The coronavirus wreaked havoc upon employment, so naturally scammers took notice. According to the Labor Department, more than $63 billion in unemployment fraud has been paid out since March of last year. Here are some things you should know about this scam.
The Warning Signs
As USA Today notes, most of the time, by the time you figure out you’re the victim of unemployment fraud, it’s too late. What typically happens is you’ll find out when you try to file an unemployment claim and get denied. Sometimes you might find out after filing taxes, because the scammer used your info to claim unemployment benefits which (obviously) aren’t included in your correct tax returns.
You can protect yourself from unemployment fraud by being wary of any suspicious job-benefit related correspondence. That includes any offer claiming you earlier and/or better unemployment benefits, letters detailing new unemployment benefits and more.
If you’re the victim of unemployment fraud, the first thing you need to do is contact your state’s unemployment office and report it. They’ll work with you to get it sorted out. You should also report the fraud to your employer, the FTC and the three credit reporting agencies. Freeze your credit until the fraud is cleared. After the matter is resolved, do your best to closely monitor your private information to ensure it doesn’t happen again.