The pandemic is proving to bring the expected Unemployment Benefits Fraud & ID-Theft increases predicted by experts.
There were indications early on that there would be a problem with an increase in fraud during the pandemic. As with most issues of mass concern comes the opportunity for bad actors to take advantage of the system and people. With COVID-19 we have seen exactly that, an increase of fraud at epic levels.
Have you been a target?
The phone rings, “Hi Jane, this is Bill calling from XYZ Auto Warranty. I see that your auto warranty has expired and I was calling to see…”. Or have you received a debit card in the mail that you never applied for? Have you gotten a letter asking for additional details for the unemployment application that you never filed?
If any of these have happened to you, you are likely a target.
But why an increase in unemployment fraud?
Unemployment benefit fraud during the pandemic provided the bad guys a huge opportunity. That said the problems that actually cause the increase of fraud have not changed and will not go away because the special COVID benefits have ended. State systems buckled under the weight put on them by the tsunami of layoffs. States had to process millions of applications, including new program applications established by the CARES Act.
Yes, the rate of layoffs and new applications for unemployment have slowed down. But the rate of fraud attempts have not slowed down, and have unfortunately slowed down legitimate claims. The defend-id recovery team, who assist identity theft victims, indicate that they are still receiving daily calls about unemployment fraud. In some instances, they have lost their job and applied for unemployment benefits but have been denied. They are being denied because someone else has fraudulently already done so.
Steps we take
When our clients, or your employees are faced with unemployment fraud we take the following steps to ensure recovery. These steps are taken on behalf of the employee/individual to ensure full and complete recovery.
Here is a step by step look at the recovery process.
Steps taken when there is unemployment fraud:
- An identity theft case will be opened and assigned to a dedicated Recovery Advocate (RA)
- Then the RA will report the fraudulent unemployment insurance claim to the department of labor with the appropriate state
- Then the RA will ensure the employees credit monitoring is active- (not all employees will activate their services so we will help them do that at time of claim)
- This will provide early detection of potential fraud during recovery and into the future
- The RA will provide a 3-bureau credit report
- RA will review the report to ensure it’s accurate and rule out additional fraud or identity theft
- Fraud alerts will be placed with all 3 bureaus on the id theft victim’s behalf and/or provide them with information regarding a complete security freeze
- Victims will recieve an email with a fraud letter, recapping what they have completed on their behalf and the email provides the victim the direct contact information of their RA
- The RA will follow up with the employee to ensure they were able to complete monitoring (if not already completed) and if they have any additional questions or concerns for 12 months.
Please let these be a guide for you or if you want assistance do not hesitate to reach out to one of our team members for help.
Continue to keep an eye on your credit reports, bank accounts, mail and email for new financial or personal activity that seems funny or out of place. If it does seem out of place take steps to understand and do not ignore the signs… it could be Unemployment Benefit Fraud & ID-Theft
Related article: Tax & Unemployment Fraud at Epidemic Levels