As unemployment claims continue to rise during the COVID-19 pandemic, so does the risk of identity theft in the form of fraudulent claims. According to the California Employer Advisory Council, unemployment imposter fraud occurs when someone steals your employment and/or personal information and uses it for personal gain by illegally obtaining unemployment benefits.
To apply for unemployment benefits, all someone needs is your name, your social security number, and your employer. Think about it - how hard would if be for a dedicated criminal to find that information about you?
If someone else receives unemployment under your name and SSN, you might not be able to get it if you need it. At the very least, there will be a lot of nasty paperwork to do to clear up the fraud. So get informed about how your state protects you from fraud - and if you live in Washington, follow this step-by-step guide to ensure your SSN hasn't been used by somebody else.
When someone submits an unemployment insurance (UI) claim under the name of an Averro consultant or FTE employee, it comes across our desk. We're committed to keeping a sharp eye on any documents we receive from the California EDD, the Washington ESD, and their equivalents in the other states our consultants work in. We will review notices carefully and respond quickly.
If we receive any notices that someone has filed a UI claim for benefits, but they still work for Averro, we will inform that consultant of the claim and immediately return the notice to the State so that EDD/ESD can take action. We will also file an online fraud report if needed. Your security is our priority!
Because it doesn't take much of your personal data to sign up for UI benefits, even if you find that someone has attempted to use your identity for unemployment fraud, your other data may not have been compromised. If you are concerned and want to lock down any other identify theft attempts or data breaches, you can place a credit freeze on your report.
A credit freeze lets you restrict access to your credit report, which in turn makes it more difficult for someone to open new accounts in your name. Most creditors need to see your credit report before they approve a new account, and if they can't pull it up, no dice for the criminal. Here's the FTC's guide to freezing and unfreezing your credit across all three credit bureaus: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs
Got questions about all this?
With the novel coronavirus making its way around the world, the family needs to stick together - while adhering to social distancing guidelines, of course. Your health and safety are the most important things, during this outbreak and always.
We know this is a distracting, unsettling time with a lot of ambiguity and a lot of upheaval, and like you, we're doing our best to keep things stable until the outbreak's initial storm passes. Averro isn't going anywhere, but we understand that consulting roles can feel a little insecure during these kinds of circumstances. We'll keep you updated as our leadership team has more answers, so keep checking back for the latest information.
Quick links to COVID-19 guidance from our main states of residence:
We've also received specific guidance from some of our clients. If you have questions about your client's current policies, please reach out to us via the contact form below and we'll get you the answers you need!
1. Take a deep breath.
The best thing any of us can do is keep a cool head, follow directions for community safety, and otherwise carry on as normal. Make sure you’re using medical and educational sites for your information about the virus. Remember that emergency declarations are generally made before a major hazard occurs in order to free up funding to prevent it. Resist overbuying. We've made it through pandemics before, and we'll do it again, together.
2. Keep yourself healthy.
Your well-being is our first priority, and the best way to stop the virus is to prevent infection. Please continue to follow guidelines for illness, travel, and social distancing. Wash your hands with soap, stay out of crowded areas, and work from home if at all possible. Do what it takes to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Click here to read the CDC's guidance for prevention.
3. Keep communicating with your client and your recruiter.
Guidance is changing all the time based on company, location, risk, etc. For now, we're following the lead of each client's specific policies, which are all in line with state and federal guidelines. We know that significant inconveniences, such as school closures, are affecting many of you. If you have concerns about your specific situation, please talk to your recruiter and we'll work with you and your client to find a solution.
4. Keep up the great work.
You're creating incredible impact in your role, and that doesn't change in a quarantine situation. So we ask that when working at home, you continue to hold yourself to your high standards of discipline and accountability. We know how disruptive these adjustments are, but our professionalism and productivity keep us moving forward in times of uncertainty.
Here are some great work-from-home resources we've been reading:
These are obviously exceptional circumstances, and we are so appreciative of your uncommon flexibility. It's why you're a valued member of the Averro family. These distancing measures may seem strict or alarming, but when we follow them, we contribute to a healthy, resilient community culture - and as we all know, Culture Wins.
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out, either to your recruiter or via the contact form below. We are committed to keeping you informed throughout the coronavirus outbreak, and once it's over, we're looking forward to celebrating with each and every one of you. Let's raise our game together!
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