Be Aware, Report Fraud, Protect Yourself
In times like these, we need to be wary of those who are looking to take advantage of a crisis. While there are so many people who have risked their health to serve others, there are also bad actors out there who prey on us when we are fearful, isolated and not as vigilant as we might otherwise be. With a record number of Arkansans filing unemployment claims, we want to make sure every person protects themselves, their bank account, and their personal information from scams.
Be Aware— It Can Happen to Anyone!
Unemployment Insurance (UI) fraud is a crime that affects everyone. Criminal enterprises using stolen personal information from earlier national data breaches have been attempting to file fraudulent unemployment claims. This is part of a national unemployment fraud scheme.
If you believe someone has filed unemployment insurance in your name, you need to report it immediately. Please read on to find out how to report fraud. More information is available here: Is a scammer getting unemployment benefits in your name?
HOW TO REPORT FRAUD
REPORT TO ADWS:
It is important to remain vigilant and immediately report any suspicious activity related to unemployment claims.
If you receive a letter or debit card in the mail for unemployment benefits and you did not file for unemployment, or if you suspect someone has fraudulently filed for benefits using your name or any of your information, please file a report with ADWS by:
Visiting the ADWS website and completing the Secure Fraud Reporting Form
Calling 501.682.1058 to speak with the ADWS fraud unit. If the line is busy, leave a message.
FILE A POLICE REPORT:
Anyone who suspects identity theft or other suspicious activity should also file a police report with their local police department. You can also share this report with your local Arkansas Workforce Center, creditors, and credit agencies.
To help Arkansans identify and safeguard against fraudulent activity, ADWS has created a repository of information and resources titled Be Aware, Report Fraud, Protect Yourself. This information is posted on www.dws.arkansas.gov as well as ARunemployment.com and will be updated regularly to reflect federal and state best practices and recommendations.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE SCAMS:
NO FEES: There is no fee related to unemployment benefits. The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services (ADWS) will neverask for a debit card or other method of payment in order to process a claim. If you get a phone call from someone identifyingthemselves as a representative of ADWS, do not give any information to the caller or send money.
FALSE WEBSITES: Make sure to only use official ADWS websites for filing unemployment claims, including:ezarc.adws.arkansas.gov, arknet.arkansas.gov, and pua.arkansas.gov. Several websites advertise that they can assist claimants with their unemployment benefits. Some of these sites offer services free of charge while others charge for services. ADWS will never ask you to pay a fee for assistance with your claim. The sites often ask for confidential, private information such as your Social Security number, address, work history and email address. Beware of emails from these scammers with links to these false websites.
NO REQUESTS FOR SSNs/ BANK INFO: ADWS does not send text messages, emails or initiate calls to claimants requesting they provide us with their Social Security Numbers and/or personal banking information.
NO SURVEYS: ADWS does not pay claimants to take surveys. If you receive an email requesting you complete on online survey that appears to be from ADWS or the State of Arkansas, do not complete the survey. This is likely an attempt to get your personal information.
HOW TO SAFEGUARD YOUR INFORMATION:
If you believe your identity has been stolen and a fraudulent unemployment claim has been filed on your behalf, here are some steps you can take to protect yourself:
1.Change passwords on your email, banking, and other personal accounts
2.Make a list of credit card companies, banks, and other financial institutions where you do business. Tell them you are a victim of identity theft and ask them to put a fraud alert on your account.
3.Get a copy of your credit report and dispute any fraudulent transactions. You can request credit reports online from the 3 major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and Transunion) or by calling (877) 322-8228.
4.Place a credit freeze with each of the 3 major credit reporting agencies. Call each of the credit reporting agencies at thesephone numbers or visit their websites to freeze your credit.
a.Equifax: 800-349-9960 or freeze your credit online
b.Experian: 888-397-3742 or freeze your credit online
c.TransUnion: 888-909-8872 or freeze your credit online
5.Place a fraud alert on your credit file. You can do this by contacting just 1 of the credit agencies to add an alert with all 3 agencies.
6.Take notes about all conversations and keep copies of all records.
7.Visit the Arkansas Attorney General’s website to learn more about how to protect your credit.