Now is the time to be extra vigilant against scam artists seeking to defraud individuals during this Covid- 19 pandemic. The FBI recently issued warnings about the increasing activity of fraud associated with the pandemic. As of April 22, the FBI has reviewed over 3,600 cases of criminals setting up websites offering fake Covid-19 treatments, vaccines, phony charitable organizations, and other scams. In some cases, these counterfeit websites gave the appearance of being sponsored by the US government or a public health agency. The websites were designed to trick individuals into providing private information such as social security numbers and banking information.
Fraudsters are also reaching out to people through social media, emails, phone calls, and even door to door visits. The message is often that one needs to pay money for Covid-19 testing, health equipment and financial assistance.
Here are a few tips to avoid being tricked by these scammers:
- Be extremely cautious with online communication.
- Do not click on links or open email attachments from unknown or unverified sources.
- Be wary of any business, charity, or individual requesting payments in cash, by wire transfer, gift card, or through the mail.
- For medical information talk with your doctor or go to cdc.gov. Fraudsters may utilize fake sites with cdc.com or cdc.org.
If you think you are a victim of a fraud or attempted fraud using Covid-19, call the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 1-866-720-5721.
The Watchman Group is being vigilant about protecting our clients’ financial assets from fraud. We closely monitor account activity and requests for money transfers. Any time we receive a request for funds, we take the extra precaution to call and verify the request. The protection and safety of our client accounts is our top priority.