Department of Labor: Thieves have stolen $26B worth of unemployment benefits

Posted at 7:09 AM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 08:09:37-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Criminals are finding a new way to get your money and making it tougher for people who are out of a job to get unemployment benefits.

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates $26 billion worth of unemployment benefits have been stolen during this very difficult time for many Americans.

Since mid-March, nearly 43 million people have applied for benefits – half-a-million of those are in Tennessee.

As they usually do, criminals are taking advantage. They're using stolen identities already available from data breaches to file for unemployment under other people's names.

Making it worse, you likely won't find out this is happening to you until you go to file for unemployment.

If that happens to you, report it to the state right away. Your employer will also need to file a police report. Experts say if criminals have enough information to file for benefits, they can do much more damage, so it's good to also freeze and monitor your credit report.

Most of the stolen personal information comes from online data breaches. Remember to change your passwords regularly and don't fall for scams.