The coronavirus pandemic has captured the world’s attention. There is now an enormous amount of information about the coronavirus and related government programs in the media and on the Internet. Unfortunately, there are already reports of coronavirus-related scams in many parts of the country. Scammers know that this is a stressful time for many of us. Protecting your financial life from scammers is just as important as protecting your health.
Here are some tips to help you avoid potential scams:
Part of the recent CARES Act includes sending tax rebates directly to most Americans to aid them in these difficult times. Remember, the government will not ask you to pay anything upfront to receive your stimulus check. The government will not ask you for your Social Security Number, bank account information, or credit card information over the phone. The IRS expects to start distributing stimulus funds within a few weeks. Anyone who claims they can help you get yours sooner is probably lying. No government agency will call you about your stimulus check. Anyone claiming to need your personal information for this is a scammer and should be avoided.
Many individuals are out of work right now due to the quarantine and stay-at-home orders. If have debt payments coming up and need assistance, your lender may be able to help. It is up to you to contact your lender and discuss your situation with them. Be wary of anyone who contacts you offering assistance, especially if they ask you for your personal information or want to charge you a fee for help with debt relief. Your bank will never call you asking for personal financial information, including your online account passwords.
Finally, anyone pressuring you to make a decision immediately or threatening you about your finances should not be trusted. Like many individuals, you might have needs that must be addressed quickly. Scammers know this and will try to take advantage of the situation. If you aren’t sure whether the person you are talking to or website you’re visiting is legitimate, STOP and contact your trusted financial advisor at CPS, or contact local authorities.
Look Out for Elderly Family Members and Friends
The public health crisis is especially scary for people at risk of serious illness, like the elderly. If you have elderly family members or friends, give them a call and let them know not to trust anyone contacting them offering help over the phone. If you have any questions regarding what resources may be available to you or about potential scams, please contact your advisor at CPS Investment Advisors.
We’re here to help, because we’re all in this together.
Michael Scott | MBA, CFA
Senior Portfolio Analyst