INDIANAPOLIS — It's a problem with serious implications. What happens when you find out that your personal information was used to collect thousands in unemployment benefits?
It happened to one central Indiana man.
Only on WRTV, how to fix the problem and why doing nothing can make matters worse.
Fred Cantor works for a major health system in Indianapolis as a chief nursing officer.
"I really like to help people in that time of need and be that calm and help people get through the worst time in their life," Cantor said.
In January, Cantor received a letter from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development saying he was overpaid $1,700 in unemployment benefits. The problem? He's never been unemployed. Whoever stole his identity made matters worse.
"Honestly, I originally thought it was fake," Cantor said.
Fred went home, went to his computer and was shocked that all of these pieces of paper have his name on them. Some are for unemployment vouchers. On others you'll find Fred's date of birth, his name, and Social Security number. These pages make up unemployment benefits that Fred never asked for.
"I'm fully employed," he said. "I've always been employed."
It turns out the identity thief did a lot more damage.
Fred's paperwork also include a form known as a 1099, which reports taxable income like unemployment benefits. It shows someone used his name to collect $17,370 in benefits between May and December 2020. What he thought was an overpayment of $1,170 was really $17,370.
"I just kinda thought this can't be real," he said. "I think what really bugs me is that there is zero reason for this to happen."
Fred is still waiting to get a new 1099.
The Indiana Department of Workforce Development sent a statement. In part it says, "We will be issuing corrected 1099s. We do not yet have the mechanism to do so and are working with the IRS on this. Once we complete our investigation, and have the ability to issue 1099s, he will receive one."
Anyone who is a victim of ID theft like Fred can take steps to help themselves. First, fill out a State Form 57068, that will trigger an investigation.
You can find the form and details on how to submit online.
You must file a report with the Federal Trade Commission. This is required as part of the state's investigation.
Individuals should tell their HR department at work to protest your claim with the Department of Workforce Development and talk to a tax preparer.