Be aware! Fraud and scams on the rise!

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The CARES Act initiated over 2.2 trillion dollars into the US economy. Some of that money is going to businesses and a huge chunk is going to US citizens. The US Government is sending out payments to citizens this money will be a nice relief to many people who have seen work hours decreased or cut entirely.

On Friday the Federal Trade Commission released a report saying over 16,000 Americans have reported fraud cases that have resulted in the loss of $12 million dollars.

With the influx of money being sent to Americans now is the time to be extra vigilant to make sure your money stays in your accounts. Scammers will be working extra hard to try and pry that money away.  Here are a few ways to protect yourself and your money during these difficult times.

The IRS will not contact you over email, text message, or social media channels:

Be aware of fake IRS emails and messages. The IRS will also not call you to verify bank account information, social security numbers, or other personal information in order to get your money sooner.

Watch out for keywords and numbers.

The official name of the Stimulus Checks Americans will be receiving is “Economic Impact Payment.” If someone calls and refers to the check being called “stimulus checks” or “stimulus payment” red flags should go up. Another way to tell if you are being targeted by scammers is to keep an eye on the check amount. The checks will come out in even numbers. The checks will not be odd amounts and you will not have to call a number before cashing the check. Visit here to check your eligibility.

Be aware of treatments, get well quick, or preventative treatments:

As of now there is no treatment or cure to prevent COVID 19. If you are on the receiving end of a call, text message, or social media message saying there is a treatment, it is a scam. Also, at this time there is no home testing medical kit related to COVID 19. Other scams in the form of trying to get you to send money to fraudulent places include:

  • Pretending to be a health care professional and saying a family member is in the hospital and in order to see them, they need you to wire money first.
  • Impersonating a charity in efforts that you would donate to a fake cause, centered around the COVID 19 pandemic.
  • Insurance scams claiming you need more coverage in order to prevent or treat COVID 19.
  • Trying to get you to buy medical equipment such as face masks and ventilators with no intent to deliver.

With the influx of money coming from the Economic Impact Payments, here is a reminder of a few things the IRS will never do when contacting you.

The IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that taxes be paid without giving taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
  • Call out of the blue about an unexpected tax refund.

If you do receive a call that is suspicious, hang up and report it using the IRS Impersonation Reporting Form

United Community Bank will never call you asking for personal information. We take great pride in protecting your money and keeping it safe and secure. The security measures that are in place are to protect you from potential scammers. Stay safe and remember if something sounds to good to be true, it probably is!