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Increase in identity theft tied to fraudulent unemployment claims

Published: Jul. 10, 2020 at 7:35 PM PDT|Updated: Jul. 12, 2020 at 10:21 AM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office reports a spike in identity theft cases tied to fraudulent unemployment claims.

In the last three weeks there are 37 cases where people’s Social Security numbers were used to file for unemployment benefits through the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

WCSO is taking identity theft reports online for informational purposes and to support victims who may need proof of identity theft.

Once you have filed an online report through the office, you may fill out an application for a Nevada Identity Theft Passport and mail that to the Nevada Attorney General’s Office. Identity theft passports in English; in Spanish.

The Nevada Attorney General also investigates unemployment fraud. People with stolen identities are also encouraged to file a complaint online or to call the toll free at 888-434-9989.

WCSO also suggests identity theft victims who have had fraudulent unemployment claims filed under their names to fill out a Fraud Reporting Form on DETR’s website. In the required first and last name fields under the “Suspected Person’s” section, a person whose identity is stolen just needs to state “unknown.” DETR’s fraud unit will investigate unemployment fraud cases.

“With Nevada having one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, members of our community are a prime target for fraudsters,” Sheriff Darin Balaam said in a statement. “Organized groups are known to steal identities of legitimate, hardworking Nevadans and apply for benefits that appear valid. Scamming the unemployment system is a felony.”

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