Government wheels have been moving slowly, especially since the pandemic began. Government offices were closed, time-saving or booked, and in most cases staff cuts were made.
Usually, when the government acts swiftly to deal with a problem, a huge amount of money is thrown into it as a solution. Chaos often happens in a hurry to help. Unexpected situations have occurred and safeguards have been overlooked.
However, fraudsters act swiftly when they realize that the turmoil offers an opportunity to strip people, governments, or organizations.
The most likely opportunity for the largest fraud to date is the competition of fraudsters to abuse the federal pandemic unemployment support program.
The US government has suffered an estimated $ 200 billion in losses, according to ID.me, which provides state verification support tools.
Since its inception, fraudsters have used bots to file fake claims for unemployment insurance benefits covered by federal PUA. That’s 68% of the 164 million workforce in the United States.
An article on the non-profit newsroom website ProPublica.org shows an example of a Bronx man who allegedly received $ 1.5 million in just 10 months and a California real estate broker who earned more than $ 500,000 within 6 months. Shows how widespread fraud is. Nigerian government officials have accused him of pocketing more than $ 350,000 within six weeks. The broker pleaded guilty, but a Bronx man and Nigerian officials pleaded not guilty.
Recently, the BBB was flooded with consumer calls about a letter from the Ohio Department of Employment and Family Services that PUA benefits would expire. The letter is legal. Unfortunately, the recipient of the letter has never applied for an unemployment allowance. Their identities were used when fraudsters filed fake PUA claims.
Not only are IDs at risk, but serious tax obligation issues can affect the users who use them.
Here’s what to do if you receive one of the following letters from ODJFS:
• Flag fraudulent transactions with three major credit reporting companies. Contact Equifax 800-525-6285, Experian at 888-397-3742 And trans union 800-680-7289.. Put a one-year free fraud warning in your credit report. Also consider freezing your credit.
• Change your bank, credit card, personal account, and email passwords.
• If you receive an ODJFS letter, ask your bank, credit card company, or other financial institution to warn your account of fraud.
• If the letter is sent to your home but not addressed to someone in your home, mark it as “Return to sender” and mail it.
• Request an identity protection PIN from the IRS. This will prevent someone else from filing your tax return using your taxpayer’s Social Security number.
• Address the impact of tax obligations by following the IRS guidance to taxpayers regarding the theft of personal information with unemployment benefits.You can find it j.mp/2ZvlWLZ..
When you receive the letter from ODJFS, act promptly. Suppose a scammer has access to valuable personal information such as your social security number and financial information.
Reghan Winkler is the Executive Director of Better Business Bureau, which serves the Midwestern Ohio. BBB can be found on the internet bbb.org/us/oh/lima..
Reghan Winkler: What to do if a scammer applies for unemployment in your name
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