SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – The Sioux City Police Department has received roughly 30 reports of a multi-tiered unemployment scam this past month alone.
“What they do is they get your personal information, which they already have–whichever state you’re living in, whatever information they have that shows which state you’re living in, they contact the state,” Sgt. Tyler Hartwell with the Sioux City Police Department Property Crime Unit said.
Once the scammers file for unemployment benefits under your name, they then target another unsuspecting victim.
“This is a person who thinks they’re working for somebody overseas at home cashing checks, and they have that person’s checking account number. So, they take your personal information & another person’s checking account number, have the unemployment check sent to this other person’s checking account, which could be in another state, and then they have the person wire the money to them overseas,” Sgt. Hartwell said.
Sgt. Hartwell says most victims have no idea they’ve been affected until they receive a notification from the IRS, or start filing their taxes.
“The beauty of the scam is it’s not your money they’re stealing–they’re stealing the state’s money. So, you don’t know your information is being compromised until you file your taxes, and then you find out that the state has been sending out this money to someone that pretended to be you,” Sgt. Hartwell said.
Sgt. Harwell says while most people who cash these checks are unwilling victims, they could get into trouble if they fall for this kind of scam twice.
“We’ve actually charged people for aiding and abetting the second time. If you don’t know who you’re talking to, don’t send them money. If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t true,” Sgt. Hartwell said.
Sgt. Hartwell says if you fall victim to a scam like this to contact the Iowa Workforce Development.