The FBI Honolulu Division announced Wednesday it is working with the Guam Department of Labor to track fraud cases involving the attempted theft of funds intended for Guam residents who are unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The true victims of these fraud crimes are unemployed citizens who are relying on these benefits to feed their families,” stated FBI Honolulu Special Agent in Charge Eli S. Miranda in a press release. “The FBI will continue working with government and law enforcement partners to stop those who illegally profit on the backs of taxpayers.”
The FBI asked residents to remain vigilant to the numerous types of scams that divert resources from real pandemic recovery efforts.
Nationwide, the FBI has seen a spike in fraudulent unemployment insurance claims involving the use of stolen personally identifiable information, the FBI stated.
"Criminal actors are victimizing U.S. citizens by impersonating the victims and using the victims’ stolen identities to submit fraudulent unemployment insurance claims online. The criminals obtain the stolen identity using a variety of techniques, including the online purchase of stolen (personally identifiable information), email phishing schemes and scouring social media accounts."
The FBI offered the following tips on how to protect yourself:
• Be wary of telephone calls and text messages, letters, websites or emails that require you to provide your personal information or other sensitive information, especially birth dates and Social Security numbers.
• Be cautious with attachments and embedded links within email, especially from an unknown email sender.
• Monitor your bank accounts on a regular basis and request your credit report at least once a year to look for any fraudulent activity.
• Immediately report unauthorized transactions to your financial institution or credit card provider.
• If you suspect you are a victim, immediately contact the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit records.
• If you believe you have been targeted to act as a money mule or a victim of identity theft related to fraudulent unemployment insurance claims, report the fraud to the Guam FBI Office at (671) 472-7465.