Millions of Americans lost their jobs this year and are seeking unemployment benefits. With so many people trying to find relief, scammers are preying on unemployed Americans to steal their benefits, personal information, and money.
If you’re unemployed or know someone who is, learn how to recognize unemployment benefits scams, how to protect yourself from fraud, and where to find resources you can trust.
And if you're not unemployed, be aware that scammers may try to use your personal information to apply for unemployment benefits.
Be aware of any website, call or email that charges a fee to assist with unemployment claims. Applying for benefits is FREE.
We recommend that you periodically check your credit report to verify that any new accounts or inquiries were initiated by you. All Chambers Club checking account holders are entitled to Identity Monitoring as part of their account services.
Common Unemployment Scams
- Phishing Emails – Phishing emails are designed to look like they’re from a reputable source. Fraudsters use phishing emails to try to trick you into giving them personal information like your Social Security Number or banking information, or they may try to get you to download malicious software on your computer. The emails may claim to be from the U.S. Department of Labor or the state unemployment office. They may say your claim is incomplete and they need more information.
Be VERY cautious about giving out any information via email. Instead of responding to the email, pick up the phone and call the entity at a number that’s available on their website or in the phone book. Do not click on links in emails.
- Fake Phone Calls and Text Messages – Some states have reported scams involving phone calls or text messages. The message may claim that unemployment benefits have been suspended and you must reactivate by calling a number, then giving them your banking account information or PIN.
Remember that federal and state agencies will not contact you through text messages, so know that these types of communications are not legitimate.
Never give out your personal or banking information to someone who calls you. If someone calls you claiming to be from Chambers Bank, hang up and call us at our Customer Care Center (1-800-603-1226) or your local branch.
- Jobseeker Scams – Since so many Americans are looking for jobs, scammers may call or email you and try to trick you into believing they’re looking for employees, when what they’re really trying to obtain is your personal information or payment.
Here are some red flags in a jobseeker scam:
- Requests for your social security number
- Job offers that seem too good to be true
- Failure to provide a job title or recognizable company name
- References to a resume that you did not post online
- Offers to sell you something like a “starter kit”
- Offers to pay you with bank account transfers
- Requests to cover “processing fees”
Remember: even if an email looks legitimate and has a company logo, it could be a scam. If you did not apply for a job at a company that calls you, be cautious about the information you provide.
- Fake websites – Be aware of websites that promise to assist you in filing your unemployment claims. Only you can claim your unemployment benefits, so do not give out your personal information to one of these sites. Look for websites that have .gov in their address to ensure that they’re not fraudulent.
Keep your personal and banking information safe from scammers.
During these tough times, scammers are actively trying to gain access to your personal information. Here are a few tips to help you avoid being scammed.
Know the common types of scams.
Scammers may target you through fake emails asking you to click on a link to enter information (a technique known as phishing), text messages, phone calls, letters or even by showing up at your door unexpectedly. Do not give out personal information unless you initiated the contact.
Watch for red flags.
The most common types of scams will ask you to do one or more of the following things:
- Confirm or enter your social security number, bank account number or other personal information by clicking on a link in an email.
- Provide your bank account number to receive an IRS payment, especially in reference to the Economic Impact Payment/stimulus.
- Send money immediately to pay a bill because there’s a warrant out for your arrest.
- Purchase gift cards and provide them as form of payment.
- Cash a check for a stranger and send a portion of the check via wire, PayPal® or Zelle® (allowing you to keep the rest of the money)
- Deposit a check that overpays for something you’re selling, then send the difference elsewhere.
Avoid getting scammed.
To protect yourself and your family from potential scams, we recommend the following:
- Don’t send gift cards as payment for purchases or agree to purchase gift cards for someone you don’t know.
- Don’t provide your bank account number or other personal information via email or text; do not provide it via phone unless you initiated the contact.
- Never trust caller ID; if the caller has identified themselves as someone you trust, hang up and call them back to verify identity.
- Don’t click on links or attachments via email or text unless you initiated the contact.
- Never give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer.
- Don’t wire money to unknown people or businesses. Scammers may pose as government officials or relatives when asking you to wire money, so make sure you’re sending the funds to someone you trust.
- Never feel pressured to act immediately on a request for money, gift cards or information.
- Don’t pay someone upfront who promises to return and complete a task (yard clean up, roof repair, etc.).
If you’re unsure about a request for money or personal information, call us. We’re here to help you keep your information and your money safe.
As a reminder, Chambers Bank will never email or telephone you and request your account information.
Use technology to help you keep your account safe.
Your privacy and security are important to us, too. That's why we encourage you to utilize the free tools we've made available to help keep your account information safe.
- SecurLOCK Equip app - with our SecurLOCK Equip app, you can receive a text alert every time your debit card is used, or limit the alerts to transactions over a specific dollar amount. Either way, you'll know if someone else is using your card.
- Account alerts – with Chambers Online Banking, you can customize alerts to easily monitor your account activity by text or email, including account balance, overdraft, deposits, check clearing and large dollar transactions.
- eStatements – by enrolling in eStatements through Online Banking, you can reduce the risk of having your banking information in your mailbox or the trash can, where it could be stolen.