State warns of unemployment fraud, logging more than 6,000 cases of stolen identity

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Employment Security office. FILE PHOTO

CONCORD, NH – The Attorney General is urging all New Hampshire residents to be vigilant against fraud schemes related to the unemployment program, citing some 6,000 cases of fraudulent claims filed in NH using stolen identities.

The state’s unemployment program continues to be safe and secure. However, people continue to attempt to victimize those filing for unemployment. The common thread in all of this attempted fraud is identity theft resulting from large scale data breaches over the past decade. These data breaches did not involve any state systems but these stolen identities are being used to try to gain access to governmental benefits, like unemployment.

The state has detected over 6,000 cases of fraudulent claims being filed using stolen identities. Recently, however, this attempted fraud has taken a few different turns, unlike prior fraud experienced during the pandemic. The Department of Employment Security recently detected changes being made to unemployment accounts by people other than whom those accounts belong. Information being changed included bank account information and mailing addresses in an attempt to divert benefits from the rightful person to an imposter. Additionally, the Department has also recently become aware of individuals posing as government officials and contacting people by telephone urging them to repay overpaid benefits over the telephone by credit card.

Here are some helpful tips to make sure you do not fall victim:

  • Regularly review your correspondence from the Department and check your account preferences to confirm nothing has been changed.
  • If there is a change made to your account to either your banking information or your mailing address you will always receive a notice from the department to confirm that the changes were authorized.
  • Check your unemployment account even if you have stopped filing and confirm payment preferences and address information is correct.
  • The state will never ask for your credit card information.
  • The state will never contact you asking you to provide your username or password.
  • The state will never contact you by text message.
  • Take appropriate measures to ensure safeguards are in place on your personal devices so that you are not victimized by malware or other phishing schemes trying to steal your personal information.