Identity theft thieves have always been around. They used to take your personal information to open up loans and credit cards but have moved their focus to easier ways to gain wealth on your good name. Unemployment scams spread like wildfire. If you have not fallen victim yet to this type of identity theft, count your lucky stars. To continue your lucky streak, there are some things you can look out for.
Am I a Victim?
Unemployment scams are more challenging to detect than typical identity theft crimes. Still, according to the FB, you can find out if you are a victim after any of these events:
- If you try to apply for unemployment and find out, there is already an open claim in your name
- You get a form 1099-G which has unemployment income listed which is subjected to federal income tax
- The state unemployment office gives you notice confirmation your claim has been filed
- Or, your employer notifies you that someone filed the unemployment claim in your name
Even Thieves Make Mistakes
These thieves even go so far as setting up an account where they funnel the benefit money to. But no one is perfect, and they might make a mistake. This means that you receive the check-in in your inbox. In this case, the thieves will call you to rectify the error and have you deposit the money in their account.
Cut the naivety there and hang up the phone. Instead, contact your local state office and let them know about the error and possible theft. They will give you step-by-step instructions on where and how to pay the money back.
Innovative Scammers Strategies
Although the old methods to get your information are still used, these ID thieves are boasting new and innovative ways to access the data.
- They will call or email you for your follow-up questions on the information you put on the forms. Even if you haven’t submitted a form yet.
- You will be sent links to fake social media accounts and websites that look like real unemployment agencies. It might look like a duck and walk like a duck, but it will not sound like a duck. One sure way to ensure the links are legit, make sure that the URLs end with “.gov”
- They will make transactions on your accounts, and you will only pick it up on your credit or bank statements. These transactions will be allocated to unemployment benefits, agencies, or services.
Do Not Engage
With the rise in these thefts, scam prevention is imperative for everyone.
- Be aware and don’t answer suspicious social media requests, phone calls, emails, and mails
- Do not engage with people or organizations who offer you quick and early unemployment benefits
- Any person who wants to pay you for giving up any personal information
- Do not react to any correspondence advising that a new account or unemployment insurance benefit has been started in your name. Call your state unemployment office immediately