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  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , unemployment benefits,   

    New unemployment and stimulus scams emerge 

    New scams involving both unemployment and stimulus

    Two of the biggest scams that dominated the headlines in 2020 were scams involving either the stimulus payments or unemployment benefits. Early in the year, scammers were hot to get their hands on the $1200 economic impact payments issued to eligible citizens. Then later on in the year, a massive wave of scammers filed for billions of dollars in fraudulent unemployment benefits taxing already overburdened unemployment systems in each state. With 2021 just barely being underway, it seems like we’re in for more of the same for now.

    Previously in unemployment scams, the scammers would file for fraudulent benefits using stolen identities. Sometimes, they would be filed in the name of people who were still employed. This tipped off the employers that unemployment benefits were filed falsely for current employees. Employers could then notify employees who could notify the state about the fraudulent filing. More recently, the state of Illinois has discovered a new tactic being used by unemployment scammers. Somehow, the scammers are changing the employer’s address when filing for benefits, so the employer does not get a notice. This removes a key barrier to preventing fraudulent benefits from being claimed. The state says they are already taking steps to prevent this information from being altered and are notifying any potential victims.

    In Florida, scammers are looking to take advantage of not just the unemployed but those awaiting their economic impact payments as well. Phishing emails have already gone out that look like they’re from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The legitimate looking emails are being sent to those already on unemployment and promise recipients a payment of $12,600. The email then asks you to click on a link that says ‘Accept My Claims’. A copy of the email can be viewed here. If you’ll notice, the email says that payment will be in USD. That’s kind of redundant since this supposedly from a US-based organization. Anytime USD is used in an email like this, it’s almost a guarantee that it’s an overseas scam.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 31, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , unemployment benefits,   

    Inside the life of an unemployment scammer 

    Inside the life of an unemployment scammer

    We’ve been discussing the current spate of unemployment scams for quite some time now. In case this is the first time you’re hearing of it, the unemployment systems in all 50 states have been assailed by both foreign and domestic scammers. The scammers use stolen identities to apply for fraudulent unemployment benefits. The state systems have been overwhelmed. Not only have they issued billions in fraudulent benefits, but they’ve also had little to no success in recouping the money.

    Recently, USA Today published an expose where they spoke with one of these scammers. It might surprise you how easy it is for these scammers to file for fraudulent benefits.

    The scammer that USA Today spoke with said that it only costs $2 to purchase a stolen identity online. That gets them a name, a date of birth, and a Social Security number. In most states, that’s all they need to file a fraudulent claim. If the state requires more information like a maiden name, the scammer can usually find that information publicly online. The scammer claims that they’re able to successfully file for benefits one out of 6 attempts. So far the scammer claims they’ve made $50,000 in 2020 alone. When asked if they have any remorse the scammer says their victims are nobody to them.

    The reason that the unemployment scammers have been so successful is that the state unemployment systems are not designed to catch these kinds of fraudulent claims. Instead, they’re designed to catch regular people who are lying in their applications. So far, the states have been very slow in reacting to these new scams and that has hurt legitimate unemployment recipients in the process. Some recipients have even been cut off by their state while the scammer collects their money. Even if you discover the fraud and report it to the state, it may take them a while before they can even react. Meanwhile, the scammers are collecting money hand over fist.

    We don’t know what the states need to do to turn back the tide of scammers, but the longer they take to act, the more money ends up in the pockets of scammers. Meanwhile, American citizens go hungry while the states try to figure this out.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , unemployment benefits,   

    Two TV reporters hit by unemployment scam 

    Two TV reporters hit by unemployment scam

    Once again, it seems like the current spate of unemployment scams show no sign of slowing down anytime soon. For those who may be unaware, domestic and foreign scammers are filing for unemployment benefits using stolen identities. The stolen identities were said to be obtained from previous corporate data breaches that exposed their customers’ information. These scams are overwhelming state unemployment systems due to the current pandemic. California alone is said to have paid out close to $2 billion in fraudulent unemployment claims.

