Phishing scheme targets unemployment insurance benefits and PII
Scam A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime - is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. Victims Need To Be Especially Careful
Have you gotten an alarming text message about your unemployment insurance benefits from what seems to be your state workforce agency? You’re not alone. Identity thieves are targeting millions of people nationwide with scam phishing texts aimed at stealing personal information, unemployment benefits, or both.
The phishing texts try to dupe you to click a link to “make necessary corrections” to your unemployment insurance (UI) claim, “verify” your personal information, or “reactivate” your UI benefits account. The link takes you to a fake state workforce agency (SWA) website that may look very real. There, you’re asked to input your website credentials and personal information, like your Social Security number. Fraudsters can use the information to file fraudulent UI benefits claims or for other identity theft.
If You Were The Victim Of A Scam?
If you were the victim of a scam then the scammers already know you, and they may know a lot about you! In fact, they already have used your identity to file a fraudulent unemployment claim under your name!
If you have been involved in a scam it is important that you protect your financial identity, but especially with your state. After all, if the state believes that you have committed unemployment fraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements.
A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim. they will send the police to your door to arrest you! Avoid that by calling your state agency and asking about your current unemployment account status. You can use the directory below to contact them.
Here are examples of some of the phishing texts:
A Surge In Fraudulent Unemployment Claims
U.S. States have experienced a surge in fraudulent unemployment claims filed by organized crime rings using stolen identities that were accessed or purchased from past data breaches, the majority of which occurred in previous years and involved larger criminal A criminal is any person who through a decision or act engages in a crime. This can be complicated, as many people break laws unknowingly, however, in our context, it is a person who makes a decision to engage in unlawful acts or to place themselves with others who do this. A criminal always has the ability to decide not to break the law, or if they initially engage in crime to stop doing it, but instead continues. efforts unrelated to unemployment. Criminals are using these stolen identities to fraudulently collect benefits across multiple states.
For information and reporting other types of unemployment fraud, including claimant fraud or employer fraud, visit our Report Unemployment Fraud page.
Protect yourself. Know that state agencies do not send text messages asking for personal information. If you get an unsolicited text or email message that looks like it’s from an SWA, don’t reply or click any link. If you’re not sure, contact the SWA directly using the State Directory below for Reporting Unemployment Identity Theft.
If you think you may have entered your personal information into a fraudulent website, visit IdentityTheft.gov to find out how to make it harder for an identity thief to misuse your information.
You can report a suspicious text message or email claiming to be from an SWA to the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) by completing an NCDF Complaint Form or by calling (866) 720-5721. You can also report this at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
Signs That You May Be A Victim Of Unemployment Identity Theft
Most victims of unemployment identity theft are unaware that claims have been filed and/or that benefits have been collected using their identities. Many people only find out unemployment identity theft occurred when they receive something in the mail, such as a payment or state issued 1099-G tax form that’s incorrect or for benefits not received.
Sample form from the IRS.gov website: IRS form Certain Government Payments 1099-G
You may be a victim of unemployment identity theft if you received:
- Mail from a government agency about an unemployment claim or payment and you did not recently file for unemployment benefits. This includes unexpected payments or debit cards and could be from any state.
- A 1099-G tax form reflecting unemployment benefits you weren’t expecting. Box 1 on this form may show unemployment benefits you did not receive or an amount that exceeds your records for the unemployment benefits you did receive. The form itself may be from a state in which you do not live or did not file for benefits.
- While you are still employed, a notice from your employer indicating that your employer received a request for information about an unemployment claim in your name.
Are You A Victim Of Unemployment Identity Theft?
- Report unemployment identity theft to the state where it occurred. Use the directory below, to report it to the state.
- You may not receive an immediate confirmation from the state when you submit a report. Time estimates for how long this process takes vary by state.
- The state may require additional documentation (like filing a police report or a sworn affidavit) in order to open an investigation; they will review your case and make a determination. Each state has different requirements and a different process for investigating identity theft.
- If you received a 1099-G tax form for benefits you didn’t receive, the state will need to issue you a corrected 1099-G tax form and will update the tax record with the IRS The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the revenue & tax service of the United States federal government responsible for collecting taxes and administering the Internal Revenue Code (the main body of federal statutory tax law.) It is part of the Department of the Treasury and led by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, who is appointed to a five-year term by the President of the United States. The duties of the IRS include providing tax assistance to taxpayers; pursuing and resolving instances of erroneous or fraudulent tax filings; and overseeing various benefits programs.
Visit www.IRS.gov to learn more. on your behalf.
- When you file your income taxes, ONLY include income you actually received. Do not wait to receive a corrected 1099-G to file your taxes.
- The processing of your tax return should not be delayed while your report of unemployment identity theft is under investigation.
- If you have not filed your taxes yet, do not report the incorrect 1099-G income on your tax return.
- If you have already filed your taxes, do not file an amended return. The IRS will issue additional guidance regarding your next steps. Refer to the Identity Theft and Unemployment Benefits page on IRS.gov for updates and additional tax filing information.
- Check your credit report for suspicious activity or unauthorized lines of credit opened. You can request free credit reports every week from each of the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, Transunion) through AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1- 877-322-8228; you will need to provide your name, address, social security number, and date of birth to verify your identity.
- Consider freezing your credit. It’s the best way you can protect against having new accounts opened in your name. Visit the Credit Freeze page on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent agency of the United States government whose principal mission is the enforcement of civil (non-criminal) U.S. antitrust law and the promotion of consumer protection. The FTC can also act as a clearinghouse for criminal reports sent to other agencies for investigation and prosecution.
To learn more visit www.FTC.gov or to report fraud visit ReportFraud.FTC.gov) website.
- Report unemployment identity theft that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud. In addition to reporting with the state, reporting with the National Center for Disaster Fraud helps law enforcement stop future unemployment identity theft. Filing this report with the National Center for Disaster Fraud will also notify the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, which is the primary agency responsible for investigating unemployment fraud. You may not receive a response back after submitting this information.
Report Unemployment Identity Theft
State Directory for Reporting Unemployment Identity Theft
Refer to each state’s specific guidance around reporting unemployment identity theft. Some states may refer to unemployment as “reemployment assistance” or may refer to identity theft as “imposter An impersonator is someone who imitates or copies the behavior or actions of another. There are many reasons for impersonating someone, such as: part of a criminal act such as identity theft, online impersonation scam, or other fraud. This is usually where the criminal is trying to assume the identity of another, in order to commit fraud, such as accessing confidential information or to gain property not belonging to them. Also known as social engineering and impostors. fraud”.
Never send personal information or documents to unverified sites or in response to requests from social media. The resources below have been verified by state and federal governments.
Tell your friends. By sharing your experience and knowledge about fraud, you can help someone else avoid these traps!