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Protect Yourself and Your Finances
Scammers are always ready to pop up where there’s an opportunity to make money — and a pandemic is no exception. Sophisticated fraudsters are setting up look-alike government websites, using fake emails, texts, and social media posts as a ruse to take your money and get your personal information.
Triple think before you open or respond to anyone who is not a verified user or contact.
Popular and costly scams
Fraudsters are following headline news to take advantage of consumers during heightened attention to the coronavirus pandemic.
Economic Impact Payments & Government Imposters
The IRS won't call or text you for information to complete a tax refund or an economic impact payment, sometimes referred to as rebates or stimulus payments. For additional information, visit the IRS website directly. While text messages are a popular form of contact, scammers can also attempt to contact you by phone, email, social media, or even in person. Say "NO" to cash, gift cards, wire transfers, or cryptocurrency demands.
High Demand Items and Other Goods Undelivered.
As consumers make more purchases online, scammers are setting up online shops and claim to have in-demand products, like facemasks, cleaning supplies, paper goods, and health and medical supplies. Once payment is made, scammers disappear along with your money and products.
Before purchasing from an unfamiliar online store, search for company reviews. For all online purchases, pay by credit card and keep a record of your transaction.
Sham Charities and Donations
Opportunistic scammers are using sham charities to con donations from good-hearted people.
- Don't let anyone rush you into donating.
- Don't assume a donation request on social media is legitimate just because a friend liked or shared it. Do your own research.
- Never donate in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money.
- Keep a record of all donations. Remember to review your statements closely to make sure you’re only charged the amount you agreed to donate and that you're not signed up to make recurring donations.
Fake Investment Opportunities
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) warns of fake investment opportunities. Be alert to multi-level marketing (MLM) companies claiming exaggerated earnings.
Remain cautious and beware
- Do not share any of your sensitive personal or financial information. Remind teens and elders too.
- Protect your home internet and wireless networks with strong passwords that are unlike any of your other passwords. Change the name of your Wi-Fi network and avoid using your name so people don’t know it’s your house.
- Don't click on links in an email or text message. Instead of clicking on links, open an internet browser and search for the name of the government agency.
- Don't assume all emails are legitimate. Bad grammar and spelling, along with inaccurate details, can be a tip-off to phishing emails.
- Visit government websites directly for trustworthy information.