    Many of these scams were discovered by people who are still employed. They either find out through their employer who is wondering why their employee filed for unemployment, or when the employee receives the unemployment payment in the mail. When scammers have the payment sent to the victim’s home address, it usually means they’ll try to convince the victim into transferring the fraudulent payment over to the scammer. Since the states are overwhelmed, trying to notify them you received a fraudulent payment has been time-consuming and frustrating.

    While North Carolina does not have nearly the same population as California, they’ve still paid out $11 million in fraudulent unemployment claims. Two of those claims were paid to two TV reporters who work for the same station out of Raleigh. One of the reporters is even a consumer protection reporter. One of the reporters had even taken steps to try to prevent being targeted in this scam. The news anchor reportedly put a freeze on his credit that should have prevented claims from being filed under his name. Both reporters said that they had difficulties explaining their situations to the state when they called the states’ fraud hotline. They felt like the representatives taking their calls were not trained well enough to deal with fraud claims. Both reporters also said they received the fraudulent payments in the mail before their employer even knew about the claims being filed. The state claims that they’re having a difficult time balancing between preventing fraud and paying out legitimate claims.

    The country is already facing an economic crisis because of the pandemic. If states don’t start getting a handle on unemployment fraud, the crisis could become worse than we ever thought.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 8, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , unemployment benefits,   

    California getting hit the hardest by unemployment scams 

    California getting hit the hardest by unemployment scams

    For months now, we’ve been discussing the historic amount of unemployment benefit scams that have been affecting each and every state. If reports are to be believed, it seems that California has been hit the hardest of all when it comes to unemployment scams.

    As we’ve mentioned before, both domestic and foreign criminal rings have been assailing the states’ unemployment systems with fraudulent claims. Because of the record number of people out of work because of the pandemic, scammers have taken it upon themselves to take advantage of the situation by filing false unemployment claims. Often the scammers use stolen identities they’ve obtained through large data breaches that have been sold on the dark web. Fraudulent benefits have been filed in the names of people who are both employed and unemployed.

    Recently, California district attorneys have announced that over $1 billion in fraudulent benefits have been paid out by the state. However, the bank that handles the unemployment debit cards for California says that total is closer to the $2 billion range. Some reports say that 1 in 3 unemployment claims in California are fraudulent. The problem has gotten so bad that the bank handling unemployment benefits for California have even taken some benefits back from legitimate recipients in the name of fraud investigation. Many of these recipients have had little to no recourse in getting their benefits back.

    If you live in California, you’re probably already aware of the situation. So if you live in any of the other 49 states, why should you care what happens to California? Well, when it comes to the larger states, as goes California so goes the country. It could be only a matter of time before we start seeing other states being ravaged by unemployment scammers like California is. Pennsylvania, Washington, and Massachusetts have already encountered massive unemployment fraud just not on the level of California yet.

    While we’re not sure what the solution is to stop these scammers, if the states don’t get a handle on them soon, the nation could be headed to even larger economic problems.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 24, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , pandemic unemployment assistance, , PUA, , unemployment benefits,   

    New unemployment scam promises $7600 

    New unemployment scam promises $7600

    If it seems like we’re hitting you over the head with unemployment scams, we’re sorry. We try to keep the content as diverse as possible but it seems that new unemployment scams have been popping up all over the country lately. This time, the scam is coming out of Ohio.

    The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is warning residents of an email phishing scam. The scam is said to be targeting anyone in the state that has received pandemic unemployment assistance. This is an assistance program Ohio uses to help those not normally eligible for unemployment such as the self-employed and gig workers.

    The email, which can be viewed here, states that applicants can receive an additional ‘7,600 USD’ if they click on the link that says ‘Accept My Claims’. If you were to click on the link it would no doubt take you to an official-looking but phony web page where you’ll be asked to input your personal information. If you’re on a laptop or desktop computer you can hover your cursor over any link to see where it’s really going to take you.

    There are a couple of red flags with this scam if you know what to look for. The first is that the email said payment would be 7,600 USD. USD is normally only used outside of the country to indicate how much something may be if you’re purchasing it from overseas. There are also some grammatical errors in the email that you may overlook if you’re not too careful.

    The whole situation in Ohio leaves a question that we think needs to be asked. How were the scammers able to obtain the email addresses of people who are and were on the pandemic unemployment assistance?

