Quarter 2 2021, Volume 9 Issue 2
Combatting the Wave of COVID-19 Scams with New Outreach and Education Tools
The financial fallout from the COVID-19 national emergency continues to affect the housing and financial stability of individuals and families. Across the country, housing counseling agencies (HCAs) are reporting a significant increase in scam activity. Scammers are using this opportunity to take advantage of consumers, especially the most vulnerable populations. New scams are continuing to emerge, especially as government benefits, such as economic impact payments, become available.
HCAs play a critical role in increasing public awareness and combatting the wave of COVID-19 scams. As a housing counselor, equipping clients with the tools they need to spot warning signs, avoid falling victim to scams, and report fraudulent activities to authorities is essential to combatting this fraudulent activity.
There are three different sets of resources available for HCAs:
- Outreach Materials from the Office of Housing Counseling (OHC). The COVID-19 Frauds and Scams: Guide for Housing Counselors has in-depth information and resources to support client needs.
- Media Campaign from NeighborWorks America. NeighborWorks America has launched the Stop Home Scams campaign designed to educate renters and homeowners on housing-related scams. Agencies can email StopHomeScams@nw.org to access the partner toolkit, which includes outreach templates such as digital ads, social media press release templates, and other digital materials that can be customized with your agency’s information.
- Consumer Tools from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). For additional consumer tools, the CFPB has a suite of educational materials and information on their Frauds and Scams page.