The Postal Inspection Service wants employees to be aware of a significant increase in scams that target unemployment benefits.
Taking advantage of the economic challenges resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, scammers are applying for benefits in other individuals’ names and addresses — including vacant and rental properties — to receive numerous unemployment checks at a time.
In many instances, individuals are unaware that they’re being used by scammers.
The Inspection Service wants mail carriers to watch out for:
• Multiple letters from one or more state unemployment agencies going to one address with names of individuals who don’t reside there;
• Customers concerned that they have received multiple letters from state unemployment agencies even though they haven’t applied for benefits; and
• Mail from state unemployment agencies sent to vacant homes or homes that are for sale.
If confronted by someone looking for unemployment checks, employees shouldn’t engage in an altercation. If necessary, the employee should call 911 and his or her immediate supervisor.
USPS employees who believe they may be victims of unemployment benefits fraud should:
• Report the incident to IdentityTheft.gov, which is managed by the Federal Trade Commission;
• Contact the three major credit bureaus to review their reports for anomalies;
• Inform their district’s human resources office;
• Report the fraud to their state’s unemployment office;
• File a report with the police department;
• Monitor their financial accounts;
• Alert the IRS; and
• Submit a fraud report by calling the National Center for Disaster Fraud at 866-720-5721.
USPS employees who suspect fraud should contact their immediate supervisor and the Inspection Service at 877-876-2455.