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Be Aware of Potential COVID-19 Scams

posted Katie Hansen 4/6/2020 in Cybersecurity

As the world continues to monitor the effect of the coronavirus, we’re starting to see that it is causing more than just physical harm. During this period of uncertainty, it is important to keep an eye out for those preying on the worries and fears of others. Today, we’d like to share a few of the fraudulent scams we’ve been made aware of surrounding COVID-19.

Taking Advantage of the Elderly

With social distancing and compromised immune systems, it is imperative for the elderly to ask family, friends, or neighbors for support. However, in some cases, these at-risk individuals are more prone to being targeted by a trusted friend or loved one. When going out for supplies, these unsavory characters have the opportunity to skim additional funds given and pocket money allocated for supplies. When utilizing the support of others, always be sure to ask for a receipt for the items requested. Checking online banking, credit card statements, and other online financial balance sheets is also recommended.  

Stimulus Phishing Emails

There are numerous pieces of legislation processing through the various arms of the U.S. government. Rest assured, anything you need to fill out in order to receive financial support through these programs will be communicated by an official government webpage and not emailed to you directly. Please review the newsroom pages for your Governor, Congress Representative, Senator, and President to stay up-to-date on any current or upcoming relief offerings.

If you receive an email posing as a government agency, do NOT click any links within the message, and immediately delete the email. Never, reply or give out personal financial information  by replying to these emails.  

Healthcare Impersonation Calls

If you happen to receive a call from someone claiming to be a healthcare worker, informing you about a sick relative, please ask which hospital they are with. Many times, people are being called by fraudulent scammers, trying to get financial information from citizens while claiming they have a loved one who has fallen ill. You should never give out personal financial information over the phone, however, if you’re worried about your loved one, be sure to call them before continuing the conversation with the presumptive healthcare worker. Often times, the person in question isn’t even sick. Another option would be to call the hospital directly asking if there is a patient under that name currently receiving care.

False Online COVID-19 Cures

Currently, there is no available cure for COVID-19. If you see ads or articles talking about a cure for sale, avoid them, and do not click on them. This could potentially harm your computer and be a trigger for other hacking attempts. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns consumers explicitly of scams surrounding COVID-19 cures online. “There currently are no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) – online or in stores.”

Panic Drive Financial Advice

We all know the financial market has been moving both up and down in correlation with the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19. At this time, economists and investors are still determining the projected effect of this worldwide event on the American, and the Worldwide Economy. While this does not necessarily mean you need to withdraw or change your current investments, it does reinforce that the safest place for your available liquid assets is in an FDIC-backed bank. Funds held in bank accounts are guaranteed by the federal government, up to $250,000.

If you are contacted by someone offering an opportunity that seems too good to be true, it very likely is. Please be cautious with your transactions and reach out to your personal banker, lender, or financial advisor for assistance if needed at (800) 588-7551. Our team is here to help!

Lincoln Savings Bank. Member FDIC.

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