Scammers are using this event to pray on people. Below are articles on scams and resources to help stop them.
Tips from the FTC:
- Don’t be rushed. Whatever the call, email, text, or social media post is about, remember that scammers try to rush you. Legit people don’t.
- Check it out. Before you act on something or share it – stop. Do some research. Do the facts back up the story?
- Pass it on. If you get offered something great, or you’re worried about something alarming: talk to someone you trust before you act. What do they think?
How to learn more or report a scam:
- National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via email at [email protected]
- Report it to the FBI at https://tips.fbi.gov/ (Go to https://www.fbi.gov/coronavirus to learn more)
- Cyber scams may be submited through https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
- Report scams to the FTC. Go to ftc.gov/complaint.
- Report scams to the IRS. Go to https://www.irs.gov/privacy-disclosure/report-phishing
- US Department of Justice. Go to https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus
Beware of Malicious COVID-19 Phishing
In the wake of emergency assistance available to help small businesses in response to the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), the SBA is urging disaster loan applicants seeking federal aid to be alert to phishing campaigns and scams. These malicious actors are impersonating the SBA and its Office of Disaster Assistance to collect personally identifiable information (PII) for fraudulent purposes.
Hey college students: even though you’re likely far from campus, scammers are still trying to find you.
Information on fraudulent unemployment claims
Unemployment fraud is surging in many forms, as reported by bankers statewide. It is critical each bank knows of and responds to each version as it hits.
Toward that end, OBA will try to keep you apprised as we learn of new issues as each is time sensitive. The first such scenario defines an issue facing the State of Washington, where funds are deposited in Oklahoma banks. The second are the rampant Oklahoma Employment Security Commission unemployment fraud claims, with information on a response.
State of Washington Unemployment Fraud in Oklahoma
Numerous Oklahoma financial institutions report large dollar ACH deposits into accounts, from $5,000 to tens of thousands.
The name of the deposit does not match the account holder. The description in the ACH is WA ST EMPLOY SEC - UI BENEFIT. Once the funds are deposited, the account holder is instructed to wire or purchase money orders to send to another individual in another state.
When questioned, the account holders first say the ACH came in their name. When informed it was not, the answer changes to "family" or 'for a "family member, an old friend." Pressed further, the story falls apart.
Action steps include:
• Watch for wires not in account holder's name.
• If there is a name mismatch, you can return the funds.
• Search for keywords Washington, WA ST EMPLOY SEC, and UI BENEFIT.
If you find you had this fact pattern and the money has already been disbursed, you can consider sending a letter noting that person is not entitled to the funds, they were obtained through fraud and ask they voluntarily return the money. Understand they may be a witting or unwitting money mule and may have already wired the funds as noted above.
Oklahoma Employment Security Commission frauds
The OBA continues to receive reports from bankers about fraudulent unemployment claims against the bank for persons who have never worked there.
We are also seeing numerous reports of bank employees and customers who have had claims filed using their personal information. The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission has offered further guidance on reporting and resolving these claims.
To Report a Fraudulent Claim on Your Bank
Step 1: Email the OESC at [email protected] and the OESC supervisor at [email protected] Scan and include all documentation, including the claim form you received. You will receive an auto-reply email but may not receive a callback.
Step 2: You must file the protest within 10 days of the date of mailing on claims you received. In that filing, you give the reason for that protest.
Step 3: File a second report with the Oklahoma attorney general. Information can be found at http://www.oag.ok.gov/attorney-general-hunter-launches-new-effort-to-assist-victims-of-unemployment-fraud. At the bottom of that page, you will see "to access the form, click here," where you will access the form. Individuals can also use this form as noted below.
To Report a Fraudulent Claim as an Individual (for customers or employees with claims filed in their names)
Step 1: Email the OESC at [email protected] and also the OESC supervisor at [email protected] Include your name, the claim number (if it appeared on the information you received) and your email address. Scan and attach any documentation. OESC will immediately put a STOP on any reported claim.
Step 2: If you have received any Way2Go cards from the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, notify your bank that you received them. After notifying OESC and your company's (or bank's if bank employee) HR, it's important to destroy the cards.
Step 3: Check with your financial institution and credit card companies to ensure your personal information has not been compromised further. You may also obtain a free copy of your credit report from https://www.ftc.gov/faq/consumer-protection/get-my-free-credit-report.
Step 4: Consider filing a credit freeze or extended fraud alert because you are a victim of ID theft. Details on both, as well as how to file, can be found at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/.
Step 5: The Oklahoma attorney general has also created a form he encourages you to complete to report unemployment fraud. Information can be found at http://www.oag.ok.gov/attorney-general-hunter-launches-new-effort-to-assist-victims-of-unemployment-fraud. At the bottom of that page you will see "to access the form, click here," where you will access the form.
The OBA has received notice on about a dozen claims by persons who have never worked for us. Our CFO, Lea Ann Jackson, has filed OESC and AG reports on each case and is a great resource if you have questions regarding filing. The FBI and OSBI have opened cases on these issues for our bankers and it is clear the attorney general's office will also be an important partner ongoing.
As always, if you have any questions about this or any fraud issues, contact Elaine Dodd at [email protected]
Every day we are reading about researchers studying potential ways to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19. However, at this time there certainly are no products you can buy online, or services you can get at a neighborhood clinic, that are proven to work. But that doesn’t stop some sellers from pitching products that claim to protect or heal you.
If COVID-19 canceled your travel plans, you are likely disappointed and wondering about refunds, credits, or vouchers for plane tickets, cruise bookings, tours, and more. Even if your scheduled travel is months away, you might be weighing your options. And many travel service providers seem to be working to address concerns about upcoming trips.
We know there’s been a flood of information and updates about the government’s economic impact payments, or so-called stimulus checks, lately. But quickly and safely moving massive amounts of money into the hands of those who need it is a big job with a lot of moving parts. We also know that the more you know about the process, the less likely you’re going to be tripped up by calls, text messages, or emails from scammers trying to steal your money or personal information. Here’s what you need to know about the stimulus payments and how to avoid scams related to these payments
This is an alert for small business owners who are looking to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”). The loans help alleviate the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, but there are bad actors trying to get business owners to apply for the wrong program. Today, the FTC announced that it filed a case against a company that allegedly claimed to offer PPP loans — but, in reality, the company is not affiliated with the SBA and, the FTC says, it has been deceiving hundreds, if not thousands, of business owners.
Last month, the FTC and FDA sent warning letters to seven sellers of unapproved and misbranded products, claiming they can treat or prevent the Coronavirus. Today, the FTC sent warning letters to 10 more companies.
Scammers are experts at shifting tactics and changing their messages to catch you off guard. This is especially true as they take advantage of anxieties related to the Coronavirus. Here’s a quick alert about some current government imposter scams using COVID-19 that are popping up on our radar.
“Grandma: I’m in the hospital, sick, please wire money right away.” “Grandpa: I’m stuck overseas, please send money.” Grandparent scams can take a new twist – and a new sense of urgency – in these days of Coronavirus. Here’s what to keep in mind.
Many of us are at home, trying to protect our communities from the Coronavirus. (Thanks to those who are still working outside the home. Be safe.) If you have a minute to spare, it could be a good time for a refresher on spotting some common scams. Especially now that you might be home to get all those robocalls – and especially since the scammers are doubling down on ways to scam you. With that in mind, this is the first in a series of blog posts to help you spot some common scams.
Fraudulent COVID-19 Emails with Malicious Attachments - United States Secret Service
You’ve probably heard the news by now – the government is sending out relief checks as part of the federal response to the Coronavirus. Scammers heard the same thing, and they’re hoping to cash in on yours.
I know, 60-year-olds. You’re not old. In fact, we’ve found that, when people think “old,” they think of someone about 10 years older than they are right now. But, because we’ve been warned about the effects of the Coronavirus on people 60+, listen up. Because scammers follow the headlines and know you might have this on your mind.
Scammers – and scammy companies – are using illegal robocalls to profit from Coronavirus-related fears. Listen to some of the latest scammy robocall pitches, so you can be on the lookout and know how to respond. (Here’s a hint: hang up!)
Finally, with the COVID-19 relief package passing be aware of potential government grant scams or others claiming false access to these funds.
The FTC has set up a website with helpful resources to avoid COVID-19 scams:
Coronavirus Scams: What the FTC is doing | FTC Consumer Information
This individual was posting on social media for investments in COVID-19 cures. He also claimed affiliation with Magic Johnson probably to gain more legitimacy.
FBI agents have arrested a Southern California man who claimed to his 2.4 million Instagram followers that he had invented a cure for COVID-19.
Coronavirus malware scams are flooding the Internet. Here's a look at several, with details on what the emails say and which malware they carry.