Someone Using Your Identity to File Unemployment Insurance Fraud? If So, Here’s What to Do.

Lifestyle
An unfortunate thing happened to one of our clients recently.  For privacy purposes, I won’t use her real name but will instead refer to her as Donna.  Being the owner of a business, Donna is notified when an ex-employee files for unemployment benefits.  Depending on the nature of the business, this can be a regular occurrence and since it is just a notification from the state, these emails are often overlooked.  Well, not so for Donna!  She was shocked to find her name and personally identifiable information on the email noting that she was requesting unemployment!  Someone else filed for unemployment benefits using her information.

 

Here are the steps we recommend taking if you find yourself in a similar situation.  There are many fraudsters out there and with the hacks of some of the biggest companies in recent years (Adobe, eBay, LinkedIn, Marriott, Yahoo, and Equifax) you just have to assume your private data is in fact public.

 

  1. Call Indiana Unemployment office to report a fraud claim.

Their phone number is 1-800-891-6499.

 

  1. Fill out online form to report fraud claim.  

Here is the web address to report unemployment fraud: https://www.in.gov/dwd/2464.htm.  You will need to click on the box to report someone “using your or another person’s identity to file fraudulent UI claims.”

 

  1. File a police report.

The unemployment office will advise you to file a police report.  Donna did so and was provided a case number.

 

  1. Change all your financial passwords.

This list can get extensive.  Change your bank account password(s).  Change your investment account password(s) (e.g. Schwab), including your 401k provider.  There have been reports of fraudsters cashing out 401ks in recent years unbeknownst to investors.  Change your password for your payroll provider in case they try and redirect where your paychecks are going.  At Schwab, you can call Schwab Alliance to put an extra layer of security on your account that entails voice recognition.  Josh Bentz put out an article three years back on how to develop a secure password that is very much still relevant today.  Check out his post here: https://wealthpointadv.com/is-your-password-actually-secure/.

 

  1. Look at your recent credit report.

Ensure that every new line of credit was initiated by you.    You can order a free credit report every 12 months.  Be wary of imposture websites that request credit card information.  Follow the instructions here to get one annually: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0155-free-credit-reports.

 

  1. Freeze your credit score.

I hope your score with each of the three main bureaus is already frozen.  If not, you can do so free of charge.  Here is an easy guide from the state of Indiana with links and FAQs: https://www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/2411.htm.  My score is always frozen.  If I need to apply for new credit or have someone check my credit profile, I can go in and temporarily lift the credit freeze.

 

  1. Let your financial advisor know.

We will be extra diligent in looking over your accounts to ensure no strange money movements happen.

 

This was an instance of fraud and a terrifying experience for Donna.  I hope that it doesn’t happen to anyone else, but if so, the above action plan can help you navigate through it.

About the Author: Alex Perkins

Alex is a Wealth Advisor for WealthPoint Advisors, LLC. After a successful career in management consulting where he helped business executives solve their corporate challenges, he decided to pursue a passion in helping families and individuals on the personal side. Alex now enjoys helping his clients answer their most pressing financial and life questions, through a comprehensive, evidence-based wealth management approach.