Cyber criminals likely to target those seeking economic relief – report

The FTC has warned of “stimulus scammers” who bilk consumers into paying fraudulent fees

Cyber criminals likely to target those seeking economic relief – report


By Ryan Smith

The COVID-19 outbreak has left millions of Americans out of work – and potential targets for cyber criminals, according to CyberScout, a provider of identity-theft resolution, data defense and employee benefits services. The Federal Trade Commission has issued a consumer scam warning about “stimulus scammers” who con consumers into paying fees to receive a check from the federal stimulus package, CyberScout said.

“The fear is COVID-19 and financial uncertainty in the economy is making all Americans especially vulnerable to scams,” said Jennifer Leuer, CEO of CyberScout. “Now we are starting to hear from consumers who are filing for unemployment and learning there is already a fraudulent unemployment claim on record for them. It’s unconscionable. We want people to know there is a way through this situation and they don’t need to panic.”

CyberScout recommended that consumers who have been affected by the scam review their insurance policies.

“Many homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies include cybercrime coverage,” CyberScout said. “In addition to covering damages, this type of insurance often provides access to an expert to help remediate the issue.”

“We were under daily assault from cyber criminals before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the need to protect our financial security has increased exponentially over the last 30 days,” said Adam Levin, founder of CyberScout. “With millions of people newly unemployed, unprecedented numbers of people are applying for benefits and looking for ways to survive in the short term. Unfortunately, hackers are going to exploit this situation.”

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