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Is a scammer getting unemployment benefits in your name?

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In a large-scale scam erupting in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, imposters are filing claims for unemployment benefits, using the names and personal information of people who have not filed claims. People learn about the fraud when they get a notice from their state unemployment benefits office or their employer about their supposed application for benefits.

If this happens to you, it means someone is misusing your personal information, including your Social Security number and date of birth. Act fast. Here are steps that can help you protect your finances and your credit:

  1. Report the fraud to your employer. Keep a record of who you spoke with and when.
  2. Report the fraud to your state unemployment benefits agency. You can find state agencies here.
    • If possible, report the fraud online. An online report will save you time and be easier for the agency to process.
    • Keep any confirmation or case number you get. If you speak with anyone, keep a record of who you spoke with and when.
  3. Visit IdentityTheft.gov to report the fraud to the FTC and get help with the next important recovery steps. These include placing a free, one-year fraud alert on your credit, getting your free credit reports, and closing any fraudulent accounts opened in your name. IdentityTheft.gov also will help you add a free extended fraud alert or credit freeze to your credit report. These make it more difficult for an identity thief to open new accounts in your name.
  4. Review your credit reports often. For the next year, you can check your reports every week for free through AnnualCreditReport.com. This can help you spot any new fraud quickly.

One other thing: The unemployment payments usually are deposited to accounts the imposters control. But sometimes payments get sent to the real person’s account, instead. If this happens to you, the imposters may call, text, or email to try to get you to send some or all of the money to them. They may pretend to be your state unemployment agency and say the money was sent by mistake. This a money mule scam and participating in one could cause you more difficulties.

If you get benefits you never applied for, report it to your state unemployment agency and ask for instructions. Don’t respond to any calls, emails, or text messages telling you to wire money, send cash, or put money on gift cards. Your state agency will never tell you to repay money that way. Anyone who tells you to do those things is a scammer. Every time.

Comments

Similar to a credit freeze, is there a way to preemptively "block" my state from enrolling me in UI? Does this sort of functionality exist at the federal level?

Victims should also file a police report with their local department to cover themselves for later misuse and potential IRS issues next year.

I have no idea if someone is using my name for unemployment benefits. I have not filed for unemployment benefits.

I was not employed or would even qualify for UI benefits, when corona came. Hope government unemployment office refuses to accept any application a fraudster tries to apply for. Would be a laugh on fraudster even trying. Would also think Government workers would be smart enough to see your address not changing for years and then all of a sudden a different address. In Canada, government has learned not to send cheques and insist on bank account for direct deposit & ONLY YOU CAN WITHDRAW IT.

I got a notice from 2 different states than where I live in. But when I called one of them to find out if payment had been made, it said they couldn't find my social security number, I'm so confused. How could they have my name and address but not my ssn???

When we filed our taxes, I found out that my 1-year old sons SS# was being used and we had to send it a paper application. How do I fix this?

If you haven't already, report the theft at www.IdentityTheft.gov. You will create an FTC Identity Theft Report, IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, and recovery plan that explains what to do next. This FTC article about Child Identity Theft has more about what to do, including checking for a credit report, and considering a child credit freeze.

How do you know if u being used if u get social security? I’m lost? Why would they send me this my social security gets directly deposited.

I got a text message one day from this number+1(833)4927955
I doubted if this is coming from the govt because of the content of the message. So I got this on May 28, 2020 at 6:20 pm.
Message:
Hi. This is MA Dept of Unemployment. You indicated you wanted help on FPUC payments (the Federal $600 additional weekly unemployment benefit).

I'm so confused if this is from the gov't or from a scammer which is if I say "yes" they would ask for more details like my SSN.
So please let me know if this is fraud or legit. Does the Unemployment send texts?

