At times of stress, we are often focused on getting through the next challenge. This might be a personal or family health situation or daily activities that have now changed dramatically due to COVID-19. For those who live on perpetrating scams or fraud, this is the peak season. Our attention is divided, and everything is changing around us. It is important to rely on awareness and skills we already have to avoid financial fraud at home and work.
Here are some of the types of fraud we can expect, or you may have already encountered:
- Services that promise to speed up stimulus or refunds related to COVID-19
- Solicitation of personal information like SSN or bank account information
- Investments in cures or personal protection equipment
- Charity solicitation via social media or services like GoFundMe
- Urgent work-related requests from a personal email address posing as authority figures
- Requests to update missing information
These requests may be made via phone, text messaging, email, social media, or postal service mail.
These might be real requests but before acting, you should do three things:
- Give yourself permission and time to validate requests for personal information or resources.
- Listen to your gut if it is telling you something does not look or feel right.
- Follow up on validating sources, sites, or groups asking for information or resources.
Not doing these three things are what scammers are counting on.
To validate a request, go directly to the sources. If an email says the IRS needs more information, check the IRS’s website or call them directly.
Stay aware of current fraud trends and report new ones on fraud.org.
When fraud and scams come in via email, personal or work, use the report spam or phishing options in your mail client. You can also report the scam on the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center if you are a victim of Internet fraud.
For fraud focused on the workplace, you can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.