Among the many unfortunate consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak is that many cyber-criminals and fraudsters have quickly revised their schemes to take advantage of credit unions and their members. Cyber-criminals will often use an emerging crisis to take advantage of people’s uncertainties, emotions, and general concern. They are currently leveraging COVID-19 to try to steal your personal information, your money, or both. Victims should report fraud to their local authorities.

Fraudulent Tactics to Watch Out For:

  1. An increase in phishing emails with urgent messaging, especially around COVID-19. Phishing emails target their victims by posing as legitimate businesses or institutions to lure individuals into providing sensitive personal data. These emails may attempt to have people open attachments or click on a link for more information.
  2. An increase in business email compromise or executive impersonation scams. Cyber-criminals know employees are working remotely and that communication will be more limited and will try to take advantage of those circumstances.
  3. Scammers selling home tests for COVID-19. Claiming if you send them money, they will send you the home test or product to prevent from getting the virus.
  4. Scammers offering ways to protect your life savings. They claim if you give them your account information, they will see what they can do to protect your money.
  5. Charity scams and fraudulent websites claiming to help those affected by COVID-19. There have been over 1,900 COVID-19 related websites registered in a short period of time.
  6. Fraudulent companies going door to door offering deep cleaning services.

Best Practices to Fight Fraud:

  1. Don’t click on links in emails you weren’t expecting. If you do need to go to a site that someone sends you in an email, try typing the web address in the browser yourself rather than clicking on the email.
  2. Don’t open attachments in emails you weren’t expecting. If you do need to open an attachment, make sure to scan it for viruses with your anti-virus scanner.
  3. If you get a phone call from someone saying they are from your credit union’s tech support, don’t take them at their word. Take their name down and call your institution’s tech support number yourself and ask for the person, even if the caller ID on your phone says it’s from your credit union.
  4. When possible always use your organization’s VPN network while working from home for a secure connection and that your communications are protected.
  5. Treat your home work-space the same as you would at work: lock your screen, don’t let others use your computer, shred paper you print and observe other requirements your security team has set out for work from home procedures.