In an Internet-reliant, interconnected world, the methods and reasons fraudsters use to trick people are constantly changing. Scammers monitor the news to take advantage of whatever chaos and current information may be effective in convincing people to part ways with their money or vital information. The COVID pandemic, widespread unemployment, increased online shopping are a few examples.
If you add those situations above to the historically reliable Medicare/Social Security scams, bogus sweepstakes/lotteries, and fake charity scams, you’ll come up with the top five scams of 2021.
1. The Unemployment Scam — In what is described as the most massive scam opportunity ever, scammers raced to exploit the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. By utilizing bots to file bogus unemployment claims in the name of actual people, fraudsters were able to steal an estimated $200 billion from the government program. People who never filed for unemployment received letters telling them their PUA benefits were expiring. Those peoples’ identities were stolen, and the filings also caused severe tax liability problems for those compromised.
We still receive lots of calls regarding this scam. If you may have been a victim of the scam, go to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services hotline at 833-658-0394 or online at unemployment.ohio.gov and press the “Report Identity Theft” button to report the fraud.
2. Social Security/Medicare Scams — In these scams,…