The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the entire employment image in America. Have you or a loved one needed to reach out to your state unemployment office due to being out of work (or experiencing a massive reduction in work hours)? As if that process wasn’t difficult enough! Unfortunately, many have experienced the shock and dismay when their unemployment claim is turned down for benefits due to a duplicate application. It is happening … and way too often. Hackers live for mankind’s vulnerability, especially during trying times like this.
We understand that it’s hard to know what you need to know especially during immense stress. The following are the five most common unemployment scams that we would like for you to be aware of:
– Phishing email scams. Be wary of a sender you don’t know even if there are familiar logos visible in the email. Just because the email says it’s coming from your former employer’s CEO, doesn’t mean that it is legit. Verify the sender via phone before you trust the information that they are providing. If no one is available to verify it via a call … it’s a scam.
– Debit and direct deposit card scams. Hackers know that states may use debit cards or payments via direct deposit to deliver benefits to you. If you are asked to provide personal identifying information (PII), such as date of birth, social security number, and/or bank account information before you actually apply for a card … it’s a scam. We have seen unemployment debit card scams that end up charging the victim for inactivity.
– Fake phone call scams. The Department of Labor suggests to only use official government websites and phone numbers to file a claim for unemployment benefits. If someone calls you before you reach out for help … it’s a scam.
– Jobseeker scams. If anyone is interested in hiring you immediately because you are the “perfect” candidate for a position you haven’t sought out … it’s a scam.
– Fake job board website scams. If a website asks you to pre-register and give them your bank account information for your first paycheck … it’s a scam.
Here are some tips to help avoid unemployment benefit scams:
– Do not respond to unsolicited emails and texts. A state will not try to reach you and certainly won’t via text message.
– Do not click any type of website link even if it looks like it’s from one of your financial institutions. Scammers are really sneaky. Read our blog Do Not Click! for more information.
– Monitor your accounts closely. If an identity thief has enough information to apply (and receive) your benefits, it’s a pretty solid bet that they have information on your other accounts. Update your passwords, which is a step to take even not during a pandemic.
– Help keep your PII safe by making sure you’re dealing with a legitimate government representative.
Interested in learning how to file unemployment benefits in your state? Check this map, select the state where you worked, and you will be directed to the appropriate contact information. Be smart. Be vigilant. Be strong. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help. We are available 24/7/365 for you and your family members at 1.888.966.GUARD (4827) and firstname.lastname@example.org.