The COVID-19 pandemic has been the cause of much stress, turmoil and difficulty globally. Many have also faced financial burden after being furloughed or laid off from their jobs. Devastatingly, cybercriminals have been quick to capitalize on already difficult times.
As government agencies are flooded with requests for assistance and unemployment applications, cybercriminals have taken advantage of the chaos to steal deserving citizens' unemployment and relief payments.
Stay alert and protect yourself from falling victim to such scams by remaining vigilant and skeptical. Many scammers collect the necessary identity information of their victims by posing as a legitimate government agency, asking you for your personal details. As a general rule of thumb, avoid providing your personal information to anyone reaching out to you, avoid clicking links that claim to take you to your state's unemployment application, and consider enrolling in an identity monitoring service.
“I received an email back in May from Florida’s unemployment system with a user ID. I was confused because I did not request one so I contacted the unemployment phone number and they told me that an unemployment claim was filed in my name. I am currently on paid FMLA leave with my current job so I have not filed for unemployment.” Like her fellow victims, she submitted a fraud claim with both Florida and Pennsylvania.