Senate District 26
Bill Reineke
Protecting Your Identity from Cyber Scams
A guest column by State Senator Bill Reineke
October 29, 2021
With October being Cyber Security Awareness Month, it is a good time to be aware of common cyber scams and be proactive about securing your identity.

One of the most common ways hackers and thieves steal sensitive information is through phishing. Phishing is when someone will impersonate a reputable individual or company through emails, phone, or text messages in order to install malicious software on the victim's device.

To avoid phishing scams, always pause before clicking any suspicious links you receive through email or text messages. Check the number or email address, which are often throw away accounts that have been dressed up to look official. Try to not answer any suspicious calls, and never give personal information out over email or phone.

At present, another scam that has been increasingly common is false interviews using Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other web-based video conferencing tools. Scammers will pretend to be a hiring executive at a company and preform these interviews. As a part of the “hiring” process, they will say that they need the victim’s personal information such as a social security number.

These simple, yet effective, scams can be avoided quite easily. One can avoid having their identity stolen by calling the company and asking to speak to the person who conducted the interview. Always be suspicious of interviewers who supply an email address that does not come from the company domain, but rather from a generic account, such as Gmail or Yahoo. Never provide your social security number without total confidence in the other party’s identity.

In the wake of COVID-19, unemployment fraud has been on the rise. As a member of the Unemployment Modernization and Improvement Council, I have been working diligently with my colleagues to fix this situation. If you have any issues with getting unemployment compensation, or if you have been the victim of unemployment fraud, please contact my office by phone at 614-466-8019 or contact the Attorney General’s Office and ask for their Identity Theft Unit.
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