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Beware of COVID-19 Scams

As the reality of COVID-19 sets in across the country, the unfortunate truth is some will seek to profit from people’s fear and the opportunities that present themselves along the way. While many people are out of work or sustaining significant financial challenges, some are working overtime to create elaborate scams to take advantage of those who are suffering already.

To help keep our credit union members safe, we want to remind you to be cautious about scams surrounding COVID-19.

Be Aware of Stimulus Check Scams Abound
While it seems most scams disproportionately target seniors, no one is off-limits for the stimulus check scams that are cropping up recently. Some of them are merely seeking personal information about victims; others are more sinister, seeking access to your bank accounts.

In particular, some scams may come in the form of phone calls claiming to be from your credit union or banking institution where they ask you to verify your information, including your passwords or Social Security Numbers. Others claim to require a “small processing fee” so you can receive your “stimulus check.”

Don’t fall for these scams. Be wary of others you don’t know contacting you through social media, text messages, phone calls, or email. And, the better you understand how the stimulus checks work, the more prepared you can be to avoid common COVID-19 stimulus check scams.

Operate with Facts Not Fear
“Facts not Fear” is a common mantra in the days of COVID-19 and coronavirus. We all want to do what is best for our families, not only concerning the virus but also financially speaking. There is a lot of uncertainty in the world today, much of it related to finances as people worry about how long they can manage unemployment, diminished working hours, or business shutdowns.

Whether you’re a business owner, an employee who is working limited hours from home, or someone who has been laid off work during the shutdown, it’s important to protect yourself from the many COVID-19 scams cropping up.

Keep these thoughts in mind to help protect yourself from COVID-19 scams:

  • Most people don’t need to do anything to qualify for the COVID-19 stimulus checks. As long as you’ve filed taxes in 2018 or 2019, you’ve done all you NEED to do, provided you qualify for the stimulus check.
  • Don’t fall for phishing documents mentioning “stimulus checks” or “stimulus payments.” Official documentation will mention “economic impact payments.”
  • No one can help you get your payment faster. Uncle Sam operates on his own schedule.
  • You will never need to call a phone number to verify information or “check-in” online before cashing your economic impact payment. One common scam is a check you receive in the mail that requires you to verify your information before cashing it. That is not how the stimulus check program operates.

We’re Here to Help!
We understand that these are confusing and frightening times. We want to make sure you have access to the latest, most accurate, and trustworthy information about economic impact payments and more throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please know that our credit union will NEVER call, text, email, or contact you through social media to do any of the following:

  • Ask for your personal or account or online banking information.
  • Request that you “reactivate” your account or online banking capabilities.
  • “Verify” your online banking or account information.

Call us today at 410-687-5240 with your account-related or COVID-19 scam questions or concerns during these trying times.

Each individual’s financial situation is unique and readers are encouraged to contact the Credit Union when seeking financial advice on the products and services discussed. This article is for educational purposes only; the authors assume no legal responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the contents.

 

4/15/20