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If you’ve ever mistakenly clicked on a link that might have provided personal information or answered a call and became a victim of fraud, you’re not alone.

“The important thing to know is that fraud is real. If it hasn’t happened to you, it’s happened to someone you know,” said Jua Williams, Chase Skyland Branch Manager.

According to The Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker online fraud rose during the Pandemic. In 2020, more than 46,000 scams were published on the BBB Scam Tracker, a 24.9% increase over the number reported in 2019.

“We have to take the stigma out of fraud. People get so embarrassed that they allowed someone to gain their confidence and got them to part with their money. Don’t be embarrassed. Overcome that feeling. Report it. Speak up and speak out,” explained Williams, who has been in the banking industry for more than 20 years. “In times of crisis scammers tend to work double and triple-overtime.”

But there are ways to protect yourself.

What You Need to Know to Avoid Scams

Financial institutions will never ask for confidential information — such as your name, password, PIN or other account information — when they reach out to you. Nor will they ask you to send money via popular payment platforms, wire transfer or check.

Experts suggest triple-checking any social message, bank email or solicitation you receive, especially if it mentions COVID-19 and provides links.

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