Scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the Coronavirus.
It’s critically important to stay on high alert to reduce your risk from being a victim to scammers.
Scammers are taking advantage of the coronavirus outbreak, using fake emails, fake texts, social media posts and fake phone calls asking individuals for money or security numbers to access personal information.
KSAT Community partner, Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union, has some tips on how you can keep your personal information safe.
“Scammers are always looking for an opportunity to collect your personally identifiable information, and they may attempt to use the current health crisis to their advantage,” said Brian Munsterteiger, Vice President of Enterprise Fraud Management. “RBFCU is asking the public to be on alert for any suspicious activity that offer deals on health-related items, ask for donations or impersonate financial institutions, charities, or government agencies.”
Tips to help you keep the scammers at bay provided by the Federal Trade Commission:
- Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know. It could download a virus onto your computer or device. Make sure the anti-malware and anti-virus software on your computer is up to date.
- Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying that have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
- Ignore online offers for vaccinations. If you see ads touting prevention, treatment, or cure claims for the Coronavirus, ask yourself: if there’s been a medical breakthrough, would you be hearing about it for the first time through an ad or sales pitch?
- Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it.
- Be alert to “investment opportunities.” The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is warning people about online promotions, including on social media, claiming that the products or services of publicly-traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure coronavirus and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result.
Munsterteiger suggests if you feel you are a victim of a scam, please call your financial institution immediately or contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338), or visit online at ftc.gov.
“Do not share sensitive data such as credit and debit card information or usernames and passwords,” Munsterteiger said. “Do not make purchases or donations on unfamiliar websites or download items to your device or computer from suspicious websites or emails. If you receive a message that seems suspicious, do not respond or give out any personal information, click on links, or open attachments.”