COVID-19 has created opportunities for unscrupulous people to conduct scams and fraud, and unfortunately, we’re seeing more of both.COVID financial scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated and the number of Americans being taken advantage of is on the rise.
The Internal Revenue Service is urging taxpayers to be wary of a surge of calls and emails from scammers. These scammers may emphasize words like “stimulus check” or “stimulus payment.” They may ask you to sign over your economic impact check. They’re reaching out via email, phone, text, and social media, so please pay attention to all outlets.
Never provide your online banking credentials. No legitimate company will ever ask for this information. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from West Town Bank & Trust, or if you get a call from anyone asking for information about your debit card, mobile banking, checking accounts or online banking credentials, hang up and call us at (866) 652-5652) immediately. We’ll help you determine if the call is legitimate. If you have any doubt or suspicion at all, hang up, delete the text, exit out of the email and reach out.
Be Alert and Take Extra Care When Opening Emails and Texts and Answering Phone Calls
At a time when it’s more important than ever to be able to trust people, it may be harder than ever to know who to trust. Before you open any email or text communications, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Is the sender claiming to be someone official? For example, your bank or doctor, a lawyer, or a government agency. Criminals often pretend to be important people or organizations to trick you into doing what they want.
- Are you being told you have a limited time to respond? Criminals often threaten you with fines or other negative consequences if you don’t act immediately.
- Does the message make you panic, fearful, hopeful, or curious? Criminals often use threatening language, make false claims of support, or attempt to tease you into wanting to find out more.
- Is the message offering something in short supply? Fear of missing out on a good deal or opportunity can make you respond quickly.
It’s Happening in Business Environments Too
Large numbers of people are using communications platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams for online meetings, providing opportunities for hackers to hijack online meetings that aren’t secured. Here are some ways to help keep your meetings safe
- Don’t make meetings public. Instead, require a meeting password or use the waiting room feature and control the admittance of guests.
- Don’t share a link to a meeting on an unrestricted publicly available social media post. Provide the link directly to specific people.
- Manage screensharing options. Change screensharing to “Host Only.”
- Ensure users are using the updated version of remote access/meeting applications.
Please be extra vigilant with your data and account information. If you have any doubts or suspicions about your security or privacy, call us at (866) 652-5652. Our family at West Town Bank & Trust hopes you and your family are staying safe and well.