Unemployment Fraud – Tips to Protect Yourself

Now, more than ever, incidents of fraud are happening daily, and scammers are coming up with new schemes to prey upon the others for financial gain. Currently, there is fraud specifically targeting unemployment assistance due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

There have been many reports of Massachusetts residents receiving letters in the mail from The Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) confirming a claim for unemployment benefits. The problem is, they’re currently working and never filed to receive those benefits. This fraud is part of a national unemployment fraud scheme, where illegitimate unemployment benefit claims are being submitted using stolen social security numbers and other personal information from past national data breaches.

If you believe someone has applied for unemployment benefits using your personal information, report the suspected fraud immediately by filling out The Department of Unemployment Assistance’s secure fraud reporting form to alert them or call the DUA customer service department at (877) 626-6800.

Steps you can take to protect yourself:

  • File a police report with your local police department. Get a copy of the report that you can provide to creditors and credit agencies.
  • Change passwords on your email, banking, and other personal accounts.
  • Make a list of credit card companies, banks, and other financial institutions where you do business. Tell them you are a victim of identity theft, and ask them to put a fraud alert on your account.
  • Get a copy of your credit report and dispute any fraudulent transactions. Did you know The Coop offers free credit monitoring? Learn more here.
  • Place a credit freeze with each of the 3 major credit reporting agencies. Call each of the credit reporting agencies at these phone numbers or visit their websites to freeze your credit:
    1. Equifax: 800-349-9960 or freeze your credit online
    2. Experian: 888‑397‑3742 or freeze your credit online
    3. TransUnion: 888-909-8872 or freeze your credit online.
  • Place a fraud alert on your credit file. You can do this by contacting just 1 of the credit agencies to add an alert with all 3 agencies.

For more information on how to protect your identity and recover from identity theft, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website: https://www.identitytheft.gov/

For more tips on ways to protect yourself online, visit our resources: https://www.thecooperativebankofcapecod.com/resources/your-security/