Be Aware of Scams
Many of you are doing everything you can to protect yourself, your family and employees from COVID-19. The pandemic is still claiming the lives of more than 2,000 Americans every day and it continues to create opportunities for scammers.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says crooks use a wide range of scam tools, including phishing emails and texts, bogus social media posts, impostor schemes, and many more. FTC investigators say scam artists follow the headlines and news reports closely and then they adapt tactics to take advantage of the circumstances.
Recently, with more companies requiring employees to get COVID-19 shots, phishing scams popped up to take advantage of the situation. In one of those scams, emails are sent out disguised as messages from human resource departments, asking employees to provide proof of vaccination. Links in those messages direct employees to a fake sign-in site where the scammers can easily steal login credentials.
The Department of Health and Human Services has also issued warnings about other COVID-19 related scams, including requests that you send money to receive a vaccination, offers to ship doses of the vaccine to your home, and various claims about products and therapies that will cure the disease.
Some people who received vaccinations made it very easy for crooks. They posted selfies on social media in which they displayed their vaccination cards. Information on those cards became valuable to scammers, providing them with data for identity theft and access to bank accounts and credit cards. There are also efforts to sell fake vaccination cards to people willing to pay for one.
There is no immunization for scams, but you can be aware and exercise good judgement. Everyone is susceptible and people of all ages have become victims. In fact, the FBI says complaints of fraud from the tech-savvy Generation Z (24 and under ) skyrocketed in 2020. The FBI says they had more than 23 thousand complaints from victims in that age group, totaling $71 million in losses. But the elderly are still the most vulnerable and most often the victims of fraud. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has released a list of the most common scams affecting its members.
We’ve already mentioned some of the scams related to COVID-19, but there are many more. Be cautious of COVID-19 survey scams in which you are asked to provide personal information. You should also be suspicious of callers or visitors who offer COVID-19 tests or products they claim will protect you.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has established a site for you to report suspected COVID-19 fraud or you can call 800-HHS-TIPS. (800-447-8477).
There is nothing new about fake websites, but they are becoming more and more sophisticated. There are fake shopping sites, fake loan sites, fake job sites, and more. They convince you to visit the sites and then they ask for personal information that will allow them access to your bank accounts and credit cards.
This has been and continues to be a serious problem. Scammers are expanding their tactics beyond dating sites. Investigators say they are now using online prayer groups, book groups and other online social groups to get close to people and take advantage of them. They gain your trust by faking romantic interest and then they eventually ask for money. They may claim they have a tax problem or a family member who needs money for medical care.
Investigators say never send money to someone you have not met in person. And, even after you meet someone you can still be tricked. They also say you should never agree to send suggestive selfies or videos. Be Aware of Scams Those are often used by scammers to blackmail their victims.
Payment App Scams
More and more people are using apps like Zelle, Venmo and PayPal to send money directly to another person. They’re very convenient and simple to use. Crooks are taking advantage of this in many ways, including what investigators call the accidental transfer of money scam. You receive a few hundred dollars in your account, but then you get a message claiming it was an accident and you are asked to send the money back. Unfortunately, the money sent to you came from a stolen debit card and that money will eventually be taken from your account. You will lose that money.
Investigators say you can avoid this scam by disabling the incoming money requests on your app. That way you don’t accept money without thinking about it and get caught in the scam. They say you can always enable it to accept money when someone you trust is about to send some cash. You are also advised to report any notice about an accidental deposit. Ignore the request to return the money.
Another scam that crooks use involves fake text messages. You may receive a text that suggests something is seriously wrong with one of your accounts or credit cards. You are asked to click on links and provide personal information. That personal info opens the doors to all your accounts. If you ever receive a text message about one of your accounts or credit cards check with your bank or credit card company first to verify any problems. Never click on a link in an email or a text that you have not requested.
1st Source Bank is committed to protecting your personal information and your money. We are committed to proactively providing security enhancements for your accounts to better protect you from identity theft and fraudulent account activity. These provide safeguards for your accounts and help us notify you if suspicious activity is detected, but you have a responsibility as well and need to do the following to protect yourself.
- Never provide passwords, card information, SS numbers or other PCI type information to a unsolicited text, email or call
- Think twice before opening attachments or clicking links in emails or texts
- Setup fraud alerts on your accounts
- Be wary of too good to be true offers
- Protect your mail and other documents at home
- REVIEW YOUR BANK STATEMENTS as soon as they arrive
- Review credit reports which could identify ID theft
You can click on this link to read more about the security efforts at 1st Source Bank or if you have questions you can call us at (574) 235-2000 or 800-513-2360