As the situation surrounding the coronavirus continue to develop, your health and financial security continues to be our priority. Beware of the many circulating scams which exploit the fear and the uncertainty surrounding the virus. Here are some of the most prevalent ones:
The IRS stimulus check scam. If you get a call, email, text or social media message saying the Internal Revenue Service needs money or some personal information before sending your income-tax refund or stimulus payment, don't respond. Federal officials say this is scam. The IRS will not contact you asking for any type of financial information in order for you to receive an economic-impact payment (Care Act) or get your refund faster. Ignore any type of request for financial information that comes in this way.
The job scam. Be aware of robocall, emails and advertising scams with COVID-19 themed work-from-home opportunities. It may be tempting to take the call, especially if you have lost income due to the impact of the coronavirus.
If your job has been impacted by the Coronavirus, or if you're looking for ways to make extra money, Steady is a reliable resource. Download their free app where you can quickly find listings for part-time and hourly jobs that fit your schedule, like food delivery and work-from-home opportunities. Steady also has a variety of tools to help you achieve your financial goals and track the extra income you could make. Click here to learn more about Steady, or visit our COVID-19 Support Services page to review other methods to prepare and cope financially during COVID-19.
The fake funding scam. In this scam, victims receive bogus emails, text messages or social media posts, asking them to donate money to a research team which is on the verge of developing a drug to treat COVID-19, and/or a vaccine to immunize the population against the virus. There have also been ads circulating on the internet with similar requests. Unfortunately, nearly all of these are fakes, and any money donated to these “funds” will go directly into the scammers’ pockets.
The bogus health agency. There is so much conflicting information on the coronavirus that it’s really a no-brainer that scammers are exploiting this confusion. Scammers are sending out alerts that appear to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO), when in fact they’re created by the scammers themselves. These emails sport the logo of the agencies that allegedly sent them, and the URL is similar to those of the agencies as well. Some scammers will even invent their own “health agency,” such as “The Health Department,” taking care to evoke authenticity with (bogus) contact information and logos.
Victims who don’t know better believe these missives are sent by legitimate agencies. While some of these emails and posts may actually provide useful information, they often also spread misinformation to promote fear-mongering, such as non-existent local diagnoses of the virus. Even worse, they infect the victims’ computers with malware which is then used to scrape personal information off the infected devices.
The phony purchase order. Scammers are hacking the computer systems at medical treatment centers and obtaining information about outstanding orders for face masks and other supplies. The scammers then send the buyer a phony purchase order listing the requested supplies and asking for payment. The employee at the medical treatment center wires payment directly into the scammer’s account. Unfortunately, they’ll have to pay the bill again when contacted by the legitimate supplier.
Basic preventative measures can keep the scammers from making you their next target. As always, it’s important to keep the anti-malware and antivirus software on your computer up-to-date and to strengthen the security settings on all of your devices.
Practice responsible browsing when online. Never download an attachment from an unknown source or click on links embedded in an email or social media post from an unknown sender. Don’t share sensitive information online either. If you’re unsure about a website’s authenticity, check the URL and look for the lock icon and the “s” after the “http” which indicate that the site is secure.
Finally, it’s a good idea to stay updated on the latest news about the coronavirus to avoid falling prey to misinformation. Check the actual CDC and WHO websites for the latest updates. Or visit our COVID-19 Related Fraud website page for more information.
If you are unsure of whether you are being targeted by a scam, feel free to reach out to us for help.
At Holy Rosary Credit Union, the health and financial wellbeing of our members and staff is our top priority. We understand the concern and uncertainty you may be experiencing surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and are committed to serving your financial needs. We want to reassure everyone that your funds are insured by NCUA and that Holy Rosary Credity Union is considered an essential business that will not shut down.
We will continue to make emergency announcements HRCU's response to COVID-19 website page, on our Facebook and by Twitter. For additional information about COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov.
Holy Rosary Credit Union wishes you and your families a safe and blessed Easter.
Carole Wight, President