The FBI has seen a spike in identify theft and fraudulent unemployment insurance claims in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many victims do not realize they’ve been targeted until they try to file a claim for unemployment insurance benefits themselves, or they receive forms from state agencies or the IRS when they have not applied for benefits. Multiple state and federal agencies have issued an unemployment insurance fraud alert to help mitigate the problem.
Unemployment Insurance Fraud Alert
To help protect yourself from this new risk – and from identity theft in general – be wary of telephone calls, text messages, letters, websites and emails that require you to provide personal information, especially your birth date and Social Security number.
Also beware of unsolicited inquires related to unemployment benefits, as well as fictitious websites and social media pages mimicking those of government agencies. Only a .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States. A lock or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.
It’s also important to monitor your bank accounts and credit card statements for unauthorized transactions on a regular basis. Fraudulent transactions related to unemployment benefits may include filing charges or qualifying fees.
If you become a victim of identity theft, your Perspective advisor can help you report the crime to the necessary government agencies and financial institutions.
To learn more about identity theft, check out the following official websites: