The Oakleaf

Don’t Add a Scam to Your Current Stress Level

Posted by Mary Dishong-Van Etten, CFCI, CCCI on Apr 6, 2020 1:30:00 PM

We’re all experiencing a time of tremendous stress, uncertainty and isolation. And that means it’s a good time to protect yourself from scammers who may try to use the current environment to obtain your money and sensitive information.

As community bankers, we care about our customers and want to make their lives better. So, since my expertise is financial fraud, I want to share the following tips on how to prevent being defrauded during this difficult time.


COVID-19 Scams to Watch Out For (via
phone calls, emails, or text messages):

  • Promises of coronavirus cures, in which you’re asked to invest

  • Offers of COVID-19 test kits in exchange for your social security number, credit card numbers, etc.

  • Requests for donations to fake organizations to help people who have the virus

  • People impersonating medical staff demanding payment for treating one of your relatives

  • Requests for a fee in order to receive your stimulus check from the government

  • Pop-up links for free safety masks; if you click on them your information can be downloaded

  • Scammers pretending to be bank or FDIC staff claiming to limit access to your accounts


Rules to Avoid Being a Victim

  • Never give a stranger your social security number, passwords or information about your account including your online/mobile credentials

  • Review your bank statements and your account activity regularly and report suspicious or unauthorized activity asap to Tompkins

  • Hang up on Robo calls. If you push any button they will continue to call you

  • When you communicate with people online or by phone don’t overshare information about yourself. Certainly do not offer account or any other financial information.

  • If you believe you may have been a victim, contact your local branch or your bank’s customer care center.

Your bank has many systems in place to guard against fraud, and during this current health crisis, we’re encouraging you to also be on high alert to protect yourself and your family. If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to your banker. We’re here to help you navigate your finances in both good and difficult times.

Helpful resources:


For reliable and up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc.gov), the World Health Organization (who.gov) and your state’s official pandemic health site.

To report a coronavirus scam:


Visit the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov, and ftc.gov/coronavirus



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