Fraud Alert: Scams related to government shutdown

FILE- In this Jan. 8, 2019, file photo dawn arrives at the Capitol in Washington. On Thursday, Jan. 17, the Labor Department reports on the number of people who sought unemployment benefits last week, a figure likely to be inflated by applications from federal employees who aren't working because of the partial government shutdown. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Scammers like to pounce when people are vulnerable, so the government shutdown has created a golden opportunity for them to target desperate federal workers struggling to pay their bills.

Someone dealing with an empty checking account and bills to pay is clearly more vulnerable to loan scams.

These “pre-approved” offers could come in the mail, online or by phone

“Just remember that no reputable lender is going to enter into an agreement without doing a credit check, so if anyone says, 'no credit check, we'll do it free, right now,' that's definitely a red flag,” said Amy Noftzinger with the AARP Fraud Watch Network.

Watch out for fake help-wanted ads, especially online. The National Consumers League cautions that online job boards, such as Craig's List, are a haven for criminals.

Remember: If you're asked to pay money to get the job – it's a scam.

A request for personal information, such as Social Security number and date of birth, could set you up for identity theft.

Fraud fighters say: Slow down, take a deep breath, do your research and look for red flags.

More Info: One more problem for furloughed workers — scammers

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