Jump to main content

News & Promotions

COVID-19 Scams

COVID-19 Vaccine Scams a 'Growing Problem'

Beware of COVID-19 Scams

COVID-19 Scams Continue

Scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding COVID-19


COVID-19 Scams Continue


As businesses start reopening and people begin returning to work throughout the country, the initial thought was that COVID-19 scams would cease. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. If anything, they are continuing. Some might even say they are growing as people begin to return to the office, and life begins to take on the appearance of a new normal. Scammers are viewing this as an opportunity to use COVID-19 for their own purposes.

Here are some of the scams that are going around at the moment that we want to point out to our members.

COVID-19 Contact Tracing Scams
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently released a warning about this particular text message scam.1 Scammers send text messages that closely mirror actual text messages sent on behalf of the department of health in individual states. Contract tracing is a process where the state’s health department works with those infected with the coronavirus to alert others they may have been in contact with.

The real contact tracing messages do not ask for any personal, financial, or identifying information from recipients. The scam messages, on the other hand, do. If you receive a similar message and they ask for your Social Security number, bank account information, or credit card information, it is a scam.

Also, “contact tracing” text messages asking you to click on a link are scam text messages. Do not click on the link.

Other scams to be on the lookout for include:

  • Robocall scams offering fake cures over the phone or data mining for information.
  • Robocall scams offering free COVID-19 testing kits.
  • Robocall scams selling health insurance.
  • Phishing relief scams providing large sums of money if you fill out their forms.
  • Banking information scams pretending to verify account numbers to deposit relief checks into your financial accounts.

The problem with these scams is that they can look surprisingly official. Many of them claim to be from actual government agencies promising help to desperate, afraid, and confused people. Unfortunately, high-risk individuals, such as the elderly, are more frequently targeted.

As you can see, there is no shortage of scams out there. Now, as businesses are returning to work and opening their doors, scammers are targeting business owners. These come in the form of emails, texts, and phone calls promising government grants, additional Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) payments, and more. Scammers thrive in environments of confusion. Preventing fraud is the best way to fight it.

How You Can Help Yourself
We’re all navigating uncharted waters at the moment. This is something new for everyone. That doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to protect yourself.

Here are some of the actions you can take to protect yourself from many of these scams.

  • Filter or block text messages from unknown senders on your phone. Some carriers can help you through this process.
  • Protect financial and credit accounts with multi-factor authentication. This makes it more difficult for scammers to break into your accounts.
  • Auto-update security systems on your electronic devices to prevent malware attacks. Use anti-virus software on all your devices, including computers, tablets, and mobile phones.
  • Create frequent backups of important files to the cloud.
  • Use unique passwords and change them periodically.
  • Don’t click on links in emails, texts, or even social media from people or organizations you don’t know.
  • Verify that information claiming to be from trusted organizations or government agencies is actually from these agencies – even so, don’t give out identifying information over the phone, through email, or via text message.
  • Check the sender’s email address to make sure it is authentic. Scammers often replicate emails sent from other businesses, but usually have a different email, such as orders@da-amazon.com rather than orders@amazon.com. The difference is subtle, but it is there.

Prevention is the best cure, and these steps will help you avoid some of the dangerous COVID-19 scams going around at the moment.

We’re Here to Help!
As the nation begins to reopen, scams related to COVID-19 will continue. It’s important to remain vigilant and take steps to actively prevent fraud on your accounts. As your credit union, we invest heavily in security systems to ensure the privacy and protection of your accounts. However, scams directly targeting people through text messages, emails, and phone calls still occur.

If you feel you were a victim of a scam and your financial accounts are affected, please contact us at 410-687-5240 or stop by Credit Union.

COVID-19 Contact Tracing Text Message Scams

FTC Recent Sam Alerts

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.



COVID-19 Vaccine Scams a 'Growing Problem'


An ad for the COVID-19 vaccine on Craigslist. Telephone offers of home delivery of the vaccine. Text messages inviting you to set up an appointment for a coronavirus vaccination. Offers of “leftover” vaccine supposedly up for grabs.

When it comes to vaccine scams, federal and state officials have seen it all. And during what has been a confused rollout of the sought-after shots, a top official at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) warns that more scams are ahead.

Click here for complete article.


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.


Scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the Coronavirus

They’re setting up websites to sell bogus products, and using fake emails, texts, and social media posts as a ruse to take your money and get your personal information.

The emails and posts may be promoting awareness and prevention tips, and fake information about cases in your neighborhood. They also may be asking you to donate to victims, offering advice on unproven treatments, or contain malicious email attachments.

Additional Information is available at the Federal Trade Commission's website.