    We’d also like to remind you that just because it’s happening in Ohio doesn’t mean a similar scam couldn’t come to your state. If you receive an email like this, do not click on any of the links contained in it. Instead, if you think there’s an issue with your unemployment go directly to your state’s unemployment website.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on November 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , unemployment benefits,   

    New sweepstakes twist on unemployment scam 

    New sweepstakes twist on unemployment scam

    The Keystone State of Pennsylvania was one of the first states hit hardest by the nationwide problem of unemployment scams. For those who may not have heard, scammers are filing for unemployment benefits in all 50 states. The scammers use the identities of people who had their information exposed in corporate data breaches. Due to the sheer number of unemployment claims that have been filed since the start of the pandemic, most states’ unemployment systems have been overworked. This has allowed scammers to take advantage of the crisis and slip through the cracks and steal benefits.

    Now it seems that the scammers aren’t content with using the stolen identities they got through data breaches. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, residents there have reported receiving emails and social media messages about having won a prize. The messages contain a link that takes them to a page that requests personal information so the ‘prize’ can be claimed. This is what’s known as a phishing attack. Once the scammers have the victim’s information, they allegedly use it to file for unemployment benefits in the victim’s name.

    Since this new variation of the unemployment scam is appearing in Pennsylvania it’s more than likely happening in your state as well. The unemployment scam is one of the rare instances where a scam has happened almost everywhere in the country at once.

    As with all sweepstakes scams, if you’ve never entered anything you can’t win anything. So any online message that claims you’ve won something is more than likely a scam. Once you give your personal information to a scammer it’s out there for good and can never be retrieved. Even if you clear things up with your state’s unemployment office, there’s a good chance that this could be the first in a long line of instances where you have to fight to prove your true identity.

     
    • Lorrie 3:13 am on November 28, 2020 Permalink

      I never got mine and I’m a victim of iidenty theft help!!!

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , unemployment benefits, ,   

    Unemployment scams continue to plague states 

    Unemployment scams continue to plague states

    We’ve been keeping our readers informed of the various unemployment scams for months now. One might assume that the states may have put a stop to these scams by now but that assumption would be incorrect. As we’re about to show, many states are still having trouble putting a stop to the abuse of their unemployment benefits.

    West Virginia has had over 50,000 of its residents receive unemployment benefit debit cards that they did not apply for. This isn’t just abusing the West Virginia system as many of these claims were filed out of state. For example, one woman who lives in Morganton received a debit card for unemployment benefits that was issued out of Colorado. This could be particularly difficult for West Virginia residents as their unemployment rate is above that of the national average. These scams could be taking away benefits from the people who may need it most.

    The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development has issued a warning to residents about a nationwide email scam that is targeting the unemployed. The email states that there is a problem with an applicant’s claim. The applicant is then directed to click a link that takes them to a malicious website where they’ll be asked for their personal information. The TDLWD is reminding applicants that any email from them will come from a tn.gov address which could also be applicable in many other states. The address will come from whatever the state’s website is. Most states use the two-letter state abbreviation followed by .gov but there are a few exceptions.

    Arizona is another example of where scammers are filing for benefits in other people’s names. The scammers get this information from previous data breaches where personal information has been exposed. They then file for unemployment benefits using this stolen information. The scammers attempt to change the address or banking information to steal the benefits but when they can’t, the benefits get delivered to the victim’s possession. One woman had filed for unemployment in Arizona where she lives on May 10th. Scammers then applied for benefits in her name in Michigan two weeks later. Arizona is said to be investigating one million cases of fraudulent unemployment activity.

    Considering that the nation is seeing a rise in coronavirus cases and more states are issuing new lockdown orders we could be seeing even more unemployment in the foreseeable future. This will give more scammers even more opportunities to scam each of the 50 states.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , unemployment benefits,   

    Unemployment scam could send strangers to your door 

    Unemployment scam could send strangers to your door

    The current spate of unemployment scams have been going on just as long as the pandemic has been in effect. Overseas scammers have been flooding state unemployment systems with bogus requests for unemployment benefits. In several cases, scammers have applied for benefits using the names of people who are still working. The scammers will often change the addresses used for these benefits so they can intercept them before the victim finds out. However, that may change as more people become aware of the scam.

