Stay Diligent – Security Communication

April 28, 2020 Stay Diligent – Security Communication

It is unfortunate, but scams and fraud are increasing and all of us need to be alert both during and following the pandemic.  Scammers are becoming more and more creative and are preying on the elderly, millennials, businesses, and  anyone else  they can.  At The Glenview Trust Company, we are focused on your financial security and want you to be aware of an increased number of scams and to approach them with caution.

Scammers can have data about you from multiple sources, including social media, so it’s not unusual to get an unsolicited phone call or email that passes for a legitimate communication.  They know more about you than you may suspect.  There is a new wave of scammers who are using clever tricks to take advantage of people.  They use a variety of methods such as posing as the IRS or offering to sell you phony Covid-19 test kits.  With an online interaction or a phone call, people tend to let their guard down.  Here’s an action plan for you to think through the next time you get an unsolicited email or phone call:

  1.  Stop  –  Don’t automatically open any email and attachments, or answer any phone call.  If you get a call from an unrecognized number, don’t answer. Wait and see if they leave a voicemail.  If the email address is unfamiliar or the subject seems out of place don’t open it.  If you do open an email that looks strange, never click on a link it might contain.
  2. Think  –  Does the email or call make sense to you.  Are you expecting an email or call from the sender?
  3. Protect  – Verify the sender.  Once you open an email or pick up the phone, investigate what the person is asking you to do.  If the communication seems suspicious, then call the individual or organization back using a phone number you already know.

Without verifying the authenticity of an email or call, you should never do the following:

  • Give your social security, date of birth, or other personal information;
  • Provide access to your home computer system;
  • Give your credit card number or bank information; or
  • Provide passwords for any online accounts.

While this list is not exhaustive, here is a list of some of the more common scams that you should be on guard against:

IRS impersonation.  You are told you are due a tax refund or that you have unpaid taxes. The IRS will never initiate contact via phone calls, email, or through social media. 

Tech support.  A fake technical-support representative calls to fix a nonexistent computer issue with the goal of gaining remote access to your computer.

Sweepstakes and lottery scams. You are contacted to inform you that you have won a prize, but are required to advance payment of a fee or taxes before you can collect the winnings.

Request of payment from a vendor or service provider.  You receive a call or email from a vendor or service provider to send payment to them in a different manner than what you are accustomed to doing.  For instance, the vendor asks you to ACH or wire funds to a different account or pay with a credit card, when you have been paying them via a different method.  If this happens, call the vendor or service provider using the contact information you have and confirm.

Telemarketing/phone scams. These scammers can call from anywhere in the world and are using local numbers to seem more legitimate. They are trying to get personal information to use or sell later.

Investment schemes. Scammers posing as financial advisors who work to gain access to retirement funds and savings, which they steal, and then disappear.

Census Bureau phone call scams.  While these calls are often legitimate and can happen year-round, it’s best to call the US Census Bureau to confirm that it’s real rather than giving personal information out on the phone.

The grandparents scam. Scammers pose as grandchildren and ask for money to solve some unexpected financial problem. Or, someone calls on behalf of a grandchild who said to be in jail, a hospital, or another country and needing your help.

Medicare/Social Security scams. Perpetrators may pose as a Medicare or Social Security Administration representative to obtain personal information.

Internet fraud.  Scammers will often prey on unfamiliarity and skill deficits of older internet users, making them fall victim to email scams, computer screen pop-ups, or virus protection scams.

Robocalls.  These are automated calls pitching everything from low-priced health insurance, to services at a discount.  Hang up on these robocalls, or if you don’t recognize the phone number, simply don’t pick up.

Requests for Donations.  Do your homework when it comes to donations. Never donate in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money.  Inform the caller that you will not donate over the phone and to send you information to review first.

It pays to be alert for financial fraud, in whatever form it may come.  Be vigilant against fraudsters who are looking to take advantage of vulnerable, panicked, and inexperienced victims.

As always, thank you for your trust and confidence.

The Glenview Trust Company