The Scam

The pandemic has caused unemployment claims to sustain record levels, which has also led to an increase in unemployment insurance fraud. In Colorado, there have been growing reports of individuals who have not filed for unemployment benefits, but have received funds via pre-paid cards.

Scammers are posing as their victims and using stolen identities to submit fraudulent unemployment insurance claims online. According to the FBI, fraudsters are obtaining personal information from phishing schemes, cold calling victims, computer intrusions, data breaches, or even from public websites, social media and physical theft of personal property (e.g. mail, financial documents).

Many victims are unaware they’ve been affected until they file for unemployment insurance benefits or are notified by their employer – some might not know until tax season. And with millions of unemployment claims nationwide, this has created delays for those who are legitimately submitting claims for unemployment benefits.  

How to Protect Yourself

  1. Be on the lookout for unsolicited communication regarding unemployment insurance if you have not applied for unemployment benefits.
  2. Monitor your bank accounts and credit card statements to flag any unauthorized transactions or fees associated with filing or qualifying for unemployment insurance. Report any unusual activity to your financial institution immediately.
  3. Be cautious of phishing scams, like fraudulent calls, texts and emails. Never give your card number or personal information through email, text, or over the phone when receiving an unsolicited call.
  4. Use tactics to prevent identity theft from happening to you, like frequently changing your passwords and updating your privacy and security settings on your social media accounts.
  5. Review your credit report for any unusual activity, such as an inquiry from another state’s Department of Labor. You can submit a single request for all three credit reporting agencies at AnnualCreditReport.com.

If You’re a Victim

  • Report unemployment insurance fraud to your employer.
  • Report the fraudulent claim to your state’s unemployment insurance agency. Colorado residents can do this by going to:  
    • Click on “Report Fraud”
    • Click on “You received unemployment paperwork or a Debit Card without claim”
  • Place a security freeze or issue an alert on your name or social security number by contacting all three credit bureaus:
  • Get a free copy of your credit statement from each credit bureau to review. If you find anything inaccurate, you can file a dispute with the credit bureau(s).
  • File a police report and let them know that you’ve been a victim of identity theft and unemployment insurance fraud.

If you have further questions or concerns or think you might be a victim of unemployment insurance fraud, please call FirstBank’s fraud department immediately at 800-964-3444, or call the number on the back of your card.

Fraud comes in many forms. Check out these tips to ensure you are aware of potential threats and doing the most to protect your information and money.

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