Has your information been stolen? Latest unemployment benefits scam could leave you vulnerable

Kristine Solomon
·4 min read

Hackers infiltrate your computerYahoo Life is committed to finding you the best products at the best prices. The product written about here is offered in affiliation with Yahoo Life's parent company, Verizon Media.

There's a spike in fraudulent unemployment claims around the country as hackers steal personal information. (Photo: Getty)
There's a spike in fraudulent unemployment claims around the country as hackers steal personal information. (Photo: Getty)

At least 11 states are seeing a spike in unemployment fraud amidst millions of claims coming in each month and more federal money available during the COVID-19 pandemic, lead by all sorts of fraudsters including, according to Bloomberg, an organized Nigerian cyber crime ring.

States receiving the brunt of these fraudulent attacks: New York, Maryland, Arizona, Colorado, Ohio, Texas, Washington and also Massachusetts, where criminal activity was first detected by the Massachusetts unemployment systems as part of a nationwide scam back in May, according to Massachusetts Live.

Hackers infiltrate your computer via viruses, malware, and phishing schemes. Once they’re in, they wreak havoc—including finding your social security number and tax I.D. from your freshly filed taxes — so the smartest thing you can do is keep them out.

Why should U.S. taxpayers be horrified by unemployment fraud?

Some people filing genuine unemployment claims for pandemic-related job loss are being forced to wait for payments because their identities were stolen.
Some people filing genuine unemployment claims for pandemic-related job loss are being forced to wait for payments because their identities were stolen.

Arm yourself against hackers with rock-solid software like System Mechanic

System Mechanic is a comprehensive package. One of the many features it has is a security optimizer, which scans for holes in your PC that could let hackers, viruses and identity thieves gain access to your computer. But this tool will locate and install the latest plugs to prevent security breaches.

It also addresses and fixes 30,000 different PC problems, from performing system-wide scans for junk and obsolete files to cleaning out hazardous system-clogging clutter that accumulates through everyday use. It also speeds up your PC’s performance by defragmenting your hard drive and healing chronically unstable internet connections.

In short, System Mechanic transforms your PC into a lean, mean, and totally clean machine. The software monitors incoming information constantly, removes weak points, and doesn’t allow a single opening for hackers.

Want to dip your toe in the water before you dive in? Right now, System Mechanic is completely free for 30 days. After that, you pay just $4.99 a month for ultimate peace of mind.

Shop it: System Mechanic, free for 30 days then $4.99 a month, subscriptions.yahoo.com

Why should U.S. taxpayers be horrified by unemployment fraud?

System Mechanic is powerful online security software. (Photo: Iolo Technologies)
System Mechanic is powerful online security software. (Photo: Iolo Technologies)

This recent bust should serve as a rude awakening to citizens across the U.S., because in order for online fraudsters to file false unemployment claims, they need access to taxpayers’ most sensitive information. In other words, hackers steal your identity, then they file false claims using your name and social security number or tax I.D.

If you’ve been a victim, you find out the hard way. “People will apply for unemployment and find out that someone has already applied in their name and is receiving unemployment from that,” said cybersecurity expert and Cyberscout founder Adam Levin to Yahoo Life. As the real person filing the real claim, you might be denied—and now you have to cut through red tape to receive your legitimate payments.

Levin added that it’s no coincidence the phenomenon coincides with the extended 2020 tax filing deadline. “There is always an enormous amount of identity theft related to tax season,” he said. “And keep in mind that if you have enough information to file a false unemployment claim or a fake tax return, you have enough information to commit full-on identity theft against a victim.”

Shop it: System Mechanic, free for 30 days then $4.99 a month, subscriptions.yahoo.com

A more comprehensive idea of what you get with System Mechanic

System Mechanic restores speed, power and stability to your PC. (Photo: Iolo Technologies)
System Mechanic restores speed, power and stability to your PC. (Photo: Iolo Technologies)

Want to know exactly what System Mechanic is doing under the hood of your PC? First of all, it tidies it up from the inside out. The software cleans up over 50 different types of junk files and regains thousands of megabytes of hard disk space.

It also troubleshoots. System Mechanic repairs broken internet connections and stops random crashes, restarts, and more. It finds and automatically fixes broken or corrupted Windows shortcut icons that are often at the root of “mystery” problems in an otherwise stable PC.

To ensure privacy, System Mechanic permanently removes deleted data, like internet history and cache. And keeps your computer speedy, running a comprehensive scan of over 200 critical tests in just a few minutes, using more than 30 tools.

This kind of performance removes any vulnerabilities from the equation, so you can know that your personal identity and that of everyone in your household, including your kids (yes, kids’ identities can be stolen), is always safe and secure and never subject to the prying eyes of the worst kinds of online criminals.

System Mechanic provides some of the most valuable service you’ll ever get for the price of a fancy cup of coffee.

Shop it: System Mechanic, free for 30 days then $4.99 a month, subscriptions.yahoo.com

Read more from Yahoo Life:

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for nonstop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day

Want daily pop culture news delivered to your inbox? Sign up here for Yahoo Entertainment & Lifestyle's newsletter.