New Normal, New Risks, Same Criminals
New Normal, New Risks, Same Criminals This has been a historic and extraordinary month. First and foremost, thank you. Thank you for helping your community. Thank you for being a trusted and valued partner to your account holders. Thank you for protecting your family and doing your part to help flatten the curve. We are here to help in any way we can; whether assisting your account holders with identity theft or mobile protection issues or providing materials and support for your institution.
This month's issue of NXG Now! focuses on the rash of scams related to the COVID-19 Stimulus plan - the CARES Act. This unprecedented assistance from the federal government has been a blessing to many families and businesses. While we are "all in this together", there are also nefarious individuals who are using this uncertain time to continue their criminal endeavors. The article on the next page provides insight on various methods criminals are using to leverage our fear during the COVID-19 crisis. Your account holders need to be aware of these types of scams and how to best protect themselves and their families from this activity. At NXG we are working remotely, and we are using technology and our experienced staff to keep our services available to your account holders. If you need any materials or support, we are here for you. Stay strong and we'll all get through this together.
We’re (mostly) all in this together.
Take a moment and think about what you’ve been through over the last few weeks. Chances are, you have made your contribution to the health and safety of your community by isolating yourself and your family. You have learned new ways to move through each day, and for some this has drastically altered your professional and economic situation. Through all of this, it’s been helpful to remember that we are all in this together.
And then there are those that seek to take advantage. Cybercriminals and identity thieves may be sheltering in place, but they are still working to steal from the most vulnerable. In fact, as our state and federal government work to repair the economic damage, these crafty individuals were able to leverage all of this uncertainty. Now is the time to understand where these scams appear and how you can be prepared to fight back.
Front-Door Scams - With almost everyone at home, scammers have taken up some old- school tactics, including going door-to-door. Add in the fact that many neighborhoods were expecting a flood of government employees working on the 2020 Census and you have a recipe for fraud. It’s important to note, the US Census Bureau has postponed much of this activity. But criminals are also impersonating health care organizations, such as the CDC and World Health Organization, as well as charitable organizations. If anyone comes to your door claiming to be a government employee, a representative of your local health care organization or other “official” or not, always ask for a valid ID badge. This advice extends beyond government employees to anyone showing up at your door asking for personal information or seeking cash donations. Check it out by looking up the publicly published phone number of the company or agency before you act.
Mailbox Scams – Within days of the federal government announcing that they were developing a stimulus package for individuals and businesses, letters pretending to be “official communications” began showing up in mailboxes. How could the federal government work so quickly to disperse these funds? They didn’t. Sadly, scammers began sending phony "checks" to convince consumers to open postal mail where there were promises of speeding money from the government or offers to buy other products. The FTC issued a warning about these scams within days of their arrival in mailboxes. Be mindful of the communications you receive in the mail, especially if it is asking you to give up personal information or take other steps. For most Americans stimulus checks will be direct-deposited to your account directly from the United States Treasury or a check will be mailed to you and you will not need an intermediary to help you access your funds.
Online and Email Scams – Every day, Google blocks more than 100 million COVID-related phishing emails, and that is just a fraction of the phishing emails that make it through, making your email inbox a target. Phishing is the practice of impersonating a trusted organization and sending out emails hoping someone will “take the bait” and open an attachment or respond with personal information. Facebook phishing is also on the rise as more people turn to Facebook and other social media platforms to keep in touch with friends and family. With all the activity related to COVID-19 and the Stimulus, consumers can be easily confused by official-looking communications. Never give away your personal information via email or in social media. A legitimate organization will never ask you for this information through these channels.
Phone Scams – Dialing for dollars is back in fashion. Scammers have started calling with phony information on how to get your stimulus money. As the IRS points out; the government will not call you with this type of request. While much of this information might be obvious to you, it’s important to follow up with members of your family who might not be as informed or capable. Your offers protection for up to three generations (3G Coverage) of your family. If they are compromised, we can help restore them to their pre-breach status.
In a time of great uncertainty, we must remain vigilant in the face of ever-present threats. Having a partner who can help you get your life back in the event of identity theft can help ease some of the uncertainty. Take a moment to review your financial transactions and keep watch for scams that would compromise your identity. As always, if you suspect that your identity has been compromised, we are here to help.
Social Media Content
Here are several social media posts that can help your account holders avoid stimulus related scams.
Post #1 - Knock knock! Who’s there? Scammers! They know we’re all at home, so they are out and about, looking for opportunity. Learn more here. #census #Coronascams #stimulusscams #yourprotectionpartner
Post #2 - Within days of the stimulus package hitting the news, fraudulent checks started hitting mailboxes. Don’t fall for mailbox scams. Get up to date info here. #ftc #Coronascams #stimulusscams #yourprotectionpartner
Post #3 - Things are definitely changing, but the target of online scams has not. Check out the latest info from the IRS to stay protected. #irs. #Coronascams #stimulusscams #yourprotectionpartner Post #4 -The phone is ringing, scammers are calling to ask for personal information, trying to take advantage of your uncertainty. Check it out before you give it out. #Coronascams #stimulusscams #yourprotectionpartner
As the COVID-19 crisis reaches its peak and more people are online, the incidence of identity theft is skyrocketing. The result is a compounding of the financial crisis. You are in a unique position to help because you have already made available to a select group of your account holders Fully Managed Identity Theft Recovery Services through your NXG program. However, for those of you who may not be covering ALL of your account holders, we can help.
NXG has developed a month-to-month “CovidCare” program that provides access to our professional Identity Recovery Advocates that can cover those account holders that may not otherwise be qualified in your standard program. This short term program is available at a small fraction of our normal cost through the end of 2020 to make it affordable for all of our clients. Ask your NXG Client Manager how you can get started closing the coverage gap for your account holders.
We are always adding new program benefits and features to keep up with changing technologies and criminal tactics. Not sure which program you have? Call your NXG Client Manager for an account review to make sure you are maximizing the value to your institution and your account holders. You can hear about new and exciting options that are available, including IRS Tax Fraud Refund Advance (available now in our Premium packages) plus High Risk Transactions Monitoring, Social Media Monitoring and IP Address Monitoring.
Things have changed pretty dramatically in the last few months, and we continue to provide valuable services for you and your account holders. nxg|PROTECT Biz provides state-of-the-art telehealth services for your small business customers and their employees. This package also includes mobile phone insurance to protect the business owner’s lifeline - their smartphone. We also help you protect small businesses in the event of an internal data breach due to criminal intrusion or a mishandling of data, as well as provide comprehensive legal services for the small business owner. Ask your NXG Client Manager for more information.