-Report Unemployment Fraud
-Report a mail scam
-Report an online scam or fake job offer.
Whenever there is uncertainty in the world there are those who will attempt to take advantage of it, and today is no exception. We here at Mail Boss have made it out mission to protect your identity, your mail, and your finances, but there are new kinds of identity theft and mail fraud happening in America every day, and while our mailboxes can protect your sensitive deliveries, unfortunately we can’t protect you from every scam out there. However, we believe it’s our duty to keep you informed on all of the types of fraud and identity theft that are happening in our communities on a daily basis, and help to provide you with the resources you may need to file a complaint or attempt to retrieve your identity and hold the criminals that may have attempted to exploit you accountable.
With the unemployment rate at an all-time high due to the coronavirus shut downs and stay home orders, unemployment agencies across the country have been flooded with calls, leaving some relief seekers to spend enormous amounts of time waiting on hold to speak to a representative, sometimes for hours or even days. Frustratingly, many who finally get through to a representative, only find that someone else has already been using their social security number to fraudulently steal their benefits. Your first step to defend your self should be to secure your identity. While I can’t speak for every state and municipality, I can at least help our fellow Washingtonians. For those of you seeking similar services outside of Washington state the US department of labor has a convenient website that allows you to quickly identify services in your area with the US department of labor.
Unemployment identity protection for Washington State:
Then go to your local employment security department website to register your identity, for Washington state you can find that here:
If your SSN has been used by someone else, the ESD website will display a message that will prevent you from being able to complete the registration. To report a fraudulent claim, contact them here Report Imposter Fraud
You may also want to report your identity theft with the Federal trade Commission;
Even if you’re not unemployed, the economic slowdown may have affected someone else in your household, leaving you to try and pick up the slack in household finances by finding freelance work or side gigs. In any case millions of people across the country are looking for jobs right now on sites like; indeed.com, GlassDoor.com, Nexxt, SmartMatch, Linkedin.com and even Craigslist.org, which makes them a prime breeding ground for people out to make a quick buck. Job seekers trust websites like this because of the ads we’ve all seen on TV, the Internet, and because of their big brand name recognition. But they’re just as susceptible to scammers and fraudulent posters as anyone, and even the most scrupulous of us can fall into the web of a scammer without even fully realizing it.
Reeling you in
Often an employment scam spoofer or phisher will start by offering you a position that seems too good to be true, in many cases this comes in the form of a well-known company related to your field. It’s good to remember that when you share your employment history on one of these public websites that all of the personal and contact information that you share is publicly viewable for any unscrupulous scammer to invent a custom trap specifically engineered to your interests and field. When there’s money to be stolen there is just about no limit as to how complicated these scammers can make their schemes. The exact same technology that allows these job sites to categorize and match employers to job seekers, inadvertently shares that convenience with scammers who can quickly and easily match victims to their custom-built lures. At first a scam may seem too incredibly complex and specific to be a hustle…but don’t forget how many millions of people there are in this country that are in the same field of work and focus that you are. A job opportunity that may seem like the “perfect position” to you may also be the perfect trap for anyone in your field, and they can just keep moving down the list, using that same tricks over and over again until they find the one person that it works on. We just don’t want that to be you.
The added trouble with these websites is that scammers often have access to and utilize the same information that you may try to use to attempt to use to verify the legitimacy of a poster. When setting up their grift they may scour LinkedIn and other professional networking sites to steal the names, pictures, titles, and even contact information of real people inside of an otherwise legitimate organization, that they will then incorporate into their scheme. Regardless, you should still always do your due diligence and research a company and job poster through as many different venues as possible. When researching a suspicious or potential scam “employer” always start from your own preferred search engine, do not trust any links or website addresses that have been included in your initial contact email, phone call or correspondence. When you’ve located the legitimate website, you can usually check their about page to determine if they’re actually hiring, and what the names of the real hiring executives are. If things still seem fishy, you can try reaching out to them directly to see if they’ve actually posted a job opportunity on the perspective job listing you’re researching. If the website you land on already has some warning signs you may also want to verify the authenticity of the website through the ICANN Domain name registration Database. If you discover the website is fairly new, or doesn’t contain any direct contact information like addresses and phone numbers, there’s a pretty high likelihood that you’re dealing with a scammer. It’s also not a bad idea to search the companies name and double check their business rating with the Better Business Bureau.
