Tips and Tricks- Scammers Gonna Scam
How to Avoid Getting Scammed During COVID-19
With skyrocketing unemployment due to COVID-19, the last thing anyone needs right now is more financial turmoil. Unfortunately, even during a pandemic, scammers never rest. Increased robocalls and emails fishing for your information are just the start of how thieves are preying on people during this uncertain time. Here are some things to watch for:
Robocalls: These calls typically feature a recording that comes through your phone as you answer and instructs you to push a number to speak to a live representative. It may offer testing kits that you can order, maybe an opportunity to work from home, or even a Coronavirus treatment. These are all common ploys to get your financial information. Do not push any buttons and hang up immediately on these calls.
Testing Kits: Currently, there are NO FDA- authorized test kits available for anyone to purchase. NONE. ZERO. Ignore online or in-person offers for test kits or a possible vaccination. Scammers are pushing products that have not been proven to treat, diagnose, or prevent COVID-19.
Online Purchases: Don’t buy anything online unless you know and trust the source. Be aware of the sites you are going to and make sure you check the email addresses of any company that is sending you offers to shop. Stay away from clicking links in any emails, but especially if you don’t know the source.
Verify Financial Information: Any call from a financial institution asking you to verify your information should be suspicious. Ashland Credit Union, or any bank (including credit card companies) will not call and ask for your personal information or for you to verify an account number. Financial institutions already have your account number.
“If you are unsure, my best advice is to hang up, look the number up on Google, call the business back and ask if they called you. We’d rather hear someone say, ‘I don’t trust this call. I’ll call you back’ than to hear someone say, ‘I’m a victim of fraud, but I thought it was you.’ It’s not worth it.”
Fact Check Your Information: Even well-intentioned people share misleading information without checking the validity of it sometimes. Verify information before believing it and use trusted sources.
Watch Your Emails: In the next coming weeks, be wary of emails from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) or any local medical provider. Always double-check the information on their website. Also, be aware of anyone saying there are raising money for testing or medical supplies. You shouldn’t feel rushed into donating money. Do not wire anyone any money. Everyone wants to help if we can but finding the safest way to do that is key. For accurate and consistent information, independently visit the organization’s website without following links in an email.
Too Good to Be True: If you start receiving texts about loan forgiveness and stimulus checks, it’s a scam. There’s no nationwide, one-size-fits-all government program that is going to be contacting you via text message. If it sounds too perfect, it’s because it isn’t real.
If these tips seem overwhelming, take heart. Just being more aware of current scams can help you stay more cautious when it comes to giving out your information. To find out what the Federal Trade Commission is doing and to read more about ongoing Coronavirus scams visit https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/coronavirus-scams-what-ftc-doing
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