As the COVID19 quarantine continues, we might start feeling ourselves slip into a static routine of moving from our beds to our home-office chairs or the couch. While it may feel like the world has come to a screeching halt, and anxiously we await the reopening of our daily lives, there are some that are using this lull to their advantage – Cyber Criminals.

It is unfortunate that there are criminals who would use this already dark time to take advantage of people, but the more we are aware, the better we can prevent and stop scamming and phishing.

At GHS, we want our members and community to be aware of the different ways that Cyber criminals are attacking, such as sending emails that end claiming to be from legitimate organizations with information about the coronavirus, and what to do if you see something suspicious.

As malicious as it sounds, scammers are targeting those looking to aid in the fight against COVID-19 by impersonating donation websites, charities, and official government agencies seeking donations for relief and medical supplies. To avoid divulging your personal information to a fraudulent charity or donation site, make sure to verify the authenticity of the website, read the fine print, and try to use PayPal if available.

A lot of us are finding ourselves missing the luxury of shopping at our favorite stores, and are utilizing online shopping in lieu of browsing the aisles of shops. Before you type in your credit card information, be sure that you are certain that the site is legitimate. And if you are unsure, check the URL and other sections of the site to confirm its authenticity. If the site is asking for your personal information or payment information, it should always start with HTTPS, not HTTP. HTTPS means that the page has a certificate of security, also known as an SSL certificate.

Be mindful of ads on social media, as well. Scammers are using this time where we are scrolling through our Instagram and Facebook accounts to feed us ads for products and websites that are illegitimate. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you find yourself feeling that you may have fallen victim to a scam, call your financial institution, or 800-732-4447 if you are a GHS member.

Phishing is another common way cyber criminals take advantage of individuals. Phishing is a tactic that uses email or text message to capture your personal information. These emails and texts may look like the real-deal, and use email addresses that look very similar authentic accounts. Be mindful of what the message is asking, and never send personal information via email or text. If you receive an email or text from a business that seems suspicious, don’t respond, click on any links, or open attachments. As a reminder, GHS would never ask you for your personal information, PIN numbers, or login credentials.

A great way to protect your financial wellbeing is to stay up-to-date on your finances. GHS offers online and mobile banking so that our members can quickly and conveniently monitor their accounts for any suspicious activity. Members are encouraged to use our secure online and mobile banking services to view account balances, deposit checks, transfer funds between your GHS accounts, transfer funds to accounts you own at other financial institutions, pay bills and, and make person-to-person payments. If you are not enrolled in online banking, you may enroll here.

If you see something that seems off, or feel concerned that you may be a victim of a scam or phishing, call GHS’s member services center at 800-732-4447, and a member of our team can help you take the next steps to ensuring your financial safety.