Be Aware of These 3 Risks!
Account Take-Over, Tax Fraud and Unemployment Fraud
Is it not enough that we have to worry about protecting our health while we face a pandemic and unprecedented economic challenge? Let’s take a look at 3 distinct risks to help educate your employees, clients and community.
What is Account Take-Over? When a criminal takes control of an existing online account. This form of fraud was reported as up over 347% last year by TransUnion Global Fraud & Identity Solutions. According to a report by Javelin Strategy & Research, a financial advisory firm, the number of victims of ID theft declined in 2019, while total losses rose because account-takeover fraud is more profitable for perpetrators.
Then COVID-19 increased our risk of phishing attacks. Fraudsters are bombarding Americans with emails and phone calls that use the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 to persuade them to divulge personal information and download malware. The Federal Trade Commission says it received four times more complaints about identity fraud in the first few weeks of April than it had received in the previous three months combined.
2. Tax Fraud and Economic Impact Payment Scams
In the last few months, the IRS Criminal Investigation division (CI) has seen a variety of Economic Impact Payment (EIP) scams and other financial schemes looking to take advantage of unsuspecting taxpayers. These schemes are blasted to large numbers of people in an effort to get personally identifying information or financial account information to include account numbers and passwords. Most of these new schemes are actively playing on the fear and unknown of the virus and the stimulus payments.
A record-setting *36 million people in the U.S. filed for unemployment due to COVID-19 between March 15 and May 15. Unemployment benefits identity theft when a scammer uses stolen personally identifiable information to apply for benefits through the government. However, with so many consumers filing at the same time, their claims have been rejected for being duplicate applications while someone else is now set up to receive their benefits. Like many forms of identity theft, unemployment benefits identity theft is one that victims may not discover until the damage is done.
What can you do to protect yourself, employees and community? These three steps will go a long way to help provide peace of mind.
- Use dual authentication and biometrics (fingerprint and facial recognition) as a more effective way to protect your smart devices and passwords.
- Check your bank statements online to detect signs of fraud. Early detection is critical.
- Consider putting a freeze on your credit report and/or credit alerts.