BEWARE OF SCAMS – FBI WARNS OF INCREASED SCAMS DURING COVID-19 CRISIS


Be aware of other scams attempting to exploit COVID-19 worldwide including:

Fake cures, vaccines, medical supplies, or home testing kits for COVID-19
  • Individuals and businesses selling fake cures for COVID-19 online and engaging in other forms of fraud
  • Ignore online offers for vaccinations and home test kits. There currently are no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) — online or in stores. At this time, there also are no FDA-authorized home test kits for the Coronavirus. Visit the FDA to learn more
  • Be on the lookout for companies that ask you to wire money up front when procuring PPE and other supplies
  • If a company you have previously done business with asks you to change wiring instructions, or make a payment to an account other than the one you have previously made a payment to, it’s best to hang up and call the company directly at the phone number listed on their website, or in your records to verify these changes before sending money.
Websites and apps that claim to give virus-related updates
  • Malicious websites and apps that appear to share virus-related information to gain and lock access to your devices until payment is received
Donation campaigns or charitable organizations for COVID-19
  • Verify the authenticity of any website before making a purchase or donation
  • Many fraudulent charitable websites have been created and look very convincing and even register with the BBB to appear legitimate
  • Fact check and go directly to a charitable organizations website rather than using links
  • Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it.
Texts and emails to claim your stimulus payments
  • Don’t respond to or click any links in texts and emails about checks from the government. Anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is a scammer.
  • For security reasons, the IRS plans to mail a letter about the Economic Impact Payment (EIP) to the taxpayer’s last known address within 15 days after the payment is made. The letter will provide information on how the payment was made and how to report any failure to receive the payment. If you are unsure about whether you are receiving a legitimate letter, the IRS urges you to visit IRS.gov first to protect against scam artists.
  • The IRS urges taxpayers to be on the lookout for scam artists trying to use the EIP as a cover for schemes to steal personal information and money. Remember, the IRS will not call, text, email or contact you on social media asking for personal or bank account information – even related to the EIP. Also, watch out for emails with attachments or links claiming to have special information about EIP or refunds.
Text or emails from World Health Organization (WHO) or Center for Disease Control (CDC)
  • Watch out for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), or experts saying they have information about the virus. Delete fake emails claiming to be from the CDC or WHO that contain links that, if clicked on, allow fraudsters to steal your information.
  • For the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Work from home schemes
  • Cyber criminals are taking advantage of the high number of individuals who have been laid off. These criminals have created seemingly legitimate websites posing as charity or other organizations who are looking to hire people to work from home, and will even register these sites with the Better Business Bureau to appear real. The websites are thorough and detailed and look legitimate – fraudsters are copying the websites of real businesses and organizations, and posting job descriptions on sites like monster.com or indeed.com.
  • Employment scams are asking consumers to provide their account number and debit card number to “set up direct deposit”.
Phone calls from “Frost Customer Service” or “Frost Fraud Department”
  • Customers are receiving calls from “Frost Customer Service” or the “Frost Fraud Department” questioning a transaction performed outside your city/state. Customers are asked to provide their debit card number, card PIN, account number, and/or answers to security questions under the guise that this will allow us to send our customers a replacement card.
  • Criminals may even spoof Frost’s customer service number so that your caller ID shows Frost’s number is calling you.
  • Frost’s Fraud Department may reach out to you about potentially suspicious activity; however, we will never ask for your PIN, security questions, one-time-passcodes, or ask you to reply to any text or emails you have received while on the phone with us
  • If you are ever unsure you are truly talk to a Frost banker, hang up and call us directly at (800) 513-7678.
Robocalls – Hang up and don’t press anything
  • Hang up on robocalls. Don’t press any numbers. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from scam Coronavirus treatments to work-at-home schemes. The recording might say that pressing a number will let you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, but it might lead to more robocalls, instead.
Other Scams
  • Online sellers claiming to have in-demand products, like cleaning, household and health and medical supplies when, in fact, they don’t. Know who you’re buying from
  • Websites offering payment for advertising on consumers’ personal vehicles, such as car wrapping. Consumers will typically receive a counterfeit check
  • Consumers are receiving calls from companies such as Microsoft and Apple offering a warranty or stating they have identified an issue with the consumer’s computer. Once access is gained, they infect the computer
  • Consumers are being notified that a family member is in jail in Mexico because they caused an accident and needs funds to pay the other party
  • Elders meeting someone online and wanting to send money to them
  • Consumers receiving requests to change their payroll account information
  • Businesses receiving requests for changes in vendor payment methods
  • Homebuyers receiving emails directing a change in payment, typically to a name not a title company
To protect yourself from fraudsters, we recommend that you:
  • Fact-check information. Scammers, and sometimes well-meaning people, share information that hasn’t been verified. Before you pass on any messages, contact trusted sources.
  • Don't click links in spam emails--even those sent by someone you know. Emails with typos and grammatical errors are a red flag. They could download viruses onto your computer or device.
  • Regularly check emails and mail to ensure you haven’t received notification that any of your account information has been updated. If you receive a notification, and you did not update any information or sign up for any new serviced, please call us immediately at (800) 513-7678.
  • Never store personal or financial information, including passwords, on your device or on paper.
  • Don't use the same login ID and password across multiple systems.
Take this extra time at home to focus on you:
  • Monitor your financial statements regularly for unexpected activity and contact us immediately if you notice any unusual activity on your account
  • Update all of your passwords
  • Make sure all of your virus protections are up to date
  • Ensure your Wi-Fi router firmware is up to date
  • Change your Wi-Fi password
  • Close old or unused accounts
  • Activate multi-factor authentication on any accounts where your personal information is utilized
To learn more about current fraud schemes, and how you can protect yourself, you can visit:

Department of Justice's website.

Federal Trade Commission’s website.

Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Public Service Announcement.