Take On Payments, a blog sponsored by the Retail Payments Risk Forum of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, is intended to foster dialogue on emerging risks in retail payment systems and enhance collaborative efforts to improve risk detection and mitigation. We encourage your active participation in Take on Payments and look forward to collaborating with you.
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Scams Proliferate in an Environment of Uncertainty and Fear
Last week, my colleague Dave Lott wrote a post highlighting a challenge that COVID-19 is bringing to the ecommerce landscape. Another unwelcome aspect of this virus has been the proliferation of email and telephone scams, as criminals take advantage of the current environment of uncertainty and fear. According to a March 31 Wall Street Journal article, the Federal Trade Commission had already received this year 7,283 complaints of coronavirus-related scams, with losses totaling $4.6 million. We Risk Forum members have spoken and written extensively about social engineering, so it's our duty to point our readers to some resources that provide information about these scams. We hope these resources bring awareness to the situation and protect you from becoming the next victim.
Incidentally, the resources I list below and many more appear on a new Atlanta Fed page, COVID-19 Resources and Information. This page also offers links to information that can help readers navigate the many other financial challenges the virus has brought about.
- The Federal Trade Commission's COVID-19 scam web page
- The American Bankers Association's tips to avoid COVID-19 scams
- The FBI's dedicated COVID-19 web page
- The Secret Service's press release alerting people to COVID-19 phishing attempts
- Europol's report on how criminals are exploiting the COVID-19 crisis
As our name implies, we are a forum and work to bring people in the payments industry together to engage in discussions. As such, we encourage our readers to respond to this blog using the comments feature to provide us all with additional resources you find valuable in mitigating losses from COVID-19 scams. Let's all fight together to protect each other. As Helen Keller so eloquently stated, "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."