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Look Out for Coronavirus Scams

Look Out for Coronavirus Scams

Scammers are hard at work trying to trick people into providing them with personal financial information and also money. Many federal agencies are warning of phishing and other scams related to the coronavirus pandemic and government economic impact checks. Often the most vulnerable in our communities, the elderly, are those most victimized. Please share this information with your friends and relatives, so they too can be aware of the dangers. Benchmark Federal Credit Union wants you to be aware of the following scams and to protect yourself.

  • Coronavirus Testing Scams. Federal and state agencies have been warning about reports of many of these scams. Thieves are taking advantage of this public health panic to lure unsuspecting consumers into paying for bogus coronavirus tests. Be especially careful of emails that say they are from the CDC or other health organizations. No legitimate health organization is going to solicit you for money for testing via calls or ads.  If you have symptoms, call your healthcare provider. Do not fall victim to a testing scam.
  • Coronavirus Vaccine and Cure Scams. Because COVID-19 is a new virus, there are currently no vaccines to prevent the virus or drugs approved to treat it. Scammers are trying to profit by advertising bogus vaccines and unproven cures. These fraudulent products have not been tested or approved by the FDA for safety or effectiveness. The FDA is advising consumers to be cautious of websites or retail outlets selling products that are advertised as a treatment or cure for COVID-19. If you have a question about a treatment you saw online, speak to your medical provider. Do not buy or use anything from an unknown source. Remember, there are currently no vaccines, medications, lotions, other prescriptions, or over the counter treatments available for the coronavirus.
  • Economic Impact Check Scams. The IRS announced that economic impact payments will begin in the next couple weeks and will be distributed automatically; with no action required for most people. Take note, the government is referring to these payments as economic impact payments, not stimulus checks. That’s your first clue when a scammer is trying to take advantage of you. Anyone contacting you by phone, text, or email asking for financial account information or verification of information for the deposit of your check is a scammer. The IRS will not contact you like that. If you get a call saying that providing your financial information by phone is necessary for getting your check, hang up! A scammer may even tell you that for a fee, you can get your stimulus check faster. This is absolutely not true. We urge you to be on the watch for these scams and do not provide any personal or financial information. These scams can result in identity theft and theft of your account funds. Hang up on calls and delete any unsolicited emails or texts. Everything you need to know about the economic impact payments can be found online on the IRS website. If you have questions or are concerned because you didn’t file a 2018 tax return, visit the IRS website. The IRS will not call you to verify payment details and the government will not ask you for any type of payment in order to receive your check.
  • Charity Scams and Phony Crowdfunding Campaigns. Charity scams are another type of fraud to be on the alert for because scammers are leveraging the coronavirus crisis to steal money any way they can. That includes taking advantage of the generosity of the public to prey on the unsuspecting. This doesn’t mean you can’t donate to your favorite local charities. In fact, they need you now more than ever. Just be sure that any non-profit or other crowdfunding campaigns you are considering are legitimate. Never donate via cash, gift cards, wire transfer, or pre-paid money cards. This type of payment will often be requested by scammers. Be smart about donating and be sure you know exactly where your money is going.

Benchmark FCU is here to provide you with the solutions you need

If you receive any type of contact that we’ve mentioned above, do not give out any information. Hang up on callers, and do not click on any links in emails, texts, or ads. Beware of any unsolicited calls, emails, or other forms of contact. Benchmark FCU is here for our members and for the community during this time of crisis. Call our office or visit us online to talk about your individual financial needs. We will be happy to discuss the various solutions we have available. Learn more about our products and services at https://www.benchmarkfcu.org/.

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