While the general public continues to keep their health top of mind during coronavirus, our financial health is just as important. Fraudsters are leveraging fears stemming from coronavirus as an opportunity to scam consumers and businesses.
Watch out for emails, texts, posts or ads offering vaccines, products or medical tips in exchange for your information, money or clicks.
“Spoofed” Phone NumbersFraudsters can “spoof” a phone number to make it look like they are calling from the credit union. Do NOT rely on caller ID to ensure the credit union really is calling you.
Phishing EmailsDon’t click on links from sources you don’t know. Phishing emails will use the virus as a lure in the subject line to entice you to open it. The email’s text may contain false news about the COVID-19. Some emails will claim to be from the CDC or WHO with a coronavirus map that wants you to click a link to open the map. The link is fraudulent and will download a virus or malware on your computer to steal personal data. “The best practice in avoiding scams and hackers is to not click on any links in emails you were not expecting or you did not request,” the message says. “Just delete the email.”
During fearful and uncertain times like these, be wary of fake companies offering online loans.
Here are some tips to verify a online lender authenticity
- Legitimate lenders do not ask for upfront payment.
- It is illegal to make loan offers over the phone. Any offer must be put in writing and it must prominently mention all associated fees.
- Go to the BBB website and select “Check out a business or charity” and then search the lenders name, URL, email, physical address and phone number.
- The lenders website will have a physical address, telephone number and email available on their site.
- Search reviews online for the lender.
- Lenders and loan brokers are required to register in the states where they do business. Check registrations through the Attorney General’s office or Department of Banking of Financial Regulation in the state of the lender.
Never give out your social security number, date of birth, bank account number or other important personal information unless you are convinced you’re dealing with a responsible lending institution.