Scam alert for furloughed workers

A new alert is out for federal workers in Virginia.

Attorney General Mark Herring has issued a warning to furloughed federal government employees.

He says financial scammers are targeting people who are low on cash, and about to miss another paycheck.

It's the kind of criminal activity you usually see when victims are preyed on after storms or natural disasters. The shutdown has been a financial disaster for the 800,000 furloughed federal workers who aren't being paid.

"As attorney general, as long as this shutdown is going I want to make sure that federal employees who are finding it difficult to pay the rent, car payment, mortgage, that they are vigilant and that they don't get taken advantage of by those who'll commit financial scams," Herring said.

With 64,000 federal employees living in Virginia, that means 64,000 potential targets for scammers.

And unlike a natural disaster where conditions improve over time, the shutdown means the financial damage for federal employees gets worse every day.

Herring says the scams can take different forms - including fake employment offers for side jobs, callers looking for your personal information, job services demanding deposits, or fake charities claiming to benefit federal workers.

Herring says he's alerting feds to be especially aware of predatory lenders, and to read and understand all loans before signing.

"Beware of predatory lenders who are out there. Some of them who are operating legally in Virginia still charge extra ordinary interest rates and that's almost never a good idea. And they are almost always financial quicksand," Herring said.

In addition to issuing the warning, he's directing the AGs' consumer protection team to track the activity.

Over the last four years, that office has recovered more than $273 million in relief for consumers and payments from victims.