A lot of you may be working from home now, or at least spending more time on your computer now that you can’t go anywhere, so I wanted to make sure you are watching for scams now more than ever. With so many people suddenly working from home, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a warning about staying safe online.
Start by making sure the security software is up to date on your computer. Make sure to use strong passwords for all of your accounts and logins that you have on different websites. If you brought sensitive paperwork home from work, make sure to store it in a secure place, like a locked room. Also if you need to get rid of any important documents, make sure to shred them, don’t just throw them away in the trash. The FTC also urges consumers to follow your employer’s security practices, since your home has now become an extension of your office.
The government is poised to send checks to Americans because of the coronavirus, but the scammers are already on their heels. We are already hearing of reports of crooks calling people and saying they can claim their check early if they pay an extra fee. The FTC is warning that the government will not ask you to pay anything up front to get this money. If someone asks you to pay fees or charges, it’s a scam. The government will also not call to ask you for your Social Security number, bank account or credit card.
It’s really important that you have your guard up right now and watch for fake deals and scams. The Colorado attorney general tells me they are seeing a number of fake products being sold online claiming to cure or prevent coronavirus. There is no miracle cure, so if you see a product being advertised as such, it’s a scam.
We are also hearing of scam emails, phone calls, text messages and more. Some emails claim to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). In some cases, the bad guys want you to click a fraudulent link and enter your personal or financial information. Don’t click any links and be wary of any messages you get right now. If you’d like to report a scam, fraud, or price gouging, you can call the Attorney General’s fraud hotline at 800-222-4444.
In case you missed it, the deadline to file your taxes has been extended for three months because of the coronavirus pandemic. Tax Day has shifted from April 15 to July 15. If you need more information visit the website www.IRS.gov.