In a large-scale scam erupting in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, imposters are filing claims for
unemployment benefits, using the names and personal information of people who have not filed claims. People learn about the fraud when they get a notice from their state unemployment benefits office or their employer about their supposed application for benefits.
If this happens to you, it means someone is misusing your personal information, including your Social Security number and date of birth. Act fast.
Here are steps that can help you protect your finances and your credit:
• Report the fraud to your employer. Keep a record of who you spoke with and when.
• Report the fraud to your state unemployment benefits agency.
• If possible, report the fraud online. An online report will save you time and be easier for the agency to process.
• Keep any confirmation or case number you get. If you speak with anyone, keep a record of whom you spoke with and when.
• Visit IdentityTheft.gov to report the fraud to the FTC
Some of the additional actions you will need to take are outlined below:
Place a one-year fraud alert on your credit, it’s free. Make certain to get your free credit reports, and close any fraudulent accounts opened in your name. IdentityTheft.gov also will help you add a free extended fraud alert or credit freeze to your credit report. These make it more difficult for an identity thief to open new accounts in your name.
Review your credit reports often. For the next year, you can check your reports every week free of charge through AnnualCreditReport.com. This can help you spot any new fraud quickly.
One other thing: The scammers usually have the unemployment payments deposited to accounts they control, but sometimes payments are sent to state unemployment benefits office or their employer about their supposed application for benefits. If this happens to you, it means someone is misusing your personal information, including your Social Security number and date of birth. Act fast. the real person’s account .If this happens to you, the imposters may call, text, or email to try to get you to send some or all of the money to them. They may pretend to be your state unemployment agency and say you received the money in error. This is a money mule scam, and participating in one could cause you more difficulties.
If you receive benefits you never applied for, report it to your state unemployment agency and ask for instructions. Do not respond to any calls, emails, or text messages telling you to wire money, send cash, or put money on gift cards. Your state agency will never tell you to repay money that way. Anyone who tells you to do those things is a scammer. Every time.
Source: Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC