WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Unemployment fraud is running rampant - something we learned after our story Friday where parents of a deployed airman discovered his identity had been stolen.
Lately, Cheryl Mayforth, director of The WorkPlace, has been spending her days fielding phone calls and emails. She says unemployment fraud is running rampant.
“Since spring, we have been receiving numerous calls and people coming in with these fraudulent claims. Somebody is filing a claim in their name, it does have their correct Social Security number on it, and they’re still working,” she said.
Scammers are stealing victims’ personal information and using it to file claims illegally, collecting benefits in the names of people who are employed.
Mayforth says it may be difficult to prevent, but you should be prepared if it were to happen to you.
“Don’t just ignore it. If you find yourself a victim, you need to take the precautions of any sort of identity theft. Contact your banks, contact your credit card, contact your credit reporting agencies so they can freeze your credit,” she said.
Last week, the Watertown Police Department sent out a warning on unemployment insurance identity theft.
“Generally when the scam starts, the people that are victimized by it, the information is obtained on the front end before the Department of Labor becomes involved. With that being said, by ignoring it, all that’s doing is allowing the people that have the victim’s information to use it to more detrimental effect,” said Detective Joe Giaquinto, Watertown Police Department.
If you think you may be a victim of unemployment fraud, you can file a report on the Department of Labor’s website.