Be on the Lookout for Unemployment Fraud
Federal law enforcement agencies report an uptick in unemployment fraud.
Since the start of the pandemic, the number of fraudulent unemployment claims filed using Social Security numbers and other personal information has exploded. For Americans who’ve been laid off or furloughed during the COVID-19 epidemic, the government’s extended unemployment benefits are a lifeline. Unfortunately, these benefits are increasingly landing in the hands of criminals instead of the people they’re intended to help.
Multiple states have reported a surge in fraudulent unemployment claims. Employers are not only receiving claims for people they still employ, but also for employees that haven’t worked there for years and for people they never hired.
So what’s the best way to prevent unemployment fraud? In addition to being careful with your personal information, experts recommend that you open an account with your state’s employment department even if you are currently employed, so that you will be alerted immediately if a claim is submitted by a third party without your knowledge.
What should you do if you do fall victim to unemployment fraud?
- Notify your employer immediately if you receive unsolicited paperwork from your state’s employment department.
- Report any fraudulent claims to your state unemployment department.
- Visit IdentityTheft.gov to report the fraud to the FTC and get a recovery plan.
- Place verbal passwords on your financial accounts that so you can only make changes to the accounts over the phone. This is an important preventative measure when you know that scammers have your personal information.
- Place a fraud alert on your credit file with the major credit bureaus.
- Review your credit every week for free through AnnualCreditReport.com. This can help you spot any new fraud quickly.