Texas Insider Report: WASHINGTON, D.C. – Nancy and I send our best to you and your families as we all cope with the current challenges to our daily lives presented by the coronavirus. Unfortunately, bad actors never quit — even in a crisis. Scammers have started using the coronavirus pandemic to take advantage of the public.
Criminals have been pushing out robocalls and text messages promising everything from free coronavirus testing kits to health insurance, a cure to the disease and more.
Other messages purport to represent charitable organizations seeking financial contributions to help those in need, requesting your bank account information and other personal data to process transactions.
Even more malicious messages seek to sow panic and misinformation with false news asserting that the U.S. government is on the verge of issuing a weeks-long nationwide shutdown. Scammers then request money with promises of supplies.
There have also been reports in the news that the federal government is considering issuing checks to the American public to provide financial assistance during this difficult time. If that does happen, no one will call or text you requesting personal or banking information in order to “release” the funds.
I’m pleased that my bill, the Locking Up Robocallers Act, was passed in the House last year as part of a larger package of measures to crackdown on cyber fraud. Scammers who prey on the frightened and vulnerable — especially in times of crisis — must be brought to justice!
In the meantime, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) offers the following recommendations to keep you safe from scammers:
- Do not respond to calls or texts from unknown numbers, or any others that appear suspicious.
- Never share your personal or financial information via email, text messages, or over the phone.
- Be cautious if you’re being pressured to share any information or make a payment immediately.
- Scammers often spoof phone numbers to trick you into answering or responding. Remember that government agencies will never call you to ask for personal information or money.
- Do not click any links in a text message. If a friend sends you a text with a suspicious link that seems out of character, call them to make sure they weren’t hacked.
- Always check on a charity (for example, by calling or looking at its actual website) before donating. (Learn more about charity scams here.)
Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay vigilant. We are all #InItTogether as citizens of the greatest country in the world!
I’m honored to represent you in Congress. For more information on constituent services, current legislation, and to sign up for my E-newsletter please visit my website at www.olson.house.gov.