Hackers steal ID’s and claim unemployment benefits in victims’ names

Published: May 20, 2021 4:18 PM EDT
Updated: May 20, 2021 4:47 PM EDT

As if having your personal information being stolen isn’t enough, crooks are using a recent data breach to steal your money.

Thieves are collecting unemployment money by using something vital to your everyday life – your driver’s license.

Some people received a notice from Geico that there was a data breach and personal information may have been obtained by the hackers earlier this year.

But imagine, then, your employer asks why you are getting unemployment payments. Or you get a tax form documenting unemployment payments in your name that you never applied for.

Geico says this fake unemployment scam may have been the hacker’s goal all along.

Retired FBI Special Agent Micheal Bret Hood said says stolen data puts you at risk. “If they have your information such as driver’s license number, there are so many things they can do fraudulently, unemployment benefits, fake ID’s, all of these things can take over your ID and cause you all kinds of problems.”

There are a few steps you can take if you suspect fraud:

  • Use credit monitoring if offered
  • Get a copy of your credit report
  • Place a credit freeze
  • Contact the DMV

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates more than $63 billion was paid out in the last year in fraudulent unemployment scams, so it’s best to have an identity theft plan in place.