LITTLE ROCK — Unemployment fraud has become a prevalent problem in Arkansas and around the nation. The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services recently announced over 37,000 suspected fraudulent unemployment claims have been identified and are being investigated in Arkansas. Depending upon the extent of the fraud, consumers may choose to request a fraud alert or security freeze with the credit reporting agencies or to seek an ID Theft Passport from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s Office if unauthorized lines of credit have been opened.
“Con artists are filing unemployment claims using stolen information and potentially ruining the good names of nearly 40,000 Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “No one is safe from these criminals who have brazenly attempted to file a claim pretending to be Governor Asa Hutchinson.”
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for those who believe they have been a victim of identity theft:
File a fraud alert with one of the three national credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian or TransUnion.
File a police report with your local law enforcement and get a copy of the report as soon as it is available.
For unemployment fraud, contact the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services’ fraud hotline at (501) 682-1058 or complete the secure fraud reporting form online at dws.arkansas.gov.
Get a copy of an identity theft booklet, which provides step-by-step instructions for dealing with identity thieves, including affidavits and forms for your financial institutions.
File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
Cancel any accounts you believe have been compromised or have been opened fraudulently.
Consider placing a security freeze on your credit report to restrict access and help prevent additional instances of identity theft.
If fraudulent lines of credit have been opened in your name, then consider applying for an ID Theft Passport from the Attorney General’s office.
Many consumers are rightfully concerned about the safety of their personal and financial information and want to prevent fraud and identity theft. Attorney General Rutledge encourages Arkansans to never give their personal information over the phone or via email, to use strong passwords on all online accounts and to be diligent in reviewing all types of financial statements.
Committing identity theft in Arkansas is a felony and comes with a sentence that could include incarceration, fines up to $25,000 and restitution. Consumers are advised that if you receive funds that you did not apply for and that you were not expecting, do not accept them. Instead, report the matter to the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services at (501) 682-1058 and to local law enforcement. Even if you did not request the funds, accepting such funds as part of an unemployment scam is unlawful.
For more information on identity theft and other consumer related issues, or to apply for an ID Theft Passport, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.