For scammers, chaos is a ladder. In times of crisis, every vulnerability is an opportunity. During the coronavirus pandemic, fraudsters have targeted panicked citizens. Most recently, they went after stimulus checks. But scammers are also trying to steal unemployment benefits and Social Security funds, too.
With millions upon millions of Americans out of work, scammers know that the unemployment benefit system is overloaded. Not just that, but many of the state-level systems are lax when it comes to cyber security.
For example, a Nigerian scammer ring used stolen personal information to file for fake benefits. They’ve also exploited a flaw that allowed multiple filings from the same email address.
Unfortunately, there’s not much that you, as an individual, can do to stop unemployment benefit scams. However, you can be vigilant about protecting your personal information so that scammers can’t use it for fraudulent purposes.
Seniors are often the target of scams. Fraudsters exploit seniors’ kindness–and, often, loneliness–to steal everything they can. While Social Security scams have been around for decades, they’re even more common now.
The Social Security Administration issued a warning about the rise in scams. These bad actors are sending letters to seniors that threaten to cut off benefits because of coronavirus office closures. The letters claim that unless the recipient calls a number right now, they’ll lose their money.
Of course, the number is actually a trick to get seniors to divulge personal information. That includes things like their Social Security number, which can be used for identity theft, and bank account numbers.
Some scammers even tell people that they need to pay a fee to get their account reinstated. They demand payment in a wire transfer or gift card. That should be a huge red flag to anyone caught in a scam. Unfortunately, this trick works often enough that scammers just keep pulling it.