Just as we were getting adjusted to the changes over the last several months, cyber criminals saw opportunity and began to take advantage of the global pandemic and economic downturn. State governments have reported substantial increases in unemployment claims made fraudulently by cyber criminals. The United States Secret Service has reported that a “well-organized fraud ring is exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to commit large-scale fraud against state unemployment insurance programs.”
While there is no silver bullet to prevent these criminals from filling unemployment claims, there is something you can do to protect your credit – place a security freeze on your credit file with the three major reporting bureaus!
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A security freeze blocks any potential creditors from being able to view or pull your credit file unless you affirmatively unfreeze or thaw your file beforehand. With a freeze in place on your credit file, identity thieves can apply for credit in your name all they want, but they will not succeed in getting new lines of credit in your name because few, if any, creditors will extend that credit without first being able to gauge how risky it is to loan to you. Take the steps now to protect yourself!
References: United Sates Secret Service. (5/14/2020). Massive Fraud Against State Unemployment Insurance Programs. United States Secret Service.
To view the article in the online 2020 Summer Partners Magazine, click here.