Covid-19 scammers are going after your money and your business


It is so heartening to see people come together (while apart) to help each other through this anxious time.
Unfortunately, there are scammers out there that are taking advantage of our vulnerability. It’s bad enough that fraudsters exist in good times, but the fact that they proliferate in times of distress just infuriates me. I wanted to alert you to some of the Coronavirus-related scams out there right now.
Scammers are taking advantage of the fact that many businesses are operating remotely and that employees are getting tons of emails. According to East West Bank, the most common type of fraud occurring today is Business Email Compromise. It’s where fraudsters get into a company’s email system. They don’t discriminate between small and large businesses – any company is a potential victim.

The scammer will send you an email that seems like it could be legit – it could sound like an email from a vendor or a client – and they’ll ask for money, sensitive information, or send a fake invoice. Double check email addresses and website URL’s to make sure that you’re dealing with a real business and not a scammer.  Verify that anyone who calls you is really who they claim to be, even if that means that you need to call them back. Make sure everyone in your company is alerted to watch out for these.
On the personal level, scammers are taking advantage of the uncertainty and confusion surrounding the stimulus checks. Scammers are looking for ways to divert your money into their accounts. Someone claiming to be from the IRS (or Treasury Department) may call you to “verify” information – except that neither one will ever call, text, email, or message you through social media for verification. There is nothing that you need to verify in order to get your money. Watch out for fake stimulus checks that are mailed to you that ask you to call or go online to verify your information or identity.
The IRS will probably not mail you checks, they’ll be direct deposited into your account. But it’s still unclear. Last I heard, there was talk of them setting up a website where you can go on and request direct deposit if you don’t already have it set up with the IRS.  Be sure that you go to that website – whatever it ends up being – rather than clicking on a link to go to that site. You wouldn’t want to be diverted to a similar looking but fraudulent site.  As always, guard your social security number. And finally, disregard any promise to get you your check faster if you pay a “processing fee.”
Overall, my message here is that there are more amazing people but also some awful ones. Appreciate the goods ones extra hard right now, but don’t forget to be on the lookout for the dubious ones.
Stay safe out there – health-wise and financially.
All my very best,

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