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COVID-19 Update: Avoiding Scammers and Spotting Tactics

COVID-19 Update: Avoiding Scammers and Spotting Tactics


The Internal Revenue Service has issued new guidance on this type of scam and posted it here:


People waiting for economic relief weren’t the only ones excited to see a coronavirus stimulus package pass quickly in Washington. Scammers are also eager to use the news as a way to separate you from your money. Scammers rely on raising our emotions to get us to turn over our information or funds - and the current climate of fear and anxiety due to the coronavirus is perfect for that. It always pays to be vigilant, and this is no different. Here are some of the scam attempts to watch for:

  • It’s very likely that scammers will try to use the economic relief or stimulus checks as a way to trick people. Do not respond to someone purporting to be from the government who wants to charge you a fee for your stimulus check. No one from the government will ask you for your account information.
  • Scammers may pretend to be from the World Health Organization, CDC, or a local department of public health sending an email that promises some new coronavirus treatment. This email can have bad advice, bunk medicine – or it can spread malware to your computer. It can also lead to identity theft if you turn over your personal information. Legitimate coronavirus treatments or vaccines will be discussed far and wide on news and official government websites – they won’t be announced in an unsolicited email or flashy online ad.
  • Other common email subjects you’ll see will be about virus tracking apps, or they’ll have a sensational news headline, or discuss a coronavirus “cure.” Again, delete and move on. Real developments on these subjects will be well-publicized.
  • Charity scams are likely to become more prevalent as the economic downturn sets in. Be sure you’re giving to a legitimate organization.

Meanwhile, we do want you to know that we at First Security are reaching out to our customers during this difficult time. We’ll be seeing how you’re doing and finding out how we can help. We will NOT be asking for your PIN, password, or account number. If anyone saying they’re from any bank calls you and you’re suspicious, feel free to hang up and call the bank directly at their published number to resume the conversation. We can be reached at 1-800-272-0159.

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