Multiple employees in the WUPE listening area have recently been made aware that fraudulent Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims were filed in their name.

The fraud that is taking place involves personal information that may have been compromised sometime in the past ten years or so. It is likely from some large national data releases that occurred in the past, such as Equifax, Target, or other data breaches.

The information that was stolen was most likely held onto, then sold on the dark web at an opportune time such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The data that the Department of Labor is seeing used includes name, Social Security number, date of birth, address, License Number, and in some cases even a photo ID.

If a person receives a notice via US Mail from the Department of Labor referencing a recently filed claim and have not done so, they are most likely a victim of the scam. This means that some combination of personal information was used to fraudulently file an unemployment claim.

If you or someone you know who is a resident of the Town of Bennington and believe that they have been a victim of the of Labor fraud, you can contact the contact your local police dept.  Additionally, contact your financial institution for banking and credit monitoring.

You can access https://www.identitytheft.gov/ or call the Federal Trade Commission hotline at 877-438-4338 for further information on identity theft.

If you believe you are a victim of fraud this information is from Mass.gov

If you believe your identity has been stolen and a fraudulent unemployment claim has been filed on your behalf, here are some steps you can take to protect yourself:

  • File a police report with your local police department. Get a copy of the report that you can provide to creditors and credit agencies.
  • Change passwords on your email, banking, and other personal accounts
  • Make a list of credit card companies, banks, and other financial institutions where you do business. Tell them you are a victim of identity theft, and ask them to put a fraud alert on your account.
  • Get a copy of your credit report and dispute any fraudulent transactions. You can request credit reports online from the 3 major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and Transunion) or by calling (877) 322-8228.
  • Place a credit freeze with each of the 3 major credit reporting agencies. Call each of the credit reporting agencies at these phone numbers or visit their websites to freeze your credit.
    1. Equifax: 800-349-9960 or freeze your credit online
    2. Experian: 888‑397‑3742 or freeze your credit online
    3. TransUnion: 888-909-8872 or freeze your credit online
  • Place a fraud alert on your credit file. You can do this by contacting just 1 of the credit agencies to add an alert with all 3 agencies.
  • Notify your employer
  • Tell the National Center for Disaster Fraud
  • Take notes about all conversations and keep copies of all records
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