I received a letter and a check of $1,950.47 from Secret Survey, they asked to confirm that l have received the package via text to this number 346-348-5800 with my full name, amount received, bank name of the check, my phone number and estimated time to complete my evaluation. They asked that l deposit the check to my bank. They stated that once the check is cleared l should go to any of the selected thirty four stores of their choice to buy eBay gift cards and to pick available denominations from ($100, 200 and $500) and buy the eBay gifts cards worth of $1500. After purchase of the card to open the pack and gently peel the silver scratch off area on the card. Capture image of the card front and back, and send a text to 346-348-5800. They stated not to discard the cards as it will be used for my forthcoming assignment. They gave an instructed script to use while at the store. They also stated l can shop online via giftcards. com/

That is one of the top scams that they try to pull. I would report it to the FTC and to the United States Post Office if you received the letter through the mail. The website for the United Postal Service has a place for you to report this. Do not deposit the check it will just bounce and do not take their calls. They will become mad and try to intimidate you in to following through with the scam. Check with your local law enforcement to see if they have a fraud department that you can talk to. Good luck to you!

Don't do it! Very popular scam! You will be out of all of the money you spent and they will spend the gift cards!

You can make the scammers very angry, by telling them "I'll go get the cards" then tell them you loaded $1500 worth of play cards to your account or your device. They usually tell you they can block your credit card cause someone tried to use it. Say I| can't pay for Google cards without my credit card. Play them along for an hour or two in the meantime - make up some good excuses to sideline them. Tell them you were on your way to Petro, Walmart or wherever they say and you just got into a car accident or tell them the bus doesn't come for half hour.

Do not deposit the check. The check will bounce after you withdraw the money and you will owe that amount to your bank ... throw it away. No legitimate company will ask you to buy cards and send them.

I have this problem and I cannot get through to unemployment for assistance. This is a NIGHTMARE! I have a job, somebody tried using my social security number to apply for benefits my employer alerted me. Unbelievable situation.

We are having the same issue - we have until June 25th to respond but we a) cannot get thru via phone and b) get booted from the online application. $6500 is what we owe - this is RIDICULOUS!! Have you been able to resolve your case? Did you hire an Attorney?

Okay i have received multiple letters from several states saying i have filed for unemployment benefits. Ugh!! What a mess. So do i file a police report with my local police department or what?? Am i able to get a new ssn or is that virtually impossible to get a new one. Has anyone else gotten letters saying they filed for all these benefits that they know they haven't?? I don't even know where to start. Please comment b need all the help. And thanks in advance to everyone who leaves a response...

You can follow the steps listed at the top of this blog.

1. Report the fraud to your employer.

2. Report to your state unemployment benefits agency.

3. Go to www.IdentityTheft.gov to report to the FTC and get a list of next steps.

It is impossible to get through to anyone to report this!

Yes file report if not it will affect you when your ready to retire. Georgia, New york and Ohio have 1 of biggest scam rings. Other they using from those still employed...also using minors SS and job history from years back.

I have been an identity theft victim in the past. I have credit monitoring and have frozen everything, but the person who stole my information was never caught. I have since moved states. How can I know if they tried to apply for unemployment benefits in my name from my old state?

How can I verify an unknown phone number referring to an unauthorized payment?

I was contacted by multiple state unemployment agencies stating I was eligible or receiving benefits which i did not apply for state of Michigan unemployment agency said they deposited 6,840$ into my account which I received and gave instructions to send it to a ms Tracy Alfred upon learning of the scam I relinquished the money order back to me and is in the necessary process of returning most of money unfortunately a portion went into bitcoins so I need to make some arrangements to pay that back also was eligible to receive 10,000$ for unemployment from the state of Massachusetts but made a fraud report out to the state’s unemployment agency Federal trade commission also knows

Why does my government allow major credit card companies, financial institutions, etc., to share or sell my personal information, especially my SSN? I cannot limit the data they "share or sell" because laws are passed which give companies my rights of privacy.
Something's really should be kept private.
I have no problem with sharing my information with a Court of Law, or other law enforcement agencies.
But, when they sell my personal information, I think I should receive compensation for their gain at my expense. I'm the one who receives the marketing calls, and there are many, even at two am.
This site gives tips on how to avoid identification theft and yet laws are passed that allow almost every company to release my SSN to anyone they please. That number is my identity.
I love my country and will defend it
to the end.
I thank God that I was born in the United States of America. My ancestors lost their men and their boys fighting for our freedom.

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