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Fraud and Identity Theft of Unemployment Benefits
With Congress authorizing billions of dollars to support workers with increased unemployment benefits, identity thieves and fraudsters have been busy. Using information stolen from the 2018 Equifax data breach, these industrious criminals have been applying for unemployment benefits. Consumers should be aware of these scams and be ready to act.
Unlike traditional forms of identity theft, Unemployment identity theft does not stem from an application for credit, and the theft will not likely impact consumers' credit reports. That said, unless the theft is properly reported, it may result in a disqualification from legitimate benefit requests or legal proceedings by the State of Michigan to reclaim improperly disbursed benefits.
The State of Michigan's unemployment agency is aware of the widespread fraud and has published several resource to help you understand how to manage an identity theft. They have published sources on their web site and provided a free PDF handout explaining how to deal with a theft of unemployment benefits.
Notify the Unemployment Insurance Agency
If you have already been the victim of an identity theft to obtain unemployment benefits, you should complete the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity's Affidavit of Identity Theft and the Statement of Identity Theft. Each of these forms contains instructions on their use and where to send them. You can also report identity theft online, directly to the unemployment agency using their web form.
Other forms of Identity Theft
If your identity has been stolen to obtain unemployment benefits, your personal information was likely compromised during the 2018 Equifax data breach. In order to protect yourself, you should check each of your major credit reports, using our free downloadable forms.