KAAP News Alert: Unprecedented Identity Theft in Kansas
By Kristie Clark MD FAAP
In the last month, many Kansans have received a 1099-G from the Kansas Department of Labor for unemployment compensation that was neither applied for nor received by that individual. This is a form of identity theft because someone applied for unemployment compensation using another’s name, address and social security number. Unfortunately, due to various security breaches, many social security numbers are available on the dark web.
It is important to open and read all of your mail. Be on the outlook for mail from the Kansas Department of Labor. If you have been a victim of unemployment claim fraud, there are steps that you should take:
- Visit the KS DOL website at https://www.dol.ks.gov/fraud to file an online report. Their email is firstname.lastname@example.org and their hotline is 785-291-6059.
- To request a corrected 1099-G (so that you are not liable to pay tax on that income that was not received), fill out the Kansas Department of Labor’s Unsworn Declaration of Payments Not Received/Identity Theft and mail to the address on the form.
- File an online report with the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.identitytheft.gov/
- File an Identity Theft Affidavit (Form 14039) with the IRS https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f14039.pdf. This form may be returned by fax or by mail. Unfortunately, individuals filing tax returns fraudulently, in an attempt to collect tax refunds, is on the rise. The IRS Fraud hotline is 800-908-4490.
- Place a fraud alert with at least one of the three credit bureaus (generally that credit bureau will alert the other three):
Equifax 866-349-5191 https://my.equifax.com
Experian 888-397-3742 https://usa.experian.com
TransUnion 800-680-7289 https://service.transunion.com/
Better yet, log on yourself to all of the credit bureaus. Above websites are shortcuts to help navigate you through the marketing pages so that you may place a free FREEZE online for your credit. A credit FREEZE is more difficult to reverse than a LOCK (which you manually turn off and on), so a FREEZE is the most reliable way to protect your credit. To apply for a loan or credit card, you must reverse a FREEZE. Due to the pandemic, credit bureaus are allowing individuals to check their credit ratings (without having to pay a fee to sign up for their services).
Consider contacting your bank and credit card companies to be on the outlook for fraudulent transactions. You may also want to check that your reported social security wages are correct, and you may be able to do so by setting up an online account at https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/. Not everyone can use the online system to set up a My Social Security Account, but the KS DOL recommends verifying with the Social Security Administration your Personal Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement (PEBES) as well as your Wage and Income Transcript with the IRS.
Although services that market themselves to detect identity theft when it occurs would not have caught unemployment fraud, it is worth considering these services such as LifeLock https://www.lifelock.com/ or IDShield https://www.idshield.com/. Both have different coverages, plans and pricing. If you do pay for identity theft services, make sure your information stays up to date, check them periodically and download the app in order to monitor them more effectively.
Although the credit bureaus provide services for a fee, they are pricey and do not seem to yield much value beyond being able to check your credit rating frequently. It seems that a FREEZE which is free provides better protection as your credit goes down only after something unfortunate has occurred.
Clearly, the victim of identity theft is victimized twice. First when their information is stolen then again when the victim has to do all the above work which takes time and energy that would be best served elsewhere. Although the KAAP is by no means an expert in these matters, the KAAP is here for our pediatricians. If there’s anything that we can do to help, or if you have information that would help our members, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Thank you for all you do for children,
Kristie Clark MD FAAP
Disclaimer: Please note that I am not an expert in these matters but am sharing what I have learned when I have helped others navigate these issues. None of the above suggestions replace any expert advice or recommendations that your accountant, lawyer, financial planner, state’s department of labor, IRS, SSA or other entity may provide to you.