Whenever a crisis strikes, we can rely on first responders to act quickly to make sure people are kept safe and get the help they need. Unfortunately, opportunists and scammers are never far behind.
As the world is still fighting to fend off COVID-19 and recover from its economic impacts, fraudsters are already hard at work trying to abuse the systems put in place to provide relief, and are using innocent people as unwitting accomplices who end up bearing the costs themselves.
The latest scheme that law enforcement is warning our members about works like this:
- The criminal connects with their victim online and begins to build trust. This may be in the form of a romantic online relationship started through a dating site, or through false employment postings designed to lure in desperate job seekers.
- After building up trust, the fraudster begins to collect personal information from their victim, including their account number.
- Then, they file a fraudulent unemployment claim using the victim’s information. The victim receives the money, but then gives it to the criminal.
- Once the state figures out the claim was fraudulent, they take their money back, leaving the victim with a negative account, and looking like an active participant.
Don’t let this happen to you. Be wary of anyone who tries to gather personal data from you, and especially don’t share your account information with strangers. If this sounds like something that’s happened to you, or if you suddenly see an unexpected payment from an out of state unemployment service, please notify our fraud team immediately at 919-420-8211.