Frauds and Scams

The Utah Bankers Association, like the general public, is concerned about the growing spread of the coronavirus and the impact it will have around the country and here in Utah. The UBA is committed to sharing vital information and updates with the banking community including. The UBA is here to help you know how to stay alert to coronavirus frauds and scams, by knowing what types of scams are circulating and how to avoid becoming a victim.

How to recognize signs of a scam

If you receive an email in your inbox with a subject line that reads something like this…
RE: Beat COVID-19 with this hot new remedy!

The phone rings and the caller asks if you need more in-demand sanitizer and disinfectant supplies before they run out!

An ad pops up on your screen and says…
Big returns on this hot new stock from a company with breaking research on a cure!

At your door
If  someone comes to your door claiming to be from a public health agency says they need to "conduct surveillance" inside your home.

What is the best way to respond?

Don't respond at all
Scammers are opportunistic. They are really good at sniffing out our natural fears, anxieties, and other emotional weaknesses, particularly during times of uncertainty, misinformation, and crisis. This has never been more true than today.

Emails, fraudulent calls and fake online ads are common tactics scammers use to exploit the coronavirus pandemic, and the uneasiness everyone feels from the shutdown of normal daily life. While the Justice Department recently pledged a crackdown on these scams, we want to keep you informed about the types of scams out there:

Door-to-door imposters
Some municipalities are reporting people claiming to be from the CDC knocking on doors asking to conduct surveillance. The CDC is not deploying teams to anyone's homes, so contact local law enforcement if this occurs.

Bogus treatments, vaccines or cures
Scams pushing products or services promising prevention, treatment or even a vaccine. Real solutions take time and research with backing by official public agencies including the FDA, CDC or WHO, and delivered through a licensed healthcare provider.

Limited-supply items
Scams pushing in-demand items at exorbitant prices such as hard-to-get face masks, hand sanitizer or cleansers. When this is done through malicious ads or email, it's best to not buy, or even click.

Hot stocks
Fraudsters pushing a hot new stock investment by companies whose products allegedly prevent, detect or cure coronavirus. They artificially inflate the price before quietly dumping the stock, leaving investors in the red. Also called a penny-stock fraud or "pump and dump."

Also known as spoofing, scammers pose as a government official or public health agency by calling or emailing to ask for money towards important coronavirus research or charity for those in need, often requesting it in the form of prepaid credit cards or gift cards.

Phony or malicious websites
Phishing emails from any organization posing as the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

URLs containing trending terms like "coronavirus" or "covid" have a higher likelihood of being malicious, meaning a click or visit triggers a phishing email. If you click open the email or download a file attachment, malware can search your files for sensitive personal information or use your connection to further spread malware.

Fake Charities
Any source asking for donations for unauthorized or fictitious charity. 

How to protect yourself and your family

The best way to protect yourself is to take no action and not fall for the scam. To help you, here are recommendations to follow:
  • Don't click on links or download files from unexpected emails, even if the email address look like a company or person you recognize.
  • If you need to look something up on the Internet, open your browser and type the URL directly.
  • Only visit known trusted websites when searching for coronavirus or other information.
  • Do not visit unfamiliar websites even in search engines
  • Official Government websites typically use ".gov", ".int", or ".org" domains, not ".com”
  • Caller ID spoofing is very easy to do, so if the caller asks you to do something unusual or share information about yourself, do not respond—hang up.
  • Hang up on robocalls and don’t play into a scammer’s hands by entering any numbers on the phone’s keypad. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to  The recording might say that pressing a number will let you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, but it might lead to more robocalls, instead.
  • Don’t respond to texts and emails about checks from the government. While the government is working on sending money to citizens as part of a relief package, the particulars are still being worked out. Until that is made official, anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is a bona fide scammer.

Also, please remember

Banks will never make or send unsolicited calls, texts or emails asking customers to provide, verify, or update passwords, usernames, debit/ATM card PINs, security codes, or Account information such as Social Security number, Account Number, Card Number, or other personal information.

Current frauds and scams