Fraud During a Pandemic
Fraud identification/prevention tips relating to the CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) Pandemic
Scammers do not take a break, even during a pandemic. In fact, this is their time to work their magic. We want you to be safe, and as the effects of this virus will more than likely be felt for months, fraudsters are hard at work right now attempting to take advantage of the situation and those vulnerable to their attacks.
As Heartland Bank is committed to protecting our clients, we feel that education is the best way to stay ahead of these threats. To be on top of the possible and probable fraud, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC - a consumer protection agency) has released information related to potential coronavirus scams on their website. We would like to share several of these with you:
- Don’t respond to texts, emails or calls about checks from the government. The latest information regarding economic impact payments from the IRS can be found on their website. Click here for up-to-date information.
- Hang up on robocalls. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from low-priced health insurance to work-at-home schemes.
- Watch for emails claiming to be from the CDC or WHO. Use sites like coronavirus.gov and usa.gov/coronavirus to get the latest information. And, don’t click on links from sources you don’t know!
- Do your homework when it comes to donations. Never donate in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money.
- Ignore online offers for vaccinations and home test kits. There are no products proven to treat or prevent COVID-19 at this time.
- The FTC and FDA have jointly issued warning letters to seven sellers of unapproved and misbranded products, claiming they can treat or prevent the Coronavirus. The companies’ products include teas, essential oils, and colloidal silver.
- The FTC says the companies have no evidence to back up their claims — as required by law. The FDA says there are no approved vaccines, drugs or investigational products currently available to treat or prevent the virus. Read more about the warning letters.
If you come across any suspicious claims, report them to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
To contact Heartland Bank about suspicious account activity, please click here.