How to Protect Yourself from COVID Unemployment Benefits Fraud

Posted on: February 3rd, 2021 by

Unemployment has skyrocketed over the last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many states have been inundated with unemployment benefits claims and have been struggling to keep up with the backlog of cases. In addition, states are feeling the pressure to deliver these important benefits as fast as possible since people are truly in dire need. This situation has created a unique opportunity for scammers to steal millions of dollars through unemployment fraud.
Thousands of people across the country have reported fraudulent unemployment claims made in their name. Often, these fraudulent claims are made possible by identity theft and as a result, the victims may face a variety of issues beyond unemployment fraud.

Signs that You may Be a Victim of Unemployment Fraud and Identity Theft

As with other instances of identity theft, you may not become aware of the problem until long after your personal data has been compromised. According to the FBI, many people don’t know they’ve been the victim of unemployment benefits fraud until they either file a legitimate claim of their own or start preparing their taxes.
Some signs that you’ve been the victim of unemployment benefits fraud include:

Impact of Unemployment Fraud on Victims

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates hat over $26 billion dollars in fraudulent unemployment benefits may have been distributed in 2020. Not only will this impact the victims of fraud, but also other individuals who actually need these important benefits right now. Fortunately, you won’t be held responsible for fraudulent unemployment benefits stolen in your name due to identity theft. However, you may have to deal with a complex process to resolve the issue:

However, your payments may get delayed until the fraud investigation is complete, and this can take anywhere from several weeks to several months.

Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Unemployment Fraud

identity theft You can never eliminate all risk of identity theft. In fact, many victims of unemployment fraud during the COVID pandemic had their personal data compromised from largescale breaches such as the Equifax security breach in 2017, which delivered information from over 143 million Americans into the hands of scammers. In these situations, your data can be stolen through no fault of your own.
However, there are several steps you can take to reduce the likelihood that you’ll become the victim of identity theft and subsequent unemployment fraud:

What to Do if You’ve Been the Victim of Unemployment Fraud

If you find out you’ve been the victim of unemployment fraud, it’s crucial that you report the fraudulent activity right away. Make sure to take the following steps:

Premier Employer Services Can Help if Your Employees Are Victims of Unemployment Fraud

If you’ve been notified by an employee that they’ve been the victim of unemployment benefits fraud, Premier Employer Services can help. We offer comprehensive PEO services to address all the needs of your company and your employees. Our exclusive Elevated Engagement Plus® approach ensures that you receive the support you need to navigate these challenging situations. We’ll work with you to make sure these fraudulent claims are handled properly on your end.
Please contact us today to schedule a consultation. We provide employee engagement services to clients in the Denver, Colorado area.

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