Scammers are stealing identities to claim unemployment benefits

Statewide — A growing number of scammers are filing claims for unemployment benefits using other people’s names and identities, according to Attorney General Curtis Hill. Over the course of 2020, he stated the Office of Attorney General has recorded an exponential increase in the number of consumer complaints involving this type of fraud.

The scammers are stealing personal information such as dates of birth, Social Security numbers, and home addresses, and routing benefit payments to accounts over which the scammers have control.

From April 18 to May 18 this year, the Office of the Attorney General received just three unemployment-related identity theft complaints. Cases trended upward throughout 2020, and from Oct. 18 to Nov. 18, the office received 157 such complaints.

While the wrongfully taken funds come from the public treasury, the person whose identity has been stolen by scammers can also suffer negative consequences. Besides having fraudulently filed for unemployment benefits, the scammers might also have the personal information needed to gain access to victims’ bank and other accounts as well.

In addition, if left unresolved, these instances of fraud could interfere with people’s legitimate efforts going forward to apply for unemployment benefits should they lose their jobs.
If you learn that your identity has been fraudulently used in a claim for unemployment benefits, you should report it by clicking here for the form to report it to the Office of the Attorney General.