Text Alerts from Freedom Bank Using 37268

A Freedom Bank debit card isn’t just a piece of plastic. It’s something that’s relied upon every day for groceries, gas, gifts, and so much more. Unfortunately, fraudsters are well aware that debit cards can allow them direct access to your bank account. To protect you from this, Freedom Bank utilizes state of the art fraud monitoring with a proactive, hands-on approach that keeps an eye on suspicious transactions. We know that sometimes this can be a frustrating and an inconvenient process for our customers and we are constantly trying to improve.

In response to the need for a more convenient form of fraud monitoring and notifying, we are introducing text alerts at the end of October. Text alerts are a brand-new debit card service feature that will increase card account security while decreasing instances of customers not being able to complete legitimate transactions.

How Debit Card Text Notifications Work

  • You will receive a message within 15 seconds if a questionable transaction is being performed. Messages will always be from the short code 37268:

FreeMSG Freedom Bank MT Fraud Center 888-XXX-XXXX $125.46 on card 1234 at Merchant ABC. If valid reply YES, fraud NO. To Opt Out, STOP.

  • If you reply ‘YES’, then you’ll receive this text message:

FreeMSG Freedom Bank MT Fraud Center 888-XXX-XXXX Thank you for confirming this activity. You may continue to use your card. To Opt Out reply STOP.

You will be able complete your transaction by running your debit card one more time after receiving this message from Freedom Bank.

  • If you did not participate in the transaction reply ‘NO’, you will receive this text message:

FreeMSG Freedom Bank MT Fraud Center 888-XXX-XXXX Your response has placed a block on the card. Call us immediately at 888-XXX-XXXX, avail 24/7. To Opt Out reply STOP.

Your card will be restricted until you either contact the fraud number provided in the message, or Freedom Bank at (406) 892-1776:

How to Gain Access to This New Feature

This feature is free to all card holders with a cell phone. To ensure you can take advantage of this new debit card feature please make sure all contact information is up to date with Freedom Bank. You can do this either by calling (406) 892-1776 or by stopping by the bank at 530 9th St. West Columbia Falls, MT. If you decide you do not want to receive further text messages, just text STOP to Opt Out.

How to Identify Fake Messages

Fake messages from scammers will look very similar to those sent by any financial institution. These messages are designed to scare or confuse you and create a sense of urgency usually the text message will reference high dollar amounts. These scammers want you to believe they are from Freedom Bank and will most likely have researched you beforehand. They may look like:

Free Msg- (Insert financial institution name here) Bank Fraud Alert- Did You Attempt an Instant Payment in the amount of                                                                                                          $5,000.00? REPLY YES or NO or 1 To STOP ALERTS

If you reply ‘NO’ they will send a second message saying you will be contacted shortly.

When the scammer calls, they may:

  • Provide you with your personal information such as addresses, social security number, and last four digits of bank accounts to verify their legitimacy.
  • Request account information.
  • Have you change personal information in your online or mobile banking like, phone numbers or email.
  • They will pretend to walk you through ‘reversing’ or ‘canceling’ the transaction by moving money between accounts.

Freedom Banks recommendations for protecting yourself from text scams:

  • Verify the short code that the text message came from. Freedom Bank will only use code 37268. In fact, you can add this to your list of contacts to help you identify valid text messages.
  • Freedom Bank’s messages only come after a questionable transaction has been denied. This alert is sent out after any questionable transaction, including small dollar amounts.
  • A customer service representative will not call you when you reply ‘No”. A fake text message scammer will contact you acting as a customer service representative and will try to talk you through how to ‘reverse’ or ‘cancel’ a transaction. Please be assured if you receive a text message from Freedom Bank, no money has left your account and there is nothing to reverse or cancel.
  • Be wary of any unsolicited contact. If you ever feel unsure or uncomfortable with someone on the phone, hang up and call the bank directly. A scammer will try to convince you not to do this. Remember, if you receive a text message from Freedom Bank, no money has left your account.
  • Do not move funds between accounts in an attempt to prevent fraud, no legitimate financial institution will ever ask you to do this.
  • Don’t trust any customer service representative or anyone who provides you with your personal information to verify their legitimacy.
  • To further control your debit card, download the new FreedomBankMT mobile app. Using this app will also enable you to view real time account balances, deposit checks, transfer money between Freedom Banks accounts and even pay bills. Visit the new-mobile-app page form more information.

