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May 29, 2020

Beware of Unemployment Fraud

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As we are all aware, the COVID-19 crisis has upended many from their jobs, drastically increasing unemployment numbers and claims. With that, criminals have been given a window of opportunity to take advantage of the crisis which has led to an uptick of fraudulent activity in the unemployment system. State and Federal officials have received numerous reports of fraudsters using information in previous data breaches to file for unemployment on behalf of Maine residents, which has significantly delayed the processing of legitimate claims.

Partners Bank wants to make sure you and your information stay safe during these times. If you believe that your information has been stolen and used to file a false employment claim, please contact us immediately so we can take the necessary steps to protect your account(s). You should also contact the Maine or New Hampshire Department of Labor as soon as possible.

As with all scams, there are ways you can ensure your information is protected:

  • Beware of the personal information that you provide over the phone and who you are providing to, including your Social Security Number, bank account information, debit and credit card numbers, etc.
  • Be sure to check your bank account(s) and look for any suspicious activity. If you notice anything that looks like it may have not been authorized by you or anyone else on your account, especially if you receive unemployment funds that you did not apply for, please contact us as soon as possible.
  • You may also consider placing a freeze on your credit by doing so through each of the three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Doing this will help prevent any unauthorized access to your credit report. To further prevent unauthorized access, requesting to be notified anytime someone attempts to establish a new credit in your name is beneficial.
  • Be sure you know where phone calls or text messages from unknown numbers are coming from. Often, fraudsters will use this as a method to gain personal information. Please double check its legitimacy before responding.
  • COVID-19 has turned the world even more digital than ever before, so scams through the form of email have also been on the rise. Make sure you don’t click on any links or attachments from an email source you are unaware of. It is also best practice to ensure the email address or details in the email match that of the sender’s name.

For more information on how to report cases of identity theft or to help develop a recovery plan, please visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website on identity theft. Partners Bank also offers LifeStages®, an identity theft protection service. To learn more about LifeStages®, or with any additional questions regarding this matter, contact us today at 1-888-226-5747.