We want to make members aware of reports of identity thieves who are attempting to take advantage of the global conversation surrounding Coronavirus (Covid-19). Here’s what you need to know:
- Fake Websites – Thieves can create websites to collect your personal information. These sites may purport to be for donations, job applications or sales of cures and protective gear such as face masks.
- Social Security Administration Scams – Some of our members have received letters allegedly from the Social Security Administration, telling them that their Direct Deposit will be redirected to their new account as requested. These members did not set up a new account, nor did they request their deposit to be moved. Members should not reply or respond to the letter, and should double-check their account balance to ensure that their Social Security deposit is continuing to be made as already scheduled.
- Government Issued Funds – Government officials are currently working on financial relief packages related to the Coronavirus pandemic, but be aware of identity theft attempts designed around this relief.
- Neither state nor federal government will ask you to pay fees or upfront money to receive a relief check.
- Government officials WILL NOT call to ask for your Social Security number or financial numbers, such as banking account or credit card information. The government does not conduct correspondence like this by phone.
- If relief checks become a reality they will be sent as checks or direct deposits.
- Phishing Scams – As many of us attempt to keep up with this rapidly evolving health situation, we should be mindful of the links we are clicking. Reports of fake Coronvirus update emails and text alerts linked to malware have come just behind the news of the pandemic. Also be aware of phone calls asking you to visit a “protected” site requiring information to set up an account to view safety tips. Some callers have posed as the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Federal Trade Commission. These organizations will not ask for donations or create barriers to information.
- Fake Job Postings – Beware of illegitimate job postings designed to recruit those who are unemployed or laid off from work due to the outbreak. In one recently discovered scam, victims were tricked into money laundering operations by scammers posing as Coronavirus relief charities. In this scheme the fake organization will ask the job seeker to process donations made to the charity into their own account and then transfer the money into another account. Legitimate organizations will not move money through your personal account.
We want to help our members protect their finances as we focus on protecting our health together. See our Coronavirus page for the latest updates on HHCU’s response to the pandemic.