Labor Department seeing increase in unemployment fraud linked to identity theft

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Kansas Department of Labor says it is seeing a spike in identity theft tied to unemployment claims.

“Just at the beginning first couple weeks of July over 35% of those applications were fraudulent,” said Ryan Wright, acting Kansas Department of Labor secretary.

“When there is huge money and many numbers of claims happening, unfortunately, we are going to see fraud like this happen,” said Wright.

He says this is a trend that is currently happening across the country.

“Oftentimes people don’t know they become victim to identity theft until they actually get a letter from us that says they are eligible for unemployment benefits,” he said.

KDOL is now taking steps to combat the issue by launching a new website for victims of identity theft to make a report.

“They go online fill out a form it has all of the required information that we need to investigate that,” said Wright. “The system automatically generates a police report for them. So, they can use that when talking to their creditors.”

The department is also implementing a 72-hour hold on all new claims, giving workers extra time to verify each claim.

“It protects not only the applicant but protects taxpayers. We wanna be as responsible with those funds as possible,” said Wright.

If you think you might be a victim, you can click here to fill out a report. It’s also recommended that you notify your bank, credit card companies, and the Social Security Administration if you suspect any fraudulent activities associated with your identity.

You can find more helpful information on the report fraud website.

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