Scammers take advantage of anything that might make you vulnerable in the public health crisis caused by the coronavirus or unemployment to grab your attention and scam you with phishing tactics and malware.
Cybercrime experts are warning that scams could increase with the arrival of the third stimulus check and have recommended that the government adopt stricter anti-fraud measures to verify the identity, work history and location of applicants, otherwise there could be a time when new fraudsters could emerge.
One estimate indicates that at least 10% of the $450 billion allocated last year to extend unemployment benefits was stolen by criminals.
How do fraudsters take advantage?
Criminal networks have figured out how they can file fraudulent claims across the country just by using your name, date of birth, address, Social Security number and bank account.
Sometimes hackers pose as government officials to present misinformation and trick you into downloading malicious items to your cell phone or computer that put your personal data at risk.
Unfortunately fake stimulus checks can also come and surprise you. Scammers may ask you to deposit a check for several thousand dollars, usually in excess of what the government might hand out as part of the stimulus check you and your family members are entitled to.
The criminals will ask you to send some of that money to someone else and sometimes explain that this is because the deposit will help you cash your check.
Scammers always have a good story to explain why you can’t keep all the money from a supposed stimulus check you received. They may tell you they need it to cover taxes, buy supplies or something else so be on the lookout.
Counterfeit checks come in many forms. They may look like business or personal checks, cashier’s checks, money orders or checks sent electronically. If you believe you have been the target of a counterfeit check scam, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service or your state Attorney General.