Valley Updates

Unemployment Fraud Scam

In light of the uncertainty COVID-19 poses for many, fraudsters are not taking a break from victimizing innocent people. It is important for you to be vigilant in the midst of navigating through these times. With many out of work and filing for unemployment fraudsters are trying to cash in. The FBI and other state and federal crime agencies have reported an increased number of cases involving fraudulent state unemployment insurance claims. Many states have been affected to include Massachusetts. Here is what you need to know:

The FBI advises the public to be on the lookout for the following suspicious activities:

  • Receiving communications regarding unemployment insurance forms when you have not applied for unemployment benefits
  • Unauthorized transactions on your bank or credit card statements related to unemployment benefits
  • Any fees involved in filing or qualifying for unemployment insurance
  • Unsolicited inquires related to unemployment benefits
  • Fictitious websites and social media pages mimicking those of government agencies

Tips on how to protect yourself:

  • Be wary of telephone calls and text messages, letters, websites, or emails that require you to provide your personal information or other sensitive information, especially birth dates and Social Security numbers. Be cautious with attachments and embedded links within email, especially from an unknown email sender.
  • Make yourself aware of methods fraudsters are using to obtain PII and how to combat them by following security tips issued by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, including:

Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks

Protecting Against Malicious Code

Preventing and Responding to Identity Theft

  • Monitor your bank accounts on a regular basis and request your credit report at least once a year to look for any fraudulent activity. If you believe you are a victim, review your credit report more frequently.
  • Immediately report unauthorized transactions to your financial institution or credit card provider.
  • If you suspect you are a victim, immediately contact the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit records. Additionally, notify the Internal Revenue Service by filing an Identity Theft Affidavit (IRS Form 14039) through irs.gov or identitytheft.gov.

If you believe you have been a victim of identity theft related to fraudulent unemployment insurance claims, report the fraud to law enforcement, state unemployment insurance agencies, the IRS, credit bureaus, and your employer’s human resources department. The FBI encourages victims to report fraudulent or any suspicious activities to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov. You may consult identitytheft.gov for help in reporting and recovering from identity theft.

Recovering from identity theft of any kind is a lengthy process. We are here to provide assistance to our members. Please contact us for more information at 413-733-2800. Click here for more resources to help you to protect yourself from falling prey to identity thieves.

Source: fbi.gov