Unfortunately, in these uncertain and unreprecented times fraudsters try to take advantage of the situation, so it’s important to be extra vigilant if you receive emails, texts or phone calls about suspicious products, charities, medical advice and treatments. It’s important that you evaluate these types of communications before responding and be especially careful of fraudulent links that make is easy to access your device or personal information. If you think you have been a victim of fraud, please contact us immediately.
Below are a few scams related to COVID-19 that have been identified and what you can do to protect yourself:
Healthcare Facility (Hospital or Clinic) Impersonation – Scammers are calling individuals posing as hospital officials claiming that a relative of the victim has fallen sick with the virus and request payments for medical treatment.
Stay Alert by practicing heightened awareness and being wary of people calling or emailing posing as medical facilities soliciting payment for medical treatment.
Do not release financial or personal information without first confirming your loved ones are seeking medical treatment, or calling back directly to the hospital or doctor’s office to verify the need for payment information.
Phishing Emails Seeking Donations or Personal Information – Be aware of emails claiming to be from health authorities, with the aim of tricking victims to provide personal credentials, payment details, or to open an attachment containing malware.
Validate that the website is legitimate if you are being solicited to donate to a COVID-19 cause via e-mail. Ensure you are visiting the correct URL.
Protect yourself from malware and phishing attacks by not opening attachments from unfamiliar sources, or providing website login credentials via email
Text Message Scams – This scam involves sending text messages alerting you that your account has been blocked, along with a link to log into your bank account. This link takes you to a fraudulent website, and when you log in your online user ID and password will be compromised.
Text communications from Congressional do not show a complete phone number. If you see a full phone number as the sender of the text, this maybe a scam. Please confirm the message is legitimate by calling our customer service number ( 240-380-1235 ) before taking any action.
Contact Tracing Scams – Contact tracers are usually hired by a state government entity, such as the department of public health. They work with an infected person to get the names and phone numbers for everyone that infected person came in close contact with while the possibly infectious. Those names and phone numbers are often kept in an online system. People who had contact with someone infected with COVID-19 may first get a text message from the health department, telling them they’ll get a call from a specific number. The tracer who calls will not ask for personal information, like a Social Security number. At the end of the call, some states ask if the contact would like to enroll in a text message program, which sends daily health and safety reminders until the 14-day quarantine ends. But tracers won’t ask you for money or information like your Social Security, bank account, or credit card number. Also there will not be any links in the messages, unknown text messages claiming to be contact tracers that direct you to a link are to be avoided.
For additional information on how to avoid COVID-19 scams for consumers please refer to https://www.ftc.gov/coronavirus/scams-consumer-advice Businesses can refer to https://www.ftc.gov/coronavirus/business-guidance