KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After reporting about Kansans receiving fraudulent letters that appear to be from the Kansas Department of Labor, several people have reached out to 41 Action News about identity theft concerns.
41 Action News first reported about Olathe resident Brooke Watson receiving more than 70 letters from the Department of Labor last week. All of the letters were addressed to different people but had her address on them.
Overland Park resident Tom McDonald received a similar letter the same day he watched our report.
"If it hadn't been for your news report, I probably would have acted on it and immediately called up that number and made it worse," McDonald said.
McDonald said he hasn't been on unemployment for more than 40 years, so he was surprised to receive the letter, which unlike Watson's, was addressed to him and included more personal information.
"It had my company name, my company's ID and several pieces of information related to my income," McDonald said. "This is kind of scary because somehow my information got picked up like I assume all those other people's did."
McDonald said he couldn't connect with anyone from the department of labor over the phone and received a reply from the fraud department telling him steps to take and giving him a police report number.
Since receiving the letter, he's spent hundreds of dollars on credit protection and is working on alerting his banks, employer, the IRS and the Social Security Administration.
"It's not good," McDonald said. "My biggest concern is where did this come out of? Is it from the state of Kansas that my information got lost or internal revenue?"
Olathe resident Brian Duncan told 41 Action News he and his wife received 21 letters Tuesday, all addressed to different people.
Duncan said his house currently is for sale, and he worries about his addressed being obtained through public records.
After pressing the department for answers, 41 Action News received this statement from a spokesperson:
"This type of fraud is normal identity theft being applied to unemployment claims. This is happening nationwide and is not a Kansas-specific issue. However, we are asking Kansans for their help. If anyone has received a notice of unemployment benefits that they didn’t apply for or believes they may have been the victim of identity theft, please report it at www.ReportFraud.ks.gov."
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt told 41 Action News he can't speak specifically about the letters but said identity theft can be prevented by being cautious about where personal information goes and doing regular credit report checks.
Anyone who believes they are the victim of identity theft can file a report with the Attorney General's office.