Beware of Scams and Fraud

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When it comes to your financial safety it pays to be suspicious, cautious and diligent.

Scammers, fraudsters and hackers are out in full force taking advantage of the government’s financial response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They will use e-mail, text messages, social media and phone calls with one goal in mind – to take your money, your identity or both.

Since January 1 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has received over 18,000 reports related to COVID-19 fraud and a loss of over $13 million dollars from victims. Government agencies (such as the IRS or Social Security) use regular mail to contact you.

Recent Scams

Don’t be a money mule! 

The latest bank and government fraud involves a group of scammers using stolen identities to apply for unemployment benefits in other people’s names.

When the scammers apply for unemployment, they need a bank account to deposit the funds. They reach out to people, usually online, and try to convince them to give out their bank account information. They may be somebody from an online dating website, someone offering you a job, or someone saying that you have won money or qualify for economic assistance. The scammers will tell you to keep a portion of the stolen money and to send the rest of it back to them using money orders, wire transfers, or by purchasing gift cards and sharing the information.

Never give out your bank account information, especially to someone you met online. If someone says they are sending you money but then asks for you to send some back, it’s a scam. That money can be stolen, or it may not even be real. People used as money mules may be held partially or fully responsible for stolen funds. If you receive deposits into your account that you weren’t expecting, contact US right away at 1-866-440-0391.

Protect Yourself

  • NEVER respond to e-mails, texts or phone calls asking you to provide or verify your personal information.
  • If you think the contact is legitimate VERIFY the correct phone number and call the agency or business directly.
  • NEVER pay money to get money.
  • MONITOR your bank accounts and credit.
  • UPDATE your computer and mobile security software.
  • Choose complex passwords – and CHANGE them often.
  • NEVER use public wi-fi when accessing your online bank.
  • REPORT any signs of fraudulent activity to US by calling 1-866-440-0391.​
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