Advice To Protect Yourself From Scammers During COVID-19 Pandemic

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By WBBM Newsradio 780 AM & 105.9 FM

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- With the COVID-19 pandemic has come opportunity for those who want to get your money via shady efforts.

Maybe you’ve gotten suspicious emails or phone calls, "I think the most of which have tried to take money out of our wallets or try to get information changed, and today the fraudsters spend 40, 60, or 80 hours a week trying to figure out ways to be successful," said Wells Fargo Chief Information Security Officer Gary Owen.

Owen said the pandemic is a hot topic and one that scammers will and are trying to leverage.  He said you should know how to recognize scams.

"Misspellings, poorly framed or structured sentences, a sense of urgency, a relationship you may or may not have - like oh I have a credit card with the Gap, but I haven't used it in 10 years. You kind of have to look at the whole picture," he said. Owen recommends watching out for schemes tied to economic impact payments, unexpected requests, and offers for financial assistance.

He said to protect yourself, "notifications for the transactions you have, sign up for them. We have two-step authentication, so if you are using a new machine, it may take you an extra step to get that new PC set up. Take the time to sign up for these things. They are generally are almost exclusively free. 

He also said he and other chief information security officers, "we don't compete for security. We share the types of scams seen in the marketplace, we share what the hackers' techniques are, because if a customer falls victim to a fraud, I don't care what bank, we all are impacted."Owen recommends verifying a company or charity before you give money, and if you detect a scam, report it.