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The COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly changing situation that unfortunately is being used by fraudsters seeking to capitalize on consumer confusion and uncertainty. Independent Financial is monitoring emerging risks and urging customers to remain vigilant for scams and suspicious activity.

On this page, we’ve included quick tips and additional supporting information around these scams; what steps to take and what mediums fraudsters are currently using to find you. These messages and solicitations must be met with caution. Keep our COVID-19 scam tips top-of-mind as you continue to navigate the growing amount of information surrounding COVID-19 at this time.

Tips for Avoiding COVID-19 Scams

  1. Enroll in Independent Financial online and mobile applications to monitor your account activity frequently, looking for suspicious activity.
  2. Be skeptical, and use caution when reviewing phone calls, text messages and email. Clicking links may expose you to viruses or other malicious malware.
  3. While online, verify the legitimacy of websites you visit.
    - Turn on browser tools, which can help identify fraudulent websites.
    - Ensure the websites are secure and encrypted with HTTPS.
    - Look for links that are broken or take you away from the original website.
    - Shop through websites you know and trust.
  4. Avoid communication with anyone asking for money for COVID-19 related charities or other donations. Never send gift cards or pre-paid money cards to anyone you do not know personally.
  5. Be aware of Business Email Compromise (BEC). Always verify legitimacy of financial transactions before approving. Look for changes to account numbers, phone numbers, email addresses or other identifying information.

Scams - These are most often fraudulent emails or text messages claiming to come from financial institutions or government agencies. These are sometimes called "phishing," a trick criminals use to steal user data. Some scams are very sophisticated and difficult to detect and may even use bank or FDIC names and logos during these attempts. Beware of any request to “confirm” or “update information” such as social security and/or bank account numbers.

Suspicious Emails - If you receive a suspicious email message appearing to come from Independent Financial, do not reply. Forward a copy of that message to your relationship manager or call our Customer Care team. Never click any links or attachments in a suspicious email. 

Questionable Text Messages - If you receive a text message claiming to be from Independent Financial requesting that you call a number regarding COVID-19, that is a fraudulent text. We do not send such messages to customers and you should never reply, nor provide any personal or confidential information. If you have responded to such a message and believe you have provided personal information, please contact Independent Financial.

Online and Mobile Banking fraud - Fraudsters are sending emails, creating websites and developing phone apps related to COVID-19. These are designed to prey upon fear and uncertainty by tricking customers into clicking on malicious links disguised as helpful information. These scams can contain malware for stealing online banking credentials and/or credit card information.

Telephone solicitations. Criminals may call you pretending to be a financial institution or government agency representative, asking for personal information and/or online banking credentials for “financial relief” purposes. NEVER give your User ID and Password to unknown sources. Independent Financial will never ask a customer for passwords or their online banking login credentials.

Bogus charities. Taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis, criminals are impersonating organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO). In emails they may use fake images and charts to make it appear legitimate. Always be suspicious of anyone requesting cash donations via wire transfer, gift card, or through the U.S. Post Office. Do not send money through these channels and research charitable sites soliciting donations in connection with COVID-19 before giving.

Learn more about COVID-19 scams from the Federal Trade Commission.

Additional resources are available on our main Fraud Assistance page