With the influx of money into the economy by way of stimulus checks and unemployment benefits, there’s been an increase in consumer fraud and scammers trying to get access to people’s money.
Bellco Credit Union would like to inform Colorado consumers about some scams that are taking place and how you can protect yourself and your money.
Phishing for Information
Financial institutions are seeing an increase in new phishing tactics. Scammers may call and make it appear as though the call is coming from a person’s bank or credit union, then say they are trying to help get their relief check into their account quickly. They’ll ask for a PIN, or the three-digit code from a debit or credit card – or even or a one-time password that appears via text for two-factor authentication – giving them direct access to that person’s account.
Another tactic scammers are using is to send a text message claiming to be from the government offering help for people affected by the Coronavirus. Do not click on any links because it could expose you to a scam, download malware, or get your phone number added to lists that are then sold to other scammers. Simply delete those text messages immediately.
Beware of Email Requests
There has also been an increase in email scams requesting donations, personal information or gift cards. Never respond to an email without first determining if it’s legitimate. The email may appear that it’s coming from a trusted source such as a well-known retailer, but frequently you can spot the scam because there will be a typo in the email address or name. Regardless, don’t respond to an email requesting your personal information.
Scams for CARES Act
People do not need to sign up anywhere to receive their government relief check or pay a fee to have their check issued. If a person filed taxes in 2018 or 2019, the IRS already has the information it needs to determine eligibility and it will send money via direct deposit to the taxpayer’s account or will send a check by mail if the taxpayer didn’t use direct deposit. If a person didn’t file taxes in these years, they should go to the IRS.gov website to submit their information.
Consumers who will receive paper checks should be aware that a check from the IRS will never be issued for anything other than an even dollar amount – it will never include cents. And, any check that requires that you verify the check online or by calling a number first is fraudulent. There’s additional information on the U.S. Secret Service website (SecretService.gov) that describes the features of the Treasury’s checks for recipients to verify.
The IRS will never call, email or reach out to individuals on social media. If you are contacted by someone saying they are from the IRS in any of these ways, do not respond.
Finally, as a general rule of thumb, people should never give personal information to anyone unless they have initiated the contact. You can stay up to date on the latest scams by going to ftc.gov/scams.
Bellco is Federally Insured by the NUCA.