Heritage Days 2022

The community celebration began in 1956 to mark the prosperity brought about by industrial expansion, which included the railroad, lumber business, and the Anaconda Aluminum Company.

Freedom Bank is honored to be a part of Columbia Falls’ growth over the past 17 years. Just like many of our customers, Freedom Bank is a small local business. To participate in this community and to be able to support and watch it grow has been inspiring.

Freedom Bank is a main sponsor of the Open Rodeo at the Blue Moon Arena, a team and prize sponsor for the 3 on 3 basketball tournament, and a sponsor of the Columbia Falls Community Market at the Coop.

Heritage Days is an adventure and celebration for the whole family. Take a look at the complete schedule below or visit the official website here: http://cfallsheritagedays.com/index.html

Wednesday – July 27, 2022

  • 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. – 13th Annual Car Show at Marantette Park.

Thursday – July 28, 2022

  • 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. – Columbia Falls Community Market at the Coop
  • FREE Open Swimming at Pinewood Park Pool.
    • 6:30 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. Adults and kids to 12 years old
    • 8:15 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Adults and kids 13+ years old

Friday – July 29, 2022

  • 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Wildcat/kat Athletic Endowment
  • 5:30 p.m. – Wildcat/kat Athletic Endowment Auction and BBQ
    Marantette Park in Columbia Falls.

    •  5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. BBQ and Social Hour. $5.00 per plate
    • 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Raffles
    • 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Live Auction
    • 8:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Beer Garden
  • 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. – Lion’s Club Concert at Marantette Park.
  • 7:00 p.m. – Open Rodeo at the Blue Moon Arena northeast corner of Hwy. 2 and 40, just behind the Blue Moon Bar & Grille

Saturday – July 30, 2022

  • 7:00 a.m. – Firemen’s Breakfast at Don Anderson Fire Hall, 624 1st Ave. West.
  • 8:00 a.m. – Boogie-to-the-Bank 5k & 10k Run. North Fork to Discovery Square . Contact Ashley Campbell at 406-751-4758 for more information.
  • 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. – Arts, Crafts, Food Vendors and activities for the kids at Marantette Park.
  • 10:00 a.m. – Class Reunions meet to participate in parade. (See your Class contact person for more info.)
  • 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. – North Valley Senior Center Fund Raiser Luncheon.
    (salads, sandwiches, pies and beverages)
  • 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. enjoy the North Valley High Steppers line dancing demonstration
    For more information call the Center at 406-892-4087. The Center is located at 205 Nucleus Avenue.
  • 12:00 p.m. – Main Parade on Nucleus Avenue (Railroad Street to 7th Street West). Parade participants will stage along Railroad Street at the north end of Nucleus Ave. at 11:00 a.m.
  • 7:00 p.m. – Open Rodeo at the Blue Moon Arena northeast corner of Hwy. 2 and 40, just behind the Blue Moon Grille

Sunday – July 31, 2022

  • 7:00 a.m. – 20th Annual WAEA Wildcat/kat Athletic Endowment Golf Scramble  – Meadow Lake Golf Course – Columbia Falls, Mont.
    Pre-registration and payment is highly encouraged due to limited teams.

    • Format: 4 person scramble – all skill levels invited
    • Start: 8:00 a.m. Shotgun Start
    • Rules: USGA rules govern play
    • Tees: Men play the WHITE tees, Women play the RED tees
    • Field: Number of teams are limited to 36 with a max. of 4 players per team
    • Handicaps: Callaway System
    • Cost: $100.00 per player for 18 holes of golf, lunch and hole prizes. Register by July 20, 2022 with the Meadow Lake Pro Shop (406)892-2111
  • 9:00 a.m. –  12:00 p.m. Saturday Market Columbia Falls  – in front of City Hall on 6th Street West – Columbia Falls, Mont.                                                          The music will be playing, yummy food, handcrafted vendors, come and enjoy this ‘old timey’ farmers market.

