A Vero Lake Estates man called law enforcement after finding out someone tried to use his name to apply for unemployment benefits, according to the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office.
The victim said someone contacted the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (FDEO) pretending to be him and applied for the benefits. He was made aware of it on Feb. 8, 2021, when the FDEO requested that he provide additional information to complete the application.
To file for unemployment benefits, one needs to have their name, date of birth, and social security number. It worries the victim that the person who attempted to apply has all of his personal information.
When the victim called the FDEO to report the unemployment compensation fraud, they asked him to contact law enforcement.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) calls it a large-scale scam during the coronavirus pandemic. The FTC says imposters are filing claims for unemployment benefits using other people’s names and personal information.
“The unemployment payments usually are deposited to accounts the imposter’s 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,” the FTC said.
How to report Unemployment Compensation Fraud
If you find out that someone else has applied for unemployment compensation using your name, you need to act fast. Here are steps that can help you protect your finances and your credit:
- Report the fraud to your employer. Keep a record of who you spoke with and when.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
If you get unemployment benefits that you never applied for, report it immediately to the DEO. If someone calls you and asks you to return the money through a wire transfer, cash, or gift cards, it is a scammer. The DEO would never ask consumers to use these methods to send money back.