While families are concerned about the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in their communities, online scammers are taking advantage of the public panic to push useless products to online shoppers. Even worse, they’re stealing information via phishing scams that are designed to target your personal information or device. During this critical time, a proactive focus on the safety and security is more important than ever. Below are helpful tips to help safeguard against fraud in these uncertain times:
Beware of Fake Products
Fraudsters are preying on coronavirus fears, which can trigger an increase in the sale of fake products like masks, immune system boosters and sanitizers. If you aren’t able to find a hand sanitizer at your local store, it doesn’t make sense that a random source on the internet would have an unlimited supply for sale. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be sure to verifying product credibility first before purchasing.
Know the Real Charities
Fraudsters also like to imitate charities in times like this. The scam is to call, email or send a text requesting donations. These scams can appear to be coming from well-known or local charities. However, if the request is fraudulent, the money you donate will never make it to the real charity. We recommend that any donation you make be done directly to the charity of your choice. It is okay to send a check and donate online, as long as you know where the donation is going. Check with one of the online sites that track charities such as GuideStar, CharityNavigator or CharityWatch.
Watch out for Phishers
Another scam to be aware of is the use of phishing emails that aim to take your money and get your personal information. These emails can be unsolicited from unknown entities or appear to come from businesses that you do business with. Often, links in these emails download dangerous malware onto your computer which can be used to steal your information.
We recommend that you don’t click links from unsolicited emails. You can verify links in an email by hovering your mouse over the link. The URL will appear on screen. Review the link carefully, before taking any action. Reputable businesses will not ask you to provide personal information through email links. If you have any concerns, call the business that is requesting the information directly.
Pacific Service CU cares about our members’ physical and financial health. Our teams remain vigilant, watching for new scams and implementing controls to stop them. The first line of defense is awareness. Reminding members to take extra precautions, such as those outlined above, is an important step in helping to stay safe.
It is good practice not to share your personal information online or through email. At Pacific Service CU, we will never ask for your personal information through email. If you think you have been a victim of fraud, please contact a member service representative at (888) 858-6878.