STIMULUS CHECK SCAMS
The Internal Revenue Service warns taxpayers to be on the lookout for an increase of scam calls, texts, and emails regarding the economic impact payment. Please be aware of the following:
- The IRS WON’T CALL you. Never verify or provide your financial information if someone claims you can get an economic impact payment or your refund faster.
- The IRS WON’T EMAIL you. Don’t open emails or click on attachments or links in emails appearing to be from the IRS.
- The IRS WON’T TEXT you. Don’t respond to texts that request personal or financial information.
We recommend tracking the status of your payment on the IRS website so you’re aware of when to expect it.
SPOT A SCAM
Here are some things to be aware of and tactics scammers use to commit fraud.
- Scammers may emphasize the words “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment.” The official term is economic impact payment.
- Scammers may ask you to sign over your economic impact payment check to them.
- Scammers may ask by phone, email, text, or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up your economic impact payment.
- Scammers may suggest that they can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on your behalf.
- Scammers may mail the taxpayer a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, then tell the taxpayer to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.
Criminals take every opportunity to scam trusting people out of money. While you are waiting to hear about your economic impact payment, criminals are working hard to trick you into getting their hands on it.
Those who receive unsolicited emails, text messages or social media attempts to gather information that appear to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), should forward it to [email protected].
DEBIT CARD FRAUD
Shopping online is a relatively safe habit, but we always recommend that you’re cautious, especially now.
Here are recommendations on staying safe when you’re shopping online.
- Don’t Buy From Unknown Sites. Stick to local shops that have an online presence or curbside pickup, or the larger well-known sites like Amazon, Target, Chewy, etc. Random websites have a much higher risk of being fraudulent, selling fake products, or taking your money and never sending the product.
- Be Cautious of “High-Demand” Products Online. It’s very easy to set up a fake website to sell fake products that are in demand, like disinfecting wipes, masks, and hand sanitizer. If you can’t find it locally or at a well-known online retailer, a random website from a Google search that somehow has it available is likely a scam.
- Don’t Buy From a Social Media Ad. If you see something you’d like to buy go directly to that retailer’s website versus clicking on the Facebook or Instagram ad.
- Free Trials Aren’t Free. Always read the fine print if you’re signing up for a free trial. Many times these trials are actually enrolling you in something completely unrelated to the product or service itself.
MORE WAYS TO HELP KEEP YOUR DEBIT CARD SAFE
- Download CardNav. Set spending limits, turn your debit card on and off, and receive alerts whenever a transaction hits your debit card. Search for “CardNav” in your phone’s app store.
- Check Your Account Daily. Use our mobile app to check your accounts wherever you go. Search for “Money Federal Credit Union” in your phone’s app store.
- Don’t Give Your Card to Anyone. This is called “friendly fraud.” While you may have good intentions letting someone else use your card, that person may spend more than you wanted them to without your permission.
REPORT FRAUD IMMEDIATELY
If you think you’ve been a victim of a scam of any kind, please contact the Credit Union immediately. We will take appropriate measures and put extra precautions in place to keep your account safe.
EMAIL, TEXT, PHONE SCAMS
These are not new scams, but fraudsters are ramping up during the Coronavirus.
- Don’t Respond to Texts from Unknown Numbers. If you get a text with a link, DO NOT click on it or provide any information it asks for. If it’s supposedly from your bank, call your bank directly to address the issue.
- Don’t Click Links in Unknown Emails. Phishing emails can look very real. SLOW DOWN and really look at the email for spelling/grammar errors, the return email address, and overall plausibility. If it’s from a company you do business with, contact the company directly from a known number or their actual website.
- Don’t Give Information Over The Phone. Never give your personal or banking information to someone claiming the have money for you, or that your accounts are locked.
JOB INTERVIEW SCAM
Scammers advertise jobs where legitimate employers do — online, in newspapers, and even on TV and radio. With so many people out of work during this pandemic, this scam is very likely to surface.
- You Have to Pay to Get the Job. The scammer may ask you to pay a fee for training, materials, or a certification before you start. Real employers should never ask you to pay anything for the promise of a job.
- They Want Your Bank Information Up Front. Real employers may want that for direct deposit information, but it’s usually a form you complete and it’s not something they need up front.
HOW TO CHECK ON AN EMPLOYER
- LinkedIn. Is the person you’re dealing with claiming to be from a company? Check the company’s profile on LinkedIn or search for that individual.
- Check the Email Address. If you’re emailing with someone, is the address actually from the company itself? For example, if you’re interviewing with someone from ACME Corp, an official company email address typically has the business name in it, i.e. [email protected] If the email address is something other than the company name, be very suspicious.
- Google Them. You can find out a lot by doing a quick internet search. Does the company actually exist? Can you find an employee listing? Does their website look legitimate?
- Ask Questions. If they’re hesitant to answer your questions or won’t provide you with a contract, keep moving. Real companies who want to hire you will give you time to consider the job offer, not pressure you into giving them your personal or banking information.
Scammers target those who want to help during times of crisis. If you want to donate money to a cause, we recommend the following guidelines.
- Go to The Charity’s Website. It’s very easy to set up a fake GoFundMe or donation website. Always go directly to the charity’s website or call them at a known phone number.
- Check Their Ranking. If you want to be 100% sure a charity is legitimate, you can look them up on sites like Charity Watch or Charity Navigator.
WE’RE HERE TO HELP
If you have any questions or concerns regarding fraud, we’re here to help. We will work together to keep your information and accounts safe during these uncertain times.