Flynn suspects that, in these cases, the crooks may have tried to change the mailing addresses to intercept the bank cards, but the letters somehow ended up getting routed to the correct addresses.
It is probably the No. 1 scam going right now, given the large numbers who are unemployed during the Covid-19 pandemic, Flynn said.
Last month, the State Department of Labor announced that it had identified more than 425,000 fraudulent claims, preventing $5.5 billion in benefits from being stolen.
“When you have just a massive influx of people who are either eligible for relief, or who have actually put in for relief of any nature, it’s low-hanging fruit for a criminal,” Flynn said.
Those who find themselves unwittingly wrapped up in the scam should cut up the debit cards and notify the State Department of Labor at dol.ny.gov/report-fraud, the district attorney said. The Department of Labor has its own fraud investigators, who would turn any local cases over to the district attorney’s office for prosecution, Flynn said.
Calls from victims have picked up the past couple weeks, since DA’s Office warned the public of the unemployment insurance scam.
Fraudsters often like to use real identities of those who are employed, making it less likely they would have an active unemployment claim, according to the State Department of Labor.