by Brian Thompson | Mar 30, 2023 | General, Identity Theft
As an employer, you might think that identity theft and fraud only happen to individuals. However, fraudsters are not only after personal information but also after company assets, particularly unemployment insurance funds. With the easing of regulation and an increase in benefit amounts, the filing of fraudulent unemployment claims has become a particularly profitable avenue for criminals recently. In fact, according to the Government Accountability Office, in 2020 alone, the US government paid out over $12 billion in fraudulent unemployment benefits.
What is unemployment fraud?
It occurs when someone knowingly and willfully makes false statements or withholds information to obtain unemployment insurance benefits. During the COVID pandemic, unemployment fraud has skyrocketed due to the high number of people who lost their jobs and the increase in benefit amounts. Fraudsters have taken advantage of overwhelmed state agencies that are responsible for processing claims and submitting false claims on behalf of others, including people who still have jobs.
Protect your company
To protect against unemployment fraud, employers should be aware of the tactics used by fraudsters. Here are some steps employers can take to protect their companies from unemployment fraud:
- Educate employees about unemployment fraud: Let your employees know about the potential for fraud and provide them with information on how to spot and report it.
- Monitor unemployment claims: Regularly review and monitor claims filed against your company. If an employee is still working for you and you receive a claim for unemployment benefits on their behalf, report it immediately.
- Respond to notices promptly: If you receive a notice of unemployment benefits filed on behalf of one of your employees, respond promptly with accurate and detailed information.
- Keep employment records up-to-date: Ensure that your employee records are accurate and up-to-date. This includes information such as start and end dates of employment, pay rates, and job titles.
- Consider a third-party vendor: Consider using a third-party vendor to help manage unemployment claims. These vendors can provide expertise in handling claims and help identify potential fraud.
If you suspect fraudulent activity, you should take immediate action. The first step is to report the suspected fraud to the appropriate state agency. You should also conduct an internal investigation to determine if fraud has occurred within your organization. If fraud is confirmed, take action to prevent further losses and report the incident to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
It’s important to note that unemployment fraud is a form of identity theft, and as an employer, you may also have to address the potential identity theft of the affected employee and other employees. When fraudsters obtain an employee’s personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment claim, it can lead to other forms of identity theft, such as credit card fraud or opening fraudulent accounts in the employee’s name. Therefore, it’s essential to take swift action and report any suspected fraudulent activity to prevent further losses and protect your employees’ personal information. By doing so, you can help safeguard your company’s assets and reputation, as well as ensure the well-being of your employees.
While fraudsters may use various tactics to steal from individuals and companies, unemployment fraud is a particular concern for employers. By taking the steps outlined above, employers can help protect their companies from fraudulent unemployment claims and ensure that unemployment insurance funds are used for their intended purpose. Stay vigilant and report any suspected fraudulent activity immediately.
by Brian Thompson | Mar 15, 2023 | Breach, General, Identity Theft
Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) collapsed on March 10, 2023, which has caused a ripple effect throughout the global financial system. Unfortunately, the SVB Collapse Enables Scammers to take advantage of the situation and use the bank’s downfall to scam people.
SVB was a US-based commercial bank and the 16th largest bank in the country, which also happened to be the largest bank by deposits in Silicon Valley, California. The bank failed after a run on its deposits, which has impacted many businesses and people in the technology, life science, healthcare, private equity, venture capital, and premium wine industries who were customers of SVB.
What they are using
Security researchers have noted that hackers are registering suspicious domains and conducting phishing campaigns, preparing for business email compromise (BEC) attacks. These attacks aim to steal money, steal account data, or infect targets with malware.
Researcher Johannes Ulrich has reported that threat actors are already registering suspicious domains related to SVB that are very likely to be used in attacks. Cyber-intelligence firm Cyble has also published a report exploring developing SVB-themed threats and warning about additional domains. Some examples given in a report published on the SANS ISC and Cyble websites include:
- svbcertificates.com, svbclaim.com,
Many of these sites were registered on the day of the bank’s collapse and are already hosting cryptocurrency scams.
How they are using it
The scammers might attempt to contact former clients of SVB to offer them a support package, legal services, loans, or other fake services relating to the bank’s collapse. Some threat actors are impersonating SVB customers and telling customers that they need payments sent to a new bank account after the bank’s collapse. However, these bank accounts belong to the threat actors, who steal payments meant to go to the legitimate company.
These scam pages tell SVB customers that the bank is distributing USDC as part of a “payback” program. However, clicking on the site’s ‘Click here to claim’ button brings up a QR code that attempts to compromise crypto wallets when scanned.
In another case, the threat actors behind “cash4svb.com” attempt to phish former SVB customers’ contact information who are trade creditors or lenders, promising them a return between 65% and 85%.
