Coronavirus Scams

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to impact the United States, fraudsters have seized the opportunity to prey on businesses and consumers. Scams are coming in many ways – not only through email, but also by phone, text, and social networking sites. They are also taking many forms, from fake Paycheck Protection Program loan approvals, to investment fraud to phishing scams. In times like these, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction, so think before you click and always be cautious when receiving an unsolicited offer.  

Gorham Savings Bank and other legitimate businesses and organizations will never contact you to ask for personal details, such as bank account information, credit and debit card numbers, social security numbers or passwords. If you receive one of these offers, hang up on the caller or ignore it.

 

Penny Stocks

A friend lets you know of an inside deal they heard of – cheap stock in a company that is about to release a vaccine. Quick, easy money. Or is it? While your friend is most likely well-intentioned, the person selling them the stock is not. This type of scam is known as a penny stock, made famous by the movie Wolf of Wall Street. The fraudster sells a useless stock with the promise of high returns. If it sounds too good to be true…

 

Expedited Checks from The Government 

Due to the economic toll the virus has taken, Congress will be issuing Economic Impact Payments – wouldn’t it be great to receive a check early? Scammers are making offers to provide quicker payments through direct deposit, they only need your bank information and social security number. If you receive an offer, hang-up or ignore it. The only official source for information on the stimulus checks can be found here:

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/economic-impact-payments-what-you-need-to-know

 

Insurance 

Additional insurance may bring peace of mind – but insurance specifically related to the virus is almost certainly a hoax. The State of Maine provides a searchable database of licensed insurance companies as a reference:

https://www.maine.gov/pfr/insurance/licensee_search.html

 

Treatments 

Scammers are selling vaccines, treatments, and home tests kits – none of which actually exist. For the latest COVID-19 information visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. If you receive an offer hang-up or ignore it.

 

Work-at-Home Schemes 

An offer to work-from-home may seem like an amazing opportunity – but how many employers reach out to people who have never applied for the job? Be very cautious of non-solicited job offers.