With the ongoing crisis that our world is currently facing, many people are applying for unemployment benefits. In the past week or so, Florida has received approximately 103,000 unemployment applications. Unfortunately, scammers are using this difficult time as an opportunity to take advantage of others through a variety of unemployment scams.
4 Unemployment Scams
To help protect you and your loved ones from becoming a potential target of unemployment scams, we have compiled a list of the most popular unemployment scams to look out for.
- Scam Websites. – With unemployment websites reaching an all-time high during this pandemic, scammers are taking advantage of this high volume of traffic by creating websites that seem similar to the government’s official unemployment website. In doing so, these imitation websites can trick people into ‘filing’ their unemployment application with them leading to personal information being compromised. The best way to avoid such scams is to trust the state government’s guidance and ensure online filing is only conducted through state government official websites such as http://www.floridajobs.org/.
- False Emails or ‘Phishing.’ – Many people who have applied for unemployment might be on the lookout for updates on their application via email, especially if they applied online. Scam emails, known as ‘phishing,’ will often try to impersonate an official government email which may contain links or other online forms that request confirmation of personal information. This is very common during times of crisis and it is recommended to always look at the email address before clicking any links. Phishing emails that seem to have come from government agencies will usually have a grammatical error in the message or email address. For example, if you receive a suspicious email claiming to be from the State of Florida and the email address reads “firstname.lastname@example.org” that is clearly not a government official email address.
- Fake Government Checks. – There are many tricks criminals will use to have others believe they received a government check or are receiving a government check. One of these tricks will be found via an email claiming that the person will need to confirm his or her receipt of the government check online. This will require the individual to provide more information and may require a processing fee. Scammers may even go as far as sending a fake stimulus check in the mail. According to the Federal Trade Commission, if you deposit the fake check into your account, it will eventually bounce after taking some time to process. However, while the check is processing, the scammer may contact you via email or phone call trying to claim that the false check had the incorrect amount and the excess amount must be wire transferred back to the scammer. If you ever suspect a check received via mail is false, we recommend calling the agency directly to confirm the status of the check before cashing it.
- Pre-Recorded Phone Calls. – Another popular form of an unemployment scam is through pre-recorded phone calls. These fraudulent calls can have a caller ID claiming to be from the IRS or another government agency although that is not the case. Scammers usually use well-trained phone operators to make it seem realistic and will even use previously stolen information to convince you that they are from the government such as asking to confirm your social security number, address, and other personal details. If you are unsure, you can always confirm these false numbers by simply googling them and request to be put on the National Do Not Call registry list.
Our number one priority is protecting Florida’s families. We encourage you to speak to your loved ones about the different types of financial scams currently happening in your community. If you believe to have encountered an unemployment scam, we encourage you to report this fraud immediately by contacting the U.S. Department of Labor.
For more information regarding the coronavirus and other potential scams occurring during these difficult times, please visit our Coronavirus Resource Center for up-to-date information from reliable sources such as WHO, the CDC, and Florida State Government.
Panter, Panter & Sampedro is currently accepting new cases and working on all on-going cases. During this time, we are here to help you with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a potential claim. Please feel free to contact us at (305) 662-6178 or visit us online at PanterLaw.com.