Coronavirus: A forum for fraud
ICT reminds customers to protect themselves in this time of global crisis
The coronavirus has created a forum where solicitations for donations, promises of cures, tax refund claims, among other scams, are making their way into everyday emails. Various industries including insurance have been targeted as customers begin receiving correspondence from what they believe to be a known and trusted source.
Emails and phone calls from seemingly legitimate sources have been, in several cases, generated by hackers, capitalizing on this current panic and fear driven environment. Some consumers, who would normally delete such emails are now baited by the subject, and falling victim to hackers.
Unfortunately, the insurance industry hears many stories from customers who were targeted by unscrupulous service providers. The message, whether online, by phone or in-person, remains the same – pause before you click, sign, or hand over money – protect yourself first. Here are some tips:
- Make sure you know the email address before clicking. Don’t open attachments if you don’t know the sender.
- Door to door solicitations – roofers, remodelers or those asking for charity at your door are typically not the most reputable source.
- Check with the BBB and look on social media sites for business related reviews and customer references.
- Don’t pay in cash. Credit cards are often best since most companies will protect their cardholder.
- Don’t sign over your insurance proceeds. There is little or no recovery once the check is cashed.
- Pay in small increments as work is satisfactorily completed
- If you receive a call asking for your personal information – hang up!
According to Camille Garcia, Director of Communications & Public Affairs with ICT, “ With many severe weather events in our great state, Texans are, unfortunately, targets of scammers, fraudulent schemes and unscrupulous contractors. If you receive an email, a phone call or letter from your agent or insurance carrier that appears suspicious, it’s best to pause and consider the source of the request. Your insurance agent or carrier’s contact information is found on your insurance card, declaration page or through your app. Take control – hang up, don’t click.”
The insurance industry is committed to protecting our customer’s data. During this time, as we face the uncertainty of Covid-19 together, let’s be extra vigilant. For more information on this or other property and casualty insurance related matters, please contact Camille Garcia, Director of Communications & Public Affairs at 512-713-4262.
The Insurance Council of Texas is the largest state insurance trade association in the country consisting of over 400 property and casualty insurers writing business in Texas. For more information click on www.insurancecouncil.org or follow us on Facebook at ICT On Facebook and Twitter @InsCouncilTx for up-to-date news/information.