New Mobile App Now Includes Card Control

Card Management Is Now Included With The Freedom Bank MT Mobile App

The next generation digital solution integrates directly with the FreedomBankMT Mobile application to deliver connected digital-first payment experiences. The additional card management functions create convenience and transparency.

This new, improved app will give you enhanced control over your debit card. These features include but are not limited to:

  • Understand spending clearly with quick, accessible insights.
    • Transactions will be more transparent with clear merchant names, logos, interactive maps to find merchant locations, and contact information.
  • Manage card on-the-go with advanced control.
    • View Subscriptions, Recurring Payments, and Card-on-file information.
    • Add Travel Plans when you need them, now including out of country.
    • Engage in real time notifications with transaction alerts
    • Turn your card off if you misplace it. Please note, if you have lost your card contact Freedom Bank as soon as possible at (406)892-1776.

 

            

 

Get it on Google Play  Download on the App Store

How To Access The New Card Features

  • Simply tap the ‘Cards’ icon within the Freedom Bank MT mobile app to register your debit card and see all the new features, enable alerts or manage your existing card controls. Take advantage of the convenient safety controls at your fingertips.
  • If the update happened and you did not have push notifications enabled, visit your app store and select the Freedom Bank MT mobile app. You will be given the option to update.

If you previously downloaded the Freedom Bank MT Card Control app, please remove it from your device. All Card Control options are now within the Freedom Bank MT Mobile app.

Cybercrime Awareness Session for Small Businesses

Businesses in the Flathead Valley are seeing increasing attempts of bank fraud, phishing attacks, and ransomware. We see it at the bank, and we hear about it from our friends and neighbors. Freedom Bank is hosting a Cybercrime Awareness Session to help small businesses learn the common tactics scammers and hackers are using, as well as actionable advice to protect their business and their bank accounts.

Cybercrime Awareness Session for Small Businesses
Tuesday, July 26th
5:30-7:30 PM
Freedom Bank Community Room

Overview: This session will help small businesses understand the risks in today’s banking environment and assess their business’s exposure to risk due to transaction activity and use of technology. Businesses will get practical advice to make improvements in their protection against cybersecurity risks such as email account takeover and phishing.

Agenda:

  • 5:30-6:00 – Beer/Wine and Appetizers available
  • 6:00-6:15 – Bank Fraud Risks for Small Businesses
  • 6:15-7:00 – Steps to Improve Your Business’s Cybercrime Resilience
  • 7:00-7:30 – Q&A, Discussion

 

 

Cosponsored by

Safely Use Mobile Payment Apps

Avoid Sending Money to a Scammer

  • Don’t click on links in an unexpected email, text message, or direct message that asks you to send money. Don’t give any personal or sensitive information like your username, PIN, or password.
  • Confirm that you know the person you’re sending money to.
  • When sending to someone you know, double-check their information before you hit send.

Protect Your Accounts

  • Use multi-factor authentication. This means you need two or more credentials to get into your account: your password plus something else like an authentication code or fingerprint.
  • Never share your credentials, like a verification code you get via text or authentication app.
  • Set up alerts in the payment app to get transaction notifications outside of the app environment, such as via email or text.
  • Regularly check your payment app and bank accounts to make sure no unauthorized payments have been sent from or accepted by your account.

Paid a Scammer Through a Payment App?

  • Report it to the payment app or service and ask to reverse the transfer.
  • Tell your financial institutions.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Learn more at https://consumer.ftc.gov/articles/mobile-payment-apps-how-avoid-scam-when-you-use-one

Infographic about How to Safely Use Mobile Payment Apps and Services

Heightened Cyber Security Awareness

This current environment requires us all to be focused on resilience. Just as you fasten your seat belt before driving, take precautions before using the Internet to be sure you are safe and secure.

