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COVID-19 Scams to Look Out For

Posted on March 18, 2020


Unfortunately, individuals and groups posing as companies, charities and government agencies are taking advantage of the anxiety surrounding the spread of the virus by setting up websites, using fake emails, texts and social media posts as a way to gain access to your accounts and get your personal identifying information. 
Don’t let fear cloud your judgment and remember that ACU of Texas will never ask for your personal information, such as usernames and passwords, by phone, text, email or social media.


These emails and posts may be promoting awareness and prevention tips, spreading false information about cases in your area, asking you to donate to victims, offering advice on unproven treatments, or contain malicious attachments. Here are a few scams to look out for:

Stimulus Checks from the Government

As the coronavirus takes a growing toll on people's pocketbooks, there are reports that the government will soon be sending money by check or direct deposit to each of us. The details are still being worked out, but there are a few really important things to know:

  1. The government will not ask you to pay anything up front for this money.
  2. The government will not call to ask for your Social Security number, bank account information or credit card number. Anyone who does is a scammer.
  3. These reports of checks aren't yet a reality. Anyone claiming to be able to get you money right away is a scammer.

Deals on Medical Supplies

Beware fraudulent offers for special deals on medical or health related items pertaining to COVID-19. Only do business with companies you know and trust. If you see ads touting prevention, treatment or cure claims, ask yourself: if there’s been a medical breakthrough, would I be hearing about it for the first time through an ad or sales pitch?

Charity & Government Agency Imposters

As communities are affected by COVID-19, those of us who are healthy have a great opportunity to do good for others. If you choose to give, do so with caution when dealing with groups or individuals you are not already familiar with. Criminals are impersonating companies, charities, and government agencies to gain access to sensitive information. 

Map Malware

Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Dashboard has become a go-to source for those looking for up-to-date information on the spread of the virus. Fake interactive maps like this one have been created to infect user devices with credential-stealing malware. Links to these maps are being spread through phishing emails and social media posts. Look carefully at the URL when accessing websites or clicking links on social media.

Phishing Scams

Odds are your inbox is being flooded with emails from every company you’ve ever done business with sharing how they are responding to COVID-19. Rather than clicking on suspicious links within your email, the best course of action is to directly visit trusted websites for the latest updates.

Tips to keep scammers at bay

  • Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know, as they 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 claiming to have information about the virus. For the latest information about the coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. If someone you don’t know personally is soliciting 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.

 

How ACU of Texas Can Help

As we mentioned before, ACU of Texas will never ask for sensitive information in order to confirm your identity. Never share your usernames, passwords or account numbers. For the latest updates on how we are responding to the virus, keep an eye on our COVID-19 Updates page and our Facebook page.

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