As more and more people are laid off or voluntarily leave their jobs due to safety concerns, budget cuts, and lifestyle changes associated with COVID-19, it’s important to know what to look out for when it comes to unemployment fraud. Unfortunately, it’s in these moments of vulnerability that identity thieves prey on victims, making an already-difficult time even more challenging. Here are some common scams to look out for while navigating this situation.
Fake Government Websites
A common approach thieves use is creating fake websites meant to look like they’re run by the government. This is a way for them to get enough of your information to file an unemployment claim in your name. Keep in mind that if they have enough data to do that, they likely have enough to commit other forms of identity theft with that information as well.
Phishing Texts and Emails
This tried-and-true method is one most of us are aware of but should remain top-of-mind. If you don’t recognize a number or email address from which someone is contacting you, don’t click on any links or open attachments or provide any sensitive information. Phishing attempts have gotten more sophisticated, and may often appear to come from a friend or colleague (for example, your HR department asking to update your file with personal information)!
Unsolicited Phone Calls
The are a couple of reasons you could get a call about an unemployment claim when you haven’t filed one. One may be that someone else has filed an unemployment claim posing as you (here are some signs that your identity may have been stolen). Alternatively, you could be getting the call from someone who is trying to steal your identity. If the person on the line asks you to pay a fee or provide personal information on the phone, beware! Those are two of the biggest red flags you may encounter with any type of solicitation.
How Do I Protect Myself?
The best way to protect your personal information is to be aware of scams, remain diligent in monitoring your transactions, and know who to call if something goes wrong. Sometimes thieves make minor purchases before making attempts at larger ones as a way to see if you’re monitoring your transactions, so make sure to report anything suspicious, no matter how small.
There is no way to prevent identity theft entirely, which is why your safest option is to enroll in a comprehensive identity theft protection plan. Zander Identity Theft Solutions covers all types of identity theft and monitors your information to let you know if you’ve become a victim. If that is the case, we’ll handle the restoration work and provides up to $1 million dollars in reimbursement.