Pat’s Chat (June 11)

One of our denominations’ magazines included some tips we all need to remember or keep somewhere that makes it available to us quickly.  Most such notes that I receive get taped to the windowsill that is beside the table where I read and study two or three hours most mornings.  I can’t imagine going through a pandemic without prayer and devotional readings.  What I will tell you about you may have already heard.  Please cut this out and post it where you can refer to it quickly.  This is especially appropriate for us now because some will use the circumstances of the pandemic and our anxiety about it to take advantage of our fear.

It is reported the victims in the United Kingdom have lost more than 800,000 pounds ($1 million) to coronavirus-linked scams as of March 6 because criminals were tricking fearful people who wanted to buy protective masks, Reuters reports.

Here in the U.S. we have heard reports of scams offering free iPhones – and if you click the links, malware will control your smartphone, letting someone view your texts and monitor you via the phone’s camera.  (When I read this, I taped a Band-Aid over my computer’s camera.)  Beware of “cures” for Covid-19, lotions, teas, and even vaccines, and fake coronavirus maps that mimic legitimate maps.

Be wary of surveys from the FBI.  (They do not conduct surveys!) If they tell you that you don’t need to sign your tax return to file it, that is not true.  If you’re told you owe Federal Student Tax, it is not true, (no such tax exists).

And, of course, posers will say they are from the Social Security Administration or the IRS, but what they are really looking for is your personal information.  Social Security rarely calls anyone unless they have a scheduled appointment.  

Visit and learn how you can tell an authentic call from a fake one.  

Here are some tips:

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Social Security employees will never threaten you or ask for any kind of immediate payment. 

Do NOT give your social security number, bank account or credit card number to a caller.

The IRS reaches out by mail, not phone. And NEVER will they leave a threatening message on your voicemail.  They never email the status of your tax return either.

Pay close attention to web domains and email addresses to make sure they are trustworthy and correct.  Delete the ones you don’t trust and do not click the links or open any attachment.

Go to the original source yourself (not a link provided to you) to verify authenticity.  

TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS – if something seems off, be wary.

If you make a mistake, DON’T BE EMBARRASSED, just report it right away so you stop the damage.  Scammers are often professionals and can be extremely convincing.  




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