Action 9: Watch out for scammers who say you won workers’ comp money

CHARLOTTE — A local woman got a suspicious text that said she had won thousands of dollars in a workers’ compensation claim but she was never injured. It’s a scam Action 9 investigator Jason Stoogenke says is happening a lot recently.

Lamara Short, of Norwood, says she got a text that said it was from the “workers (sic) compensation appeal board.” It was congratulating her, saying she was “eligible to claim up to $62,000.00 or more.” It said she was the “luckiest winner.”

But Short said it didn’t make any sense for a big reason: “I didn’t get hurt, so I knew that was a scam,” she said.

“I watch you every day on Channel 9, so I know what to look out for,” she told Stoogenke. “I knew that I should contact you so I could try to help somebody else.”

Plus, there’s no such thing as the “workers (sic) compensation appeal board.” At the federal level, there’s the Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board. In North Carolina, you appeal workers’ comp decisions to the state’s Industrial Commission. And, in South Carolina, there’s the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

Short says she doesn’t have any idea how or why the scammer picked her.

The U.S. Department of Labor has a fraud notice about the scam on its website:

It says:

“The U.S. Department of Labor has been informed of the possible fraudulent use of the Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board (ECAB) name by entities trying to gain access to individuals’ financial and other private information. Individuals, living both within the United States and overseas, have been contacted and informed that their name is on “a list” for the receipt of benefits from the ECAB.

“Please note that the ECAB is an appellate board and does not pay any monetary benefits directly. Unsolicited phone calls or other correspondence regarding the receipt of “benefits” from the ECAB should be reported to the U.S Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General at 202-693-6999 or 1-800-347-3756, or by filling out an online inquiry at www.oig.dol.gov/hotline.htm. This website provides additional information and links for reporting fraudulent activity. For general questions call our case inquiry number at 1-866-487-2365.”

(VIDEO: Law enforcement warns of scams targeting senior citizens)