Image of bald eagle with words "Stay Vigilant. Heightened Cyber Security Awareness."

The National Cyber Security Alliance has some tips to help you stay protected online:

PERSONAL INFORMATION IS LIKE MONEY. VALUE IT. PROTECT IT.

Lock your devices, like your tablet and phone: You lock the front door to your house, and you should do the same with your devices. Use biometric authentication, such as facial recognition or your fingerprint, to lock your tablet and phone. Securing your devices keeps prying eyes out and can help protect your information in case your device is lost or stolen.

Think before you act: Ignore emails or communications that create a sense of urgency and require you to respond to a crisis, such as a problem with your bank account or taxes. This type of message is likely a scam.

When in doubt, throw it out: Clicking on links in emails is often how bad guys get access to personal information. If an email looks weird, even if you know the person who sent it, it’s best to delete.

Make passwords strong: A strong password is a sentence that is at least 12 characters long. Focus on positive sentences or phrases that you like to think about and are easy to remember (for example, “I love country music.”). On many sites, you can even use spaces!

Write it down and keep it safe: Everyone can forget a password. Keep a list that’s stored in a safe, secure place away from your computer.

SHARE WITH CARE

What you post will last forever: Be aware that when you post a picture or message online, you may also be inadvertently sharing personal details with strangers about yourself and family members – like where you live.

Post only about others as you would like to have them post about you: The golden rule applies online as well.

Own your online presence: It’s OK to limit who can see your information and what you share. Learn about and use privacy and security settings on your favorite websites.

You can learn more at stopthinkconnect.org.

Fight IRS Reporting Mandates

To Freedom Bank Customers and Members of Our Community,

We care about you, your finances, and your privacy, so we want to let you know about a concerning proposal taking shape in Washington. If passed, the proposal would require financial institutions to report the inflows and outflows on personal and business accounts to the IRS.

Specifically, the proposed fiscal 2022 budget would require banks and other financial institutions to report to the IRS on the deposits and withdrawals of all business and personal accounts with a balance of more than $600.

Source: Pages 88-89 of the FY2022 Revenue Proposal: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/131/General-Explanations-FY2022.pdf

The proposal would:

  • Constitute a broad, unwarranted infringement on the privacy of all bank customers.
  • Be intrusive and indiscriminate.
  • Undermine the goal of reducing the unbanked.
  • Increase taxpayer complexity and confusion.
  • Overwhelm the IRS with personal financial data and increase risk of data breach.

All Americans have a fundamental right to financial privacy. IRS data collection should be tied directly to tax liability and should be no broader than absolutely necessary. The Administration’s proposal would equate to a fishing expedition unsupported by reasonable suspicion of tax evasion. This proposed new expansive reporting approach to tax collection is unprecedented and warrants serious Congressional scrutiny.

Freedom Bank will not stand for this, but we need your help to ensure policymakers hear us loud and clear. If you want to make your voice heard by policymakers or learn more about this proposal, visit banklocally.org/privacy.

You can also use the official contact forms to directly email our Members of Congress. Sample text for a message is included in this document: https://www.freedombankmt.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Contact-Members-of-Congress.docx

Please let us know if you have any questions. We look forward to continuing to serve you and our community.

2021 Heritage Days: The Way We Were

The community celebration began in 1956 to mark the prosperity brought about by industrial expansion, which included the railroad, lumber business, and the Anaconda Aluminum Company.

Freedom Bank is honored to be a part of Columbia Falls’ growth over the past 16 years. Just like many of our customers, Freedom Bank is a small local business. To participate in this community and to be able to support and watch it grow has been inspiring.

Look for Freedom Bank in the parade down Nucleus Avenue on Saturday, July 24th at 12:00 pm. After the parade, roughly at 1:30 pm, Freedom Bank sponsors a Wild Horse Drive down Highway 2 from Columbia Heights to the Blue Moon. We are also a main sponsor of the Open Rodeo at the Blue Moon Arena, a team and prize sponsor for the 3 on 3 basketball tournament, and a sponsor of the Columbia Falls Community Market at the Coop.

