By Sangeetha Malaiyandi | Care of CFPB Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
During the pandemic, millions of Americans have filed for unemployment benefits due to job loss and reduced work hours. Unfortunately, scammers are taking advantage of the pandemic and fraudulently filing unemployment claims using stolen personal identity information.
If you receive a 1099-G tax form for unemployment benefits that you didn’t apply for or receive, you may be a victim of identity theft someone may have received benefits using your personal
information without your knowledge.
How to protect yourself from unemployment benefit scamsLearn the four steps you can take to report unemployment benefits fraud and protect yourself and others.
First, report this fraud immediately to your state unemployment office where it occurred and check if you need to get a corrected form. https://www.dol.gov/fraud
Second, don’t wait to file your federal tax returns, and only include the unemployment income you did receive. Consider using an Identity Protection (IP) PIN so nobody can file a federal tax return using your Social Security Number. https://www.irs.gov/identity-theft
Third, make sure to actively monitor your credit report for any other fraud, which you can do
each week for free during the pandemic. Also consider placing a credit freeze or a one-year fraud alert on your file. https://www.annualcreditreport.com
And finally, help stop future unemployment identity thefts by filing a federal fraud complaint with the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud. https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/
Learn how to protect yourself and others from fraud and scams during the coronavirus pandemic: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus
Marc has 36 years in financial services and 6 years in teaching.
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