SVB Collapse Enables Scammers to take advantage of the situation and use the bank’s downfall to scam people. Overall, people must be vigilant about these scams and take steps to protect themselves from cybercriminals.
by Brian Thompson | Feb 15, 2023 | General, Identity Theft
Tax identity theft is a type of identity theft that occurs when someone uses your personal information to file a fraudulent tax return and claim a refund. It can have serious consequences, including delays in receiving legitimate refunds, penalties for underpayment, and damage to your credit score. In this article, we’ll explain how tax identity theft occurs, how to spot the warning signs, and what you can do to protect yourself from Tax Fraud
How Tax Identity Theft Occurs
Tax identity theft can occur in a number of ways. For example:
- Phishing scams: Scammers request personal information such as Social Security numbers or bank account details through emails or phone calls that appear to be from the IRS.
- Data breaches: Hackers steal personal information from large companies or government agencies and sell it on the black market for tax identity theft purposes.
- Stolen mail: Criminals steal mail that contains personal information, such as tax documents like W-2 forms or 1099s.
- Social engineering: Scammers use social engineering tactics, like creating fake job postings or fake charity organizations, to trick people into revealing personal information.
Warning Signs of Tax Identity Theft
According to the IRS, some of the warning signs of tax identity theft include:
- The IRS sends a letter stating multiple tax returns were filed or unknown wages were received.
- You can’t file an electronic tax return because someone filed with your Social Security number.
- A tax transcript arrives in the mail, despite not requesting it.
- You get an IRS notice that someone opened an online account in your name.
- You receive an unexpected refund or an incorrect refund amount.
- You receive a tax bill for taxes you didn’t owe.
How to Protect Yourself from Tax Fraud
There are several things you can do to protect yourself from tax identity theft:
- Safeguard personal information: Only provide personal details to trusted individuals or organizations. Beware of unsolicited phone calls or emails requesting such information.
- File taxes early: Early filing reduces the risk of a fraudster filing a return in your name.
- Check credit report regularly: Regularly checking your credit report helps you spot unusual activity like unauthorized new accounts or loans.
With defend-id Coverage, Protect Yourself from Tax Fraud
At defend-id, we understand the importance of protecting your identity and your finances from tax fraud. That’s why we offer fully managed recovery programs to help you recover from the effects of identity theft. Our team of experts will work with you to restore your credit, recover lost funds, and ensure that your identity is fully restored. Learn more about our fully managed recovery programs here: What’s Fully Managed Recovery for Identity Fraud
Tax identity theft is a serious threat that can cause financial hardship and personal stress. Protect yourself by being vigilant with personal information, filing taxes early, and checking your credit report regularly. If you do become a victim, Defend-ID’s fully managed recovery program can help restore your identity. Learn more about the program on our blog. Stay safe and secure!
Don’t let tax identity theft damage your finances and your credit. Take steps to Protect Yourself from Tax Fraud, and consider defend-id’s fully managed recovery programs to give you peace of mind.
Learn more: Protect employees from tax fraud. Peace of Mind with a Place to Turn is a great benefit your employees will appreciate.
Related articles: Early Tax Filing Helps Prevent Tax-Related Identity Theft
by Brian Thompson | Feb 9, 2023 | General, Identity Theft, Uncategorized
As a parent, it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers and harmful content on TikTok, a popular social media platform among children. This guide provides information on TikTok parental controls and the reasons why it may be best to keep children off the app.
TikTok Parental Controls: A Guide for Protecting Children
Concerned parents and authorities need a comprehensive guide on TikTok parental controls to protect children from harmful and inappropriate content on the popular social media platform. This tutorial outlines step-by-step instructions to implement TikTok controls and discusses privacy policies.
- Create TikTok Account: Get started by creating a TikTok account for your child, giving you access to all platform features and settings.
- Enable Digital Wellbeing: Go to “Settings & Privacy” and select “Digital Wellbeing” to enable features such as “Screen Time Management” and “Restricted Mode.” These tools help monitor children’s activity and protect them from harmful content.
- Adjust Privacy Settings: Protect your child’s privacy by visiting “Settings & Privacy” and selecting “Privacy and Safety.” Change who can send direct messages, view videos, and see their profile to the most secure options.
- Report Inappropriate Content: Encourage your child to report any inappropriate or harmful content by using TikTok’s reporting feature.
- Educate Children: Parental controls are important, but so is educating children on online safety and the potential dangers of social media. Teach them to be cautious with information they share, avoid strangers, and report any inappropriate behavior or content.
In conclusion, TikTok parental controls provide a vital way to protect children from harmful and inappropriate content on the app. By creating a TikTok account, enabling digital wellbeing features, adjusting privacy settings, reporting inappropriate content, and educating children, parents can ensure a safe and enjoyable TikTok experience for their kids.
