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Crime Loves Chaos
Thursday , Apr 02, 2020
April 3, 2020
In My View . . .
Loss Mitigation Solutions, LLC
With so much confusion and the sharing of financial information about to begin as a result of the Covid-19 Relief Bill, financial fraud and identify theft will be at their highest levels. To protect yourself, your family, your business, and your employees you must be suspicious of email, telephone calls, websites, and direct mailings.
Starting in early March, criminals intent on stealing money, identities, and information started sending phishing emails, setting up websites with malicious code embedded in Covid-19 maps and other links, and making telephone calls to businesses and people (social engineering). Their goal is all the same; To take advantage of the chaos of the Covid-19 pandemic to commit financial fraud and get rich.
With the US Federal Government’s Covid-19 Relief Package worth $2.2 trillion, criminals are licking their lips. Millions of people and businesses will be filing forms containing sensitive personal and financial information. Your priority in this challenging time is to protect your health, finances, and information.
Here are some tips to help you protect your assets.
- Be highly suspicious of all e-mail. Verify the sender's address by clicking on it. If it does not match the domain name (i.e., @microsoft.com) of the organization portrayed in the e-mail consider it a phishing or potentially contaminated email and delete it.
- Only go to trusted websites that have verified links. Use Google, or other search engines, to find a Relief Package website only if you can verify it is an official site. Scam sites waiting to collect your personal information are common. The VCEDC Covid-19 page is a great place to start.
- If someone calls you DO NOT provide them any personal or financial information unless you can verify their identity. An IRS scam is circulating with callers looking to get social security numbers, dates of birth, and financial information. Other fraudulent calls are likely to begin related to Covid-19 Relief. Government agencies will not call you asking for this information.
- Mail can also contain fraudulent solicitation but is not the primary mode because of harsh federal laws surrounding US Postal Service mail and experienced Postal Inspectors. Even so, with so many application forms being required, criminals will likely test this water. Be suspicious and call the agency or financial institution if you are not sure.
President Reagan’s mantra is appropriate here……“Trust but Verify”. Better yet, verify twice!
Bill Niemuth has spent 38 years in the security, investigative, crisis and disaster management, and communications fields. He owns and operates business consulting firm Loss Mitigation Solutions, LLC. from Boulder Junction, Wisconsin and is a new VCEDC Board Member.