If you are one of the many Americans who has filed for unemployment benefits or is considering doing so, you should know of a scam targeting those seeking benefits. Scammers are always looking for new ways to swindle money and with a large increase in people requesting unemployment benefits, bad actors see a situation ripe for exploitation.
Because states are streamlining the unemployment claims process, some fraudsters are posing as someone they’re not to receive unemployment benefits. From stealing sensitive personal information to filing a claim under a victim’s name without approval or notice to setting up phony unemployment websites, here’s what you need to know:
- If you receive a notice of an unemployment claim you did not file, report the fraud immediately the California Employment Development Department.
- There is no fee to file a claim, so if you are asked to pay, this is a scam.
- Be aware of fake websites. Scammers are creating websites to trick individuals into releasing personal information. Make sure that the website you are using is a legitimate government website. Third-party websites and outside agencies cannot apply for unemployment benefits for you.
- You will never be asked to provide sensitive information, such as your social security number or bank account information through email when applying for unemployment benefits. Any email or robocall call asking you to provide such information, regardless of how official it may appear, is fraudulent.
- If you get an unsolicited email, never click on any links.
- Beware of robocalls asking for personal information to complete your unemployment application. Most government agencies will only call you if you contacted them and asked to be called back.
Now that you know how to spot unemployment scams, here are some tips to avoid them:
- Use only official websites and phone numbers of your corresponding unemployment agency.
- Monitor your credit reports in order to see if any unemployment claims are opened without your permission or if any other fraud occurs.
- Keep your computer security up to date.
If you find yourself the victim of an unemployment scam or that an unemployment benefits claim was falsely opened under your identity, report it at IdentityTheft.gov. This website can also help you freeze your credit if necessary. In addition, report the scam directly to your unemployment agency.
As your District Attorney, I’m committed to increasing communication and accessibility between the DA’s Office and the public. I hope these consumer and public safety tips have been helpful.