I am a victim of unemployment fraud. What do I do?
Usually, unemployment payments are deposited to accounts the imposters control. 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.
Reporting Unemployment Fraud
✓ Report the fraud to your employer; keep record of whom you spoke (Time, Date & organization)
✓ Report the fraud to your state unemployment agency - keep record of whom you spoke (Time, Date & agency)
Reporting to Credit Bureau & Law Enforcement
✓ Contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies to place a fraud alert. Whichever company you contact is required to notify the other two:
- Experian online, or 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion online, or 1-800-680-7289
- Equifax online, or 1-888-836-6351
✓ Place a Fraud Alert on your credit.
✓ Consider placing a Credit Freeze on your credit.
A fraud alert doesn’t prevent new lenders from viewing your credit report, but it does notify them to take extra precaution, such as calling you directly, when verifying a credit application. An initial fraud alert lasts for one year. When you place a fraud alert with one credit reporting agency, they will automatically notify the other two.
With a credit freeze, new lenders will not be able to view your credit report. You will have to manually lift the freeze to open a new account. This gives you more control of who can access your information. A credit freeze will stay on your credit report until you choose to remove it. You will need to notify each bureau on your own to freeze your credit with them.
✓ Obtain and review copies of your credit reports immediately at Annualcreditreport.com. Look for accounts, inquiries and addresses you don’t recognize.
✓ Go to https://www.identitytheft.gov to file a report about your situation. Once you’ve entered your information, the site will create an Identity Theft Report. Print it or save it to your computer; you will need it later.
✓ File an identity theft report with your local police department. You may want to use the report you prepared at IdentityTheft.gov. Let your local police department know that your personal information was used to obtain unemployment benefits in your name without your permission.
Do not use the debit card you receive in the mail If you are not authorized to receive unemployment benefits. Make copy of debit card, (front and back) and any other documentation received about the unemployment claim and include it with your police report.
If a recipient actually uses this unauthorized card (or direct deposit funds) they will probably have to pay the funds back.
Protecting your Credit Union Account and other Accounts
✓ Notify all financial institutions you bank with that your identity has been stolen. They should flag your account and suggest additional security measures such as a codeword.
✓ If unauthorized deposits occurred to your account, you should change your account number to prevent further fraud. Contact your financial institution directly for next steps.