Have you received a letter about an unemployment claim you didn’t file?
We can relate. In fact, of our nearly 120 Western State Bank employees, 15 have received such a letter. The letters are generated when scammers use stolen information to try to collect unemployment payments. The Kansas Department of Labor is reportedly stopping about 2,300 claims each day.
While fraudulent claims would normally be easy to spot (since employers can verify if a person was laid off or not), the recently established Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program is open to segments of the population that aren’t normally covered by traditional unemployment, such as the self-employed. This is making the claims much more difficult to verify.
To help combat the problem, the Kansas Department of Labor has added staff and technology to help process claims as quickly as possible and to identify fake claims. They have also set up a website where fake claims should be immediately reported.
So, what should you do if you learn of a fraudulent unemployment claim made in your name? The Kansas Department of Labor recommends taking the following steps:
1. Immediately report the claim to the state at www.ReportFraud.ks.gov.
After reporting your claim, the state’s system will generate a police report number and give you tips to help mitigate damage from identity theft.
2. Place a fraud alert on your credit record with one of the three major credit bureaus:
- Equifax.....1 (866) 349-5191
- Experian.....1 (888) 397-3742
- TransUnion.....1 (800) 680-7289
3. Report the fraud to your bank(s) and your credit card companies so they may increase the security of your accounts and attempt to spot irregular transactions.
A note from WSB: Be sure to log in to your online or mobile banking accounts frequently to check for suspicious transactions. If you do not have online or mobile banking, now is an excellent time to sign up. Otherwise, we recommend you carefully review your monthly bank statements.
4. Check your social security earnings statement online to make sure your reported wages are correct. You can do this with a free, personal my Social Security Account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
5. Additionally, Western State Bank recommends you take steps to prevent your information from being easily accessed by scammers in the future.
This may include changing your passwords and ensuring your passwords are strong, avoiding phishing emails or text messages, and more. Please view our Identity Theft Protection list for additional tips on protecting your information online.