Heritage Days is an adventure and celebration for the whole family. Take a look at the complete schedule below or visit the official website here: http://cfallsheritagedays.com/index.html

Wednesday – July 21, 2021

  • 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. – 12th Annual Car Show at Marantette Park.

Thursday – July 22, 2021

  • 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. – Columbia Falls Community Market at the Coop
  • FREE Open Swimming at Pinewood Park Pool.
    • 6:30 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. Adults and kids to 12 years old
    • 8:15 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Adults and kids 13+ years old

Friday – July 23, 2021

  • 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Wildcat/kat Athletic Endowment
  • 5:30 p.m. – Wildcat/kat Athletic Endowment Auction and BBQ
    Marantette Park in Columbia Falls.

    •  5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. BBQ and Social Hour. $5.00 per plate
    • 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Raffles
    • 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Live Auction
    • 8:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Beer Garden
  • 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. – Lion’s Club Concert at Marantette Park.
  • 7:00 p.m. – Open Rodeo at the Blue Moon Arena northeast corner of Hwy. 2 and 40, just behind the Blue Moon Bar & Grille

Saturday – July 24, 2021

  • 7:00 a.m. – Firemen’s Breakfast at Don Anderson Fire Hall, 624 1st Ave. West.
  • 8:00 a.m. – Boogie-to-the-Bank 5k & 10k Run. North Fork to Discovery Square . Contact Ashley Campbell at 406-751-4758 for more information.
  • 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. – Arts, Crafts, Food Vendors and activities for the kids at Marantette Park.
  • 10:00 a.m. – Class Reunions meet to participate in parade. (See your Class contact person for more info.)
  • 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. – North Valley Senior Center Fund Raiser Luncheon.
    (salads, sandwiches, pies and beverages)
  • 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. enjoy the North Valley High Steppers line dancing demonstration
    For more information call the Center at 406-892-4087. The Center is located at 205 Nucleus Avenue.
  • 12:00 p.m. – Main Parade on Nucleus Avenue (Railroad Street to 7th Street West). Parade participants will stage along Railroad Street at the north end of Nucleus Ave. at 11:00 a.m.
  • 1:30 p.m. – Freedom Bank’s Wild Horse Drive on Hwy. 2 from Columbia Heights to the Blue Moon.
  • 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. – CFHS Class of 1981 40th Reunion – at Eagles 4081 Columbia Falls
  • 7:00 p.m. – Open Rodeo at the Blue Moon Arena northeast corner of Hwy. 2 and 40, just behind the Blue Moon Grille

Sunday – July 25, 2021

  • 7:00 a.m. – 20th Annual WAEA Wildcat/kat Athletic Endowment Golf Scramble  – Meadow Lake Golf Course – Columbia Falls, Mont.
    Pre-registration and payment is highly encouraged due to limited teams.

    • Format: 4 person scramble – all skill levels invited
    • Start: 8:00 a.m. Shotgun Start
    • Rules: USGA rules govern play
    • Tees: Men play the WHITE tees, Women play the RED tees
    • Field: Number of teams are limited to 36 with a max. of 4 players per team
    • Handicaps: Callaway System
    • Cost: $100.00 per player for 18 holes of golf, lunch and hole prizes. Register by July 14, 2021 with the Meadow Lake Pro Shop (406)892-2111

Elder Abuse Awareness

Roughly 20 percent of older Americans fall prey to financial exploitation losing on average $120,000, or $3 billion every year, according to a study from the AARP Public Policy Institute (https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/ppi/2016-02/banksafe-initiative-aarp-ppi.pdf).

Be on the Lookout for Elder Financial Abuse Scams

It’s an all too unfortunate reality that older adults are attractive targets for financial exploitation because they tend to possess more wealth than other potential victims. This is wealth that in many instances has been accumulated over their lifetime through hard work and conscientious saving.

The COVID-19 pandemic made the problem even worse with fraudsters coming out of the woodwork. Many of our vulnerable citizens found themselves the victim of scammers pretending to assist with COVID-19 related services and using medical and other ill-gotten personal information to perpetrate fraud and rob them of their life savings.

