NORTHBROOK, Ill., May 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Americans online at unprecedented levels, placing their personal identities and data at risk. Cybercriminals have reaped the benefits. Unemployment fraud skyrocketed more than 17,000% and tax fraud grew 258% year over year, according to data collected by Allstate Identity Protection (AIP). Both are likely to continue rising in 2021, with unemployment fraud cases expected to more than triple again this year.
Pre-pandemic, unemployment fraud accounted for only a sliver of all identity theft, including less than 0.1% of AIP's identity fraud cases. Today, it represents approximately 70% of the fraud cases resolved by AIP. Since the start of the pandemic, the Department of Labor has estimated that scammers have collected $36 billion in fraudulent unemployment insurance claims by exploiting cumbersome, state-run unemployment insurance platforms inundated by claims.
"Cybercriminals are always finding new ways to use people's personal information to get access to money," said Lewis Bertolucci, vice president of product at Allstate Identity Protection. "These new tactics, like unemployment fraud, pop up quickly and are getting more difficult to resolve. It's no longer enough to rely on your bank or free credit services to protect you from identity fraud – it requires specialized expertise and reimbursement coverage to fully resolve these issues."
If you are a victim of unemployment or tax fraud, take action to protect yourself from further harm:
Notify your employer and state unemployment office. This will help prevent further fraudulent claims from being processed by the state.
File complaints with the Department of Justice and Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General. Doing so will notify law enforcement of the theft and help to detect and prevent fraud within Social Security Administration programs.
If you have an identity protection provider – like AIP – notify them immediately. Allstate Identity Protection specialists go the extra mile to help customers recoup and recover as quickly as possible.
Whether you're a customer or not, Allstate Identity Protection is committed to providing essential information, tools and resources to help protect you against fraud.