The Melrose Police Department advises residents to remain vigilant following multiple reports of potential scams surrounding unemployment assistance.

“This problem has become so common that false claims have been submitted to the state on my behalf,” said Mayor Paul A. Brodeur. “If you receive paperwork from the state related to an unemployment claim, please report it to the state at the following link: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/report-unemployment-benefits-fraud.”

“It’s unfortunately all too common that scammers will try to take advantage of vulnerable individuals during challenging times,” Chief Michael L. Lyle said. “We hope the following tips will prove helpful in protecting you and your family, and please make sure to call the Melrose Police Department if you receive any suspicious calls or offers.”

The Melrose 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. 
  • 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 Melrose Police Department at 781-665-1212

Visit the DUA website for additional steps to take if you believe you are a victim of fraud. 

Melissa Proulx worked at JGPR from Jan. 2020 to April 2021.

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