With World Elder Abuse Awareness Day happening on June 15, we wanted to provide our nation’s seniors and their family members with tips to guard against financial exploitation.

Medicare/Health Insurance Scams

It is difficult to imagine that someone could prey on those in need of medical assistance, but unfortunately, Medicare fraud is all too common. Criminals are posing as Medicare or medical supply representatives to obtain personal information or provide bogus services and using the information to bill Medicare or assume an identity to perpetrate fraud.

Another COVID-19 related scam centers around a FEMA program to assist with funeral expenses. While this is a legitimate program, and you can reach out to FEMA to apply for these benefits, citizens should be mindful that:

  • FEMA will not contact you until you call or apply for assistance.
  • The government won’t ask you to pay anything to get this benefit.

As a good rule of thumb never share personal or financial information with anyone who contacts you out of the blue.

Top Scams Affecting Senior Citizens - Zoom Phishing Emails, Telemarketing Phone Scams, Internet Fraud, Investment Schemes, Sweepstakes & Lottery Scams

Zoom Phishing Emails and Internet Fraud

At the onset of the pandemic con artists registered thousands of fake Zoom-related internet domains to send phony emails, texts or social media messages to trick consumers into clicking on bogus links related to purported “account suspension” or “meeting” notices. Those that took the bait inadvertently downloaded malware (malicious software) on their computer, exposing their personal information to potential use by fraudsters.

Internet scammers are also known for sending fake text messages alleging trouble with an internet account, credit card, bank account or shopping order. Many even contain realistic looking logos to lure you into clicking on a link and divulging personal information.

To limit your exposure, avoid clicking on links from unsolicited emails or texts. If you suspect a problem with an account contact the bank or service provider directly.

Telemarketing/Phone Scams

Seniors schooled in etiquette may frown upon “hanging up the phone” or simply saying “no” to unsolicited calls, but it also leaves the door open to criminals posing as company representatives. Three notable examples include:

  1. The pigeon drop where con artists pretend to share found money in exchange for a “good faith” payment drawn from the contacted person’s bank account.
  2. The fake accident ploy where con artists create a false narrative that a loved one has been injured in an accident and needs money for medical expenses.
  3. Charity scams where con artists solicit funds on behalf of a charity for which they are not affiliated with or is not legit.

Remember, if it’s too good to be true it probably is. If you want to give, go directly to the source. And if you are worried about a friend or family member, verify the information with them directly.

Scams are always changing. This year’s pandemic fraud will be replaced by a new and creative scheme next year. The Federal Trade Commission has a “scam alert” page with information about the ever-changing ways that scam artists target consumers, at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts.

And as trusted stewards of our customer’s financial data, feel free to reach out to Freedom Bank at 406-892-1776. Our employees are trained on the latest fraud prevention techniques. They can help you spot potential scams and take appropriate measures to protect your account if you suspect you have been a victim of financial fraud.

COVID-19 Scams

Avoid Coronavirus Scams

Communities are doing a lot to support one-another in these unprecedented times, but unfortunately scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Some scams purport to be providing relief or cures. Some scammers are preying on the generosity of people and asking you to donate to victims or relief funds.

Please don’t fall victim to these frauds and crimes. Independently verify the identity of any company, charity, or individual that contacts you regarding COVID-19.

If you see these frauds being attempted or if you are victimized by these frauds, please report them to:

Some examples of COVID-19 scams include:

Unemployment Scams

The Montana Department of Labor & Industry (DLI) announced on June 12th, 2020 that the agency has prevented over $220M in fraudulent Unemployment Insurance (UI) payments since April 28. Scammers are utilizing information obtained from various large-scale data breaches (such as Equifax) to file for fraudulent unemployment claims. If you receive a UI identity verification letter and have not filed for benefits or believe you may be a victim of unemployment or identity fraud to report it at http://uid.dli.mt.gov/report-fraud immediately.

