Employment trends expert Rob Wilson discusses why unemployment scams are not a ‘victimless crime’
Unemployment scams are on the rise across the country, with organizations like the Better Business Bureau of Central Illinois reporting that this type of fraud has been on the increase in recent months. Over 200,000 Illinoisans have been targeted for such fraud, and Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL) himself was a victim, with scammers filing for unemployment benefits under his name.
Employment trends expert Rob Wilson can speak personally to this troubling trend, as he was the target of an unemployment scam, along with other members of his staff.
“We’ve known these scams have been on the rise for months, and we have been helping our clients with how to best address the issue, but it was still a bit of a shock to find out it happened to me and employees within our office too,” says Wilson, who is the President of Employco USA, an employment solutions firm based in Chicago.
Wilson says that the perpetrators are stealing employees’ identities in order to access government funds under their name.
“It’s alarming to consider how much confidential information these scammers have,” says Wilson. “From your address to your birthday to your Social Security number, this a disturbing breach of privacy.”
Wilson says it’s not only employees who need to be worried. Employers are at risk as well.
“When you have false unemployment claims filed under your company name, your tax rates are going to go up and your experience rating is going to take a hit,” says Wilson. “All of this means that your health insurance costs will increase, at a time when most companies are really hurting for revenue as it is.”
Wilson says it would behoove companies to send out an email or letter to each of their employees with information about unemployment scams and what they should do if they receive a letter about unemployment that they suspect is fraudulent.
“Don’t assume your staff will know about these scams or how to handle them if they’re a target,” says Wilson. “Employees may have never even heard about these types of crimes, and with everything going on in the country, this may be the last thing on their mind. Ensure that they have the education and resources they need to protect themselves…and ultimately, you as well.”
Below, Wilson outlines how employers and employees should respond if they are victims of an unemployment scam.
If you’re an employer….
“The employer should immediately protest the claim and report it as fraud,” says Wilson.
If you’re an employee….
“Contact your employer immediately. Keep a record of your communication if you can, such as printing and saving the emails so you can have them if you need them in the future,” says Wilson. “Then, file an incident report at your local police department to let them know your identity has been stolen. You should also report this to your State Attorney General.”
Wilson says you should then create an account online with www.ssa.gov so you can monitor your Social Security information and keep abreast of any other potential criminal activity surrounding your stolen number.
“Lastly, contact the credit bureaus or LifeLock to ensure that your credit history stays intact and make sure that no one is attempting to take out credit cards under your name,” says the employment expert.
For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.