Amid a national concern for identity theft and a subsequent threat of fraudulent unemployment insurance claims increasing, the State of Vermont and Department of Labor have taken steps to increase monitoring and awareness for unemployment insurance fraud.
Cases of fraudulent unemployment claims associated with identity theft occur when an individual’s identity has been stolen and a claim has been opened in their name. This is also known as “imposter fraud.” While the theft of the identity likely occurred in the months and years prior to COVID-19 as part of national and global data breaches, the Department of Labor wants individuals to be aware of steps it is taking to monitor fraud, and how to prevent theft from occurring in the first place.
“With unemployment at an all-time high in Vermont and across the county, we want individuals to be aware that unemployment insurance fraud through identity theft is not only something that is impacting Vermonters, but something the Department is actively working to prevent. While the Department is doing everything it can to catch these fraudulent claims and stop benefits from being paid, we are also asking individuals to be mindful of their actions and swiftly report any misuse of their personal information relating to unemployment insurance.” Said, Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington.
The Department of Labor has implemented additional identity verification measures for those filing unemployment claims and is working with federal partners and law enforcement. Additionally, a fraud task force has been created to address this growing issue, and consists of members from the Vermont State Police, FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Secret Service, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, the Vermont Attorney General’s Office, the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, and the Department of Labor.
Vermonters are reminded to take proactive steps, such as those listed below, to ensure their personal and financial information is protected.
• Check your email and physical mail regularly for communications from the Vermont Department of Labor and other state agencies.
• Actively monitor your financial accounts, such as bank and credit card accounts.
• Consider placing a security freeze on your credit. More information www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs
Individuals who believe they may have had a false unemployment claim filed using their personal information, should contact the Department of Labor immediately, either by submitting an online fraud report at labor.vermont.gov/UI-fraud or by calling 802-828-4101.