WABASH VALLEY, (WTHI) -- Millions of people across the nation are losing money to fraudulent scammers. Officials say some of the biggest scams going on right now involve stimulus checks, unemployment, taxes, and mortgages or evictions. One of the largest of these being unemployment scams.
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), ongoing unemployment scams are costing the United States government billions of dollars. In the past couple of years, this has become even more of a problem, especially coming out of the pandemic.
"Anytime there is an increase in money going out to people, these scammers are going to be out for the money," Bill Mackey, cyber criminology and security studies professor at Indiana State University, said. "Given COVID-19 and the increase in the number of unemployment checks out there and stimulus checks, it has attracted a lot of email and text scams."
Mackey says these scams have increased significantly over time, especially coming out of the pandemic.
"We have seen an increase in fraud in the United States and the state of Indiana every year for at least the last five years," he said.
The most common scams will come to you either via email or text. He says there are important "red flags" to look out for in these types of scams.
"Especially with the stimulus and unemployment scams, there are some commonalities that tend to occur with them. Was this out of the blue? Were you expecting it? If it's an official thing, if it is something with a bank account, credit, or unemployment, anything of that nature, nobody is going to be texting you about it. If you are getting a text about it, it should be raising a really big red flag. If they are trying to put any pressure on you to act quickly or levy some sort of threat or penalty against you, that is usually a red flag as well."
Additionally, he says to always look out for who is trying to contact you. If you do not recognize it, simply delete it!
"Just give yourself five seconds," he said." Think about it before you click anything. If it's a number or email you don't recognize don't click it."
If you have been scammed, you should contact the police or file a complaint with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center by clicking here. For unemployment scams specifically, you should contact the Department of Workforce Development immediately. For Indiana, click here. For Illinois, click here.