03:46 GMT30 September 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Americans in several US states have been victimized by criminals using stolen identities to submit fraudulent unemployment insurance claims online amid a flood of claims due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the FBI warned in a press release on Monday.

    "The criminals obtain the stolen identity using a variety of techniques, including the online purchase of stolen PII [personally identifiable information], previous data breaches, computer intrusions, cold-calling victims while using impersonation scams, email phishing schemes, physical theft of data from individuals or third parties, and from public websites and social media accounts, among other methods," the release said.

    Many victims of identity theft related to unemployment claims do not know they have been targeted until they try to file a claim for unemployment insurance benefits, receive a notification from the state unemployment insurance agency or the Internal Revenue Service showing someone already collecting benefits. In some cases, victims are told that an unemployment claim has been filed while the victim is still employed, the release added.

    To protect themselves, the FBI urged potential victims to be wary of requests for personal identification information, to monitor bank and credit card accounts and immediately report any unauthorized transactions, according to the release.

    Victims should notify major credit reporting bureaus and file an Identity Theft Affidavit with the Internal Revenue Service, the release said.

    COVID-19, unemployment, United States, FBI
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