In some instances, the FTC says unemployment payments may be sent to the real person instead of the impostor. The criminal may attempt to contact the individual whose information they stole pretending to be a government official and say the funds were sent by mistake.

“If you get benefits you never applied for, report it to your state unemployment agency and ask for instructions,” the FTC said. “Don’t respond to any calls, emails, or text messages telling you to wire money, send cash, or put money on gift cards. Your state agency will never tell you to repay money that way. Anyone who tells you to do those things is a scammer. Every time.”

The Federal Trade Commission’s identity theft website at identitytheft.gov also provides resources and a detailed step-by-step process for reporting and protecting against identity theft.

Grants or Stimulus Payments

If you receive calls, emails, or other communications claiming to be from the Treasury Department and offering COVID-19 related grants or stimulus payments in exchange for personal financial information, or an advance fee, tax, or charge of any kind, including the purchase of gift cards, please do not respond. These are scams.

Phishing Scams

Scammers posing as national and global health authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are sending phishing emails designed to trick recipients into downloading malware or providing personal identifying and financial information.

  • Check the websites and email addresses offering information, products, or services related to COVID-19. Be aware that scammers often employ addresses that differ only slightly from those belonging to the entities they are impersonating. For example, they might use “cdc.com” or “cdc.org” instead of “cdc.gov.”
  • Do not click on links or open email attachments from unknown or unverified sources. Doing so could download a virus onto your computer or device.
  • Make sure the anti-malware and anti-virus software on your computer is operating and up to date.

App Scams

Scammers are creating and manipulating mobile apps designed to track the spread of COVID-19 to insert malware that will compromise users’ devices and personal information. Watch out for any links texted to your Android phone promising an app to track coronavirus.

Treatment Scams

Scammers are offering to sell fake cures, vaccines, and advice on unproven treatments for COVID-19. Check reputable sources like the CDC and WHO for factual information about treatments and prevention measures.

  • Be wary of unsolicited emails offering information, supplies, or treatment for COVID-19 or requesting your personal information for medical purposes. Legitimate health authorities will not contact the general public this way.
  • Ignore offers for a COVID-19 vaccine, cure, or treatment. Remember, if there is a medical breakthrough, you won’t hear about it for the first time through an email, online ad, or unsolicited sales pitch.
  • Check online reviews of any company offering COVID-19 products or supplies. Avoid companies whose customers have complained about not receiving items.

In-Demand Product Scams

Online sellers claim they have in-demand products, like cleaning, household, and health and medical supplies. You place an order, but you never get your shipment. Anyone can set up shop online under almost any name — including scammers.

  • Check out the seller by searching online for the person or company’s name, phone number and email address, plus words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” If everything checks out, pay by credit card and keep a record of your transaction.
  • If you’re concerned about the pricing of products in your area, contact your state consumer protection officials. Montana Attorney General Tim Fox can be reached at (406) 444-2026. For a complete list of state Attorneys General, visit naag.org.

Provider Scams

Scammers are contacting people by phone and email demanding payment for treatment of a friend or relative that they claim was hospitalized for Coronavirus.

Charity Scams

Scammers are soliciting donations for false “funds” for individuals, groups, and areas affected by COVID-19.

  • Research any charities or crowdfunding sites soliciting donations in connection with COVID-19 before giving. Remember, an organization may not be legitimate even if it uses words like “CDC” or “government” in its name or has reputable looking seals or logos on its materials. For online resources on donating wisely, visit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website.
  • Be wary of any business, charity, or individual requesting payments or donations in cash, by wire transfer, gift card, or through the mail. Don’t send money through any of these channels.

Investment Scams

Scammers are offering online promotions on various platforms, including social media, claiming that the products or services of publicly traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure COVID-19, and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result. These promotions are often styled as “research reports,” make predictions of a specific “target price,” and relate to microcap stocks, or low-priced stocks issued by the smallest of companies with limited publicly available information.

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) websites.

Source: https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdpa/covid-19-fraud-page

Source: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/03/ftc-coronavirus-scams-part-2