COVID-19 FRAUD and scams are on the rise so don’t forget to protect your financial health

Be on the lookout for COVID-19 fraud

As you protect yourself and those around you from COVID-19, be aware that scams and fraud are on the rise. Be alert. Bank of the West will never email or call you asking for your One-Time Passcode (OTP), your username or password. Never share any of these details with anyone contacting you.

Be Vigilant! Protect your Data.

The Treasury Department offers secure sites and reminders for best practices for secure cyber hygiene. Stay secure; review your accounts, protect yourself from scams.

The Department of Justice has received reports that fraudsters are creating fraudulent COVID-19 vaccine surveys for consumers to fill out with the promise of a prize or cash at the conclusion of the survey. In reality, the surveys are used to steal money from consumers and unlawfully capture consumers’ personal information.

FTC – Unemployment Benefits Claims
Most people learn they’re affected when they get a notice from their state unemployment benefits office, their employer about their supposed application for benefits, or when filing taxes.

IRS - Identity Theft and Unemployment Benefits
Because unemployment benefits are taxable income, states issue Form 1099-G, Certain Government Payments, to recipients and to the IRS to report the amount of taxable compensation received and any withholding. Box 1 on the form shows "Unemployment Compensation." You should report fraud to the issuing state agency and request a corrected Form 1099-G.

Did you get a bill for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan, but you didn’t apply for one? It’s possible that an identity thief applied for the loan using your personal or business information. The SBA has new guidance about reporting the fraud, and the FTC has tips to help you clear up any credit problems it may cause.

The federal government is sending cash to millions of Americans. And fraudsters know it. Be aware that whatever your individual payment, only scammers will ask you to pay to get it. No one legitimately involved in this cash payment program will charge a fee or ask for private information like your Social Security Number, credit card or bank account number. Anyone who does is a scammer. Visit the FTC site for more information.

The following sites can be utilized to verify if the checks are valid, in the event a fraudulent check is suspected.

Raising awareness around online safety. With the current pandemic and families spending more time online, it's a great time to talk about being safe and responsible online. Avoid becoming a target while still making magical family memories with these few tips: Lockdown your login, don't share your location, think before you download or click and more importantly, use hard to guess passwords and enhanced security features.

There is a lot of information available about the coronavirus, some of its accurate and some of its not. Keep your guard up. Here are government sources to help you stay informed:

Fraud information


More FTC warnings regarding Coronavirus scams

The FTC continues to seek out and warn sellers who peddle so-called Coronavirus treatments with no proof they work. Want more information about what the FTC is doing to protect consumers during the pandemic, and the latest scams we're seeing? Visit FTC Coronavirus and sign up for their consumer alerts. See a product claiming to treat, cure or prevent Coronavirus? Report it to the FTC.

FBI and Secret Service working against COVID-19 threats

As we grapple with the immediate public health and economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, a related crisis has simultaneously emerged: a wave of criminals seeking to prey upon an anxious public.

The $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act will provide even more criminal opportunities. Fraudsters around the world are already developing methods to steal the critical financial support intended for communities, companies, and individuals.

Here are reminders to protect yourself:

  • Avoid opening email attachments or clicking on links from senders you do not recognize
  • Never provide account or personal information – No one legitimately involved in this cash payment program will charge a fee or ask for private information such as your Social Security Number, credit card or bank account number
  • Always confirm that any information or funds you send are going to a legitimate recipient

Contact us to report: Fraud or suspicious activity 1-800-488-2265 TTY 1-800-659-5495.

Work remote, work secure

While working from home can help slow the spread of the virus, it brings new challenges, including security. Take a few steps as you set up your home office to protect your devices and personal information. Visit the FTC site for tips on protecting your devices and personal information.

Contact us to report

Fraud or suspicious activity
TTY 1-800-659-5495

Lost or stolen credit cards

Suspicious Bank of the West emails