Unemployment Relief Scams on the Rise During COVID-19

COVID-19 has brought a massive recession along with a deadly virus. Unfortunately, the pandemic has forced millions of people without work and hackers are harnessing this grim situation to steal funds and data from jobless ones.

Scammers abuse unemployment schemes

  • According to new intel reports, a Nigerian cybercrime group, Scattered Canary, swindled millions of dollars from the US unemployment systems that were meant for jobless people.
  • The crooks stole personally identifiable information of claimants and used them to file fraudulent state unemployment funds.
  • So far, the fraudsters have targeted unemployment departments in Washington, Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Wyoming.

Preying on job loss fear

  • In the time of this unfortunate pandemic that has caused unemployment rates to skyrocket, cybercriminals took advantage of job loss fear to target users.
  • Threat researchers detected a phishing email scam that purported to be quarterly review from HR and asked recipients to join a fake Zoom Meeting, failing which they would be terminated.

Job listing scams on the rise

  • Since the pandemic hit in December, the Better Business Bureau has reported more than 13,000 job listing scams in North America alone.
  • The scammers prey on people’s fear and sense of urgency as they look for their next paycheck.
  • Often, these scammers use keywords like ‘work-from-home’, ‘work-at-home’, ‘quick money’, and ‘immediate hire’ to trap unsuspecting job seekers in their job hunting schemes.

Staying safe

  • Job seekers should exercise caution while looking for jobs online.
  • Never respond to unsolicited emails or text messages that ask to share personal information.
  • Don’t rely on information from unofficial sources or websites that claim to provide unemployment benefits.
  • Strictly ignore messages that ask to wire money in exchange for unemployment benefits. Remember, it’s free to file.