Working from home money scams
NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Bank scammers are now changing their methods following the changes that have come with COVID-19. As working from home has become more common and unemployment has risen, scammers are using this to their advantage.
There are a couple different scams you need to look out for. First is employment fraud where the impostor will create a fictitious company and hire someone to work from home. They send a fictitious check and instruct the victim to buy materials they need to work from home. They even go as far as to put a fake number on the check so when the call to verify is made, the impostor will answer. Once the purchases are made towards their fake company, the buyer will discover the check is not real but by then their money has already been sent. The second scam is unemployment fraud where someone is contacted to be a money mule where they receive fraudulent benefits. For a financial gain they’re asked to keep some of the money but send a portion of those funds to the impostor. Nebraskaland National Bank said they monitor daily for fraudulent unemployment benefits.
“Visit with your bank, share with them everything, share with them the entire story. Because, you know, we see these scams more than others would and so when can put some pieces together and help our customers and avoid becoming a victim,” said Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Nebraskaland National Bank, Kim Schroll.
Schroll says to make sure you don’t give out personal information unless you know who you are talking to. If you are contacted to move money or transfer funds contact your bank first.
Banking from home has also become more common. As people adjust to spending more time at home, they have also grown more comfortable with online banking. You can deposit checks, check balances, and pay off your credit card online. While the drive through option is still being utilized, Schroll says it has become more common for the community to do their banking online. She says she still sees a regular amount of people who still come in to do their banking, and ensures the community they keep everything sanitized and safe for community use.
“I think some people’s habits probably changed during this time. Maybe if they weren’t on mobile banking or they weren’t paying bills online once they tried it, you know. they felt comfortable with it and start a new routine for them. So we are seeing some habits change,” said Schroll.
Schroll says people are tending to check their balances more frequently than they would have if they called the bank.
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