Unfortunately, scam artists are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your personal information. Scammers are attempting to pass on bogus “updates” on preventative medications or how you can help stop the spread of COVID-19 by supplying money to charitable organizations. Our first and highest priority is helping our members stay updated and aware, so please take a moment to read these safety tips.

How to avoid this scam:

Don’t be a victim of click bait. If you receive an email or text claiming to have health-related news about Coronavirus or COVID-19 from an unfamiliar organization, do not open it. Get accurate information about any updates from the CDC website.

Watch for impostor emails. Look for emails claiming to be the CDC or the World Health Organization (WHO). If you are not already subscribed to receive emails from them, you should not get one randomly.

Additionally, the World Health Organization will:

  • Never ask for your username or password to access safety information.
  • Never ask you to visit a link outside of www.who.int.
  • Never charge money to apply for a job, register for a conference, or reserve a hotel.
  • Never conduct lotteries or offer prizes, grants, certificates or funding through emails.

Ignore online offers for vaccinations or miracle treatments. If you see ads touting prevention, treatment, or cure claims for the Coronavirus or COVID-19, ignore it. You won’t hear about medical breakthroughs for the first time from an ad or sales pitch.

Perform due diligence when considering a donation. Do not donate to any organization claiming to help those sick from the Coronavirus or COVID-19 unless you have done your research. Any charity soliciting in Florida must be registered with FDACS (Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services). Call 1-800-HELP-FLA (800-435-7352) or use their online Check-A-Charity tool to find out if a charity is properly registered. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it.

Watch out for scam “investment” opportunities. The U. S. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued an investor alert about investment frauds involving claims that a company’s products or services will be used to help stop the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak. Some internet promotions, including on social media, are claiming that the products or services of publicly traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure Coronavirus/COVID-19, and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result. The promotions often take the form of so-called “research reports” and make predictions of a specific “target price.” For more information on tips to stay aware of scam please follow these links: WHO – Cyber Security and FTC Consumer Information.

Please reach out via phone or email to FSU Credit Union if you have issues regarding any of the above and feel you have fraud due to COVID-19 scams. For information regarding FSU Credit Union’s response to the COVID-19 situation, please visit FSUCU.org/Alerts. For additional information on COVID-19, we encourage you to visit the CDC and WHO information sites.

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