NBSB Warns Community About Unemployment Insurance Fraud
Several agencies are investigating numerous fraud schemes targeting the unemployment insurance (UI) programs of various states. Fraudsters, are using the stolen identities of U.S. citizens to open accounts and file fraudulent claim for UI benefits.
Consumers should be vigilant and take appropriate measures to safeguard themselves. This guide, created and provided by the U.S. Department of Justice and edited by North Brookfield Savings Bank for clarity, provide information and resources for individuals on how to protect themselves from UI fraud and what they can do if they suspect they have become a victim.
Who is at risk?
- Those who have already been the victim of identity theft.
- Those who have had their personally identifiable information, such as their name, date of birth, address, and social security number, exposed in a past data breach.
- Those who have given their personally identifiable information to an individual who claims to be facilitating the filing of UI, often for a fee.
Signs that you may be a victim
- Many victims of UI fraud have no knowledge that criminals have applied for benefits in their name. You may only discover you have been a victim upon seeing the following red flags.
- You file a UI claim on behalf of yourself and you receive a notice that your claim was rejected because they have already received a claim under your name.
- You did not apply for UI benefits but you received a determination letter from the state workforce agency in your state of residence or another state regarding a UI claim filed under your name.
- You receive a notification that you failed the security verification process for your UI claim.
- You are told by a current or former employer that a UI claim had been submitted with your personally identifying information.
What can you do if you believe you have been a victim?
- If you learn that a UI claim has been filed in your name, and you did not file the claim, immediately report it to the relevant state program. Please refer to the state-by-state list of “where to file a report of UI fraud” links at the end of this guide to find the right point of contact for making the report.
- If you are presently working, notify your employer of the fraudulent claim, because they will also need to file documentation.
- File an online complaint with the National Center for Disaster Fraud at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form or by calling 866-720-5721.
How can you protect yourself from fraud?
- Do not share your personally identifying information with unknown third parties. If someone you don’t know asks for your personally identifying information to perform some service for you, beware that the offer of services may be a scheme to collect your information and use it for illegal purposes.
- Follow good computer hygiene and cybersecurity practices. Ensure that the passwords to all of your financial and other accounts are unique and sufficiently complex, and change those passwords often. Wherever you can, it is wise to add a second factor for authentication, such as a cell phone number, a security token, or biometric factor, such as a fingerprint or facial scan.
- Take advantage of credit monitoring services if you have been notified your information was exposed in a data breach. If you do not have access to credit monitoring, use annualcreditreport.com where you can get a free credit report from each credit reporting bureaus once a year.
- Place a freeze on your credit to prohibit any new credit applications from being opened in your name. Visit the FTC credit freeze guide here to learn how to freeze it, or see our blog post on the steps to do so.
Where to file a report of UI fraud
Where to file a report of UI fraud https://www.mass.gov/info-details/report-unemployment-benefits-fraud
Department of Unemployment Assistance https://www.mass.gov/topics/unemployment
As always North Brookfield Savings Bank is here to help. If you require further resources and information on Fraud, Scams, and Identity Theft, be sure to check out our Security Center for great resources on how to stay safe and prevent yourself and your loved ones from becoming a victim.