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FinCEN Issues Alert Around COVID-19 Scams and Schemes

posted Katie Hansen 7/17/2020 in Cybersecurity

There are emerging schemes and scams centered around the COVID-19 pandemic taking place across the United States. Recently, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued an advisory for financial institutions to be on the lookout for potential victims of these crimes.
The two most commonly cited crimes are Imposter Scams and Money Mule Schemes.

Imposter Scams

In an Imposter Scam, an individual impersonates or makes others believe that they are a person of  specific authority in order to offer fake products or services. With recent coronavirus information circulating throughout the news outlets, there has been a noticeable uptick of fraudsters posing as members of the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, Internal Revenue Service, academic institutions, and various other healthcare organizations.
These fraudsters have commonly been reaching out via phone calls, emails, and text messages, to attempt to scam their victims into submitting payments. These communication tactics can often include phishing attempts, utilizing malicious links and infectious malware or ransomware.

Money Mule Schemes

Typically, someone who is knowingly or unknowingly acting as a money mule is essentially depositing funds within a financial institution that have been illegally used or acquired. Recently, U.S. authorities have alerted financial institutions of criminals utilizing these money mules in order to exploit available unemployment programs during the current worldwide pandemic.

Safety Tips and Tricks

The guidelines below are here to assist you in identifying potentially dangerous situations and to help you take the necessary measures to keep your information secure. If you have any additional questions or curiosities, we encourage you to reach out to our team directly.
  • Anytime someone is asking for your personal information over email, phone, social media, or text message, ensure the person you’re speaking to is in fact who they say they are. Always call your bank, accountant, insurance provider, etc. at the number you have on file, before clicking on any attached communication link within emails, text messages, or social media prompts.
  • If you receive information about COVID-19 that pertains to your personal information, especially those which instruct urgent action, always check the mailing address, phone number, and other contact information before following up. Again, if it is an agency you normally work with, email or call the contact you currently have on file instead of the number listed on the potentially fraudulent information.
  • Do not interact with any emails that come from a suspicious address, or one that looks familiar but is misspelled.
  • If someone requests you hold their money for them within your personal account, respectfully decline, and assist them instead by getting in contact with a helpful financial institution to set-up their own account. 
  • When something suspicious happens concerning your personal information, immediately contact the financial institution and/or other affected vendors to maximize your potential for recovery and attempt to lessen any possible damage.
We understand that amidst the chaos of COVID-19 there are new questions that emerge every day. At Lincoln Savings Bank, our team is working diligently to help you get the information needed to make informed decisions for you and your family throughout this hectic time.

If you have any questions about your account, how to access information online, or other banking and service-related questions, please call your nearest branch. Our team is ready and passionate about helping our communities; we are here for you each step of the way.

Lincoln Savings Bank. Member FDIC.

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