FRAUDULENT MICHIGAN UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT CLAIMS
In recent weeks there has been a surge of fraudulent unemployment benefits claims with the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency. You may have seen this story on the news or may have received a letter from the state indicating a claim has been filed in your name. The state is aware that this is a problem. While they do not yet know the source, it may be the result of one of the many data breaches the nation has seen in past months.
If you or your employer have received notification that a claim for unemployment benefits has been made in your name and you did not initiate the claim, your identity has been compromised. You will need to take the following steps per Fact Sheet #166 on the state's website, issued in response to this increase of unemployment identity theft.
Steps to Take if You are a Victim of Unemployment Identity Theft
The specific steps per the fact sheet are as follows (you can read the entire fact sheet here):
Step 1: Contact the Unemployment Insurance Agency immediately to report the fraud. Report fraud online through the Report Fraud or Report Identify Theft link or call the UI Fraud hotline at 1-855-UI-CRIME (842-7463).
Step 2: Complete UIA Form 6349 Statement of Identify Theft and submit the form either in-person at a Problem Resolution Office, by mail (Unemployment Insurance, PO Box 169, Grand Rapids, MI 49501), or by fax (517-636-0427).
Step 3: File a police report. Get a copy of the report to submit to your creditors and others that may require proof of the crime.
Step 4: Place a fraud alert and get your credit reports. A fraud alert is free. It will make it harder for someone to open new accounts in your name. To place a fraud alert, contact one of the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and Transunion). That company must tell the other two.
Step 5: Get your free credit from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion at https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action or call 1-877-322-8228.
Step 6: In instances where it is confirmed that a payment has been made as a result of unemployment identity theft, report the payment to the IRS as a fraudulent payment by completing an IRS affidavit, Form 14039.
In addition to the steps outlined by the Michigan Unemployment Agency, we recommend the following:
(1) Submit the UIA Form 6349 in person at the nearest local office rather than by mail or fax. You must bring two pieces of identification and one must be your Social Security card.
- 3391A Plainfield NE (Grand Rapids office)
- 2700 Baker Street (Muskegon Heights office)
- 1601 South Burdick St. (Kalamazoo office)
(2) For extra security, place a credit freeze with each of the credit reporting bureaus. Unlike the fraud alert, you must go to each site to place the freeze and there is a small fee.
(3) Alert your banks and credit card companies of the potential fraud.
(4) Make sure your employer has filed a protest against the fraudulent benefits claim. This protest should be filed online via their MiWAM account.