Please be aware that there have been recorded cases of fraud related to COVID-19 and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or the “CARES Act,” which was signed into law on March 27th, 2020. The CARES Act provides direct economic assistance for Americans through stimulus payments. If you receive communication claiming to be from the U.S. Treasury Department offering grants or stimulus payments in exchange for personal financial information, fees, or gift cards, do not respond. These are scams. To avoid scams and hackers, best practice is not to click on any links in emails you were not expecting or did not request. Here are some best practice recommendations to avoid fraud.
- Disregard online offers for vaccinations. There currently are no vaccines, pills, lotions, lozenges, or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) — either online or in-stores.
- Think before you click. Don't click on hyperlinks from sources you don't recognize. They could download viruses onto your computer or device.
- Watch for suspicious emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying that have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) websites.
- Do your research before donating to charities or crowdfunding sites. Don’t let anyone pressure or rush you into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it.
- Set up account alerts through mobile or online banking.
- Be sure to use secure, unique passwords for online accounts.