re probably already familiar with phishing emails and what to look out for, but during susceptible times such as a health pandemic, we might be looking for an easy fix to a large problem. Scammers are hoping for this judgment lapse, and will jump on openness whenever possible. Once again, they may send you an email or text message claiming they’ve found the cure for Coronavirus, or telling you that they have an investment opportunity for you to make a lot of money – do not trust this. This is a quick way for fraudsters to collect your sensitive information and make money off of your vulnerability.
While they may resemble organizations that seem legitimate, trustworthy businesses such as Associated Credit Union will never ask you for sensitive information via email, text message, or phone.
We know what a scary time this is for so many people, and at ACU we’re here for you. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions on our COVID-19 procedures at 770.448.8200.

If you’d like more information about how to avoid scammers, read this article. And for more information on the measures ACU is taking to protect our members during this pandemic, read this article.