Federal funds are starting to get converted from unemployment checks into signing bonuses, scammers are using vaccine surveys to steal personal info, and drug testing ahead of this summer’s Olympic Games is a heavy lift. We have the details in today’s EBI Screening News Update.
Last week we talked about the challenge employers are facing trying to get people back on the job when those folks are actually pulling in more money through unemployment benefits than in their paychecks. Now, there are new bills being presented in both houses of Congress to try to fix this problem.
In the House, 14 Republicans co-sponsored a bill that would shift enhanced unemployment benefits from checks sent to workers staying home, to bonuses for people who take jobs. The bill would also reinstate the job search requirement for anyone receiving unemployment benefits. Before COVID-19, you had to prove each week that you had made a good faith effort to find a job in order to keep receiving unemployment benefits. That was waived during the pandemic.
In the Senate, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, says he plans to introduce the National Signing Bonus Act. Under the legislation, anyone who gets a job by July 4th would get a bonus of roughly two months of the federal unemployment benefit.
Six states have now done the same thing at the local level. The governors of South Carolina, Montana, Missouri, Iowa, Idaho, Tennessee, and Wyoming have all decided to cancel the use of the federal pandemic benefits because they say the extra money is dissuading people from getting back to work.
We have another scam alert for you. A lot of folks are so excited to get their vaccine that they want to shout it from the rooftops. But if someone sends you a survey asking about your vaccine experience, fight the urge to share.
Scammers are now sending emails and texts asking people to complete a “limited-time survey” about the different vaccines. The surveys are branded with either Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca, and they offer you a reward for filling it out.
Here’s where the scam part comes in. In order to get your reward, you just need to pay for shipping. Which means giving them your credit card or bank account number. There are also embedded links that could help the scammers get a hold of your Personally Identifiable Information (PII), and then they can do some real damage. Plus, we hear the prize never arrives.
Kentucky Derby winner, Medina Spirit, made big news this week after failing a drug test. The racehorse was found to have twice the allowed amount of steroids in his blood. It’s a huge scandal in the racing world.
Olympics organizers want to prevent similar embarrassing situations when it comes to human athletes, but the effort to fight doping ahead of this summer’s Games has been seriously hampered by the pandemic.
First, athletes who wanted to cheat, had a long stretch of time during lockdowns when officials were not able to demand samples. Even if they stop doping in time to pass a test when they reach Tokyo, experts say they have still had more than a year to get the benefit of the performance-enhancing drugs during their training. Also, testing across the globe is inconsistent, at best. The U.S., Britain, Canada, and Norway have the most robust programs, but these athletes must compete against those from countries that do not put in as much effort.
After doping scandals in 10 different sports during the Rio games, organizers vowed to never have such a failure again. Of course, when they made that promise, no one could have dreamed of the mess COVID-19 would bring.
Jennifer Gladstone is a news anchor and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in front of the camera. She's worked in several markets, large and small, and has performed nearly every task needed in a newsroom. As EBI’s Screening News Editor, she keeps EBI’s customers and blog subscribers up to date on the latest screening news and legislative alerts affecting companies of all sizes.