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Did my doppelganger file for unemployment or am I a victim of fraud?

You received mail from the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) regarding your recent application for unemployment benefits. Trouble is you never applied for unemployment. Don’t just drop the letter in the trash. You could be a victim of identity theft, and Arizona wants to hear about it.

Fraud is common with unemployment but since the enhanced CARES Act benefits, there has been an explosion in fraudulent claims and identity theft. If you suspect someone may be trying to file a claim using your information, submit a report to DES here.

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To file a suspected fraud report with DES, you’ll need your social security number, full name as it appears on the documents you received, and the mailing address the documents were sent to. If you received any bank cards along with the documents, you don’t need to send them back. Just cut them in half and toss them in the trash.

Also, keep a copy of the fraud report you submit to DES, just in case DES is unkind enough to send you an income reporting document (Form 1099-G) next January showing unemployment benefits you didn’t claim (or cash in).

Be sure to also file an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on their website. You should also change your passwords and monitor your credit cards, bank accounts and credit reports for any other fraudulent activity.

Identity theft cost victims $1.7 billion in 2018, and that is not counting the hours spent untangling the mess, the stress of it all and the ding to your credit rating. Don’t become a statistic. If you suspect fraud, file a report right away.

If you need assistance, contact your Henry+Horne tax professional for more information.

Beth Hawley