While unemployment numbers are on the rise, so are cases of fraud being committed to claim unemployment benefits. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has been in charge of issuing unemployment benefits for residents through regular UI programs as well as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. DWD has noticed a rise in unemployment insurance fraud and identity theft being experienced by resident Hoosiers. Around 27,000 unemployment claims were filed with the department in the month of December and the DWD attributes the inflation to fraudulent attempts to file for unemployment benefits.
This is not the first time the department has issued a fraud alert to the state. Back in June of last year, the DWD notified those who had applied for unemployment insurance benefits to be aware of scammers looking to steal personal information through deceiving emails. These emails included links that would save logins and passwords for commonly used accounts such as Google, Microsoft, or Apple, causing users to inadvertently give away access to secure information. The DWD is working closely with local, state, and federal officials to combat these fraudulent schemes to ensure those responsible for these crimes are held accountable.
There are plenty of steps you can take to protect yourself from internet fraud and identity theft. The DWD asks those claiming uninsurance benefits to take measures to protect themselves before filing their vouchers, including changing their passwords and checking the payment election status. In addition, it is important to keep a careful eye on your statements, accounts, and documents. Shred papers you no longer need and never give out personal information.
Reference our article for more information on how to recognize if you’ve been a victim of identity theft and what actions you can take towards resolving the situation. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) also has great resources for dealing with scams and fraud. These include ways to “be crime smart” and government resources. This government entity, along with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), can offer a wealth of information to those dealing with fraud.
For those that are experiencing identity theft, there are multiple reporting options available.
Our tax and accounting professionals may be able to help you avoid fraudulent activity. We are here for you.
Bill Heffelfinger, CPA
Partner, Kruggel Lawton CPAs