HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- After Western Mass News reported on exclusive fraudulent unemployment claims on Tuesday, we have now learned about another scam affecting a local woman. She claims someone stole her identity to file a fraudulent unemployment claim in another state.
"I’ve had to change all my passcodes, my ID, everything...," said Holyoke resident Lillian Campbell-Thompson.
Following her credit cards hacked earlier this month, Campbell-Thompson went through the usual process of securing her accounts. The Holyoke woman thought everything settled, but later, she received a letter in the mail, which confirmed she applied for unemployment assistance in the state of Pennsylvania.
The problem is that the last time she was actually in Pennsylvania...
"I was 10-years-old," Campbell-Thompson said.
She told Western Mass News she is disabled and hasn't worked in decades. She went on to say her attempts to report the fraud to Pennsylvania authorities have been unsuccessful.
"When I finally found the fraud hotline number, a joke, because there’s no one to answer the phones," she explained.
Campbell-Thompson told us the claim date on the Pennsylvania letter was from around the same date her credit card was hacked. Western Mass News spoke with Stan Prager of East Longmeadow's Gogeeks Computer Rescue.
He told Western Mass News hackers can learn a lot from credit card accounts.
"They can find out various other information about you, such as your address for instance," he explained.
But according to the Pennsylvania unemployment website, someone would need a social security number to file. Prager said data breaches or scams from years ago yield social security numbers for those willing to search the dark web.
"That can be a key to identity theft is a social security number. If it’s matched up to a legitimate address and telephone number," Prager said.
"If something like this can happen to me, I’m wondering how many other people in the state of Massachusetts are getting stuff like this from other states," Campbell-Thompson said.
According to Massachusetts state officials, those in Campbell-Thompson's position should report the fraud, both in their home state and in the state where the deceitful claim was filed.
"The last thing I need is to get something at tax season that says, 'Oh, you owe an unemployment tax from the state of Pennsylvania,'" she added.
Over the summer, Western Mass News reported on another series of false unemployment claims happening nationwide. Officials believed the information used to file those claims came from commercial data breaches.