Reporting Scams and Frauds
Protect yourself from Identity Theft
Run your credit reports annually from the 3 credit reporting companies:
In Massachusetts, you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report from each company, for a total of 3 each year.
You can request your free copy by contacting these 3 credit card companies either by telephone or on the web.
1-800-685-1111 or www.exquifax.com
1-888-397-3742 or www.experian.com
1-800-916-8800 or www.transunion.com
Current Scams around Plymouth County
Payment verification forms from the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) have been sent to HR departments around Massachusetts for a handful of employees.
Up until the moment that the targeted employees were contacted by HR, they had not known that their information was compromised and used to obtain fraudulent claims.
Some targeted employees may actually receive a packet of information from DUA regarding their unemployment benefits, with information on how to join the health connector, and a flyer for Mass Hires.
The unemployment scam, is a national scam. It is believed that the scammers have used stolen personal information from previous data breaches of large companies to file for the fraudulent benefits.
As a result of this scam, the DUA has begun additional identity verification measures that will temporarily delay the payment timeframe for many unemployment claims in Massachusetts. Some people who are filing for unemployment may be asked for additional identity information to verify their claim.
What to do if you receive notice that you are a victim of this scam:
If you receive a letter from either your HR Director, or the Department of Unemployment Assistance and Labor and Workforce Development that states that a claim for unemployment benefits has been made in your name, and you did not file the claim, you need to report it right away.
1. Report the Fraud
Your HR Director will report the fraud on their end, but you must also report it on your end.
In Massachusetts, a person would report the fraud on the Mass.gov website. There is a link on the homepage, that will bring you to the online form.
2. Run a credit check on yourself
In Massachusetts, you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report from each company, for a total of 3 each year. You can request your free copy by contacting one of these three Credit Reporting Companies either by telephone, or on the web:
Equifax- 1-800-685-1111 www.equifax.com
Experian– 1-888-397-3742 www.experian.com
TransUnion– 1-800-916-8800 www.transunion.com
You should request one from each company every 4 months. This way you will be able to see throughout the year if any new accounts have been opened in your name.
3. File a Fraud Alert
While you are on one of these 3 credit reporting companies, you should file a fraud report with them, and request that a fraud alert be placed on your credit report.
A fraud alert will not freeze your accounts, but it will alert financial institutions and credit card companies that your personal information has been compromised, and your identity needs to be verified before a new account is opened in your name.
This step is very important- with this Unemployment Scam, the scammers have been known to open up an account in the victim’s name, and have the benefits direct deposited into that account-without the victim’s knowledge.
Brushing Scams- “Seeds From China”
What are these?
Unmarked seed packets from China have been arriving in mailboxes all around the U.S. without explanation or reason. The package bears the name “China Post” and may be labled as jewelry, small electronics etc.
Officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture have identified at least 14 different species thus far- that have turend out to be the seeds of flowering plants, herbs and vegetables.
Out of precaution, the USDA is strongly encouraging recipients not to plant or discard the seeds, as they are still not sure if any of these plants are invasive, or harmful.
What should I do if I receive them?
If you receive these seed packets, you should save them along with the original packaging that they arrived in and mail them to the state plant regulatory official at:
The Division of Crop and Pest Services
Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
251 Causeway Street, Suite 500,
Boston, MA 02114
This scam unfortunately has been very successful. It has duped a number of our seniors into giving away large sums of their savings.
The best way to protect yourself from this scam is to be wary and understand the way this scam works:
A phone call is made, usually in the middle of the night when most people are sound asleep.
As we all know, when the phone rings in the middle of the night, there’s usually cause for concern, so when the startled senior picks up the phone, and hears the caller shout out, a terrified “Grandma” or Grandpa” the caller, posing as a family member of the victim, says something to the effect of: “I just got arrested and need help, please don’t tell mom or dad, they’re gonna kill me! I need you to please wire me some money for bail, and I promise I will pay you back tomorrow.”
Scam callers have also been known to try the line: “My friends and I just got robbed and we’re stuck overseas! They took my plane ticket and I have no money to get a new one to get home, I can’t reach mom or dad, I need you to please wire me money right away, I promise I’ll pay you back when I get home.”
Another scam caller with a new Coronavirus angle to it has been known to use the line, “I was diagnosed with Covid, I’m in the hospital, very sick and have no money to pay the hospital bill, please wire money right away”.
If you receive one of these calls, Don’t fall prey….Be suspicious….hang up the phone and call your loved one directly to make sure they are ok.
For more information on Grandparents Scams, click on the following links:
COVID-19 Contact Tracing Scam
The Contact Tracing Scam works this way:
The Scammer will call and say something to the effect of: “Good morning, According to our system, you are likely to have been in close proximity to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. This means that you now need to self-isolate for 14 days and take a COVID-19 test.”
When the victim receiving the call asks who the person was that tested positive, the scammer will inform them that due to the HIPAA law, they are not allowed to share that information, as this is confidential.
The scammer will then tell the victim that they will need to be tested within the next 72 hours, and will need their best mailing address so that they can send a kit to them, and will proceed to ask for a credit card for payment of a $50 fee.
When the topic of payment is questioned by the victim, they are told that this testing is not free, there is a one-time fee of $50 for the kit and test results.
Then they will pressure the victim to read off the credit card number. When the victim pushes back that there should not be a fee, the scammer will threaten the victim with penalties for not complying.
Social Security Scam
- Telephone scammers are pretending to be government employees working for the Social Security Administration or another government agency
- To assist in their scheme, they will email you false documents that look very official via e-mail — this scam is a form of phishing.
- The scammer tells you that there is a problem or issue with your Social Security number or account and you owe a debt or a fine. They will threaten to arrest or pursue other legal action if you don’t pay.
- The scammer asks you to pay the debt or fine with retail gift cards, pre-paid debit cards, wire transfers or good old cash.
For more information, please click the link below: