2-Step Verification How To Get A Security Code From Phone Some $*&%! Stole My Identity to Collect Unemployment Benefits

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Some $*&%! Stole My Identity to Collect Unemployment Benefits

My name is Lonnie and I am a victim of identity theft.

So check it out. A friend of mine wrote a Facebook post about how someone stole her daughter’s Social Security number and filed for unemployment benefits with the Washington State Employment Security Division (ESD). Since it never occurred to me, I decided to go to ESD and file an unemployment claim. After I entered the information I got the following message:

The Social Security Number (SSN) you entered already exists and is linked to this partially hidden email address: *****@fasternet.co

What??!!!???!? I’ve never filed an unemployment claim in my entire life, and I’ve certainly never used an email address on fasternet.co. Who the #$%^%! Is this it?

I read further and saw the following message:

If you think you’ve been the victim of unemployment fraud — when criminals illegally apply for unemployment benefits using another person’s personal and employment information — report it! Use the form Employment Security Department (ESD) website. Then wait to hear from ESD.

I couldn’t believe it. I am a victim of identity theft for the first time in my life. And it’s not through the traditional route of credit card or banking fraud; It was done through unemployment benefit fraud.

As I navigated What do you do about it? Along the way, I learned a lot about the prevalence of identity fraud and how exposed I was. Experian, one of three credit reporting companies, publishes some the eye– Popping statistics (All as of 2017).

  • 158 million Social Security numbers were exposed in data breaches

  • 14.2 million credit card numbers exposed

  • $905 million in total fraud losses

  • 13,852 identity theft complaints affecting children and teenagers

  • 60,000 complaints of mail theft

  • 883,000 verified identity theft tax returns

  • 27% of data breaches were medical or healthcare related

Identity theft is real. Bad guys are smart and only care about making your money. The pain, despair and fear they leave in their wake means nothing to them. If you think this can’t happen to you, you’ve been living under a rock.

As a result of my experience, I decided to compile everything I did to check for fraud activity and the steps I took after I discovered unemployment benefit fraud. Hope these are useful for you too.

  1. Review your credit report here Annual Credit Report.com For fraudulent accounts. You can do it once a year for free. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security if all is well. Items such as unemployment benefits do not appear in the report. You need to dig further.

  2. Check to see if someone used your SSN to file an unemployment claim. Go to Washington state ESD safe access washergton And follow the instructions to create a Secure Access Washington account. This is how I found out someone filed for unemployment using my name and SSN.

  3. Request a Social Security Actout statement For any benefit claims against your SSN.

  4. request IRS TransCrypt For your tax filing history.

  5. Check if your personal information is included in Equifax bwill reach It took place between May and July 2017 and exposed the personal information of 140 million Americans. My SSN is one of 140 million.

If fraudulent activity occurs, take the following steps:

  1. Go to the Federal Trade Commission website Identitytheft.gov. The website will guide you through the steps to take depending on your situation.

  2. File a fraud report with your state. You file in Washington eSD.

  3. File a police report with your local police department.

  4. The file is a IRS Identity Theft Affidavit.

  5. The file is a Equifax fSerious warning. This notifies credit card companies that you have been the victim of identity theft. According to Equifax, it puts additional checks in place for fraudulent activity. They also notify Experian and TransUnion of the theft. I can’t speak to whether it’s effective at this point but I think it doesn’t hurt to do it.

  6. If the theft is medically related, file a health-privacy complaint US Department of Health & Human Service cubes.

Regardless of whether you have fraudulent activity or not, I strongly recommend you do the following:

  1. Keep the AC onReedit Freeze On your report e.gPerian, transunion, And Equifax. A credit freeze restricts access to your credit report. However, if you want to apply for a credit card, bank account, or mortgage, you’ll need to unfreeze your credit with each bureau, then freeze it again after an inquiry. A minor inconvenience compared to someone using your personal information to open a credit card in your name.
  2. Set up mail or text alerts with your bank and credit card companies for any transactions with an amount greater than zero. Major financial services companies offer alert options that you can customize. You’ll receive an alert every time a card is used, which some may find annoying, but I’d rather delete a notification email or text again than someone fiddling with my credit card or bank account.

  3. Arrange Two-factor authenticationTempting on your accounts. Also referred to as two-step authentication, it implements a second type of authentication in addition to a password (ie text message, fingerprint, or email verification) if someone tries to log into your accounts.

  4. Use a crosscut shredder for any documents that contain personal information. This also includes any credit card or financial services offers you receive in the mail.

  5. If your state offers one, set up an account that allows you to register your SSN and access multiple state agencies’ online services. In Washington state it is called Safe access Washington. You’ll have to do some digging for your state but it’s worth it.

  6. Be wary of using public WiFi; Consider using a virtueAl Private Network (VPN) If you access sensitive personal information on public networks.

  7. Make sure you also review the accounts of loved ones, spouses, partners and children.

Identity theft is real and it can happen to you. The bad guys will never go away, but you can make it harder for them to do so by putting some preventative measures in place to protect you and your loved ones from identity theft.

Note: If you want hyperlinks for all Bold Instructions go here.

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