MANKATO — After receiving more than two dozen identity theft complaints since late May, the Mankato Department of Public Safety is advising residents to closely monitor their financial accounts.

Cmdr. Chris Baukol said the scams are happening in Mankato and other cities, prompting a statewide investigation.

“We’ve received over 30 complaints now since the end of May, and what’s happening is somehow people have access to private info and are applying for these unemployment benefits,” he said.

Some of the victims didn’t find out about the scams until the state’s unemployment office or their employers notified them. Victims should report the scams to their local law enforcement agency so it’s documented, Baukol said.

He also recommended people file an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission. If someone applies for unemployment benefits in their name, he said to file a report with Minnesota Unemployment Insurance along with calling 911.

“It’s certainly a hassle and a lot of steps for people who are victims of this to do, but it’s necessary to stop it as soon as possible,” Baukol said.

The Blue Earth Police Department also recently warned residents about unemployment fraud. A release from the agency stated it received numerous reports of fraud.

“The state is inundated with requests for unemployment and unemployment insurance” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the release stated. “This influx of requests makes it easy for a fraudulent request to hide in the system.”

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