How can you avoid coronavirus loan scams?
Coronavirus loan fraudulent emails are reaching inboxes across the country. You may see posts promising instant cash relief with businesses …
Coronavirus loan fraudulent emails are reaching inboxes across the country. You may see messages promising instant cash relief with business or personal loans, but some of these enticing attractions are scams.
Loan scams are one of the ways in which cybercriminals persuade modest consumers to share their personal data.
“There is an increase in phishing scams and loan scams, including cybercriminals acting as if they are a bank, the Social Security Administration or CDC,” says Henry Bagdasarian, founder and director of identity of the Identity Management Institute, a cybersecurity training and certification group. .
Consumers and businesses must be vigilant of loan scams and remain vigilant during the coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s what you need to know to spot and avoid COVID-19 loan scams.
[Read: Best Small Business Loans.]
What coronavirus loan scams are happening right now?
– Text from fake FCC financial care center offering $ 30,000 in COVID-19 relief
– Automated calls presenting student loan repayment plans
– Small businesses receive calls and emails regarding COVID-19 emergency financing and loans that are not official communications from the Small Business Administration
[Read: Best Debt Consolidation Loans.]
Why are we vulnerable to coronavirus loan scams?
By using loan offers as bait, criminals are capitalizing on consumer fear and financial distress during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Fear is growing,” acknowledges Allen Spence, director of product management for identity monitoring service IDShield.
Not to mention the long wait times when people call banks or lenders, people use online tools instead, Spence adds. “It forces us to interact more electronically,” he says.
Additionally, stay-at-home orders and changing remote work requirements may make people less cautious than usual. Said Bagdasarian: “People are concerned. ”
Distracted by news, Zoom calls, and concerns about health or home schooling, someone might be more likely to open a damaging email attachment, click on a fake link, or visit a fraudulent website.
“There are a growing number of bogus websites trying to collect information, especially for the SBA loan,” Bagdasarian said, referring to the SBA’s Coronavirus Rescue Loan Program who has no more money.
[Read: Best Personal Loans.]
How can you avoid coronavirus loan scams?
Avoiding scams means checking your instincts. If a loan deal is so appealing that it looks like it’s free money, there’s a catch – and you could be paying a hefty price for taking the bait.
“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” said Spence.
Additionally, the FBI is warning the public against bad actors selling fake COVID-19 test kits and unapproved treatments to access personal data. Ignore these requests.
Here are some more tips to help you identify loan scams and prevent cyber thieves from hijacking your sensitive information.
Beware of loan promotions
If you receive an email from a financial institution offering a special loan, confirm that the offer is from the bank. And never click on a link embedded in an email offer – it will take you to another place on the web, where you can download malware or send personal information.
“Now, lenders are sensitive to the fact that they do not promote financial instruments outside of products linked to the stimulus“Spence says.
Do not provide personal information in response to a promotional email, phone call, or text message. Chances are it’s not from your bank.
“You might think you’re asking for a loan consolidation tool when it’s actually a hacker,” says Spence.
If an offer from your bank arrives in your inbox that piques your interest, visit the bank’s website rather than clicking a link. As an additional measure, contact the bank directly to inquire about the offer.
Ask to call back
Automated calls are commonplace. Fraudsters use this tool to cast a wide net to entice those who answer calls or return voicemails to give out personal information to qualify for COVID-19 relief loans.
Some criminals have already hacked pieces of your personal information and are calling you directly in order to fill in the gaps. Spence describes a call his wife received – allegedly from the bank where the couple do business.
“What’s strange is that the person on the other line never mentioned his name and secondly he knew his bank account information,” he says. “He was very savvy and said, ‘I’m about to send you a link. Click on it and I will send you a code so we can stop a fraudulent transaction. ‘”
The scammer had his wife’s email address and had changed his banking settings and account credentials. But wisely, she called the bank directly to report the suspicious investigation.
The lesson: Never give out personal information to a caller who asks for it. “If you get a call, say, ‘Can I hang up and call you back? “, Says Spence.
Then check your bank’s phone number to see if the loan offer is legitimate.
Go to Source
Criminals seeking to steal personal information can position themselves as representatives of the SBA, offering loan status updates if you provide your Social Security number – or asking you to verify your bank routing and numbers. account for a deposit.
Keep in mind: “Not just any lender process SBA loans, Bagdasarian said. Lenders who do this are listed on the SBA website.
“There are crooks who pretend to be banks and say, ‘We have a great loan offer from the SBA, but you have to take advantage of it now and you qualify,” said Bagdasarian. “Then they ask you to fill in your personal information so that they can ‘process your request as soon as possible’. ”
If you get an email or phone call like this, stop. Call your trusted lender and verify the request.
Understand the typical lender process
Find out about the loan you will be applying for before sharing your personal information. “Find out the process to get the loan,” Bagdasarian says.
– Should a call from a customer service representative be expected?
– Will the lender ask you to create a username and password before applying online?
– What information will the lender collect from you to process the loan?
“If you know about these mechanisms and you receive a request through another mechanism, then you can identify that this is not the way the loan is offered in order to avoid falling victim to scams,” Bagdasarian explains.
Monitor your credit
Whether or not you’ve received COVID-related loan calls, emails, or texts, keep an eye on your credit to make sure your personal information is intact.
You should regularly monitor your credit report under normal circumstances, but it is even more important when the risk of scams increases.
Consider freeze your credit to limit access to your credit report and prevent new unauthorized accounts.
Change usernames and passwords
Change your bank ID and password if you have recently been the victim of a fraudulent attempt to obtain your personal information for a loan application. You’ll also want to do this if you accidentally click a link to a bogus website for a bank or the SBA.
“And, if you’re using the same login credentials for all of your online accounts, change them,” advises Spence.
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