Scam reports multiply during COVID, attorney general's office says

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Reports of scams to the attorney general’s office have skyrocketed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic with dollar losses up as much as 8,000 percent compared to last year.


In August 2020, employment and work-from-home scams accounted for nearly half of the dollar losses reported to the AG’s office. Scammers are preying on the vulnerabilities created by the pandemic and know that employment scams are the perfect lure for someone who has lost their job or is looking for a work-from-home opportunity.


LaDonna Koebel, executive director of the attorney general’s Office of Senior Protection and Mediation, described how the scams work.


“A scammer will pretend to be a recruiter or employer offering the ability to work-from-home,” she said. “In some cases, the scammer may run an ad stating that you can ‘earn an excellent salary working from home.’ In other cases, a recruiter might reach out to you after seeing your resume on a job search website.” 


The next step: “Once you’ve responded to the work-from-home opportunity, employment scammers will usually try to get you to pay for training or special access before you can begin employment. Once they receive your money, there is no job, and you’ve been scammed.”


Koebel urges Kentuckians to be extra careful in job searches during COVID-19. “Not only can you lose money to fake employment scams, you could also become the victim of identity theft after completing new employment paperwork for a fraudulent employer, unknowingly turning over your name, address, and social security number, as well as your driver’s license number and even bank account information to scammers.”


If you are the victim of such a scam, she says you can file a report online at ag.ky.gov/scams or by calling the consumer protection hotline at 1-888-432-9257 and choosing option 3.


She added, “Attorney General Daniel Cameron and our Office of Senior Protection and Mediation are committed to assisting you and providing additional resources and guidance regarding scams.”

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