Check recent updates to this ongoing issue.
Incidents of identity theft related to unemployment fraud are on the rise. Bad actors are increasingly exploiting the pandemic financially. One scenario is to steal someone’s identity and apply for unemployment benefits in the victim’s name, with the benefits deposited in an account accessible only to the perpetrator. If you have received a notice from the state of Massachusetts about an application for unemployment benefits which you did not file, please notify the college and the state immediately. A report from the US Secret Service details the scheme, which is already affecting members of our community.
Massachusetts authorities are aware of this scam, which is widespread across the state. They are working on it, but they do not know how people's information is being obtained. They have verified, though, that the identity theft is not happening through any Amherst College systems.
As at other stressful junctures when our attention is elsewhere, we are more susceptible to fraud and other devious schemes, particularly those appearing to be somehow “official” and of unexpected assistance. Be particularly careful of such offers by confirming their validity. Also, be suspicious of unexpected requests to verify vendor invoices and transaction approvals by phone. Never provide personally-identifiable information (SSN, birthdate, etc.) over the phone to anyone. Likewise, never provide credit card or bank account numbers over the phone to anyone.
Falling for a scam could cost you money and time. Play it safe! Forward suspicious messages to email@example.com and contact AskIT@amherst.edu if you have additional concerns.