There are several reasons why it may be best to keep children off TikTok. Some of the main concerns include:
- Inappropriate Content: TikTok is known for hosting a vast amount of content that may not be suitable for children. This includes content that is sexually explicit, violent, or promotes harmful ideologies.
- Online Safety: TikTok is a social media platform that can be used by predators to target and exploit children. Children may be at risk of being exposed to inappropriate content, cyberbullying, or may become victims of online grooming.
- Screen Time: TikTok is a highly engaging platform that can quickly consume a lot of a child’s time. Spending too much time on TikTok can lead to decreased physical activity, disrupted sleep patterns, and decreased academic performance.
- Privacy Concerns: TikTok collects and stores personal data from its users, which can raise privacy concerns. Children may not understand the implications of sharing personal information online, and their data could be used for malicious purposes. See TikTok Terms of Service
- Intrusive Policies: TikTok’s privacy policies may be considered intrusive, as the app collects and stores a large amount of personal data from its users. This can raise privacy concerns, particularly for children who are vulnerable.
Considering the potential dangers and harmful content on TikTok, it may be best to keep children off the app. Instead, parents can encourage children to spend their time on other, safer and more appropriate activities.
Protecting children on TikTok requires a combination of parental controls, education, and awareness of the potential dangers. By understanding TikTok’s privacy policies, implementing parental controls, and limiting children’s time on the app, parents can ensure a safe and enjoyable online experience for their kids.
by Brian Thompson | Jan 19, 2023 | General, Identity Theft
Identity theft is a growing concern for individuals and businesses alike, and as it pertains to accountants, it is important to consider offering identity theft protection services to clients. Not only can this service provide peace of mind for clients, but it can also help protect the accounting firm’s business from potential liability. Is your Accountant offering identity theft protection?
One of the main reasons why an accountant should consider offering identity theft protection services is the transfer and handling of sensitive documents and information. Accountants have access to a wide range of personal and financial client information. Information including Social Security numbers, bank account information, and tax returns. If this information were to fall into the wrong hands, it could be used for identity theft and other fraudulent activities.
Identity theft protection services can help protect clients from this risk by providing monitoring and alerts for suspicious activity, as well as assistance in the event that their identity is stolen. This can lessen potential damage and give your clients a feeling of security.
In addition to protecting clients, offering identity theft protection services can also help protect the accounting firm from potential liability. Accountants have a professional responsibility to keep clients’ information secure and protect it from unauthorized access. If a client’s identity is stolen and it is determined that the firm did not take adequate measures to protect their information, it may be held liable for any damages.
Another important consideration is compliance. Accountants are subject to a wide range of regulations, including HIPAA, SOC 2, and the GDPR, which all require you to protect personal information. Failure to comply with these regulations could result in fines and legal penalties. By providing identity theft protection services, you can make sure that you are complying with the law and protecting the information of your clients.
As we started with, identity theft is a growing concern for both individuals and businesses, and accountants should consider offering identity theft protection services to their clients. Not only can this service provide peace of mind for clients, but it can also help protect the business from potential liability and compliance concerns.
by Brian Thompson | Jan 11, 2023 | General, Identity Theft
Identity theft is a growing concern for both individuals and businesses. Employers are starting to recognize the importance of offering identity theft protection as a benefit to their employees. As a company, it’s imperative to offer a comprehensive employee benefits package that not only attracts new talent but also helps retain the current workforce. Offering identity theft protection as a benefit is a proactive approach to protecting your employees, their financial well-being, and the company’s reputation, productivity, and compliance. In this article, we will look at the 5 reasons employers offer identity theft protection as a benefit to their employees.
Below you will find 5 reasons employers offer id protection to their employees:
- Employee retention: Offering identity theft protection is a valuable benefit to employees, helping with employee retention and recruitment.
- Productivity: Employees who fall victim to identity theft may have to spend significant amounts of time resolving the issue. The time spent often leads to lost productivity for the employee and the company. Providing identity theft protection can help employees avoid or quickly resolve identity theft issues, which can help improve productivity.
- Employee satisfaction: Providing identity theft protection can help employees feel secure and satisfied with their employer. Both of which can lead to better morale and engagement.
- Reputation: Companies that take steps to protect their employees from identity theft can improve their reputation and public image. Employers that care about the well-being of its employees are always held in higher regard.
- Compliance: In some cases, certain industries may be mandated to provide identity theft protection to their employees. Employers should look into those regulations and make sure they are compliant
By offering identity theft protection as a benefit, employers can help protect their employees from the financial and personal harm caused by identity theft, while also reaping the benefits of increased productivity, employee satisfaction, and reputation.
Please keep in mind that each company will have different needs and resources. Not all identity theft protection options may be suitable for your company, therefore, it is important to evaluate all options and determine the one that best fit your organization.
It’s important to remember that identity theft protection is not just a cost, but an investment in the well-being of your employees and your company’s success.