Protect Yourself Against COVID-19 Payment Scams

During times of uncertainty, customers can be targeted through telephone calls, text messages and emails at a much greater frequency and focus by criminals that impersonate personnel from legitimate businesses and government agencies. The U.S. Congress has enacted a massive relief package for Covid-19 disease to help individuals and businesses. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have raised concerns about scammers and fraudsters that impersonate federal employees asking you to verify personal account information in order to receive a payment.  Exercise caution and be wary of social media pleas, texts, or calls related to COVID-19. Before falling for their traps, know the security facts about payment scams.

HERE ARE THE SECURITY FACTS

  • The U.S. Government will not contact you about COVID-19 relief payments period.
  • The U.S. Government will not ask you to verify payment information of any kind.
  • The U.S. Government will not ask you to pay any sort fee or charge to receive payment.
  • The U.S. Government will not offer to expedite your payment for a fee.

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION

Your personal information is secure with your financial institution. The scammers are very convincing con artists – good at what they do.

  • Hang up if you receive a telephone call from someone who claims to be from a government agency asking for verification of personal information.
  • Ignore or delete it if you get a pop-up message, email or text that direct you to call a certain number or visit a website to verify personal information.
  • Never reply to a phone number or use a website that is part of a suspicious call, pop-up or text message to verify personal information.
  • Phishing emails are near replica websites of a trusted or well-known institution such as your financial institution or a government agency. When in doubt, you should initiate contact through a known telephone number or website.

Just ask yourself the question: Why would my financial institution or the government need to contact me for personal information to make or receive a payment—they already have it!

REPORT SCAM ATTEMPTS

  • Federal Trade Commission:  ftc.gov
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation:  fbi.gov
  • Internet Crime Complaint Center:  ic3.gov
  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation:  fdic.gov
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