At the height of the coronavirus pandemic in April and May, hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs. This led to an astounding increase in unemployment benefits claims filed across the country.
However, by mid-May, another story emerged: Con artists were filing fraudulent unemployment claims using consumers’ identities. Fraudulent claims were indeed mistakenly paid out, and thousands of people had to file identity theft reports with the government.
Now, we’re able to see the quantifiable impact of this fallout.
The Federal Trade Commission has confirmed that identify theft officially moved up to its No. 1 spot for fraud as of the third quarter, outpacing the number of reports it gets for imposter scams (i.e., fake phone calls and emails claiming to be from the Center for Disease Control or Social Security Administration). This was due in large part to the high volume of benefits fraud that occurred.