Protect yourself and your loved ones from further fraudulent activity by taking these 5 important steps.
If you live in Louisville, KY, and recently received a notice regarding unemployment payments, but you never actually applied for unemployment and never received unemployment checks, that’s a red flag that needs to be addressed immediately.
If someone applied for unemployment benefits using your name and social security number, then you have become a victim of identity theft. UI fraud (Unemployment Insurance fraud) has become more prevalent since the start of the pandemic, and many fraudulent applications have been submitted.
The first thing to do is to contact the Kentucky unemployment office to make sure that they didn’t send you a letter in error. Sometimes system errors do occur, and the unemployment office may have accidentally mailed you a letter and/or checks due to a social security number or name being improperly entered into their database.
You can call the unemployment office at (502) 564-2387 to inquire about this.
If the office verifies that benefits were applied for and/or received by someone under your name and social security number, it’s important to act quickly to avoid any additional fraudulent activity.
Here are 5 immediate steps to take if you’ve been the victim of unemployment fraud:
1.) Obtain an updated copy of your credit report. As a consumer, you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report every year. Click on this link to get your free annual credit report: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action
Look at your report closely to make sure there are no new accounts or lines of credit that have been fraudulently opened in your name. If there are, then that’s further confirmation that you need to do an immediate freeze on your credit, which leads to the second step.
2.) Initiate a credit freeze. A credit freeze is also called a security freeze, and it prevents new lines of credit or new loans from being open in your name. This can be done by contacting all three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and Transunion) through their online credit freeze pages.
Click here for Experian: https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html
Click here for Equifax: https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/credit-freeze/
Click here for Transunion: https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze
3.) Create a fraud alert through one of the credit bureaus. When you create a fraud alert through one bureau, they have to contact the other two bureaus to make them aware. This adds another layer of protection, and the fraud alert is active for one year from the time you establish it.
I recommend contacting Equifax for the fraud alert, as they will contact Experian and Transunion. Click here for Equifax’s ‘fraud alert’ page: https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/
4.) Contact these 3 government agencies. It’s important to contact the following agencies to make them aware that you have been a victim of unemployment fraud:
– Kentucky Labor Cabinet (Online Form for Reporting Fraud) at https://secure.kentucky.gov/FormServices/UI/Fraud
– Federal Trade Commission (Online Form for Reporting Identity Theft) at https://www.identitytheft.gov/Assistant
– U.S. Department of Labor at 1-800-347-3756
5.) File a police report and obtain a copy. Since unemployment fraud via identity theft is a crime, you can report it to your local police division. They will send the report to the department that handles financial crime, and will assign an officer to your case.
After you’ve filed the police report, the Louisville Metro Police Department will provide you with a free copy of the report if you request one. Send an email to LMPDincidentreport@louisvilleky.gov, and provide your name, email address, home address, phone number, and the reference number that you were given for the report.
These five steps are a vital way to ensure that no more fraudulent activity will happen under your social security number. Taking these measures also starts the process of removing fraudulent activity from your credit reports.
**Here are some additional steps that you can take if you’ve received unemployment checks, but never applied for unemployment benefits:
– Void and return the checks that you’ve received in the mail. Make copies of the checks, then write “VOID” on each of them, and mail them back to the unemployment office. Be sure to mail them via priority mail so that you can get a tracking number. Mail the checks back to this address:
Office of Unemployment Insurance
500 Mero Street #4SC
Frankfort, KY 40601
– Print and/or save copies of all documents! Whenever you fill out online forms for reporting fraud, be sure to print the confirmation pages that have reference numbers or save those pages as PDFs (it’s best to do both). Also, keep copies of all voided and returned unemployment checks, as well police reports, affidavits, credit reports, and credit freezes.
If you know someone who has been the victim of unemployment fraud, please feel free to share this article with them. Working together to protect one another is the best thing we can do!
All the best,
Tracy L. Hirsch
Louisville Bankruptcy Attorney
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