During this time of great uncertainty, the last thing people need is a scam to add to their stress level. That’s why Tompkins VIST Bank is offering tips on how to recognize and avoid COVID-19 related scams.
“This is a good time for people to protect themselves from scammers who may try to use the current environment to obtain their funds and sensitive information,” says, Mary Dishong-Van Etten, vice president, Corporate Security for Tompkins Financial Corporation.
Here is a list of COVID-19 scams to watch out for (via phone calls, emails or text messages):
- Promises of coronavirus cures, in which you’re asked to invest
- Offers of COVID-19 test kits in exchange for your social security number, credit card numbers, etc.
- Requests for donations to fake organizations to help people who have the virus
- People impersonating medical staff demanding payment for treating one of your relatives
- Requests for a fee in order to receive your stimulus check from the government
- Pop-up links for free safety masks; if you click on them your information can be downloaded
- Scammers pretending to be bank or FDIC staff claiming to limit access to your accounts
How to avoid being a victim:
- Never give a stranger your social security number, passwords or information about your account, including your online/mobile credentials.
- Review your bank statements and your account activity regularly and report suspicious or unauthorized activity asap to your bank.
- Hang up on “robo” calls. If you push any button they will continue to call you.
- When you communicate with people online or by phone, don’t overshare information about yourself. Certainly do not offer account or any other financial information.
- Remember that the safest place for your money is your bank. Your funds are always accessible and federally insured.
- If you believe you may have been a victim, contact your local branch or your bank’s customer care center.
Your bank has many systems in place to guard against fraud, and during this current health crisis, we’re encouraging you to also be on high alert to protect yourself and your family. If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to your banker. They can help you navigate your finances in both good and difficult times.
For reliable and up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc.gov), the World Health Organization (who.gov) and your state’s official pandemic health site.
To report a coronavirus scam: