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By Claire Hegstrom
"Criminals are exploiting the fear and uncertainty created by COVID-19 to prey on innocent citizens who are only looking to protect their health and that of their loved ones," said INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organization) Secretary General Jürgen Stock. Unfortunately, fraudsters are aware that at this time, we are all feeling our most vulnerable. Knowing the signs of a financial scam during the coronavirus pandemic – and during other times of crisis – is your first line of defense. We’re here to help show you how to spot a fishy phone call or email, and how to report scams you may come across.
So how do you determine what is a scam? Take extra precaution when answering phone calls, opening emails or browsing websites while shopping. Additionally, below we share some clues that might help you spot a potential fraudster.
If you spot any of these financial scams, or are wondering if correspondence is legitimate, there are multiple ways to protect yourself. First, report any suspicious activity to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftc.gov/complaint. Secondly, never hesitate to reach out to your financial institution if something seems fishy regarding any calls, letters or emails you receive about your finances. If something feels off, it probably is. Trusting your gut is the best thing you can do to protect yourself, your family and your finances.
Claire Hegstrom is an advocate of the credit union movement through and through. Passionate about financial education, she approaches money conversations from a candid and inclusive space focused on growth and awareness. As our credit union founding father, Ed Filene, once said, “Progress is the constant replacing of the best there is with something still better.” Claire hopes reading Money Mentor will help transform your life from the best to even better.
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