While the physical health of our community remains a high priority, the financial health of our community is important too. Scammers have been taking advantage of the fear and vulnerability of innocent people during Covid-19. In fact, Americans have lost an estimated $145 million in 2020 to scams that are directly linked to Covid-19. That number has been estimated from the nearly 205,000 reports that were filed from fraud victims. Scammers will use times of fear and uncertainty as a gateway to access your personal information. So be prepared!
Here are a few examples of scams that are currently taking place. We hope these examples will help you better identify when a potential scammer is trying to take advantage of you!
Scammers will pose as someone you can trust and probably know very well and reach out to via email requesting money from you. Typically, they will then request that you purchase gift cards for them and then ask you to give them the gift card and PIN numbers so that they can access the money. If you do receive an email like this from someone that you know personally, make sure to contact them outside of email to confirm the fraudulent action.
Email is not the only way scammers will try to take advantage of you. Text messaging has also become a popular way for fraudulent activity to occur. One such example, related to Covid-19, encourages the potential victim to click a link to “accept” a stimulus payment from a text message. Once that link has been clicked, the scammer can gain access to all sorts of personal information that will make you vulnerable to financial loss.
In another example of text messaging fraud, a woman received a message from someone posing as her grandson. He was requesting money so that he could get back home from out-of-state, due to Covid-19. In a situation where the message you are receiving appears to be from someone you know, make sure to contact them personally before transferring any funds to the unknown source. Often you can identify the situation as fraudulent by simply contacting the person the scammer is pretending to be.
If you have experienced any of the above examples of fraudulent activity or if you have any questions about potential fraudulent scenarios, come in and see us or give a shout! Protecting you and your finances is what is most important to us!
Until next time,