Local and national law enforcement and government agencies have been warning about many scams related to stimulus checks and the coronavirus pandemic. Scammers are preying on public fears for their own gain. It’s important to be aware and be vigilant in protecting yourself from coronavirus scams.
Scams related to coronavirus and stimulus checks
Beware of emails, calls or other means of contact phishing for your personal financial information for the deposit of your stimulus check. This may come in the form of a text, email, social media contact, a call or another form of contact. First, remember, the government doesn’t refer to the payments as stimulus checks, but rather economic impact payments. Knowing this will come in handy when it comes to recognizing a potential scam. Second, a legitimate government agency will NEVER ask for personal information in this manner. Do not give this information out over the phone or by email. A scammer may use this information to steal your identity or steal money from your accounts. The IRS will automatically deposit your check into the direct deposit account provided on your last tax return. There is no action required on your part. If you did not provide an account, they will mail you a paper check to the address they have on file. Social Security beneficiaries who are not typically required to file tax returns will not need to file to receive a payment. Instead, payments will be automatically deposited into their credit union or bank accounts. If you receive one of these phishing calls, hang up immediately. If you receive a phishing text or email, delete it immediately and do not click on any links.
Another type of coronavirus scam related to the economic impact payment is a scammer acting as a government agency and requesting a fee to get your stimulus check. There is no fee involved in getting your stimulus check, so any contact asking you for a fee is a scam. If the sender is claiming they can get you a check faster, it is also a scam. You can visit irs.gov for more information and updates related to the Economic Impact Payment or to report a phishing attempt.
Coronavirus scams related to testing and treatment
Contacts claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offering coronavirus home test kits for sale are another scam. There are no home test kits currently available. It’s just another way for scammers to prey on our fears for their profit. Other frauds to be on the watch for related to coronavirus are ads, emails or robocalls pitching cures, treatments or vaccines. To date, there are no approved vaccines, medications or any other treatments available to treat or cure COVID-19. If you read about a cure in a social media ad or a pop-up ad, it’s a fraud. Don’t click on these links or give any credit card information. Listen to the health experts and protect yourself by social distancing. Stay home and stay safe.
Your credit union is here to help you through this uncertain time
Choice One Community Credit Union is here for our members when they need us. Our Skip A Pay* program enables our members to skip a loan payment any one month between April and August. Simply fill out our online form to skip a payment on a vehicle, home equity or personal loan. In need of a loan to get you through the coming months? We offer many low-interest loan options for members as well. Learn more about our loan and refinancing options and view current loan rates at choiceone.org. Although our lobbies are closed, we are still working and are only a phone call away if you need us.
*A $35.00 processing fee per loan will automatically be deducted from your share account. Interest will continue to accumulate on your loan during the month you skip your payment. Each member is allowed to skip a payment twice during the designated time per calendar year. All requests to skip a payment must be approved by the loan department. MAPS, Shared Secure Loans dated after 9/1/15 and 90 Day Balloon Loans are not eligible for this program. Home Equity Loans are eligible for the Skip-A-Pay program one time in the calendar year. This is a special offer, all accounts must be in good standing to be eligible. Fee must be in the account at the time of application.