STATEWIDE — As you wait for your stimulus money to show up, state leaders are warning about scammers trying to rip you off.
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As thousands attempt to file for unemployment benefits, they are running into roadblocks with both the website and by phone.
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“I talked to Secretary (Ken) Lawson who runs the Department of Economic Opportunity. He’s responsible for this. He said they are ramping up their staffing and they are continuing to make sure the website works,” said U.S. Sen. Rick Scott.
With the state website down, Attorney General Ashley Moody is warning that scammers may be using it to their advantage and trying to rip you off.
“Like sharks in a feeding frenzy, anytime that there’s money offered and its going out to consumers, bad actors are going to come in and swipe that and steal that before it ever goes into the hands of consumers,” explained Moody.
The first red flag: unsolicited phone calls, emails and texts. She advises never to click on links or enter sensitive information because they likely contain malware.
“Do not fall for that. The money will be put directly into bank accounts or sent by check. That is the number one way to guard against these stimulus scams,” she warned.
When entering any information for unemployment benefits online, she is warning users to check the website address because scammers may try to make an interface that resembles the official state one.
“People will either use spoofing technologies to get people to unwillingly give over their financial information, don't do that,” she advised.
If you see something that you think looks suspicious or may be a scam, the Attorney General’s office is urging you to report it by calling their hotline at: 1-866-9NO-SCAM.
This is where you can also report any complaints of price gouging.