On the heels of a very rough month for our country, scammers are now coming out of the woodwork in an attempt to defraud individuals and vulnerable senior citizens who are isolated and perhaps unclear about current policies related to coronavirus stimulus payouts or testing.
We wanted to warn our clients and readers about some of the most common scams we are hearing about so that you can talk to your older loved ones and protect your own bank account. Here are five scams to be aware of:
- You do NOT need to provide information to a third-party to receive stimulus money. If you are eligible for funds from the government, the money will be sent to you automatically without having to take any action on your part. Please do not give your Social Security number or banking information to anyone claiming to oversee coronavirus-related funds.
- Do NOT open the door for anyone asking to conduct “random coronavirus testing” … even if they are showing up in protective gear or a lab coat. As of now, health officials are NOT going door to door to randomly test local residents for the disease.
- Be careful when clicking on ANY links related to coronavirus payments that may be sent to you via email or on social media sites. It’s possible that by clicking on an infected link, your computer could be hacked and your personal information stolen.
- Beware of phony charities. Many people are hurting financially, and unfortunately, fraudulent crowd-funding campaigns (like GoFundMe) and fake charities are popping up to prey on people’s sympathies. Before you donate to what appears to be a good cause, please do your homework. You may be better off giving funds directly to a local family or company that you are personally familiar with.
- Be careful when purchasing “high-demand items” online. Scammers are offering essential items for sale online, such as N95 face masks, protective gear, gloves… even bulk toilet paper, that really do not exist. Thousands of dollars have been stolen from local consumers in the process. Before you fork over a credit card number to an online merchant, make sure you are buying from a credible seller with a good reputation.
Please don’t forget that we are here for you and your family during this difficult time. If you need help with your will, trust, or estate planning needs or you just have questions you’d like answered, please contact our Baton Rouge estate and elder law attorneys at (225) 744-0027 to let us know how we can be of service.