Date: May 19, 2021
Media Contact: Cisco Gamez
Austin – The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is encouraging all Texans to protect themselves against identity (ID) theft in light of a wave of criminal elements attempting to fraudulently obtain unemployment insurance benefits from Texans. Although no TWC systems have been breached, criminal elements are using identities stolen from Texans in an attempt to perpetuate fraud. Texas is part of a broader trend across America of ID thieves targeting state unemployment benefits.
An estimated one in 10 Americans have had their identities stolen, according to the Center for Victim Research. The most common ways are data breaches, hacking and phishing. A growing danger is also the hacking of cell phones and other portable devices. While many people have strong security on their computers, they may not have these protections on their cell phones and tablets.
The best ways to protect yourself from hacking and stop ID thieves in their tracks are:
- Monitor your credit regularly.
- Install and use antivirus and antispyware software.
- Protect private data – especially social security numbers – and never give it out to anyone unless absolutely necessary. Legitimate organizations that need this data, like the IRS, will not call, email or text you to ask for it.
- When in doubt, ask questions. Ask why the organization needs it, how they will protect it, if there is an alternative identifier that can be used instead, and if the organization can use only the last 4 digits of the SSN.
How to know if your identity has been stolen:
- Track the bills you owe and their bill dates. If you stop getting a bill, it might be a sign someone has changed the billing address.
- Review all bills, charges and bank statements to look for anomalies.
- Check your credit reports.
- Consider using identity monitoring services.
All Texans should take steps to secure their identity online by practicing Internet security best practices. Treat your TWC account and all accounts like you would your bank account. The Texas Workforce Commission will investigate every unemployment benefit claim to confirm identity and to lock accounts that are fraudulent.
The Texas Workforce Commission is a state agency dedicated to helping Texas employers, workers and communities prosper economically. For details on TWC and the services it offers in coordination with its network of local workforce development boards, call 512-463-8942 or visit www.texasworkforce.org. To receive notifications about TWC programs and services subscribe to our email updates.