Question: Are unemployment insurance applications being filed by people who have stolen someone’s identity?
Answer: Yes. Crime rings across the globe are exploiting the COVID-19 crisis by attempting to commit large scale fraud against multiple state unemployment insurance programs. These crime rings possess substantial databases of stolen personally identifiable information which is used to submit a large volume of applications for unemployment benefits. Scammers use the names and addresses of Idaho residents, but then have payments sent to bank accounts in other states or have bank cards mailed to different addresses. The department is working closely with federal law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General to address fraud.
Q. What steps is the department taking to ensure the person applying for benefits is not committing identity fraud?
A. The Idaho Department of Labor uses many methods to ensure others are not filing claims using someone else’s name and other personally identifiable information. Identity verification emails and letters are sent to potentially fraudulent applicants to request information to verify the claimant’s identity through ID.me. Each claim is reviewed by a fraud investigator to confirm the claimant’s identity before issuing payment.
Q. Could my claim be delayed while the department is verifying my identity?
A. Yes. Some claims may be flagged and held up until the claimant’s identity can be verified. Claimants will receive instructions by email and mail to verify their identity through ID.me, which can be accessed online with a laptop, desktop computer or cell phone.
Q What if I am victim of identity theft?
A. If you are notified by the Department of Labor that a claim has been filed under your name when you did not file the claim, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not include personally identifiable information such as a Social Security number in the email. Unemployment Insurance identity fraud may also be reported here.
The U.S. Department of Labor has issued a fraud alert about another scam designed to trick people into giving personal information. More details can be found here.