Police warn of spike in Maryland unemployment scams, fraud cases; what you can do to protect yourself

Jury duty scam comes back to parts of Maryland
Posted at 12:45 PM, Mar 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-30 12:45:10-04

PIKESVILLE, Md. — Maryland State Police and the Department of Labor are warning of a spike in scams and fraud related cases as of late.

One recent scam involved several Maryland residents who received unemployment insurance debit cards that they never applied for.

Another targeted the elderly, directing them to buy gift cards in order to pay some phony government related bill.

Others go after Medicare recipients, lotteries, banks, charities, and those seeking COVID-19 vaccinations.

Most of the scammers however, prey on unemployment insurance claimants.

Here is a list from the Maryland Department of Labor that can help you determine if you are being scammed or not:

  • MDUI will never request or require payment for assistance with unemployment insurance, especially not through apps like Venmo or Cashapp.
  • MDUI staff will not provide assistance to claimants through direct message on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
  • MDUI will never arrange for a virtual adjudication or fact-finding interview over platforms such as Zoom, BlueJeans, Google Hangout Meets, or Skype.
  • MDUI does not provide assistance through text message and will not send any links asking a claimant to verify their account through text.
  • MDUI will never ask for your bank account number or credit card number over e-mail.
  • MDUI will never request your BEACON password over e-mail.
  • All e-mails from legitimate MDUI staff will come from a e-mail address.
  • Do not provide any sensitive information related to your Maryland unemployment insurance claim by e-mail unless it is to a e-mail address.

Another way to avoid being a victim of fraud is by being weary of social media posts.

Scammers are copying the Department of Labor’s social media pages and directly messaging claimants, and attempting to steal their identity by asking for their personal information.

Some details to look out for include:

  • Fake pages are newly created
  • Fake pages do not have a lengthy history of posts
  • Fake pages often have misspellings and typos (“Maryland Department of Labour” is an example of a fraudulent page that looks similar, but is spelled differently)
  • Fake pages most likely will not have a blue check mark

Official social media handles of the Maryland Department of Labor are as follows:

This is when you should call police:

  • When your bank or other business requires you to make a report
  • You know the person who stole your identity

More easy tips to follow so you can be protected:

  • Do not give out your personal information to someone you do not know
  • Store personal information in a safe place
  • Do not carry your social security card in your wallet
  • Collect mail every day and put a hold on it during extended travel
  • Use security features on your smartphone and computer
  • Use complex passwords
  • Do not use gift cards to pay the IRS or Social Security, tech support, a family member in trouble, ransom or to avoid arrest or deportation or to prevent your utilities from being turned off