April 28, 2020 Update: Tips for Staying Ahead of Today’s Scammers

Beth Misak |
Categories

By Paul Hynes, CFP®

Unfortunately, an epic crisis ushers in an epic level of scam artists.

That’s why we are advising everyone to be extremely cautious during this COVID-19 pandemic. Each day brings change and confusion. This turmoil creates a witches’ brew of opportunity for the bad guys.

Be extremely vigilant before clicking, downloading, opening, or answering incoming communications. Should a Robocall get through and instruct you to do anything, hang up. Such defensive procedures are even more important today.

Be aware of some of the devious scams making the rounds, such as:

  • Crooks asking for a fee to help you get your economic impact payment, PPP loan, or other relief payments related to the CARES Act
     
  • Scammers requesting personal information, such as bank account information, in order to process a direct deposit of the economic impact payment, PPP loan, etc.
     
  • Fraudulent tests, treatments or cures for COVID-19
     
  • Fraudulent offers purporting to sell N-95 masks or other personal protective equipment
     
  • Fraudulent requests for donations or other financial assistance from people pretending to be someone known to you. This can even include members of the clergy whose identities have been compromised

Always remember:

  • The IRS will never call or email you. The IRS contacts taxpayers by snail mail
     
  • If you are asked to send money to get money, it is always a scam
     
  • Don't respond to unknown or suspicious emails or phone calls. Go to the official website and compare contact information. Only call back on a phone number that you have verified as legitimate

Scammers prey on the vulnerable. And today, most Americans are feeling especially vulnerable. So keep your guard up and remain alert. One day this virus will be better contained. Scammers, on the other hand, will continue to metastasize and threaten our wellbeing.