Bozeman Police are seeing new, high numbers of victims of an older scam, and this time, it’s aiming at those that the pandemic has forced out of a job.
“Like any other disaster, there are those out there that are going to try to take advantage of the situation,” says Sgt. Travis Munter, Bozeman City Police. “We have seen an increase of reports of scam that have to do with unemployment benefits.”
It’s a scam that shares something with many others, preying on those who might be in their most desperate time of need.
Sgt. Munter and the rest of the Bozeman City Police say they’ve seen an uptick in dark clicks.
“People have been applying for unemployment benefits in other people’s names, trying to get additional benefits sent to them,” Munter says.
And by not having to do much more than phish out with links to your email.
“I’ll get an email, whether it is from Amazon or PayPal or whatever, trying to verify information,” Munter says.
Munter adds these red flags could come in the form emails directly to your email inbox, in the form of coming from the US Department of Labor and Industry.
But the Better Business Bureau says the numbers don’t lie, especially when you’re looking at the riskiest scams of 2018 and 2019 also coming from employment scams with job seekers losing a median income of $1,000.
“The hope is that you’re going to click on the link to see what order and try to cancel it and, in the process, they gain information,” Munter says.
The BBB also says to stay vigilant in other ways:
- Do background research
- Be suspicious of on the spot job offers
- Do not cash checks received from a potential scammer - they are most likely fake.
“Just ignore those,” Munter says. “Log into your account. Don’t click on links that are sent to you in an email.”
Munter says while most cases are outside of Bozeman jurisdiction, still call the police if you suspect you’ve become a victim.
“These things change over time,” Munter says. “It’s always good for us to be aware so we can do basically community outreach so that everybody knows that these things are happening and to be careful with what you are doing.”
Bozeman police also say that you can always visit sites like identitytheft.gov to help recover from often unseen scams like this.