An unexpected consequence of moving America’s workforce online during the COVID-19 pandemic has been the skyrocketing of unemployment fraud. According to a recent report from Allstate Identity Protection (AIP), says unemployment fraud across the U.S. rose by more than 17,000 while tax fraud grew at a rate of 258% year over year. Unfortunately, the report predicts this trend to continue, with predictions of unemployment fraud tripling in rates, throughout the remainder of 2021.
“Cybercriminals are always finding new ways to use people’s personal information to get access to money,” said Lewis Bertolucci, vice president of product at Allstate Identity Protection. “These new tactics, like unemployment fraud, pop up quickly and are getting more difficult to resolve. It’s no longer enough to rely on your bank or free credit services to protect you from identity fraud – it requires specialized expertise and reimbursement coverage to fully resolve these issues.”
Pre-pandemic unemployment fraud accounted for only a sliver of all identity theft, noted the report with this type of fraud representing “less than 0.1% of AIP’s identity fraud cases”. Today, however, AIP says that this type of fraud is almost 70% of the fraud cases it is resolving. Since the start of the pandemic, the Department of Labor has estimated that scammers have collected $36 billion in fraudulent unemployment insurance claims by exploiting cumbersome, state-run unemployment insurance platforms inundated by claims.
AIP offers the following tips for those who believe they are a victim of unemployment or tax fraud, in order to protect yourself from further harm:
- Notify your employer and state unemployment office. This will help prevent further fraudulent claims from being processed by the state.
- File complaints with the Department of Justice and Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General. Doing so will notify law enforcement of the theft and help to detect and prevent fraud within Social Security Administration programs.
- If you have an identity protection provider – like AIP – notify them immediately. Allstate Identity Protection specialists go the extra mile to help customers recoup and recover as quickly as possible.
SOURCE Allstate Identity Protection