SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield Police are warning residents of an increase in identity theft incidents in unemployment schemes.

Identity thieves will take individuals’ information and use it to apply for unemployment benefits. They will use the victim’s name, social security number, date of birth and home address. Several victims have been contacted by employers or the Department of Unemployment Assistance about claims being processed.

If you fall victim to identity theft, you should file a report with your local police department so that it can be investigated and proper agencies can be informed.

The Federal Trade Commission offers the following advice to prevent identity fraud:

  • Read credit card statements carefully and check them often for anything unusual.
  • Know when your payments are due
  • Read your health insurance plan statements
  • Shred any personal documents you no longer need
  • Check your credit reports at least once a year