Protect Yourself from Fraud

COVID-19 has been a challenging time for many of us financially, economically, and emotionally.  The occurrence took us by surprise and unprepared.  The event brought the best and worst in some of us.  For fraudsters from all walks of life, they used this opportunity to exploit gullible and honest citizens during this pandemic.  As the government makes the efforts to help many vulnerable people affected by this pandemic, there are others who tried to exploit and steal from vulnerable people.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, it has been reported that some victims of the pandemic has lost over $13 million dollars to fraud.  In particular, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been facing some challenges in this area.  It is important for taxpayers to be aware of fraudulent activities during this pandemic and take proactive actions to protect themselves.  The initial automatic payments were direct-deposited to the bank accounts of many taxpayers based on information they had provided to the IRS during their previous electronic filings.  If you receive calls, emails, or any other communication claiming to be from the IRS and offer COVID-19 related grants, money or stimulus payments, please do not respond.  Furthermore, if someone asks you for your personal information such as social security card, driver’s license number, address, bank account information, passwords, just hang up on them.  Should the IRS or other governmental agencies need information from you, they generally will make the request in writing.  Governmental agencies do not solicit information over the telephone or email or text, nor should they threaten you with action if you don’t provide information.  So please protect yourself and don’t just give out personal information.

Tips to Protect You From Scams

COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact America, and many scammers have seized the opportunity to prey on vulnerable people.  Although this list is not all-inclusive, here are some tips that may prevent you from being a victim of fraud.

  • Be aware of texts and emails impersonating government agencies

  • Never share your personal or financial information, via email, text messages, or over the phone

  • Be cautious if you are being pressured or threaten to share any information or make a payment immediately

  • Do not wire transfer any money to anyone, especially if the scammers claim to be from a governmental agency.  The governmental agencies do not threaten you to pay or wire transfer money to them

  • Do not respond to calls or texts from unknown numbers that appear to be suspicious

  • In time of need, some scammers use this opportunity to solicit donation.  We should always do our part to help people in needs, but do so with care.  Always check on a charity before donating to a good cause

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