The Gallatin County Sheriff's Office reports that they've seen a rise in fraudulent unemployment claims here locally. According to a press release from the department, most reports involved an unknown person having obtained the victim’s Social Security number and date of birth and filing a fraudulent claim through the Montana Department of Labor and Industry in an attempt to receive money.

Alert your employer that you didn’t file to contact the Montana Department of Labor and Industry if they should receive an unemployment notice. Let them know the claim number on the fraudulent claim, and the Department of Labor and Industry will put a freeze on the claim to prevent any funds or letters from being released.

Be aware that if a fraudulent claim has been filed, your Social Security number may be comprised. The sheriff's department recommends the following steps if you suspect some fraudulent activity has taken place under your SSN or name.

  • Contact the three major credit companies and informed them that your SSN may have been compromised. This creates a record and allows them to freeze your credit score if necessary.
  • Contact your local Social Security Office and inform them that your SSN may be compromised. The Social Security Office will not issue a new SSN but if you request them to do so, they may put an alert on your account that prevents any business from being conducted under your SSN without showing a photo ID. This would prevent someone from creating a social security account online, ordering a new Social Security Card, applying for benefits, etc.

It's very important that you reach out to your financial institutions and inform them that your SSN may be compromised. Let them know where you are so they can keep an eye out for unusual activity. Also, pay close attention to your bank account and credit rating; if you notice any unfamiliar transactions, contact the Sheriff’s Office to file a report.