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Don't fall victim to COVID-19 financial scams
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Guest column

Don't fall victim to COVID-19 financial scams

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At a time when everyone is impacted by this pandemic crisis, it’s hard to imagine that anyone would want to cause additional harm. Yet, right now there are thieves who want to bilk you out of your COVID-19 recovery checks.

Be advised: You will not be directly contacted by your financial institution or the federal government (including government agencies such as the IRS, FDIC and NCUA) asking for your personal information such as account number, Social Security number or phone number. If you receive a call, email or text from someone asking for that data, disregard it. This is an attempt to steal your identity.

Initially they will take the funds you received from your stimulus check, but with your personal information they will continue to impersonate you and cheat you out of money. These scams can cause long-term damage to your credit and continue to cause financial issues in the future.

As in all times, Montana’s financial institutions — banks and credit unions — are ready to serve you during this time of uncertainty. Please contact your financial service provider if you’re contacted by someone asking for your private data and claiming to be from the federal government or your bank or credit union. Remember: Your financial institution already holds all your information; they have no need to contact you to verify it!

Please stay healthy and safe.

Jim Brown is president/CEO of Montana Independent Bankers; Cary Hegreberg is president/CEO of Montana Bankers Association; and Tracie Kenyon is president/CEO of Montana’s Credit Unions.

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