While we are all experiencing changing conditions as the world navigates through this pandemic, there is one thing that remains constant: fraudsters continue to try and steal personal information from as many victims as they can. Especially with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the “CARES Act” passed and stimulus checks underway. But one of the best ways to fight against the fraudsters is knowledge. Here are some tips to help you keep your information safe:
- Store your credit cards and debit cards in a safe place, especially when they are not in use. Keep them safe and secure, just like you would for cash or checks.
- Be safe online and do not send valuable information such as account numbers through an email message. You could risk exposing your information since emailing is not a secure method to provide this information. Furthermore, always verify a site is secure before you provide any financial or other sensitive information by looking for the “https,” “shttp,” or lock icon in the web browser address bar.
- Be wary of unsolicited email messages. If you aren’t familiar with the company or charity who sent you the message, then hit delete. That is your safest action.
- Don’t fall for promises of easy money. Remember the old adage: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If someone is promising you money with little or no work, that’s a red flag.
Fraud and Your Stimulus Check
The Better Business Bureau is already reporting that there have been complaints about imposters posing as government representatives, offering COVID-19 relief. They often start out with promises of a special government grant or even faster payment of your CARES Act stimulus check if you verify your identity and personal information.
These tactics are scams designed to gain access to your personal information. There is nothing that you have to do to receive your stimulus check — it is provided from the government and there are no shortcuts or fees related to your payment.
The Internal Revenue Service will deposit the check into the direct deposit account you previously provided on your tax return (or, alternatively, send you a paper check). Remember, do not give out your bank account or debit card information to anyone claiming it is necessary to receive your stimulus check. It is a scam, plain and simple.
Bonus tip: We have a website where you can get all of the information we have surrounding how we are helping our members during the COVID-19 situation and what important adjustments we are making in our branches. Access our COVID-19 Information Center here and check back regularly for updates.