Now is an important time to remain vigilant about securing your personal data and being cautious of scammers misleading you with unemployment promises.

Millions of Americans are currently unemployed as a result of the detrimental effect of the global Coronavirus Pandemic. With the sudden urgency and shutdowns that swept the nation, many were not prepared or expecting to be laid off. This left a serious lag in unemployment compensation benefits being released in a timely manner and many scrambling to find ways to bring in income. While those systems are in better shape now than even just one month ago, there are still unruly scammers who are looking for unknowing and vulnerable victims. It is far too easy to fall for unemployment scams. It’s important now, more than ever to understand the risks and steps you must take to prevent yourself from being swindled by unemployment scams.

Here are some telltale signs that you could be putting yourself at risk.

Well-crafted Phishing Emails

One of the trickiest ways scammers are reaching out to individuals and gaining illicit access to their personal information is by spoofing emails to appear to be from a legit source. When an email is received it is designed to appear identical to one that would come from the actual department and may even have a masked email address that appears to come from a .gov address. It is important to be very careful with these emails. You should never click on links, provide private information, and be alert when questions unrelated to your claim are being asked. It’s also a good idea to hover over email addresses and links without actually clicking them to reveal the real source.

Contact via Text Message

With so many credible businesses using text messaging to communicate with customers today it can be easy to assume that a text which comes through claiming to be an official from the unemployment office is legit. These texts are scams and are looking for the caller to provide information with their private data to fraudsters. Be cautious of the phone number you’re being asked to dial out to. Better do not call any number but the official government unemployment office if you need to speak to someone.

A Website Claims to Help You File/Collect Faster

There are many malicious sites that look credible out there now that claim to assist individuals with filing their unemployment benefits and that using the service will help you to collect faster. Be cautious of this as there should be no fees associated with claiming your unemployment benefits. Also entering your private information into a malicious site will make it easy for a scammer to reproduce the information and file for the actual benefits in your name.

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