The Pennsylvania Department of Banking & Securities has issued some Tips to Avoid Coronavirus Scams for Consumers.
Frequent characteristics of scams include:
Sense of urgency and limited time offers. Scammers will attempt to prompt you into immediate action and catch you off guard. No government agency will call you asking for payment or take punitive action against you if you don’t act quickly.
Payment with wire transfer or gift cards. Once information is provided, the money is essentially gone and you cannot get it back.
Secrecy and the need to not tell anyone. Never make a decision without consulting a credible and trustworthy source.
Low or minimal risks with guaranteed high returns. Be cautious of any offer that guarantees a high rate of return with little or no risk or does not disclose risk.
Unsolicited offers, including social media avenues. A new post on your Facebook wall, a tweet mentioning you, a direct message, an email, a text, a phone call, or any other unsolicited communication regarding an investment “opportunity” related to coronavirus (COVID-19).
Pennsylvanians can protect themselves by actively exercising caution. If you have received an unsolicited phone call, when in doubt, hang up. Never provide credit card or other financial or personal information as part of an unsolicited phone call and think twice if you’re being pressured to act now.
Pennsylvanians should know the red flags of potential fraud and scams:
Has someone contacted you unexpectedly? If you weren’t expecting a phone call or didn’t initiate the contact, it should be a red flag.
Have they promised you something? If they’re offering you something that seems too good to be true, it’s a red flag.
Have they asked you to do something? Are they asking you for money or account information? If you didn’t initiate the conversation, don’t provide it.
At this time, the department has had no reported cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) financial scams. Anyone can contact DoBS at 1-800-PA-BANKS or 1-800-722-2657 to ask questions or file complaints about financial transactions, companies, or products. If you believe you have fallen victim to a scam, contact local law enforcement.
Online Banking Safety and Tips to keep your information secure
Fraudsters are using increased sophistication to gain control of your account and transfer funds beyond the reach of any recovery. These schemes not only target individual consumers, but also target businesses hoping to transfer larger amounts and mask their fraudulent transfers with the normal business activity.
Here are some consumer safety tips from the Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers.