In uncertain times, digital scammers often look to prey upon those who are uninformed or may be prone to being taken advantage of. With that in mind, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released guidelines on common scam methods to watch out for related to the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) crisis. Many of these are also general rules of thumb to avoid being compromised, but there is no better time to remind clients about the importance of being vigilant when it comes to your finances. Security is a top priority of PyraMax Bank, but here are some additional tips to help avoid being scammed:
- Only trust credible sources. The internet is ripe with misinformation, especially when it comes to situations like the Covid-19 outbreak, where information is changing rapidly. With that in mind, please make sure to only listen to verified media outlets and information from the federal government. You can do this by checking the URL (address bar) of your computer's internet browser when reading information.
- Never click on links that you are unsure of, and you can generally hover over those links with your cursor before clicking on them to make sure the link is going to a reputable news source.
- Often, verified accounts on social media contain a blue check mark or icon that will indicate that it is an official account of the source providing the information. While many parody accounts and unofficial news aggregator accounts exist, it is strongly advised to only utilize verified accounts.
- Watch for emails or offers claiming to be from health officials or the Center for Disease Control (CDC). If a development regarding the Covid-19 outbreak exists, it will most certainly be covered by a reputable news source. The CDC's official website is CDC.gov, and again, imposter websites could lead to scams.
- Be sure that donations are going to the communities which they claim that they benefit. Simply, if you feel unsure about where a donation may be going, utilize contact information or do research on the organizations involved to make sure that they are valid fundraisers helping those in need. A simple Google search can go a long way.
- The U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) is also alerting consumers to be aware of claims of investment opportunities. The scams are allegedly claiming that investments in public companies can lead to a cure for Covid-19, and that those could potentially make money in the future. This is simply untrue, and should be avoided.
For more information about how to avoid scams, please visit the FTC website, where you can also file official claims when scams occur, or sign up for consumer alerts for your protection. Together, we can avoid a financial crisis on top of the current state of affairs related to Covid-19.