We previously discussed the importance of protecting yourself and your family from scammers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides scammers, another difficulty people can face during this time is deciding which financially-related pandemic information from the government is trustworthy. Our credit union in Brownsville wants to ensure that you’re taken care of and protected. Before participating in any pandemic-related assistance program, learn more about three scams that many are falling for.
Stimulus Payment Scams
While many people have received their federal stimulus paychecks, others haven’t. According to the Federal Trade Commission, scammers are using this waiting period to pressure people into paying a small fee or providing their banking information to receive their stimulus check.
Before taking any action, know that:
- You don’t have to pay anything to get your stimulus check.
- Only updates from a federal website, like the IRS website, should be trusted.
- The IRS will NEVER contact you by phone, email, text message, or social media for your private information. The agency only contacts Americans through mail.
Another way scammers trick people into giving up their money is through misleading phone calls. They can pose as a relative and claim they are ill, stranded in another country, etc. Their goal is to ask for money, your banking information, or private information like your social security number.
It’s best to:
- Confirm the caller’s claims with your family.
- If you find the claims to be untrue, block the scammer’s phone number, block them on social media, etc. Be sure to warn your family members of the scam as they may be targeted as well.
- Report all scams to the Federal Trade Commission.
Social Security Scams
Another way scammers try to access your private and banking information is through social security-related scares. Some scammers call or send emails claiming that you need to provide your personal info to continue receiving your social security benefits. Don’t send information or money.
What you should do is:
- Find out if who you’re speaking to is actually from the Social Security Administration. Ask for their name, their extension, and to send you the claim through mail (they should have your mailing address on file). If they ask for your mailing address, then this is a sign that you’re speaking to a scammer.
- If the person asks for payment through gift cards, wire transfers, or mailing cash, then this is a big red flag.
- Report any requests for your personal information or money to the SSA Inspector General immediately.
Stay Secure with VFCU!
Our credit union in Brownsville is also dedicated to keeping your information secure. For a more hands-on approach to your finances, use our Mobile Banking App. Download it today!