While you’re taking extra precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones at this time, scammers are ramping up their efforts to try and trick you. Unfortunately, during times of stress and uncertainty, it can be all-too-easy to fall for a phishing scam that seems like a real, compelling offer.

The good news is, slowing down is an excellent defense tactic. When you receive something that seems phishy, stop and think before taking any action. That added pause might be enough to realize that you should delete the email before clicking a link, or to call a known source before providing credit card information.

Slow down when you get emails, calls, texts, or social media messages claiming to…

  1. Be contacting you from the IRS, asking you to apply for your Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) or verify personal information in order to receive your payment. Learn more.
  2. Have masks or a coronavirus vaccine available for you. While some legitimate businesses are selling masks, there are other fake vendors set up to collect your payment information without sending you a product. At this time, there is no vaccine for the coronavirus. In the future, if you’re not sure if an offer is legitimate, check out the CDC’s website for trustworthy, real-time information regarding vaccines.
  3. Offer appealing work from home opportunities that promise income only after you’ve sent money for job training or have provided your bank account details for direct deposit.
  4. Be a family member or friend who is sick with COVID-19 and urgently needs money.
  5. Have exclusive information about COVID-19. There are several fake websites that contain malicious software for stealing for personal information when you click on links or download files. Stick to reputable sources, such as the CDC and WHO.
  6. Urgently need a charitable donation from you. While it’s vital to support nonprofits you know and trust, it’s important to do your homework on an organization before passing over your payment information.

In general, it’s also a good idea to look out for any emails with spelling and punctuation errors, grammatical mistakes, or generic greetings like “Dear Sir or Madam.” These can be tell-tale signs of a scam.

Lastly, know when it’s really us

If you’re our customer, know that we’ll never ask for your complete personal or account-identifying information, so you should be suspicious of any request like that. For example, we’ll never contact you to ask for your account number, secure access code, username or password, or full social security number. Plus, any text alerts that we send come from a special 5 or 6-digit short code, and not a regular phone number.

Be on the lookout for these common scams related to COVID-19 so you don’t accidently head down the wrong path and give away personal information or payment details. If you have questions or need support, give us a call at 800-860-8821. We’re here for you 24/7.