Protect your online identity with these five tips

4. Keep your browser secure.

A “lock” icon on the status bar of your browser means your information will be safe when it’s transmitted. Look for the lock before you send personal or financial information online.

FNNB Bank recommends running a virus/malware scan using an anti-virus utility from a reputable company such as Symantec (Norton), Trend-Micro, McAfee, AVG, Avast, etc. If you have any questions, contact the Customer Service staff at FNNB.

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A dog was ‘approved’ for $360 per week in unemployment benefits

It’s not always easy to find work.

Just ask Ryder — he was apparently laid off from his job at a restaurant chain in Michigan. So the state approved him for $360 per week in unemployment benefits.

Just one problem: He’s a dog.

“So my dog Ryder gets approved for unemployment benefits of 360 per week,” Ryder’s owner, Michael Haddock, wrote on Facebook, according to ABC affiliate WZZM.

He added: “Not sure what he is going to do with the money but should be interesting. I knew he was clever but he surprised me on this one.”

[ The economic boom is all well and good. But spreading its benefits to everyone will take serious work. ]

Haddock, an attorney in Saugatuck, Mich., told WZZM that he received a letter last weekend from the State of Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency addressed to his dog — sort of.

It was sent to “Michael Ryder.”

“My name is Michael; my dog is Ryder,” Haddock told the station. “I was surprised to see it, but I had a good laugh, actually.”

But the mix-up may not be so comical.

Michigan UIA announced earlier this week that it is putting together a special team to catch phony claims, according to reports.

There’s also the issue of identity theft. In 2014, 17.6 million U.S. residents older than 16 had their identities stolen, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

“Due to criminals stealing data from a number of different places — Equifax, other places where this has happened over the last few years — criminals are now using that information to file for unemployment benefits, and the IRS is running into the same problem with tax refunds. That’s how this starts,” Michigan UIA spokesman Chris DeWitt told WWJ Newsradio 950.

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to The Post that someone named Michael Ryder filed a police report Wednesday claiming possible identity theft.

The letter from Michigan UIA stated that Michael Ryder had worked for Kruse and Muer, an upscale seafood restaurant chain in Michigan. He was approved for 20 weeks of unemployment benefits at $360 per week, it stated.

A spokeswoman for the restaurant chain would not immediately comment on the situation.

Haddock said he called UIA to sort it out. “I felt like back in school when I would tell the teacher that the dog ate my assignment,” he told WZZM. “I don’t think the risk management person really believed what I was telling her, and she just asked me to scan the document and send it to her.”

Ultimately, the claim was denied, and Michigan UIA said it is now investigating the incident.

“Unfortunately, Michael Ryder’s claim will not be allowed,” Tim Kolar, state administrator of investigations with the UIA, said in a statement to WZZM. “I know first-hand it is rare for ‘man’s best friend’ to contribute financially to the household and that will continue in this instance.”

Following the mishap, Haddock said in an email to The Post that he hoped “it raised some awareness of the growing fraud States are battling in processing unemployment insurance claims.”

“I have received an email denying benefits,” he said, “and I do not intend to assist Ryder in filing an appeal.”

This post has been updated.

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Swindle, Identification Theft Cases Reported

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Tax identity theft awareness week

LEE COUNTY, Fla.– It’s tax identity theft awareness week and Florida ranks as one of the top 3 states for identity theft, according to the FTC.

Miriam Dotson of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office is breaking down how SWFL ranks when it comes to fraud.

She says the most popular call for the year was the IRS scam, there were almost 1,300 calls on that scam alone.

February is the busiest month for calls to the fraud line, when people start filing their tax returns. April came in a close second.

According to the FTC, Naples ranks 5th in our state for identity theft and Fort Myers-Cape Coral ranks 19th.

This week, the FTC and IRS are hosting free online webinars and chats on the topics so you can learn more by logging on to their websites.

LCSO encourages you to use those resources but also be sure to file early. This way, the scammer gets denied your return instead of you finding out your legitimate file is denied.

For more information on how to protect yourself or if you think you’ve been a victim of identity theft, call LCSO.

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The impact of E-Verify

The first challenge with mandating E-Verify use is how much work it’s going to create for employers. According to the E-Verify user manual, a freelancer who wants to contract out work will need to become a program administrator, tasked with chores like registering new users, opening and closing accounts and adding other program administrators and users.  In the United States, following the great recession, employers are already walking on thin ice trying to meet payroll by any means necessary.  During tough periods for the economy, capital is very hard for employers to gain.  Adding even more challenges does not usually bode well.  Employers already have to maximize all available resources.  Introducing E-Verify could add to workload of staff, or even in some cases, hiring more staff to do the bureaucratic work.  Unlike the government, the private sector needs to make a profit to stay in business.  There the government goes again, adding more challenges for businesses to stay afloat with more regulations.

E-Verify regulations state that “Employers participating in E-Verify MUST:”
Follow E-Verify procedures for each newly hired employee while enrolled/participating in E-Verify.
Notify each job applicant of E-Verify participation.
Clearly display both the English and Spanish ‘Notice of E-Verify Participation’ and the ‘Right to Work’ posters.
Complete Form I-9 for each newly hired employee before creating a case in E-Verify.
Ensure that Form I-9 ‘List B’ identity documents have a photo.
Create a case for each newly hired employee no later than the third business day after he or she starts work for pay.
Obtain a Social Security number (SSN) from each newly hired employee on Form I-9.
Provide each employee the opportunity to contest a tentative nonconfirmation (TNC).
Allow each newly hired employee to start and continue working during the E-Verify verification process, even if he or she receives a TNC.
Ensure that all personally identifiable information is safeguarded.

But, “Employers participating in E-Verify MUST NOT:”

Use E-Verify to prescreen an applicant for employment.
Check the employment eligibility for an employee hired before their company signed the E-Verify MOU.
Take any adverse action against an employee based upon a case result unless E-Verify issues a final nonconfirmation.
Specify or request which Form I-9 documentation a newly hired employee must use.
Use E-Verify to discriminate against ANY job applicant or new hire on the basis of his or her national origin, citizenship or immigration status.
Selectively verify the employment eligibility for a newly hired employee.
Share any user ID and/or password.

Every United States employer must do all of this and, also operate the business and generate a profit.  Remember health care before the government got involved.  Now are we again headed down the same road to disaster.  Another government run database can only invite disaster into the lives of law-abiding citizens who just want the opportunity to earn a living and support their families, you know, remember the American dream.  E-Verify can only turn into an American nightmare all things considered.

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