Scams by phone or email have been around for years. With COVID-19 dominating 2020, scammers have become more creative and relentless. Between online shopping and year-end fundraising, the season will almost certainly include attempts by scammers to get your money.
Scams Going Around Now
Some of these scams have been around in some form for years, but now have new twists. Others have been adapted or invented to exploit the pandemic. Here are some tips regarding what to know and how to avoid being taken:
Automated phone alerts
Beware the recorded voice telling you not to hang up. That’s your cue to do just that, hang up. If it’s not a scam extended warranty, it may be fear-mongering that your business's Google Ad campaign has run out of funds and you’ll need to recharge them to not lose your listing, or an IRS imposter. Neither Google nor the IRS ever calls users. Period. Hang up.
During COVID-19, you’re online filling out job apps, loan and financial forms and making purchases online. It’s more important than ever to use security software, double check the authenticity of emails and payment sites and to avoid giving out card information. Try to use payment services instead, and check your card statements frequently to catch and report purchases you never made.
Not just PayPal, but due to some isolation-related online money transfers, now other payment services are being impersonated, asking that you click their link to check on your account. Never go to those services through a link supplied via their email. Always go directly to those accounts. Logging into your account through a provided link gives them your account info.
"At Myrick CPA, we encourage those who can do so, to give generously this season to help those who have lost much during a very difficult year. And with that in mind, please know the charities to which you give." - Charles Myrick
Since the pandemic started last March, emails are sent asking for financial help citing COVID-19 statistics and how they relate to new charities. Make sure the charity has an established social media presence that is more than a few months old, uses proper English and posts original content. Check them out with reviews and the Better Business Bureau for good measure.
Since many small businesses missed out on the PPP loans, a rash of scam loan companies charging astronomical interest rates have preyed on desperate owners. Sometimes they promise to convert their loan with them to a PPP after a future congressional act reissues them. This cannot be done. Also, when a PPP is reinstated down the line, avoid 3rd party offers to file for you. You can do it easily online yourself. Having a CPA can help, but avoid 3rd party-loan bloodsuckers.
Be smart and be well,
Charles Myrick and team
Does an offer look too good to be true? Are you being harassed regarding an unknown payment account or government entity and can’t be sure what’s real? You can always ask Myrick CPA for guidance concerning a possible scam email or phone interaction. Get in touch with us today.