Unfortunately, criminals wait until times like this where people are most vulnerable, therefore more susceptible to fall for scams. There are many coronavirus scams going on, but we’ve highlighted the ones we’ve seen the most of below. Remember to always proceed with caution, double check information by contacting people and companies directly, and if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Government Grant: The government will never make you pay a fee or purchase gift cards to receive a grant. Visit grants.gov to view a list of legitimate grant-making agencies.
- Phishing emails claiming to be from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and WHO (World Health Organization). It is best to go right to the source and visit the CDC or WHO websites directly for accurate information and safe links. These emails may be spreading misinformation as well as malware.
- Similarly, it’s important especially during a pandemic to not get news from social media or trust everything you read on these networking sites. Scammers are sharing fake coronavirus maps on social media that are tied to malicious websites.
- Fraudsters are trying to get you to buy into purchasing COVID-19 test kits and vaccinations to send to your home; However, there is currently no cure or vaccine for the Coronavirus and the FDA has not approved any testing kits to send to homes.
- Research and ask questions before donating to charities or individuals who ask you for donations to help with the pandemic relief efforts.
- Many members are being contacted by fraudsters about receiving a stimulus check. You can view updates about stimulus checks directly at IRS.gov/coronavirus
When you purchase things or click on links from illegitimate websites, you are not only susceptible to malware or paying for items you’ll never receive, but you could also be giving criminals access to your computer which can lead them to obtain your banking information.
We want to do our best to educate you and keep you safe. If you have any questions or think you may have fallen victim to one of these scams, contact the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) and West Michigan Credit Union.
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