More than 40 million Americans filing unemployment claims since last March has given identity thieves a new avenue for taking your money – filing fraudulent unemployment compensation claims.
What is unemployment compensation fraud?
The identity thief poses as an unemployed worker filing for benefits by creating an online account with a state’s unemployment compensation insurance office. The thief uses the stolen person’s identity to create the account, including the victim’s Social Security number and mailing address.
The thief then directs unemployment compensation payments to be deposited into his or her own personal bank account.
Because it can be difficult to trace where the fraudsters obtained a person’s identity, you should take precautions for protecting all confidential information. The thieves could have either breached a company’s server to obtain identification information for all employees or obtained information by targeting individual people.
What can your employees do to protect themselves?
Watch for mail from the state DOL or unemployment office.
The first notification that an unemployment claim has been filed is usually received by the employee at their house. If you receive correspondence from your state’s unemployment office indicating that you’re enrolled to receive unemployment benefits when that isn’t the case, then forward this correspondence to your business’s owner or human resources department.
Follow your company’s data security and privacy policies.
Identity and cyber thieves are becoming more creative with how to steal your employer’s confidential information. So be sure to understand and follow the policies and procedures your company has in place for data security. Alert your IT department if you receive any suspicious e-mails or phone calls.
Be vigilant with personal data security actions.
Identity thieves are attempting to get at your personal information through multiple channels – text messages and e-mails, going through physical junk mail that hasn’t been shredded, or even trying to get information by calling you over the phone. So don’t electronically share confidential information, and consider verifying any business who calls requesting information.
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- Your Small Business Can’t Afford to Ignore Cyber Security