Protecting Your Finances During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unbelievable amount of financial stress for many individuals throughout the country. The hardships caused by job loss have sent ripple effects throughout the economy here in West Virginia. It is vital that you take steps to protect your finances and the financial health of your family.

The CARES Act

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress with tremendous bipartisan support and signed by the president on March 27, 2020. This law provided more than $2 trillion in economic relief to vast sectors of the economy, as well as direct $1,200 payments to most individuals.

As of this writing, Congress is still debating another major relief package. Should another package pass, it is likely to include another round of direct payments to individuals and families as well as significant assistance to small businesses, local governments, and major industries.

Protecting Your Credit

Even though you may be struggling financially right now, it is important to be aware of and maintain your credit. While your credit may not be on the top of your mind right now, it is important to maintain a healthy credit score so that when the economy does recover, you are able to fully participate. Some ways that you can help maintain a healthy credit score include keeping up with every bill possible. If you are unable to pay your bills, several lenders and creditors have implemented assistance programs to delay payments.

It is also important to know that the CARES Act implemented protection for homeowners who have federally backed mortgages. These individuals can request a forbearance on their mortgage for up to 180 days or more, if necessary. Student loan repayments and interest have also been extended by the federal government.

Common Scams

The total number of scams that have arisen during the COVID-19 pandemic are far too numerous to list and describe here in their entirety. Some of the most common scams you need to be aware of include the following:

  • Any Facebook or WhatsApp message that offers free COVID-19 money
  • Scams promising in early direct assistance payment
  • Any person calling saying that your Social Security number has been compromised
  • Email phishing schemes
  • Any person claiming to have a COVID-19 cure, treatment, or vaccination
  • Any person asking for your Social Security number, bank account information, or other personal information
  • Any person asking for payment through gift cards or crypto currency such as Bitcoin, Etherum, Litecoin, etc.

Please note that scammers often purposely target elderly citizens who may not be aware that they are being scammed. If you sense anything is “off” when dealing with any individual, it is okay to hang up the phone or terminate the conversation with them.

Get Help from a Charleston Consumer Protection Attorney

If you think that you or somebody you care about has become the victim of a financial scam, contact the team at Tiano O’Dell, PLLC for assistance today. Our experienced West Virginia consumer protection attorneys are standing by to investigate your case and lend any type of assistance we can. You can contact Tiano O’Dell for a free consultation online or by calling us at 304-720-6700.