The pandemic has accelerated identity theft and the impact on ordinary people is significant. In fact, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Americans have lost more than $ 382 million in scams related to stimulus checks and unemployment benefits, fake treatments for COVID-19 and more.
Even worse, African American and Latino consumers they are more likely to be victims of fraud than their white counterparts. That’s why it’s critical to recognize activity designed to steal your hard-earned money.
JPMorgan Chase is available to help consumers learn to spot suspicious activity, from fake emails and text messages to false claims about ways to stay healthy. We sat down with Jonathan Morales, Chase Community Manager, to discuss tips and best practices to ensure a better financial future.
What should consumers pay attention to when it comes to scammers?
Morales: Let’s start with the emails and text messages. Phishing is the fancy name for emails claiming to be from reputable companies, including banks. They actually come from criminals trying to obtain your personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.
The email might ask you to reply or click a link that takes you to a website that looks like your bank’s site. They will then ask you to provide your username, password, account number, personal identification number (PIN), Social Security number, or other personal information. Also, if you click on a file attached to that email, it could download software called malware that tracks or steals your information.
Therefore, be very careful when clicking on a link in an email; instead, go directly to the company’s website. And don’t click on attachments unless you’re sure they’re from someone you know and trust.
Increasingly, scammers are contacting victims by text message or by phone, most of the time from a number you don’t recognize, and they tell you that there is a problem with your bank account, even that it is closed, frozen or that it will be canceled unless you call a phone number or go to a website listed in the message and provide your personal or account information.
Are there specific signs to watch out for?
Morales: Yes, these are some that you will surely find:
- Scammers will often tell you that there are a problem or a prize. They might tell you that you have problems with the government, that you owe money, that someone in your family has an emergency, that there is a problem with one of your accounts, or that you won money in a lottery. Remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t.
- After presenting the problem or award, the scammers they will pressure you to act immediately. They want you to hand over your confidential information before you have time to think. They could possibly threaten you, insist it’s urgent, or tell you that time is running out. However, no legitimate business or government agency will pressure you in this way or ask you by phone or email for your personal information, such as your Social Security number, bank account or credit card numbers.
How can consumers protect their money and information?
Morales: These are some of the good practices:
- Protect your information online. Download and update the antivirus software for your computer and do not enter confidential information on public computers or unsecured networks. Also, be careful when providing your username and financial passwords online; This includes financial websites and applications that offer tools to help you manage your accounts, invest, or prepare your taxes.
- Make purchases only on secure websites. Look for a padlock symbol in a website address. That will help protect your credit card number, expiration date, and three-digit CVV.
- Change your passwords often. Change your passwords frequently and use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. Don’t use your pet’s name, your child’s name, or anything else that can be easily deciphered.
- Create a separate password for each financial institution. This provides an additional level of protection in the event of a problem at an institution.
- Monitor your accounts. Log into your accounts frequently, even daily, through digital banking or your mobile banking app to monitor your account balance and transactions. Look at transactions you don’t recognize. Also, check your monthly statements and, if there are any problems, contact your bank immediately.
- Set up an additional confirmation. The correct name is two-factor or multi-factor authentication. It simply means that you will have to take an extra step or two to access your information. For example, you could request that a text message with a code be sent to the mobile phone number you previously gave the company. At Chase, when you log into your Chase account electronically for the first time or with a device that we do not recognize, we will ask for your username, password, and a temporary identification code. And we will send it to you by phone, email or text message.
- Destroy confidential documents. Destroy bank records, checks you deposited through mobile banking, and other documents that contain your account information. Keep your monthly checking and savings account statements in a safe place until you file your taxes, and then shred them too. Chase and other banks offer electronic statements, allowing you to view information online without having to worry about paper.
- Check your credit report. At least once a year, read your credit reports carefully. You can request a free annual credit report from each of the three national credit reporting agencies, even if you don’t suspect any unauthorized activity on your account. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com.
How does Chase protect customers against fraud?
Morales: We see it as an association; We help protect your accounts and information, and you do too. We monitor all of our accounts 24 hours a day, including the use of security measures that you cannot see.
In addition, if we find a transaction that you did not authorize or if you mark a transaction as unauthorized, we offer Zero Liability Protection, which means that you will not be responsible for it.
Visit to learn more about JPMorgan Chase’s commitment to customer safety through our fraud prevention and protection tools. I hope to be able to work with you soon.