News

Surge in Identity Theft Frauds During Covid-19

According to new data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), identity theft has risen to the number one scam during the coronavirus pandemic.

The increase has been attributed to a surge in unemployment filing fraud.

Criminals have been filing fraudulent unemployment claims using consumer identities.

According to a report, 349,641 ID Theft reports were filed across the United States. Of that, 77,684 reports were specific to government documents or benefits fraud.

Better Business Bureau Montana Marketplace Manager, Hannah Stiff claimed hundreds of Montanans have been victims of similar crimes. “If someone has filed for unemployment on your behalf, they’ve learned a lot of your personal information,” said Stiff. “You want to make sure no one can open new credit cards in your name.”

Individuals that have not personally filed for unemployment benefits but receive a letter from the government or their employer about filing for unemployment benefits should freeze their accounts and monitor their credit as they can be victims of identity theft frauds.

In addition to notifying their bank,unemployment benefits fraud victims should contact their employer and file a claim. The FTC can also help create a personal recovery plan for victims of identity theft.