What's the Latest in COVID Scams?
Scams and fraud have been pervasive throughout time. The internet created a new avenue to scam unsuspecting people. My first memory of an internet scam was the prince from a distant land who wanted to wire you money. That never works out like you hope.
It is no surprise that the stimulus measures distributed to many last year have the scam sharks smelling blood and circling the ships. Aid was distributed quickly and in high volume, which probably makes it a little easier to execute a scam in the beginning stages.
But these efforts are persisting and there are several.
Some are attempting to fraudulently file unemployment benefit claims under your name. You learn this when you receive paperwork from the AL Unemployment office requesting verification. Use the link at the bottom to report this activity.
Last week, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall announced that a recent trend is to send text messages to citizens encouraging them to report suspected unemployment benefits fraud on a fake AL Dept of Labor website. It ends in ‘.com’ instead of ‘.gov’.
One of the wonders of technology is the ability to remove friction and make our lives easier. This scam brilliantly seizes that convenience. This creative move is implementing a scam to report other potential scams.
Marshall’s office added that the AL Dept of Labor will not communicate with you via text message.
We have all fielded calls on our cell phone in recent years from the supposed IRS, Social Security, and someone, “calling to talk about your car’s extended warranty”. It’s easier to recognize the scam by the automated voice. A text message makes the scam a little less obvious.
There are multiple unemployment scams being implemented right now. A quick check on a free credit reporting site like Credit Karma could ensure there have been no infringements to date.
Using more secure passwords and securing them in a safe place like Last Pass is also a good idea to consider protecting yourself.
If you suspect fraudulent activity, you can report it to the ADOL at https://labor.alabama.gov/