State officials warn about unemployment scams
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Scam artists are stealing New Mexican’s personal information and using it to apply for unemployment benefits, according to the Department of Workforce Solutions and Office of the State Auditor.
“What normally happens is a thief will try to steal your identity and use your information to file an unemployment claim in your name,” said Secretary Bill McCamley, cabinet secretary of the Department of Workforce Solutions.
McCamley said a lot of the scams are taking place on social media.
“We have seen thieves go on to unemployment sites and impersonate other folks and say ‘Hey, I got help at this address, send them your information,’ and they use that to get your information and steal,” he said.
“So our basic recommendation to people is this: when you’re looking at social media, make sure it’s the official workforce solutions web pages,” McCamley added.
The state said they want to make it easy for families in need to access their funds, but that also opens the door to more scammers.
State Auditor Brian Colón told KOB 4 that these scam artists are taking advantage of people during the pandemic.
“People are scared,” he said.
“Resources are extremely limited for many of our families so when they get phone calls, when they get emails, they want to believe it’s true that they can just pay $24.95 and all of a sudden their unemployment benefits are going to be expedited. I can assure you that’s not going to happen,” Colón said.
Officials said the state may send you text messages and respond to you online. However, they will not ask you for personal information.
Both McCamley and Colón said scammers may try to use your information for other things besides unemployment benefits, so it’s important to check your bank account and credit report.
Additionally, the Department of Workforce Solutions offered the following tips to keep your information safe:
• Check the name of the account for any spelling errors or letters replaced by numbers (For example: 0 instead of O)
• Look for the blue check mark to make sure the account is officially verified
• Check that the handle is correct (@NewMexicoDWS)
• Check how many likes and followers the page has. The official NMDWS page has over 4,000 thousand at this time.
• Check for the correct web address if using desktop.
• Check that the correct email and website are listed on the page.
For more information or to report fraud, call the Department of Workforce Solutions at 505-243-7283 or by email at email@example.com.
You can also contact the Office of the State Auditor’s fraud line at 1-866-OSA-FRAUD.