BBB warning of tech support scams and scam websites when filing for unemployment

MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Jo-Ann Deal with the Better Business Bureau of Northeast Louisiana is warning people about scams related to the coronavirus.

Officials warning NELA residents about scams going around related to COVID-19.

We’ve heard about scams related to stimulus checks, but Deal says there are so many other scams going around that you need to be aware of.

She says just recently, a Northeast Louisiana woman lost $10,000 dollars in a tech support scam.

"She gave control of her computer to someone who was not trustworthy, so he kept her on the phone, convinced her to go buy gift cards so that he could repair this problem,” says Deal.”

Often, this kind of scam starts on a Friday and carries over into Monday, with the scammer telling you not to talk to anyone about this issue.

Deal says especially if you’re working from home and need a computer you may feel more panicked and accept help from untrustworthy sources.

"It's never real if your computer locks up and something flashes in the middle of the screen,” says Deal. “If it says your computer is infected or you have spyware or you need to call tech support that is the red flag, you need to turn off your computer and take it to a repair shop.”

With more people filing for unemployment due to COVID-19, Deal says there’s another concern too – fake websites popping up when you search for the Workforce Commission’s site.

She says you should pay attention to the upper left-hand corner of your web browser, next to the web address. "There is a padlock that is closed or the word 'secure site' is there,” says Deal. “And remember that most government sites end in dot org or dot gov."

Unfortunately, they’re also seeing more scams when it comes to donations.

"Research the person or persons who are supposedly going to be dealing with the money and distributing it, for what purposes, how much, and when and where,” says Deal.

She goes on to say another issue they’re seeing is messages saying you need to take a mandatory coronavirus test.

The BBB is expecting some people may even go door to door saying you need to take a mandatory test. Deal says this is a scam and make sure you don’t give your information or DNA to anyone.

If you have questions you can contact the BBB in Monroe at (318) 387-4600.

Deal says to make sure your phone isn’t set to ‘Anonymous Caller’ because they won’t be able to return your call through their remote portal now that they’re working from home.

Click here for the Workforce Commission Website to file for unemployment or other benefits.

The BBB also has a Coronavirus Resource Page where small businesses and individuals can get updated information on what's real and what is not.