Woman on Laptop

Beware of Coronavirus Scams
4/1/2020

When times are tough and a large number of consumers are struggling, con artists see this as an opportunity to take advantage of consumer’s fears. The best weapons against these scams are consumer awareness and education. 

 
Christian Financial Credit Union is here to help protect our members by informing you of scams that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is monitoring and steps you can take to protect yourself:


INVESTMENT SCAMS

The SEC urged investors to be wary of COVID-19 related investment scams, such as promotions that falsely claim that the products or services of publicly traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure coronavirus.

What To Do:

Be alert to “investment opportunities.” The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is warning people about online promotions, including on social media, claiming that the products or services of publicly-traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure coronavirus and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result.


PRODUCT SCAMS 

The FTC and FDA have issued public statements and warning letters to companies selling unapproved or misbranded products that make false health claims pertaining to COVID-19. Additionally, FinCEN has received reports regarding fraudulent marketing of COVID-19-related supplies, such as certain facemasks.

What To Do:

Ignore online offers for vaccinations. If you see ads touting prevention, treatment, or cure claims for the Coronavirus, ask yourself: if there’s been a medical breakthrough, would you be hearing about it for the first time through an ad or sales pitch?


JOB SCAMS

Consumers are getting roped into money laundering schemes under the pretense of a work-at-home job offer. A legitimate employer won’t attempt to use your personal accounts to facilitate business transactions or donations.

What To Do:

Christian Financial is here to assist with loan relief options and assistance programs for our members who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. Please contact our Member Solutions Center at 586.772.6330 or visit https://www.christianfinancialcu.com/covidrelief/ for more information.


LOAN SCAMS

You may be tempted by ads and websites that guarantee loans or credit cards, regardless of your credit history. Rule number one: Legitimate lenders never "guarantee" or say that you are likely to get a loan or a credit card before you apply, especially if you have bad credit, no credit, or a bankruptcy.

What To Do:

Christian Financial is here to assist with loan relief options and assistance programs for our members who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. Please contact our Member Solutions Center at 586.772.6330 or visit https://www.christianfinancialcu.com/covidrelief/ for more information.


UNDELIVERED GOODS SCAMS

Online sellers claim they have in-demand products, like cleaning, household, and health and medical supplies. You place an order, but you never get your shipment. Anyone can set up shop online under almost any name — including scammers.

What To Do:

Check out the seller by searching online for the person or company’s name, phone number and email address, plus words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” If everything checks out, pay by credit card and keep a record of your transaction. If you’re concerned about the pricing of products in your area, contact your state consumer protection officials. For a complete list of state Attorneys General, visit naag.org.


FAKE CHARITIES

When a major health event — like the Coronavirus — happens, you might be looking for ways to help. Scammers use the same events to take advantage of your generosity. Some scammers use names that sound a lot like the names of real charities. This is one reason it pays to do some research before giving. Money lost to bogus charities means fewer donations to help those in need.

What To Do:

Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. Use these organizations to help you research charities:
•    BBB Wise Giving Alliance (http://www.give.org/)
•    Charity Navigator (http://www.charitynavigator.org/)
•    CharityWatch (http://www.charitywatch.org/)
•    GuideStar (http://www.guidestar.org/)

Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it. When you give, pay safely by credit card.
 

FAKE EMAILS, TEXTING & PHISHING 

Scammers use fake emails or texts to get you to share valuable personal information — like account numbers, Social Security numbers, or your login IDs and passwords. They use your information to steal your money, your identity, or both. They also use phishing emails to get access to your computer or network. If you click on a link, they can install ransomware or other programs that can lock you out of your data. Scammers often use familiar company names or pretend to be someone you know. 

What To Do:

Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know. It could download a virus onto your computer or device. Make sure the anti-malware and anti-virus software on your computer is up to date.

Unfortunately, scams are all too common. If this happens to you, please contact our Member Solutions Center at 586.772.6330 and report it at ftc.gov/complaint.

Additional consumer information is available here:
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/02/coronavirus-scammers-follow-headlines
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/03/ftc-coronavirus-scams-part-2
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/coronavirus-scams-what-ftc-doing