Beware of Fraud: How to Protect Yourself from Unemployment Scams
According to the Federal Trade Commission, there has been a significant increase in reports of unemployment benefits fraud since the COVID-19 pandemic began. In 2020, there were over 400,000 reports of unemployment fraud, a 3,000% increase from the previous year.
Victims may face long-term financial repercussions, damage to credit scores, and emotional distress from being deceived by someone posing as a legitimate authority figure.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the common types of unemployment fraud, red flags to watch out for, and tips on how you can safeguard your personal information.
hat are the Types of Unemployment Fraud?
Knowing the different types of scams is essential to avoid becoming a victim. Among them are:
Fraudsters use emails or text messages that appear genuine but are aimed at stealing personal information such as social security numbers, passwords, and bank account details.
Fake Job Offers
Some fraudsters use fake job offers to lure unsuspecting individuals with promises of high-paying jobs with minimal effort required.
Scammers often ask for upfront payments for training materials or background checks before disappearing into thin air without fulfilling their end of the bargain.
Unemployment Identity Theft
Criminals can steal and use your personal information to open accounts or purchase without your knowledge. They might use this stolen identity to file fraudulent unemployment claims under your name.
How to Recognize Unemployment Scams
Here are some red flags to watch out for:
- Messages that ask you to provide your personal information or login credentials. This includes your Social Security number, bank account details, and other sensitive data.
- Messages that claim you are eligible for unemployment benefits even though you have not applied or are ineligible.
- Messages that demand immediate action from you without giving much time to think things over.
- Strange sender’s email address or phone number and the message’s grammar and spelling mistakes.
Additionally, scammers may use official-sounding names and logos to make their emails or websites appear legitimate.
For example, they might use the name of a real government agency, like the Department of Labor, or use similar branding to make their communications seem official.
Remember that legitimate organizations will never ask for your personal information or payment through email or text.
How to Protect Yourself From Scams Like Unemployment Fraud
Here are some tips that can help you avoid becoming a scam victim:
- Be wary of unsolicited emails or phone calls claiming to offer job opportunities and requesting personal information.
- Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown sources. Fake links will direct you to legitimate-looking websites to steal your data.
- Use strong passwords and change them regularly. Avoid using the same password for all accounts, and refrain from sharing them with anyone.
- Keep your computer software up-to-date with the latest security patches and antivirus programs.
- Monitor your financial statements regularly for any unauthorized activity.
What to Do When Someone Files a False Unemployment Claim
If you have fallen victim to unemployment fraud, you must act immediately.
- Report the fraudulent activity to your credit union, bank, or credit card company. They can help cancel any unauthorized transactions and prevent further damage.
- Next, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) so they can potentially catch the scammers.
- Report any suspicious emails or texts about unemployment benefits to your state’s labor department.
At CVF Credit Union, we aim to prevent any unusual behavior on your account before it becomes a significant issue. If you ever notice anything suspicious concerning your account, contact us immediately at (734) 432-0212, so we can help you resolve the matter as soon as possible.