When you apply for unemployment, you can be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits from that day forward. However, unemployment fraud has recently grown and can often go undetected.
States along the coast, such as California or New York, have unemployment fraud rates at 19% – 22%. These rates can increase to a startling 44% (as seen in Virginia). In 2022, unemployment fraud reached $46.5 billion.
Read more to see if you are a victim of unemployment fraud.
How Someone Can File Unemployment Under Your Name
Unemployment fraud usually means a breach of personal data – often through cybersecurity attacks. When fraud is committed, an unknown third party has access to your social security number and addresses to file an erroneous unemployment claim on your behalf
Once information is discovered on the dark web, it is easy for hackers to use it to file for fraudulent unemployment. Therefore, is essential to know how to protect your personal data.
How to Check if Someone Filed Unemployment Under Your Name
If you receive emails or letters related to unemployment documentation or unemployment programs you are eligible for; this may be a sign that you are a target of unemployment fraud.
Suppose you would like to have an official statement of unemployment fraud. To see suspicious activity, you can request free credit reports from the three major agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian).
You can also contact your state’s Department of Labor if there is suspicious activity on your credit report for more information.
What to Do If You Think Someone Filed Unemployment Under Your Name
If you discover that someone has filed unemployment under your name, here are a few options to take as a next step to recovering the fraudulent activity:
- Contact your state’s unemployment agency: Contact the unemployment agency in the state where you reside and inquire about any unemployment claims filed under your name and Social Security number. You may need to provide some personal identification to confirm your identity.
- Review your credit reports: Check your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) to see any unauthorized inquiries or new accounts opened in your name. This could indicate that someone has used your identity to file for unemployment benefits.
- Monitor your mail and email: Look out for any correspondence from your state’s unemployment agency that you did not expect to receive. This could indicate someone else has used your information to file a claim.
- File a fraud report: If you believe someone has filed for unemployment benefits using your personal information, report the fraud to your state’s unemployment agency and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You can also consider placing a fraud alert or freeze on your credit report to prevent further unauthorized activity.
How To Prevent Unemployment Fraud
There are preventative measures that you can take to protect yourself from becoming a victim of unemployment fraud:
- People use password managers to implement different passwords for every login. Try using a different password for every login. While it may be challenging to remember many passwords, it can keep a hacker or scammer from accessing your information on multiple platforms.
- Be wary of public networks. Activate a firewall and consider installing a VPN to monitor and disguise your network traffic.
- Use cybersecurity software to help prevent attacks. The best way to protect yourself is by installing an antivirus and having a trusted cybersecurity agency monitor your online presence.
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