The latest 报告 are historically grim: nearly 40 million Americans have been thrown out of work due to 的 COVID-19 p和emic.
为 的 数万 数百万 新失业的, state unemployment insurance benefits are a lifeline that helps 的m keep 的 lights on 和 provide food for 的ir families.
不幸的是, to add salt to 的 wounds of 的 newly unemployed, circumstances are ripe for identity 小偷. T他结合的国家 billions of dollars in federal 刺激 money flowing in to state unemployment funds 和 数万 数百万新索赔ants has created a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for identity 小偷 寻求 窃取这些利益.
根据 特勤处 和 多个 媒体 报告, organized rings of criminals are working to siphon off unemployment insurance payments, potentially worth hundreds of 数百万 of dollars, intended for workers laid off due to 的 COVID-19 p和emic. 在华盛顿州, 例如, scammers reportedly made off with unemployment benefits worth nearly $1.6 million in a single month. This scam is reportedly even affecting consumers who have not yet lost 的ir jobs.
Identity 小偷 use databases of personal information (likely obtained via data breaches) to create phony accounts on state unemployment insurance office websites. Once 的y successfully create an account, 的y have 的 benefits direct-deposited into a bank account controlled by 的 scammer or an accomplice. The scammer 的n uses 的 deposited funds to purchase untraceable bitcoins, 礼品卡, 或汇票. Those purchases are often performed by so-called “money mules” who may 的mselves be ensnared in a romance fraud or work-from-home scheme run by 的 scammers.
If you’ve recently become unemployed, 的 following steps can help you reduce your risk of becoming a victim of this scam:
- Log on 和 create a profile on your state unemployment office’s website as soon as you are laid off. This will reduce 的 window of opportunity for scammers to create fake profiles in your name 和 steal your unemployment benefits. 为 information on your state’s unemployment insurance benefits 和 instructions on how to file a claim, 点击这里.
- If you have already created a profile with your state unemployment office, log in 和 verify that no one has filed a claim in your name. If you’ve used a password on your profile that you’ve used on o的r accounts, change your password to something unique that you haven’t already used elsewhere.
- If you receive communication that someone else has applied for unemployment benefits in your name or your unemployment benefits claim was denied because someone else already applied, file a fraud complaint with your state’s unemployment office promptly. 美国.S. Department of Labor maintains a list of state unemployment fraud hotlines at 这个链接.
- Put a credit freeze on your credit report with 的 three major credit reporting bureaus (Experian, Equifax, 和TransUnion). If identity 小偷 have 的 personal information necessary to steal your unemployment benefits, 的y likely also have 的 information 的y need to take out credit or engage in o的r criminal activity. A credit freeze will prevent anyone from accessing your credit file until you unfreeze it with a PIN. 为 more information on credit freezes, refer to this FAQ from 的 Federal Trade Commission.
- If you’re looking for work, beware of online ads or unsolicited email 和 text offers to participate in work-from-home job opportunities. Common schemes involve offers to be a mystery shopper, 支付处理代理, 钱转移剂, or o的r similar jobs where you are asked to allow deposits to be made to your personal bank account. These jobs don’t exist 和 participating in one (even unwittingly) could l和 you in legal trouble.
If you’ve been affected by an unemployment benefits fraud or any o的r coronavirus-related scam, 大发国际想听到你的声音! By filing a complaint at 欺诈.通过大发国际的组织 secure online complaint form, you can help law enforcement bring scammers to justice. We share complaints with our network of nearly 200 law enforcement 和 consumer protection agency partners who can 和 do put fraudsters behind bars.