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Experts: Scammers targeting people online desperate for UI benefits

Posted at 4:45 PM, Jan 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-26 19:28:21-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — If you've given up on receiving unemployment benefits, officials with the Better Business Bureau warn you about falling for "quick-fixes" to get your money.

An LEX 18 viewer desperate to collect her money says she was scammed by someone over Facebook messenger promising to get her cash faster if she paid a fee. According to screenshots of messages shared with us, all she had to do was text a number sent to her, including her name, her birth date, and $120.

That's a big red flag, says Heather Clary with the Better Business Bureau in Lexington. "Any government agency will tell you that none of them are going to contact you out of the blue offering a way for you to up your claim or get it more quickly by paying money or providing some information," said Clary.

The viewer, who wanted to remain anonymous, says she paid $20 and never heard from the person again. Clary says scammers have been working overtime during the pandemic.

"There are no third parties taking care of this for people. It's somebody's attempt to steal your identity," said Clary.

She recommends going to the BBB scam tracker website, located here, to check for fraudulent activity in your area.

The Kentucky Attorney General's office recommends that Kentuckians report the fraud first to Kentucky’s Unemployment Fraud Unit at uifraud@ky.gov or by calling (502) 564-2387. They say the Office of Senior Protection is the best point of contact for Kentuckians to reach the office. People can report fraud or identity theft concerns online by visiting ag.ky.gov/scams or by calling the Identity Theft Hotline at 1-(800) 804-7556.