If the health dangers of COVID-19 are not enough to be concerned about, scammers and thieves are lurking. They’re using phone calls, emails and texts in a variety of tricks to try and steal your personal information or your money, especially after the federal government’s recently approved economic stimulus package.
Any phone call, text, email or social media post seeking money or offering a shortcut for stimulus benefits should be handled with a healthy dose of skepticism. The IRS will never call you or request bank account information to release funds related to the economic stimulus package. Additionally, Origin Bank never calls, emails or texts, requesting your online banking password, PIN or card information.
Our experts have been monitoring reports throughout the country. Based on their findings, beware of any call or message:
- Claiming to offer help in expediting a business loan or financial assistance. You might be told you qualify for a special government grant and that it's necessary to verify your identity to process the request.
- Claiming to help get more stimulus money from the government or quicker access to your stimulus check in return for a small processing fee. Stimulus checks are sent by the federal government, and there are no shortcuts.
- Claiming they’re selling test kits, supplies, vaccines or cures for COVID-19.
- Seeking donations for illegitimate or nonexistent charities.
- Impersonating doctors or hospital staff who claim they treated a relative or friend for COVID-19 and are demanding payment.
- Impersonating bank employees who falsely claim that banks are limiting access to deposits or that there are security issues with bank deposits.
- Offering research reports on products that can prevent, detect or cure COVID-19.
- Presenting sensationalized news reports or offering “virus-tracking” mobile apps that, when opened, deliver malware to your device.
We suggest that if you get one of these or similar messages, the best approach is to not engage at all. Just hang up or delete any suspicious texts and emails immediately, and don’t click on links in those messages. If you have experienced something similar or are aware of a scam, you can report it to www.bbb.org/scamtracker to help others avoid becoming a victim.