Coronavirus Text Scam

COVIID-19 Texting Scam

The coronavirus pandemic has been raging on American shores for several months, but scammers are still finding new ways to exploit the panic, fear and uncertainty surrounding the virus to con people out of their money. The latest in a string of coronavirus scams involves a simple text message with criminal intent.

Here’s all you need to know about the coronavirus text scam.

The scam starts out with the victim receiving an alarming text message informing them that someone they’ve recently been in contact with is infected with COVID-19. They are then told to self-quarantine and to get tested for the virus.

Here is the actual text from one of these scams:

“Someone who came in contact with you tested positive or has shown symptoms for COVID-19 & recommends you self-isolate/get tested.”

The text also includes a link for the recipient to click for more information. Many unsuspecting people who read these messages innocently click on the link and play right into the scammers’ hands. The link provides the scammer with access to the victim’s device. The scammer can then scrape the victim’s personal information off the phone and use it to empty the victim’s accounts, open lines of credit in their name or even steal their identity.

If you receive a text message like the one described above, do not respond or click on any embedded links. Report the text to local law enforcement agencies, place the number associated with the message on your phone’s “block number” list and delete the message. You can also warn your friends about the circulating scam to keep them from falling victim.

Stay vigilant and stay safe!

Your Turn: Have you been targeted by a coronavirus texting scam? Tell us about it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram! @FreedomFedCU

Free Apps for Kids

World of Cents

April is usually Youth Month here at Freedom Federal Credit Union.  Once our normal operations resume, we will be rescheduling the promotion.  After several weeks in lockdown, you may be ready to pull out your increasingly gray hair.  To help out, we’ve compiled a list of free educational apps for kids to occupy them and give mom and dad a breather.

7 Free EDUCATIONAL APPS for kids

Scholastic The leading educational company has set up a “Learn From Home” website with free daily courses for kids ages K-12.

Zoom The popular video conferencing app is offering free service during the coronavirus outbreak. It’s also lifted its 40-minute limit on conferences, making the app a perfect choice for hosting your child’s classroom learning, or even a video chat with friends.

Neoufitness Help your kids stay fit through the pandemic with this super-fun fitness app for kids ages 4-12. The app offers a selection of 10-20 minute exercise classes and is free for the first 30 days.

Issasedibleadventures If your child is an aspiring chef, they’ll love this free cooking app, in which gamers race to collect ingredients from around the world and use them to create a requested cross-cultural dish.

SmartMusic The popular music practice app is offering free service through June 30 for all schools impacted by COVID-19. The app includes practice tools like a tuner, metronome and fingerings, along with an extensive music library and immediate assessment of pitch and rhythm.

DuckDuckMoose The adorable educational app for kindergartners and preschoolers makes learning super-fun! The app is always free and features a delightful array of characters, a brightly colored interface, and a special focus on maps and puzzles.

World of Cents The NCUA’s free money app is the perfect way to teach your kids about personal finances. They’ll learn all about earning, spending, saving and more through the app’s fun games designed for kids ages 5-10.

Your Turn: How are you keeping your kids busy during the pandemic? Share your best ideas with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram! @FreedomFedCU

Your Complete Glossary of Financial Terms Related to COVID-19

Financial Terms Related to COVID-19Some of the financial terms flying around in the wake of the recently approved Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act may be confusing. We have broken down some of the key components and how they relate to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deferred interest 

What it means: Deferred interest is when interest charges on a loan or a line of credit are deferred or delayed for a specific period of time. The interest will usually accrue, or continue to grow, during such a deferral period.

How it relates to COVID-19: Many major credit card companies are allowing consumers to defer interest on their March and April payments due to the coronavirus. Also, as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES), lenders must stop collecting payments for federal student loans through Sept. 30. Interest will then be deferred throughout these six months and will not continue to accrue. [Freedom Federal Credit Union is allowing our members to defer interest up to 90 days on Anything Loans and are working with members on an individual basis as needed.] 

Forbearance

What it means: Forbearance is the delaying of a payment on a loan, such as a mortgage or auto loan. Interest generally continues to accrue. Any missed payments are either moved to the end of the loan’s term or are collected when the period of forbearance is over.

How it relates to COVID-19: The Federal Housing Finance Agency offered payment forbearance to homeowners affected by COVID-19, allowing them to suspend mortgage payments for up to 12 months. These loans, funded by lenders Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, account for 66 percent of all home loans in the country. Many private lenders are offering homeowners forbearance at this time as well. Some state governments have also instructed all mortgage lenders in their states to offer forbearance for three months. [At this time, Freedom Federal Credit Union is offering payment forbearance on Anything Loans up to 90 days and are working with members on an individual basis as needed.] 

Freelancers

What it means: Freelancers are self-employed workers who sell their work or services by the hour or by the job.

How it relates to COVID-19: Under the CARES Act, freelancers are eligible for unemployment insurance.

Furlough

What it means: A “furloughed” worker is someone who is “out on furlough” – or temporarily laid off without pay.

How it relates to COVID-19: Millions of workers are now on furlough as companies temporarily shut down for complying with social distancing mandates, statewide orders to “shelter in place,” or due to a lack of business during the pandemic. Furloughed workers are eligible for unemployment insurance.

Gig workers 

What it means: Similar to freelancers, a gig worker, or independent contractor, enters into a formal agreement with a company to be on-call when the company needs to provide service to its clients, such as rideshare drivers working for Lyft or Uber.

How it relates to COVID-19: Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES), gig workers are eligible for unemployment insurance.

Stock buyback

What it means: Also known as a share repurchase, a stock buyback refers to a company’s reacquisition of its own stock. Stock buybacks are common when stocks are falling as the company will use its cash reserves to buy outstanding shares for reducing the number of available shares on the market.

How it relates to COVID-19: The CARES Act has prohibited stock buybacks for any individual while they are receiving government funds and for a full year for companies receiving federal loans at this time.

Unemployment insurance 

What it means: Unemployment insurance offers laid-off workers partial compensation while they are seeking a new job. Eligible candidates must have been laid off through no fault of their own and be actively seeking a new position or undergoing job training. Weekly benefits are determined by each state, generally capping at 60 percent of the worker’s former income.

How it relates to COVID-19: With millions of workers temporarily or permanently out of a job, unemployment benefits have been greatly expanded. Restrictions and qualifications have been loosened and an additional weekly $600 will be added to most checks for up to four months.

Your Turn: Have you learned any new financial words since the coronavirus outbreak? Tell us about it on Facebook, LinkedIn,Twitter, or Instagram.