I’m a victim of the nationwide unemployment benefits claim fraud involving my social security number. My first hint that something was wrong was on December 28, 2020, when I received a US Bank ReliaCard with a letter explaining the unemployment benefits I had applied for.
This was a surprise. I am retired with a monthly retirement check. I did not, and have not, applied for unemployment benefits.
This the letter and the card I received. My personal information is blacked out.
I am two months into this situation, and I’ve documented the steps I took to deal with this. I’m sharing this now, because I hope it will help others.
Be aware that I live in Colorado. If you are in a different state, your steps will be different, but this may still help you.
Unemployment Fraud by Debra Hall Ownbey (writing as Kaye Spencer)
Do not skip these steps.
- Do not ignore this situation. It will not go away on its own.
- Make a paper trail/computer trail of everything you do. If you can’t download, save, or print, then make a screen capture or screenshot. Organize this information so you can find it easily.
- If you need to make an account, such as with the FTC website (more below), make sure you write down your usernames and passwords.
- File a police report when you have completed everything you can possibly do to show the steps you took to protect yourself.
Note: I haven’t contacted an attorney, but it remains an option.
My experience and timeline of events to guide you through your fraud-reporting excursion
I became aware of this fraud scheme, when I received a USBank ReliaCard. I called the company to report fraud at this number 877-595-6256. I put my phone on speaker and waited for 35 minutes before a real person answered. I explained my situation. She giggled and scoffed as she transferred my call. I waited another five minutes. The new automated message told me because of the high volume calls, that I needed to go to the website. The call was terminated. The website had no option to report this situation or to ask for assistance.
I went on an Internet search for information. I found interesting as well as disheartening information that basically, nothing could be done. This scheme has been going on for months for thousands of people nationwide. At this point, I didn’t have enough information to report fraud or even suspected fraud. I was stuck at the roadblock of the uncooperative USBank stage of waiting for something else to happen.
I received a Form 1099-G in the amount of $1947 from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment for unemployment money I did not apply for and did not receive.
> Scroll down to the Report Fraud box. Click the box, or use the direct link below.
Follow the instructions.
[Note: If you’ve received a USBank ReliaCard as part of this fraud scheme, this is where you’ll find the option to file a fraud claim with USBank. You fill out the form and email it to USBank. You will receive a confirmation that they’ve received it. This wasn’t available on 01/25. I filed on 2/11.)
I filed a fraud claim with the State of Colorado for the incorrect 1099-G.
Scroll to the Identity Theft section and follow the instructions.
Note the line that instructs you to file a ‘counter report’ with your local police department. Your particular police department may not call it a ‘counter report’. Just ask to file a police report.
I placed a fraud report with Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.
I received a letter from the Colorado Division of Unemployment Insurance stating “my claim for unemployment benefits was received”, which apparently means a second fraudulent application for unemployment benefits has been filed in my name/social security number.
I filed another fraud claim with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. I was able to schedule a personal ‘call back’ on 02/23/2021 to discuss this with a representative.
I reported the fraudulent 1099-G to my tax account. She researched and assured me I will receive a corrected 1099-G once the fraud investigation is completed.
I filed an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission’s identity theft department.
On the main page, in the upper right area, you will see the option to file a fraud claim specific to unemployment fraud.
I completed and emailed the USBank fraud form. I received a confirmation.
I requested a credit report via the Annual Credit Report website.
Per identity theft and fraud guidelines and recommendations, I filed a police report citing the specifics of my identity theft situation with the Springfield Police Department, Springfield, Colorado.
I received the call back from the Colorado Department of Labor and Unemployment. Because I had filed fraud reports, my name and social security number have been ‘frozen’ in their data base and no one can file for unemployment using my identity. This fraud claim is under investigation. I will eventually receive a letter with the results of the investigation as it pertains to my case.
I received an email from the FTC notifying my that my account would be deleted in 15 days if I didn’t log in. If you need to keep your account active, remember to log in every week or 10 days.
Until next time,
writing through history one romance upon a time
Look for Kaye here –