AVON — Chief Jeffrey Bukunt and the Avon Police Department advise residents to remain vigilant following multiple reports of potential scams surrounding unemployment assistance.
“Fraudulent calls and scams are very common and have been on the rise recently,” Chief Bukunt said. “Luckily, scams are usually noticeable and easier to catch if you know what to look for. The following tips will help residents identify potential scams and ultimately help to keep their identity and personal information safe.”
The Avon Police Department wishes to share the following tips for identifying unemployment scams from the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA):
- Caller Asks You to Pay a Fee: There is no fee to file for unemployment benefits. If you get a phone call from someone presenting themselves as a representative of Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance telling you that you need to pay a fee to file for unemployment benefits, do not give any information to the caller or send money.
- False Websites: There are several websites that advertise that they can assist claimants in filing for unemployment benefits. Some of those sites offer services free of charge and others do charge for the services. The sites often ask for confidential/private information such as your social security number, address, work history and email address. Use only the official Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance to file for benefits.
- Mass.gov is the official state website
- The website for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is https://ui-cares-act.mass.gov/PUA/_/
- The claimant login website is https://uionline.detma.org/Claimant/Core/Login.ASP
- Emails and text messages: DUA may share information by email and text message but these will always point you to Mass.gov resources. DUA will never ask you for private personal information such as Social Security numbers, or bank account or credit card information by email or text message. If you receive an email or text message and you are unsure if it came from the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance, contact a claims specialist.
Additional scam and fraud avoidance tips from the Federal Trade Commission:
- Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request — whether it comes as a text, a phone call, or an email. Scammers will often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, family member, charity or company you do business with.
- Do online searches. Type a company or product name into your favorite search engine with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” Or search for a phrase that describes your situation, like “IRS call.” You can even search for phone numbers to see if other people have reported them as scams.
- Don’t believe your caller ID. Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back to a number you know is genuine.
- Don’t pay upfront for a promise. Someone might ask you to pay in advance for things like debt relief, credit and loan offers, mortgage assistance, or a job. They might even say you’ve won a prize, but first you have to pay taxes or fees. If you do, they will probably take the money and disappear.
- Hang up on robocalls. If you answer the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch, hang up and report it to the FTC. These calls are illegal, and often the products are bogus. Don’t press 1 to speak to a person or to be taken off the list. That could lead to more calls.
- Sign up for free scam alerts from the FTC at ftc.gov/scams. Get the latest tips and advice about scams sent right to your inbox.
If anyone has questions or feels like they have been victimized, they are encouraged to call the Avon Police Department at 508-583-6677.
Visit the DUA website for additional steps to take if you believe you are a victim of fraud.