Unemployment fraud is on the rise in Kansas. KDOL reports almost 125,000 have been caught this year alone!
Even though you’re still working, you receive a letter in the mail claiming you applied for unemployment benefits: but you didn’t. DON’T TOSS THE LETTER. Take the matter seriously and follow these steps. It could save you a lot of headache in the future. Someone, somewhere has access to your social security number so take it seriously. This just happened to me last week and I’m still sorting through it!

Step 1:
DOCUMENT. DOCUMENT. DOCUMENT. Get organized. You’re going to have a lot of things to keep track of: accounts, passwords, dates, etc. ACT QUICKLY.

Step 2:
Notify your employer.

Step 3:
Report the fraud to the Kansas Department of Labor at https://www.dol.ks.gov/fraud
There’s a simple online form or you can call the Fraud Hotline at 785-291-6059.

Step 4:
Notify all three credit reporting agencies and have a fraud alert or freeze put on your credit report. This will prevent anyone from opening a new line of credit in your name. Just remember before you purchase anything new, you will need to unfreeze your reports. This will require setting up accounts with these companies but you’ll need it for the next step, too. The most time consuming part for me was setting up accounts with all three companies, but it’s worth it to be able to check my reports regularly.

ExperianExperian Credit Freeze page888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
EquifaxEquifax Credit Freeze page(888) 298-0045Equifax Information Services
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348
TransUnionTransUnion Credit Freeze page888-909-8872TransUnion
P.O. Box 160
Woodlyn, PA 19094

Step 5:
Check your credit reports carefully. Make sure there’s nothing there that shouldn’t be. If you find issues, report them to the credit agency IMMEDIATELY.

Step 6:
File a report with the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.identitytheft.gov There is a special link in the upper right hand corner for Employment Benefits Identity Theft. Look for this image:

The FTC uploads this info into a secure database for law enforcement to use in investigations.

Step 7:
Contact your bank and credit cards, follow their advice. Most larger banks and credit companies have their own fraud units. It’s important to get your situation registered with them in case of future problems. Check your accounts closely and regularly for any irregularities and report them immediately.

Step 8:
Contact the Social Security Administration and get a copy of your personal earnings and benefit estimate statement. You can do this by signing up for a ‘my Social Security’ account at https://www.ssa.gov/ Look for this image:

The SSA office here in KCK (850 Nebraska) is closed to face-to-face service due to Covid19. Call 866-331-2197 for to request the PEBES application or use the form on the SSA website https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-7004.pdf . This process takes WEEKS so I highly recommend creating a ‘my Social Security’ account.
Review your earnings and work history for any discrepancies. Report problems to Office of the Inspector General Social Security Administration at https://oig.ssa.gov/scam.

Step 9:
If you find discrepancies of any kind with your social security number you will want to notify the IRS. Their fraud hotline is 800-908-4490. Request a copy of your wage and income transcript. Review and report any issues immediately.

Step 10:
If you don’t already do this regularly, you might consider it. Change the passwords on all your accounts. This is time consuming but it offers some piece of mind. It was also recommended by my credit card company. Keep your passwords in a safe place (and one that you can remember!). Consider using a password manager app (research these before selecting one) – sometimes there are fees involved, but some do have free versions. I write all my passwords down on a sheet of paper and take a photo. Of course, there is a risk in that but I keep my phone password protected as well.

Step 11:
Be ALERT and REPORT any anomalies in any of your accounts. Stay on top of your accounts: banks, credit cards, credit agencies, Social Security, or any other agency with which you conduct financial transactions.

Step 12:
Stay up to date on security breaches at https://notified.idtheftcenter.org. This organization keeps track of data breaches. It allows you to see if a company you have a financial relationship with has had a recent data breach.

These are the steps I have taken in the last week. Follow whatever advice your financial partners and government agencies give you. Good luck!
Laura

Links:
https://www.dol.ks.gov/fraud
https://www.identitytheft.gov
https://oig.ssa.gov/scam
https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-7004.pdf
https://notified.idtheftcenter.org
https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html
https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/credit-freeze/
https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze


Kansas DOL warns of fraudulent benefit sites. The only legitimate websites associated with KDOL are:

Do not use any other website for unemployment benefits in Kansas.