Protect yourself from unemployment fraud
Recently there has been an increase in fraudulent attempts where imposters are filing for unemployment benefits using the names and personal information of people who have not filed claims.
All 50 states are reporting an increase in fraudulent unemployment benefit attempts. Threat actors are using stolen credentials to apply for benefits in someone’s name. Victim’s typically have no idea the scam is happening until they receive a notice in the mail from the state unemployment office alerting them of the claim or in some cases a debit card is received in the mail.
How are they getting this information?
Fraudsters are gathering pieces of information on the dark web from numerous data breaches that have occurred over the years. Most states only require a social security number and a date of birth to start an unemployment claim. More than 4,500 data breaches have been made public since 2015. A total of over 816 million individual records have been breached. This information can be sold and used to try and steal identities.
What should I do if I have received a notification?
If you are alerted your information was used for a fraudulent claim, follow these simple steps:
- Report the attempt to your employer.
- Contact NBT Bank immediately by email at [email protected] and/or your primary financial institution.
- Change any passwords that have been reused or not changed in the last 90 days. Keeping your financial and online baking passwords separate from email or social media sites is key!
- Visit www.identitytheft.gov to report the fraud attempt to the FTC and get help with recovery steps. They will also assist in adding a fraud alert on your credit report.
- Review your credit report often. You are entitled to a free credit report and review the information for any incorrect information. Up until April 2021, you are eligible to one free credit report weekly. You can visit www.annualcreditreport.com.
- Contact the unemployment agency in the state where the claim was filed to notify the claim was fraudulent.
a. Note: You may not be able to speak to a live representative due to the influx of calls, but it is still important to notify them via their website or an automated hotline. The full list of agencies in NBT Bank’s footprint are located below.
- Check to see if you have been exposed on any recent compromises or data breaches. www.haveibeenpwned.com
- Consider filing a report with your local law enforcement agency of the fraudulent attempt. Get a copy of that report that you can provide to creditors or credit agencies if you fall victim to further identity theft attempts.