Scammers are busier than ever and are targeting those 65 and older. Though their reason for scamming people is new due to the coronavirus pandemic, their tactics are the same. Most are in the form of telephone call. Be on the lookout for offers or requests that do not seem right. Here are some ways to protect yourself from scammers.
Never give personal information over the phone, by text or email. This includes your Social Security number, bank account, credit card numbers, or driver’s license number. Scam emails may look as if they are from the IRS or some other legitimate organization. Remember, the IRS contacts people in writing by mail. Say “NO” to requests for personal information.
Maybe you have been contacted to purchase a test kit or air filtration system to remove the COVID-19 virus from your home. Or someone offering a vaccine, cure or treatment for the virus. There is currently no vaccine for the virus. If you receive a phone call, email, text message, or letter with claims to sell you any of these items – it’s a scam. Do not fall for this trick.
We see all types of good deeds being done on the news, both nationally and locally. However, if you receive a request to donate to a charity to help fight the coronavirus, it is probably a scam. Thieves make up a name that sounds real to get money from you. Be careful about any charity calling you asking for donations. If you want to help financially, visit the website of the organization of your choice to make sure your money is going to the right place. You can contact the Attorney General’s office [email protected] or calling them at 501-682-2007 or 800-482-8982 to make sure the organization is legitimate. You might consider visiting the website and signing up for updates on scams or frauds.
Scammers could use the coronavirus pandemic to pose as a grandchild, relative or friend who claims to be ill and ask you to send money. They may ask you to send cash by mail or buy gift cards. These scammers often tell you to keep it a secret and to send the money fast. Again, don’t do it! Get your facts straight before falling for this scam. Hang up and call your grandchild or friend’s phone number to check out the story. If it is a grandchild, call their parents to get the story.
Social security benefit payments or Supplemental Security Income payments are not being suspended or decreased due to COVID-19. If you receive a call stating otherwise, it’s a scam. If you have a question regarding payments, you can contact your local Social Security Administration by calling them. While their office is closed to the public, they are still taking phone calls.
The bottom line is to be on guard and say NO if anyone contacts you and asks for personal information.
- Don’t respond to calls or texts from unknown numbers.
- Be cautious even with numbers you recognize. Scammers can spoof phone numbers to trick you into answering or responding.
- Never share your personal or financial information via email, text messages, or over the phone.
- Be cautious if you’re being pressured to share any information or make a payment immediately.
- Remember that government agencies will never call you to ask for personal information or money.
- Don’t click links in a text message if it seems suspicious.
- Always check on a charity before donating.
For more information about current scams and how to protect yourself. Contact the Federal Communications Commission at https://www.fcc.gov/covid-scams or the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.ftc.gov/coronavirus or the Attorney General’s Office. You can also check out our website at www.uaex.edu for more information on Covid-19 related issues. As always, you can contact the Hempstead County Extension Office at 870-777-5771 for financial related information.
Recipe of the Week
This recipe is a great snack for satisfying hunger if you are stuck at home. It uses ingredients most of us have on hand.
Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip
1 cup vanilla yogurt
¾ cup peanut butter
2 Tablespoons honey
Slices of favorite vegetables and/or fruit (celery, carrots, broccoli, apples)
Mix yogurt, peanut butter and honey together. Serve with fresh vegetables and fruits or spread on toast or bagels. Refrigerate any leftovers. Yield: 1 ¾ cup dip