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COVID-19 Scams and How to Protect Your Money!

Willis-Knighton Federal Credit Union is here to serve you through our Drive-Thrus from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays and our lobbies and loans officers are available by appointment. We want to help you protect your health and your finances.

Please be aware that scammers are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money, your personal information, or both. Don’t let them. Protect yourself and do your research before clicking on links purporting to provide information on the virus; donating to a charity online or through social media; contributing to a crowdfunding campaign; purchasing products online; or giving up your personal information in order to receive money or other benefits.

Here are some scams the Federal Trade Commission is seeing and steps you can take to protect yourself, your personal information and your wallet.

Undelivered goods: Online sellers claim they have in-demand products, like cleaning, household, and health and medical supplies. You place an order, but you never receive the order. Anyone can set up shop online under almost any name — including scammers.

What to do: Check out the seller by searching online for the person or company’s name, phone number and email address, plus words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” If everything checks out, pay by credit card and keep a record of your transaction. If you’re concerned about the pricing of products in your area, contact your state consumer protection officials.

Fake charities: When a major health event, like the Coronavirus, happens, you might be looking for ways to help. Scammers use the same events to take advantage of your generosity. Some scammers use names that sound a lot like the names of real charities. This is one reason it pays to do some research before giving. Money lost to bogus charities means less donations to help those in need.

What to do: Use these organizations to help you research charities: BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, CharityWatch and GuideStar. The IRS’s Tax Exempt Organization Search tells you if your donation would be tax deductible. When you give, pay safely by credit card — never by gift card or wire transfer.

Fake emails, texts and phishing: Scammers use fake emails or texts to get you to share valuable personal information — like account numbers, Social Security numbers, or your login IDs and passwords. They use your information to steal your money, your identity, or both. They also use phishing emails to get access to your computer or network. If you click on a link, they can install ransomware or other programs that can lock you out of your data. Scammers often use familiar company names or pretend to be someone you know.

Look out for phishing emails asking you to verify your personal information in order to receive an economic stimulus check from the government. While talk of economic stimulus checks has been in the news, government agencies are not sending unsolicited emails seeking your private information in order to send you money.

What To Do: Protect your computer by keeping your software up to date and by using security software, your cell phone by setting software to update automatically, your accounts by using multi-factor authentication, and your data by backing it up.

Robocalls: Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from scam Coronavirus treatments to work-at-home schemes.

What To Do: Hang up. Don’t press any numbers. The recording might say that pressing a number will let you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, but it might lead to more robocalls, instead.

Misinformation and rumors: Scammers, and sometimes well-meaning people, share information that hasn’t been verified.

What to do: Before you pass on any messages, and certainly before you pay someone or share your personal information, do some fact checking by contacting trusted sources. For information related to the Coronavirus, visit What the U.S. Government is Doing. There you’ll find links to federal, state and local government agencies.

The FBI is reminding you to always use good cyber hygiene and security measures. By remembering the following tips, you can protect yourself and help stop criminal activity:

  1. Do not open attachments or click links within emails from senders you don't recognize.
  2. Do not provide your username, password, date of birth, social security number, financial data, or other personal information in response to an email or robocall.
  3. Always verify the web address of legitimate websites and manually type them into your browser.
  4. Check for misspellings or wrong domains within a link (for example, an address that should end in a ".gov" ends in .com" instead).

If you believe you are the victim of an Internet scam or cyber crime, or if you want to report suspicious activity, please visit the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

Remember, We Are Available to You, Just In a Slightly Different Way! We Will Get Through This Together. WKFCU IS STILL HERE FOR YOU!

(Partially reprinted from articles from the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.)

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