If a poster contacts you in any way outside of one of your approved application platforms, or emails or calls you completely unsolicited, that’s a good indication that they’re trying to cover their tracks. Additionally, you should skeptical of any communications that don’t come directly from a verifiable email that can be linked to a specific company or employers. Legitimate corporate email addresses are typically linked directly to a company’s website for example: “Info@mailboss.com “, has our website address directly in the address. So, if you receive correspondence from free email providers like @yahoo.com or @gmail.com or @hotmail.com I wouldn’t immediately trust them.
-Poor spelling or grammar.
I may not personally be the best at grammar and spelling, but a big indicator that an offer isn’t necessarily legit can be easily identified by the use of broken English by a scammer. In some cases, the thieves may be so lazy as to fail to spell the name of the person that they’re spoofing correctly between their various forms of communications.
-Compensation seems unreasonably high.
We all wish we were making more money, but again, if a job seems “too good to be true” it often is. Especially if the position requires little to no effort, experience or skill. This often comes in the form of “work from home”, or “secret shopper” schemes offering “Thousands a week” for “simple tasks”. If at any time an “employer” requires you to “buy supplies”, or “materials” or “sign up” for their “education/training course” they’re probably just going to take your money and run or worse. Never give your personal bank account or credit card information to anyone promising you “huge returns” on a “small initial investment.”
Another variation on this fraud technique is the “Fake Check” scam, in which a con-artist will allegedly “pre-pay” you with a check they will send in the mail and require you to deposit immediately. They then request that you “rent equipment” or “Buy merchandise” on their behalf “utilizing the deposited funds” using your personal banking information. Federal law requires that banks make deposited funds available to your bank account immediately, but identifying fraudulent checks may take weeks, and by the time anyone realizes that the funds are un-available you’re already on the hook for whatever expenses they’ve already stolen. If anyone attempts this type of scam on you they are committing mail fraud and can be reported to The United States Postal Inspection Service.
High Pressure / “Fast Action Required”
Many scammers rely on the slow turnaround times that banks and law enforcement take to identify fraud. If anyone is pressuring you to “ACT NOW” or lose your “opportunity” there’s a good chance they’re trying to pull one over on you before the law catches up with them. Never send your personal information via phone, mail or e-mail to any “business” that you haven’t had direct personal contact with, and any legal contracts or employment documents should be dealt with in person at a verified location.
–Lack of direct communication or in person interview
Job offers that come from out of town or from a long distance away are often questionable as well. If it’s nearly impossible to visit a business location and/or a potential employer avoids direct phone conversations or offers to begin your “employment” or send you a “first paycheck” before any direct communication or standard employment contracts have been signed that’s a good indication that you may be dealing with a scammer.
I’ve compiled a pretty extensive list of different consumer and government agencies that you can utilize to report these types of criminal activities. It may seem daunting, but the more agencies you report to the higher the likelihood that one of them will be successful in stopping these fraudsters from victimizing anyone else. If you are going to file multiple reports I recommend keeping a separate word or text document open and saved on your personal computer desktop while filling out your complaint forms and simply copying and pasting your complaint information into the form boxes on the perspective websites, as many of them will require the same or similar information. Many of these websites will also ask if you have filed a complaint with any other agency, so as you continue filing, I suggest you keep your various report numbers saved in your personal record file, so they can be conveniently accessed and referenced.
If you’ve made it this far there’s a good chance that you’ve either been the victim or potential target of scam or thief of some kind, and you’re probably pretty angry at the moment. Well, if you’re going to be spending the next few hours filing reports, it might help ease your mind to listen to this fantastic podcast about a scammers worst nightmare; an obsessive compulsive tech researcher with a podcast, a chip on his shoulders and too much time on his hands, as Alex Goldman tracks a phone scammer all the way to his call center in India to get his revenge:
Do you have a personal story of someone attempting to scam you? Help keep our community informed by sharing your story, and together we can protect each other from falling victim to similar traps, as G.I. Joe would say; “Knowing is half the battle.”