Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Two of Montana’s top state agencies, the Department of Justice and the Department of Labor and Industry are warning residents about elevated levels of fraudulent unemployment insurance scams, the filing of which could result in an innocent state worker becoming the victim of identity theft.

KGVO News received a press release from both agencies this week regarding the danger of fraud on a large scale.

There is an Elevated Threat of Unemployment Insurance and Identity Theft

Department of Labor and Industry Commissioner Sarah Swanson wrote ‘“Unemployment systems around the nation were targeted by fraudsters at unprecedented levels during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Montana was no exception. Since then, UI systems have remained a prime target for scam artists, and recently we’ve seen a significant uptick in fraudulent activity,” said Commissioner Swanson. “We are committed to identifying and preventing these scammers from receiving benefits. We ask for workers’ and employers’ patience and cooperation as we work to protect taxpayer funds from fraud."

AG Austin Knudsen says 'Keep a Close Eye on your Credit'

Montana’s Attorney General Austin Knudsen wrote, "As we continue to see an uptick in fraudulent unemployment insurance claims, I encourage Montanans – especially those who suspect they’ve been a victim of identity theft – to keep a close eye on their credit. A mistake on your credit report is a sign of likely identity theft."

The press release warned that scam artists can often use stolen Social Security numbers to create fake accounts in order to file false Unemployment Insurance claims. Commissioner Swanson asks employers to closely monitor this website and respond immediately to any fact-finding requests about claims.

The Montana Office of Consumer Protection offers these tips to protect your personal information:

Below Find Tips to Keep Your Personal Information Safe

Freeze your credit files; never give bank or credit card information over the phone; never respond to e-mail or pop-up messages; remove extra information from your checks; shred or destroy any documents that contain personal identifying information; opt out of pre-screened credit card offers by calling (888) 5-OPTOUT (567-8688); review your bank and credit card statements as soon as you get them; order a copy of your credit report once a year and check it carefully for fraudulent accounts; place passwords on your credit card, bank and phone accounts and avoid using easily available information; and Secure personal information in your home.

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Gallery Credit: Elisa Fernández-Arias

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