5/13/20 Purdue Police Department

A recent unemployment scam originally reported in mid-June is spreading further around campus, according to police logs and Purdue University Police Department officials.

Two new attempts at fraud at Hovde Hall and Mackey Arena were reported in PUPD's crime logs Wednesday.

The scam involves gathering personal information to attempt to sign others up for unemployment benefits. University employees in the provost's office have also been targets, including Provost Jay Akridge and Vice Provost for Student Life Beth McCuskey.

One of this week's scam attempts targeted head women's basketball coach Sharon Versyp, according to police logs.

PUPD Capt. Song Kang said Thursday that in total there have been eight to 10 cases of this type of unemployment fraud recently. State officials notify employers, such as Purdue, of unemployment applications; Purdue officials then notify PUPD of potential fraud.

“Once the unemployment benefit gets approved by the state government — which is a fraud — with the original crime, then there is a potential possibility that Purdue, as an employer, may have to chip in to fund the unemployment benefit, therefore Purdue institution is the potential victim,” Kang said.

So far, all the attempts have been unsuccessful in gaining any monetary or benefits, he said.

This specific scam doesn't happen because of anything the victims do wrong, Kang said. The administrators involved were not initially aware their identities were being used until PUPD was alerted.

“So far it's less than a dozen cases reported,” he said.

Whenever the department is notified of these cases, it reports them to an independent agency that completes the official investigation, Kang said, and PUPD just assists in keeping track of how many cases occur.

If others find themselves targeted by these scams, they can either contact the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center or report the fraud to the U.S. Social Security Administration. They are also encouraged to report the fraud to their local police department, according to previous Exponent reporting.

Reporting fraud to the SSA will lock the victim's Social Security card, and they'll need to stop by a local Social Security office to reopen their number.

“Unfortunately it does happen, and there are constant threats out there, so you just have to … be on guard about keeping your information secure,” Kang said.

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