Taking back the ID

Unemployment benefits identity theft, contact-tracing scams and more

Fraudsters add to COVID-19 woes by ripping off unemployment benefits. And, of course, they’ve figured out how to profit from contact-tracing programs. Plus, employers must reduce risk of data loss and theft after layoffs and furloughs.

On March 22, Bob’s Discount Furniture in Bridgewater, New Jersey, furloughed one of its employees, Myra Walker, because of the pandemic. When she tried to file for unemployment benefits, she discovered that someone had already created one in her name. Walker then found that a fraudster had used her stolen Social Security number (SSN) and date of birth to file a claim on Feb. 9 and then received a payment of $464 on Feb. 15. (See “Woman tries to file for unemployment but can’t. Someone else is getting benefits in her name,” by Karin Price Mueller, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, May 2.)

This case represents a serious identity theft trend stemming from COVID-19. We’ll cover it here with two additional COVID-19 related threats.

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