Pandemic Brings New Scams, Too
In good times and bad, scammers are looking for their next mark, and the billions of dollars in government benefits delivered during the pandemic created numerous opportunities for fraud. It’s not just money that con artists are after; they’re also trying to persuade you to share sensitive information they can use to steal your identity. Common targets for fraud:
Unemployment benefits. Unemployment-benefits fraud skyrocketed during the pandemic as millions of people filed for benefits for the first time. The claims overwhelmed the ability of some states to process unemployment-benefits applications, and some states lacked measures to verify that the applications were legitimate, says Pete Eskew, senior vice president, public sector, at ID.me, an identification-verification software company. In addition, some states removed authentication measures in an effort to speed up the processing of benefits as job losses increased. That made it easier for crooks to file claims using stolen identities. Most victims don’t discover that their information has been compromised until they receive a Form 1099-G from their state informing them that they owe taxes on benefits the scammer received in their name.
If you’ve received a Form 1099-G for benefits you did not receive, report the fraud to the IRS and the state that issued the form. Go to https://www.irs.gov/identity-theft-fraud-scams/identity-theft-and-unemployment-benefits for more information.
You can protect yourself by…