High number of fraudulent unemployment claims reported this tax season

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The Warren County Sheriff’s Office is warning the public about identity theft that has been happening in our area and throughout the United States involving unemployment benefits.

Recently, there have been many people in Southcentral Kentucky that have fallen victim to identity theft, a crime that can happen to anyone at any time.

Nationally, fraudulent unemployment claims are at a very high number because of the high demand during the pandemic.

According to Warren County Sheriff Brett Hightower, some people are receiving tax forms in the mail showing they received unemployment benefits when the person did not actually receive anything.

“There was a lot of people who may have applied under fraudulent names and using their stolen identity to receive those benefits. So what is happening is people are receiving the 1099’s on the fact that somebody else had applied for benefits under their name and identifiers,” said Hightower.

A Warren County woman, Dacia Cummings, just found out that her identity was stolen after receiving mail saying her unemployment claim was approved. She had not applied for any benefits.

“If they could do this, what else can they do? Can they apply for loans? Can they get cars? Can they get credit cards? You know, and as far as from a law perspective, my name and my social are on there so it is up to me to prove that I didn’t do the things that are in my name and my social so it just makes you very vulnerable,” said Dacia.

Her husband and Warren County Magistrate Ron Cummings is urging people to keep an eye on your credit and don’t share your personal information.

“It scares us to death because now these hackers have my wife’s full social, all of her pertinent information. They have her home address. For somebody to go online and be that bold to file an unemployment claim and be able to do enough research that at some point, she worked for this company a long, long time ago, is scary” said Magistrate Cummings.

According to Luis Garcia, an agent with the IRS, do not panic if you have been a victim of identity fraud.

In a statement, Garcia said:

“Taxpayers who receive an incorrect Form 1099-G for unemployment benefits they did not receive should contact the issuing state agency to request a revised Form 1099-G showing they did not receive these benefits. Taxpayers who are unable to obtain a timely, corrected form from states should still file an accurate tax return, reporting only the income they received. A corrected Form 1099-G showing zero unemployment benefits in cases of identity theft will help taxpayers avoid being hit with an unexpected federal tax bill for unreported income.”

If you receive any documentation, phone calls, emails or texts requesting personal information from people claiming to be the IRS, be aware.

The IRS will mostly contact you via paper mail and sometimes by phone.

They will never ask for immediate payment over the telephone.

Other signs of a scam are demanding a specific form of payment such as a gift card or debit card.

For more information, click here.