BOISE, Idaho — The Boise Police Department sent out a warning on Thursday about an uptick in identity theft involving unemployment benefits.
The department said it has received 16 reports in recent weeks of scammers fraudulently opening unemployment claims under victims' names and taking the benefits.
According to police, there are tell-tale signs that someone has used your information to claim benefits, including receiving information in the mail from the Department of Labor about an unemployment claim you did not file, or your employer receiving notice of an unemployment claim filed in your name.
If you are the victim of this fraud, another concern is that your social security number and possibly other personal information has likely been compromised, which means you need to act immediately to report and secure your finances.
All unemployment fraud also needs to be reported since unemployment benefits are taxable income.
Police said claimants should never:
- Post screenshots of their claim or their claim status on social media;
- Provide their Social Security number or unemployment benefit claim number to people on social media who offer to help resolve their issues;
- Agree to pay a private firm or individual to file for unemployment insurance benefits on their behalf (the department does not charge a fee for filing a claim); or
- File a claim in a crowded setting where someone shoulder surf and steal their data by looking over their shoulders.
Anyone who thinks they are a victim of unemployment fraud should do the following, according to police:
Contact their employer about the fraudulent claim;
Contact the Idaho Department of Labor by calling (877) 540-8638 or emailing Fraud@labor.idaho.gov;
File a police report with their local department; file an identity theft complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov;
Report the activity to the credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, Transunion), and place a fraud alert or credit freeze;
Run a credit report to look for fraudulent activity
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