• John McGary, Woodford Sun Editor

Identity theft cases on rise here, statewide

WOODFORD COUNTY attorney Alan George said the number of attempted identity theft cases involving unemployment benefits is on the rise. He should know -- last month, someone attempted to file a claim using his name. The fact that his first name was spelled “Allen” on the application helped foil the plot. (Photo submitted)

Phyllis Tipton was upset when she came to the Versailles Police

Department (VPD) last week to file a report on a case of attempted

identity theft – her own.

According to Woodford County Attorney Alan George, identity theft cases,

with the apparent motive in most of them being to steal unemployment

benefits, are on the rise. He should know – in February, someone tried

to file an unemployment claim in his name, but erred by spelling his

first name “Allen,” he said.

Assistant Versailles Police Chief Rob Young also said he’s noticed a

marked increase in the number of cases of identity theft involving

unemployment insurance, and that the problem has swamped the state

attorney general’s office.

Two days after she visited the police station, Tipton spoke to the Sun.

“I got a call from work (the previous Wednesday or Thursday). They said

someone had filed unemployment on me …” she said.

Tipton said her employer was contacted by someone with the state Office

of Unemployment Insurance asking to confirm that she had filed for

unemployment – she hadn’t. Then she was advised she had some work to do.

“You have to file a police report, you have to call all three credit

places, you have to call the Social Security office, you have to call

all your credit card companies, the bank and then the IRS,” she said.

She said she didn’t believe there was anything the Versailles Police

Department could do, but a paper trail was needed to ensure she’s not

responsible for acts committed by someone who obtained personal

information like her social security number.

Tipton said she doesn’t how her would-be identity thief obtained her

personal information, but believes it was done through the state

unemployment system. According to a letter she received from the state

Office of Unemployment Insurance, $11,596 in benefits were requested by

her would-be thief.

“Whoever’s doing this is filing on people that are working, but you have

people who are out of work who still have never got their unemployment,

and that’s so sad,” she said.

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