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Be On The Lookout For Scams

 

Scammers already are swooping in to take advantage of the Coronavirus fears. 

While it’s normal to want to learn more about the coronavirus and information surrounding it, experts are warning people to be cautious of scammers who are trying to infect your devices with malware, get personal information from you, or who are trying to get you to send them money for worthless or non-existent products. There have even been reports of crooks threatening people over late or missed payments.

 

Watch this video on Coronavirus Scams 

 

According to the Federal Trade Commission and other experts, here are some of the scams to watch out for:

Email phishing

Scammers are sending out emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control or other health agencies, claiming to contain updates about the coronavirus. Consumers are being warned to be wary of these emails and not to click on any links or download any attachments unless they are absolutely sure of the source. Clicking on links or downloading attachments could install malware on your computer or take you to counterfeit sites where you might be asked to provide vital personal information.

Mobile Deposit Scam

Scammers contact their victims through email or social media posing as a potential employer, lender, or interested buyer on a marketplace site. The scammer will often provide the victim an opportunity to earn money quickly by depositing a check to their account or by asking for help in moving money from overseas. The scammer will further request the victim’s bank account information and may even ask for online or mobile banking login credentials.

The scammer uses the information to deposit a fake check. Once the deposit has been made, the scammer will request funds to be immediately transferred back to them via money order, person to person transfer, wire transfer, reloadable cards or even gift cards. Once the victim returns the funds, the bank alerts the victim that the check was fictitious and removes the funds from the account, causing a loss to the victim.

Protect yourself from a Mobile Deposit scam?
Never give out your personal information to people you don’t know, alert your bank of any suspicious activity, and before you deposit a check, look for these red flags:

  • Typos in names of the payer, payee, bank and dollar amounts
  • Out of state payers and out of state banks
  • Missing or faded bank logos
  • Notations in the memo-line suggesting legitimacy (cash, authorization, void after 30 days, payment, etc.)

Even if a check has been “cleared,” you may not be in the clear. Under federal law, banks must make deposited funds available quickly, but just because you can withdraw the money doesn’t mean the check is valid, even if it’s a cashier’s check or money order. If you have any questions about whether or not the check is valid, contact the credit union.

Some scammers claim to be selling products

Products that can prevent the disease, treat it or maybe even make it go away. Don’t believe the claims. The FTC says there are currently no “vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure Coronavirus … online or in stores.” Don’t fall for these claims and don’t send any money. You’ll either be mailed a worthless product or receive nothing at all.

As more people suffer financial hardship due to reduced hours or loss of jobs, scammers are likely to be contacting them threatening to disconnect vital services such as utilities or communications unless you pay them immediately. Legitimate businesses won’t threaten you, won’t demand payment in cash, gift cards or wire transfers, and they won’t ask for financial account numbers, your Social Security number, or account passwords.

Some people are even posing as charities, hoping to rely on the kindness of others to steal your money.

To guard against these scams, experts say to:

  • Don't provide your account number or personal information by email or text
  • Don't trust caller ID; Caller ID may be modified to show your financial institution's name
  • Don't feel pressured to provide information immediately in response to requests via text, email or phone. Using their published phone number, reach out to your financial institution to confirm that the request is legitimate.
  • Don't give information over the phone if you receive a call stating that a transaction is canceled, even if the caller claims to be from your financial institution. Once again, contact your financial institution using a published phone number to inquire about the transaction.
  • Don't click on links in unsolicited emails or texts
  • Don't give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer

Remember PremierOne Credit Union will never contact you and ask for your account or confidential information. Unfortunately, some people and companies are taking advantage of the fears surrounding the spread of the virus. Do not let fear cloud your judgment when accessing links from emails and social media. Contact us if you have any questions.

 

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