Beware of Unemployment Fraud and Scams
Protect yourself : What you need to know about unemployment fraud and scams.
During the Covid-19 pandemic millions of Americans have become jobless. As many look to unemployment benefits for relief, criminals have just as quickly seized the opportunity to scam unsuspecting individuals whether they’re unemployed or not. With overwhelmed state unemployment agencies and their outdated processing systems, there is a growing target.
Many will not know they are a victim until it’s too late. Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself and what you can do if you have fallen victim to unemployment fraud.
How will I know if my information was used to claim unemployment benefits?
What can I do to prevent this from happening to me?
Criminals and scammers have access to personal information utilizing techniques like email phishing schemes, social media, text messaging, cold-calling and more. Here are some ways to protect yourself:
- Be cautious of any phone calls, text messages, letters, websites or emails that are asking you to provide your personal information like social security number and birthdate. If you’re unsure, always check with the company or organization directly to see if the communication is genuine.
- Familiarize yourself with the many ways scammers try to gain your information. Avoid opening emails and attachments from unknown senders.
- Monitor your bank accounts regularly and look for any unauthorized transactions.
- Request your free credit report. All three credit bureaus; Equifax, TransUnion and Experian are offering free weekly credit reports to help combat identity theft during the Covid-19 pandemic. Be sure to immediately report any fraudulent activity you find to the three major credit bureaus to have them place an alert on your records.
What do I do if my identity has been stolen to claim unemployment benefits?
Follow these steps immediately :
- Report any fraud incident to the State’s unemployment department at: https://www.uc.pa.gov/Pages/Report-Fraud-Here.aspx
- File a report of identity theft with your local police department.
- Check your credit report for suspicious activity or unauthorized lines of credit opened. You can request free credit reports every week from each of the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, Transunion) through AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1- 877-322-8228 . (You will need to provide your name, address, social security number, and date of birth to verify your identity.)
- Consider freezing your credit. It’s the best way you can protect against having new accounts being opened fraudulently in your name. Visit the Credit Freeze page on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website – https://consumer.ftc.gov/articles/what-know-about-credit-freezes-and-fraud-alerts
- If you’ve received a 1099-G for a fraudulent claim, you’ll need to report it to your employer and state unemployment agency. Be sure to keep a record of who you spoke to and any confirmation numbers.
- The Internal Revenue Service also states that you should file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) by completing an NCDF Complaint Form online, or by calling 866-720-5721.
Links to Other Helpful Resources
Read the FTC’s tips on Avoiding and Reporting Scams.
Get your free credit report by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com.
Enroll in e-statements and Bill Pay to avoid having more paper documents.