    According to reports out of California, people are receiving unemployment checks at their home addresses for people who don’t live at that address. One report even indicates that one woman received nine checks at her home for four different people that don’t live there.

    This could mean that scammers have designated her home as a drop site for their fraudulent unemployment checks. In turn, this could result in a couple of things happening. The scammers may have someone watching her mailbox hoping they can get a hold of the checks before the resident takes them inside. The scammers could also have someone approach the home posing as a state employee looking to ‘take back’ the erroneously issued checks.

    The question with this scam always seems to be what do you do if you received a fraudulently issued check. If the check is issued in your name you should contact your state’s unemployment office. While it can be a time-consuming process to reach someone at the state, it will be well worth your while, in the long run, to make sure the state is aware of this issue. This will help you avoid potential tax issues in the future.

    If the check is not in your name, some news outlets are stating that you should mark the envelope ‘return to sender’. While this is a good idea, you may want to drop off the envelopes at your local post office rather than leaving them in your mailbox. As we’ve said, scammers have no reservations about going through your mailbox to find what they need. If you take these envelopes to the post office, you’ll be helping to keep the fraudulent checks out of the hands of scammers.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , unemployment benefits,   

    New twist on unemployment debit card scam 

    New twist on unemployment debit card scam

    As you may know, every state in the country has been assailed by overseas scammers looking to cash in on unemployment benefits. Due to the record amount of Americans who are currently unemployed, the scammers are overwhelming state unemployment systems by applying for benefits in other people’s names in hopes of making off with that money. To that extent, scammers will also apply for benefits in the names of people who are currently employed. The scam is far from perfect and many people have caught the scam being perpetrated on them before the scammers could get the money. Usually, the scammers would keep their scam within one state at a time. That now seems to be changing.

    A report out of the State of Washington says that a couple there received two unemployment debit cards in the mail. Not only are the couple employed but the cards were issued from the state of Colorado. Neither of them had ever worked or lived in Colorado. The belief here is that since the cards are from out of state, a scammer could call them pretending to be from that state’s unemployment department and then ask for the cards back. The scammer could instruct them to send the cards to an address where the scammers could claim the cards and use the benefits themselves.

    However, some states are already fighting back against the scammers. As we mentioned previously, West Virginia has a system in place to try to prevent fraud. Now, the Colorado cards that were sent to the Washington couple had instructions to follow if they received the cards but did not apply for unemployment.

    If you receive a card like this and you have not filed for unemployment or they’re from a state that you never lived or worked, try contacting the issuing bank to see what they would like to have you do.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , unemployment benefits, ,   

    How one state is trying to stop unemployment scammers 

    How one state is trying to stop unemployment scammers

    Like most states, West Virginia has also been dealing with a record number of unemployment scammers. The scammers have been using stolen identities gained in data breaches to apply for unemployment in benefits in the various states. This scam has been affecting all 50 states and the scammers are even applying for benefits in the names of people who are currently employed. In some cases, scammers have been able to change the address to where the payments are sent to.

    West Virginia says that over 100,000 people have applied for unemployment benefits but they believe half of those applicants to be scammers. However, The Mountain State seems to have a process in place to try to prevent the scammers from claiming the money.

    The acting commissioner of Workforce West Virginia has stated that even though debit cards are sent out to applicants, there is no money on them to start. In order for someone to receive payment on their debit card, the state needs to contact the recipient to verify their identity. So even if a scammer was able to get the debit card delivered to them, there are steps in place to try to prevent the scammers from stealing your unemployment benefits.

    If you live in West Virginia and have received a debit card from the state but have not applied for unemployment, you’re asked to report the fraud at Workforce West Virginia’s website. You can then go ahead and destroy the debit card. If you live outside of West Virginia and have received unemployment benefits you did not apply for, we recommend going to your state’s unemployment website to see if they have the capability to report the fraud. You should be able to find it by doing a web search with the name of your state along with the phrase ‘unemployment fraud’.

    Another step we recommend you take if you’ve received fraudulent benefits is to contact a credit bureau to have your credit put on a one-year fraud alert. You should also periodically review your credit report because if you’ve received fraudulent benefits it means your identity has been stolen.

     
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