Monday, May 20, 2024
64.0°F

COVID-19 affects home equity loans

| May 7, 2020 1:00 AM

As the fallout from COVID-19 continues to filter through our economy, one notable change that happened last weekend was Wells Fargo and Chase Banks announced they will no longer offer new home equity loans.

It’s unclear why these banks have ceased making new equity loans but one can only speculate that they may be preparing for decreases in home values and/or it may simply be due to tightening credit markets.

If you have an equity loan and anticipate needing to use it in the near future, you may want to consider drawing on it soon — just in case lenders decide to tighten things further.

•••

AMAZON SHOPPERS BEWARE: If you shop on Amazon you should be aware of a recent scam targeting your personal information.

Traditionally, scammers would set up fake emails and websites to direct unsuspecting customers there, then steal their personal information or credit card numbers. The emails and websites would be off slightly from the legitimate site. However, more and more customers started catching on to these discrepancies.

So now scammers are sending out emails that appear to come from Amazon.com and look authentic. The subject line states, “A recent order cannot be shipped.” When the customer clicks on the link, they’re directed to confirm their name, address and credit card number and to save and continue.

At that point the customer is directed to the real website — but the scammers have already captured the information.

Amazon issued a warning to its customers that if they get any email from Amazon.com, they should not reply or click on any links in the emails. Instead, Amazon says go directly to your Amazon account and login, then go to “your orders” to check the status of any outstanding orders.

By following Amazon’s suggestion you will not be giving scammers access to your personal information.

•••

FAKE MONEY GIVEAWAY: Are you giving money away you didn’t even know you had?

A Coeur d’Alene reader called to say she had been contacted by some of her friends and relatives who say they received a text message from her with the great news that she was giving them $200. All they had to do was click the link to claim the money.

She was surprised to find out that she was reportedly giving away money to her family and friends. For those who contacted her directly, she told them it was a scam and that she didn’t send the notice. There really isn’t much she can do about these fake notices being distributed except to warn her contacts that it was a hoax.

If you get one of these notices that someone you know is giving money to you, contact them directly to see if the message is legitimate. Do not click on any links because it likely contains malware designed to get your personal data from you.

It’s probable that our reader’s Facebook account was hacked.

•••

NO, IT’S NOT URGENT: A Coeur d’Alene reader called to say that someone she thought she knew texted her the following urgent message:

“I’ve been trying to purchase a $200 Sephora E-Gift card by email, but it says they are having issues charging my card. I contacted my bank and they told me it would take a couple of days to get it sorted. I intend to buy it for my Niece whose birthday is today. Can you purchase it from your end for me, I’ll refund it to you once my bank sorts the issue out. Let me know so I can send you her email.”

Turns out the reader didn’t even know the sender or why the sender of the email would think our reader would be willing to help out. It was a scammer appealing to our reader to send money for which no refund would ever be issued.

Don’t fall for these types of phony urgent requests.

•••

Remember: I’m on your side.

•••

If you have encountered a consumer issue that you have questions about or think our readers should know about, please send me an email at terridickersonadvocate@gmail.com or call me at 208-274-4458. As The CDA Press Consumer Gal, I’m here to help. I’m a copywriter working with businesses on marketing strategy, a columnist, a veterans advocate assistant and a consumer advocate living in Coeur d’Alene.