Whenever times are hard, predators are in the shadows trying to exploit the unfortunate.
There has been a recent rash of fraudulent state unemployment claims. And many of the victims, when they learn about it from their employers, are responding by contacting the Bedford police.
“I’m amazed,” said Lt. Detective Scott Jones. “We’re getting tons of calls. People are picking up the phone or coming into the station.”
Jones stressed that the police are not empowered to investigate this kind of fraud. Every caller is advised to notify his or her employer and the state attorney general’s office and monitor their credit for suspicious activity.
Other recommendations are contacting the three major credit bureaus and the state Department of Unemployment Assistance. If victims are concerned about identity theft, they are referred to www.identitytheft.gov.
This is a national phenomenon, said Jones, who tries to stay on top of trends online and through publications. “There appear to be some data breaches,” he said. “And the states are so eager to pay people their benefits because a lot of folks are hurting.”
The pandemic is an opportunity for perpetrators “and they know where the holes are.” Victims appear to be random and have included a few town employees, Jones said.
Jones said police are happy to field calls even if they have to refer them to other agencies. “We are open 24-7 and we never say we’re not going to go,” the lieutenant said. “Why, just the other day some tennis players called the police because a pickleball player wouldn’t let them on the court.”
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 781-983-1763
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