Congress hasn't reached an agreement on the next stimulus package that may come your way, but if a second stimulus package does take place, you can be sure that scammers will be there to attempt to get your check, steal your personal financial information, and possibly even steal your identity. These appalling criminals took advantage of folks' vulnerability during the COVID first round of stimulus checks by using emails and phone calls to obtain private details from unsuspecting victims. Asking you for your checking account number so your stimulus check can be directly deposited is just the beginning of your nightmare. And because folks are so anxious to receive this money, they will quickly offer up social security numbers and sensitive financial information before they realize they have made a horrible mistake.
Please remember to protect yourself from these and other scammers by never clicking on any unknown links attached to emails you may receive, even if they look "official". Research your concerns online and don't offer any personal information to anyone who may contact you. Ask them for a phone number and tell them you will call them back. Then do your own background check to determine their validity. Keep in mind that the legitimate term for stimulus money is "economic impact payment". This term will always be used by official representatives of the government when communicating with you.
The U.S. PIRG Education Fund, an independent, non-partisan group that works for consumers and in the public's interest, has compiled a list of the top six stimulus scams. They also teach us how to clearly recognize a scam, such as fake checks, phony websites and offers of cash advances, before it's too late.
Fortunately, the VLFCU team is on your side! Call us to get assistance with any suspected financial fraud, identity theft, or compromised credit/debit cards. Your financial safety is our priority. We've also put together some of our favorite resources to keep you updated about the latest scams you should be aware of. These resources are just a few we thought would be helpful, and we encourage you to refer to these sites regularly to keep abreast of scam-related news. Our list includes:
- The Better Business Bureau: Fact-check businesses, fundraisers, and service providers.
- Eldercare Locator: Enter your zip code and find local agencies that serve older adults and their caregivers.
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Protection and a great deal of information for older adults regarding fraud and exploitation.
- The Federal Trade Commission: Report identity theft or file a complaint.
Visit our fraud protection resources page where you'll find each of these reliable resources and a link to their respective websites. As always, we take scams and our members’ security very seriously. As we become aware of new scams and alerts, we will notify our members through social media and other marketing methods. And always remember: VLFCU will never ask you to provide your credit card numbers, pin numbers, security codes, or other personal information by phone, text, or email. We will notify you by mail. If you have given this information out, or have any security concerns, please call us at 419-625-9025.
As our members continue to use eServices and non-branch services, we will continue to employ the highest possible web-security protocols to protect you and your money. We have measures in place to protect your accounts and your identity, along with a trained staff who is constantly on the lookout for suspicious requests and criminal intentions. Additionally, if you enroll in VacationLand's Value Checking Plus, you receive identity theft protection features like Restoration Rescue; automatic enrollment of minor children; lost document recovery assistance; and identity theft alerts.
We are here for you, providing information and news you need to keep you, and your money, safe!