In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the United States government approved the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, to help businesses, families and individuals. Unfortunately, some criminals continue to look for ways to steal not just your personal and financial information, but also the money you receive through the CARES Act. The IRS has stated that they will not call or email you and ask you to verify or provide financial information, so if you receive a call or email, it’s a scam.

Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself:

Update your computer systems – Cybercriminals are aware that more people are working from home these days and they are getting creative when it comes to cyber attacks. If your systems are up to date, it lessens the possibility of an attack.

Avoid suspicious emails – Do not open or click on links in unsolicited emails about COVID-19. Scammers sometimes conduct phishing attacks by posing as a trustworthy organization to try to get people to give them personal information. Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website for a list of different types of attacks.

Hang up on unsolicited calls – Scammers are calling people and pretending to be government officials and asking for personal information. If you receive a suspicious call, hang up immediately. Click here for information from the Federal Trade Commission about avoiding Coronavirus scams.

Use trusted sources – If you are looking for information about COVID-19, or the CARES act, seek out trusted sources such as government websites, or the Center for Disease control.

Avoid charity scams – Helping others in times of need is a wonderful thing to do, but make sure the organization you are giving to is legitimate. The Federal Trade Commission has some tips on their blog about what to do before giving to a charity.

If you have received a suspicious call or email, or if you think you may have been the victim of identity theft, please contact us during business hours at 860-376-4444. You can also file a complaint by visiting the Federal Trade Commission website.