4.4.20

Protect yourself from coronavirus scams

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Individuals and businesses need to be on guard against scam artists. Learn how to protect yourself.

While the coronavirus threatens people’s health, scammers are using this health emergency as an opportunity to prey on unsuspecting consumers and businesses. Phone calls, email and text messages are all avenues scammers use. Here are the basics of what you need to know to protect yourself; click on the links to learn more.

Look out for health scams and fake charities

The Federal Trade Commission and Federal Drug Administration have raised a red flag on companies marketing products they claim prevent or cure illness from coronavirus. See which companies received warning letters from the FTC and FDA.

Do your research before buying health products and be wary of “miracle” and “all natural” claims. Learn more about quack medicine scams here.

Unscrupulous people also try to persuade others to give money to fake charities when there’s a major health event like the coronavirus. Use these online resources to avoid fake charity scams or give money directly to someone you know is need.

Beware of robocalls

Work-at-home schemes and coronavirus cures are just two scams making the rounds via robocalls. The best thing to do is hang up on the calls. Some automated calls direct you to press a number to talk to a live operator and request that they remove you from their list, but this might lead to more robocalls. Just hang up the call and block the number.

Never share personal information (like your Social Security number, account number or passwords) with someone who calls you.

Know that Consumers will never ask for personal information such as your full Social Security number or PIN over the phone. If the credit union is truly calling you, we don’t need to know this information. Makes sense, right?

Don’t click on links

Do not click on links from sources you don’t know. Doing so could download software viruses or other malware to your computer and compromise personal information.

Look carefully at emails. Scammers will use logos, emails and website addresses that look just like or similar to those of the organizations they’re pretending to be. Unless you are absolutely certain of an email’s origin, do not click on any links.

Beware of links sent via text message, too. Spam text messages are “phishing” expeditions seeking your personal information. Do not respond to these messages, even to reply “stop.” Learn how to block annoying text messages here.

Don’t fall for “fast money” claims

Scam artists are known to claim that you can get “free money” from the federal government to pay your bills. Using half-truths about real programs, they lure people in. Unsuspecting consumers lose money when they pay “processing fees” that simply go to the fraudsters.

Also, beware of bogus grants or anyone who claims they can get federal relief funds to you fast.

Fact-check sources and information

Lots of people with good intentions are sharing misinformation. For up-to-date  information, check with official sources such as:

Businesses are targets, too

In addition to scams targeting consumers, businesses are at risk, too. From government check scams to IT scams, businesses need to keep their guard up. Get familiar with seven Coronavirus scams targeting your business and share them with your employees.

Common sense is your first line of defense when identifying a scam. If something is too good to be true, it probably is. If you need help determining whether an offer is legitimate or fraudulent, we’re here to help protect your money and your personal information. Contact us online or call 800-991-2221.

Don’t forget, as a Consumers member you qualify for Mastercard®‘s free ID Theft Protection™ program that can help monitor card activity for potential fraud. Learn more and how to enroll here.

Consumers provides banking services for more than 100,000 members. If you have banking questions, call us at 800-991-2221. We make it easy to bank how you want, when you want. During the coronavirus confinement, we’re available online, by phone and by appointment at select offices equipped to maximize safety.

Federally insured by NCUA

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We're here for you

Find the financial tools and resources you need during these uncertain times and stay up-to-date on our latest response to COVID-19.

Learn more

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