Refer to the official consumer warnings below for information about current scams. It is ALWAYS important to vet information found on the Internet. In times of national and international crises, such as a global pandemic, this is even more important.
NEVER give out any personal or financial information over phone, email, or Internet if an outside organization is contacting you. Be sure to contact the organization yourself if you need any assistance and they will provide extensive security guidelines to safeguard your accounts and personal information.
These links come from a variety of government and municipal sources, as well as reputable companies. Some of them are written as blogs. Please keep in mind that while a blog post can be considered accurate information, any reader comments are unregulated and should be considered with caution.
If you are unsure about the validity of an information source, or someone has contacted you by mail or telephone, feel free to email our Reference Librarian: Nina Ferry firstname.lastname@example.org and she will check the source for you. You may also call the library and leave a message: 508-693-9433 and someone will get back to you as soon as we are able.
Warnings & Scams
- False calls from your utility company (7/15/20): Per the FTC, do not give out any banking information to a utility company over the phone. Scammers are currently posing as utility companies.
- Federal Refund may come in a debit card (5/28/20): If you haven’t already received a direct deposit or check in the mail, look for a debit card in a plain envelope from “Money Network Cardholder.” You will need to activate the card and input your social security number. You can access cash or services with this card; it is valid for three years.
- Targeting College students (5/27/20) : Don’t click on any links or enter your university’s log-in information regarding a stimulus check.
- Contact tracing “text message” scams (5/19/20) : Don’t click on any links! FTC warns of scams related to contact tracing as states and service re-open. Be very cautious.
- Did your Federal Refund go missing (5/5/20): FTC offers reporting mechanisms for suspected fraud and links to see if your federal stimulus has been released.
- Small business loan scam (4/17/20): FTC warns of a company contacting thousands of small business owners to fill in loan applications through them, claiming to be “SBA.” They are not. Go directly to government’s website, or call. Do not give out any personal information over the phone. See this blog for links to the lawsuit and more information.
- Video Conferencing Safety Tips (4/16/20): FTC provides tips on videoconferencing best practices and warns of current scams for private chats, company chats, and telehealth chats.
- Federal Trade Commission: Consumer information about refund checks from the government during COVID-19 financial crisis. (3/18/20)
- WHO (World Health Organization) fundraising and scams: a warning (3/18/20)
- Federal Trade Commission: Robocall scams (3/28/20)
Consumer protections during Covid-19
- When a debt collector calls for a deceased loved one (6/10/20): The FTC recommends following these guidelines to protect yourself and your loved ones from undue debt burdens, especially during a crisis. Read the article and links to find out more.
- Federal Stimulus package: FAQs from New York Times. (upd. 3/26/20) Stimulus check, unemployment expansion, student loans, retirement accounts, credit score, and eviction suspension. (You may need to sign-up for NYT free access to all Covid-19 related articles by providing your email and creating a password.)
- Coronavirus and Your Mortgage (4/14/20): Message from the FTC about lenders participating in forbearance programs and how you can find out who owns your mortgage and if you qualify for relief.
- Coronavirus and Your car payment (4/15/20): Message from the FTC about exploring refinancing, or payment deferment if you need help with your car payments.
- Massachusetts guidance and programs to protect small businesses (upd. 3/24/20) Loan application links, FAQs, and other resources.
- Massachusetts Attorney General’s page on Covid-19 specific laws (upd. regularly). Links to various temporary state laws about healthcare, utilities, student loans, childcare, small businesses, health club memberships, PPE, civil rights, immigrant rights etc.
Consumer protections- general & amended for Covid 19
Massachusetts Attorney General’s office: Guide to Landlord and Tenant Rights. For Covid-19, all evictions are on hold until after a possible court filing date of 4/21/20. Tenants cannot be evicted by a landlord, they can only be evicted by a court decision. The AoG’s office recommends talking to your landlord about specific allowances and flexibility during this time.